Fall Retreat to Focus on Fitness

Fact: The demands of everyday life get in the way of inner focus, fitness and relaxation. And while it's a myth that you have to leave home in order to effectively focus on yourself, it certainly doesn't hurt. I had the pleasure of attending a wellness retreat at Rosewood Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, earlier this year, and from the moment I stepped off the boat and onto the idyllic beachfront, my perspective changed from "work time" to "me time." The entire resort curves around a crescent-shaped bay, and even though there are roughly 100 rooms, cottages and villas available, I spent most of my time feeling like the only person there.

Led by New York trainer Frank Baptiste of Frankly Fitness, the retreat featured daily classes in the morning and afternoon that favored form over repetition and positive encouragement over drill sergeant-like harassment (to my relief). The morning workout involved correcting what Baptiste calls the “sitting disease” of modern professionals with desk jobs. As a confirmed victim of this blight, I was eager to stretch and strengthen the muscles that fall prey to my horrible posture. The moves were a blend of yoga and core strength exercises that co-mingled with Self Myofascial Release (SMR), a massage technique where I used my own body weight and a prop such as a lacrosse ball to release tension in my muscles. This practice was tough at first, as I discovered several tight knots, but felt heavenly afterward and made it easier to stretch in the poses that followed. The afternoon featured more intense activity and kettlebell training. However, with the peaceful diversions of snorkeling, lounging and spa-ing available, there was plenty of rest time between workouts.

Inside Tip: If you have time before or after a spa treatment, climb the rocky stairs to the yoga pavilion for a view of the entire bay. For a true moment of Zen, find the small set of hidden stairs next to the pavilion that leads to a tiny sitting area on a secluded cliff. There are just two chairs and an undisturbed panorama of the ocean's endless horizon.

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