By Rachel Grunwell
Artist Simon Richardson proves if you have the right mindset, you can achieve incredible weight-loss and fitness results.
He didn’t even use a gym and still drank beers!
Full disclaimer: Simon, 44, is one of my super-star clients I coach. He’s a multi-award-winning painter.
Article by Rachel Grunwell: Director of InspiredHealth, collaborating with businesses to inspire Kiwis to live healthy and happy. Award-winning writer. Magazine wellness columnist for Good magazine & Indulge magazine. Wellness expert often on radio. Yoga & meditation teacher, teaching de-stress skills to Kiwis to uplift performance. Qualified fitness consultant. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.
To learn learn mindfulness and de-stress techniques, find out more about attending a health retreat with Rachel at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa click HERE.
Why Workplace Happiness Matters – plus 7 tips to reduce sitting time
Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning writer. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Qualified yoga teacher & fitness consultant. Multi-marathoner & run guide for disabled athletes. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. Director of InspiredHealthNZ.
I’m soooooo excited to announce that this yogi is an ambassador for @pureology – a haircare brand that’s natural, vegan & environmentally-friendly.
I love that this brand gives a stuff about the planet. But I also love the products because they are beautiful to use.
Article by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning writer. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Qualified fitness consultant and yoga teacher. Wellness expert often interviewed on radio. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. Director of the InspiredHealth website.
Mindfulness is a science-backed way to train your brain to live life more in the “calm zone”.
We live in a stressed and hurried-style society. So it can benefit a lot of people to tap into this skill.
By Rachel Grunwell: Wellness expert. Award-winning writer. Wellness columnist for Good magazine and Indulge magazine. Qualified yoga teacher and fitness consultant. Rachel is often interviewed on radio, giving health tips and also co-leads weekend-long health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. To find out more about the Mindful Moments retreats click HERE.
Switch off from your busy life and experience two days on our Mindful Moments Retreat to bring your mind, body and spirit into balance. Surrounded by the natural elements of Rotorua and Polynesian Spa’s therapeutic alkaline and acid waters, you will be guided through yoga, mindfulness, meditation and wellness workshops. We will also be taking time to indulge in world-renowned Polynesian Spa therapy treatments.
Mindful Moments is hosted by our highly experienced Spa and Retreat Manager Helena Keenan and inspirational Polynesian Spa Health and Wellness ambassador Rachel Grunwell.
This unique geothermal bathing and soul soothing retreat originated here at Polynesian Spa in 2016 and has established itself as a must do health and wellness experience for those wanting to unwind, relax and reset.
RETREAT DATES & COSTS
Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August
Saturday 8th September – Sunday 9th September
Saturday 10th November – Sunday 11th November
$479.00 per person
Relaxation & Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness & Meditation Session
Yoga Class hosted by Rachel Grunwell
Entry to the Deluxe Lake Spa
Transport to Walk Location
Premium Retreat Gift Bag
CHECK OUT THE THERAPIES YOU HAVE A CHOICE FROM:
*Please note the Pure Source Mud Polish will be used for the AIX Therapy*
We can offer exclusive rates for The Millennium Hotel Rotorua to those joining us on a Mindful Moments Retreat for accommodation rates please contact us upon booking. Bookings will need to be made directly with the hotels reservation team and Terms and Conditions will apply to the booking, these are at the discretion of The Millennium Hotel Rotorua.
There is also a wide selection of hotels, luxury lodges, lake-side bachs, charming motels available in Rotorua to check options click here.
POLYNESIAN SPA RETREAT LEADER: HELENA KEENAN
Helena’s personal experience with Meditation began in 1992 developing for her a deep interest in the Wellbeing benefits of Meditation. Further studies and reading into Mindfulness Meditation created a goal to pursue formal studies in this area. Eventually the opportunity to study Mindfulness Meditation Teacher training with Dr Ian Gawler arose and in 2009 Helena completed her first training course in this field. More recently Helena has completed further studies with Ian Gawler and Ruth Gawler in Australia in the practices of Guided Imagery and Contemplation. Now settled in Rotorua, Helena brings a diverse and extensive skill-set to Polynesian Spa.
Nurture. Nourish. Thrive.
These are the beautiful words that underpin the mission of Te Atawhai retreat, nestled out in the countryside at the foot of Mount Te Aroha in the Waikato area, in the North Island of New Zealand. It’s about two hours’ driving from Auckland, or about an hour drive from Tauranga.
Te Atawhai specialises in offering a four-day “wholeness retreat” (although they offer one-day retreats at request too). Here you can learn, grow and flourish by learning healthy habits based around a blend of movement, mindset, real foods, and rest.
The retreat is run by an all-women team including: Rebecca, who worked for many years as a nurse in the mental health sector; Sherryll, who has 20+ years experience as a personal trainer; Well-known NZ fashion designer and businesswoman Annah Stretton. Rebecca and Sherryll run the retreats generally, while Annah drives the business-side of the venture and often joins guests for a meal.
Each of these three women have inspirationally transformed their own lives to be healthier and happier in recent years and so want to help others rise up in the same way too.
Pictured, Sherryll, left, and Rebecca, right.
I experienced Te Atawhai in December 2018 and felt the retreat was heart-led. Rebecca and Sherryll care about the guests and keep numbers relatively small – so everyone gets incredible personal attention.
The absolute magic in Te Atawhai truly is the people. They care about what they do and put their hearts into helping their guests. They are heart-connected to those who come to this place to re-set.
Te Atawhai is not a bootcamp-style environment. You are challenged, but not pushed. You can go at your own pace and opt in challenges at the level of intensity that feels right for you. It’s not a yoga retreat – there is stretching in the morning, but it’s about mindful movement and starting the day inspired, rather than learning difficult yoga poses. This makes the retreat accessible and relatable to most people.
There is no alcohol, caffeine, wheat, dairy or refined sugar on the menu here, but rather nourishing, healthy, seasonal and real foods that are delicious. You will feel full at every meal too (and I do like to eat a lot and so I’m a good measure for this!) This is not a retreat about weight-loss, but rather the focus is wellness. I really love this – because the emphasis is about building healthy bodies and minds.
Karissa is the whizz in the kitchen and is passionate about serving seasonal and nurturing food that’s truly delicious. The flavours she creates are memorable. She picks fresh produce from the garden daily to add to meals. One guest kept saying “I can’t believe healthy food could taste so good”.
Check out this healthy breakfast. This was one of my faves.
The retreat is run from a large house in the countryside, where cows are thy neighbours and you get to see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Check out this view from the bedroom I stayed in. This is bliss.
It’s like a home-away-from-home, rather than a fancy-pants, minimalist resort. There are books scattered around the house to read, a pool, health teas always on offer and you get to breathe in fresh air, unplug from technology and escape a hurried life and set goals for a healthier way forwards.
Each day starts with a gong to rise (you are encouraged to leave your watch in your suitcase for the four days). Then it’s a swig of apple cider vinegar (which boasts many health benefits), some gentle stretching with Sherryll and a sit-down breakfast. A challenging walk is then on the agenda – and each day you go to a different location for memorable scenery. An absolute highlight was climbing to the top of Mount Te Aroha (it took me 2.5-hours to get to the top at a gentle pace and 1.5hrs to come down). Half of the group opted in for this, while the rest of the group felt the half-way point was a challenge right for them.
At the top of Mount Te Aroha, I felt on top of the world. You can see the sea.
You can also see green for miles miles and even the hump of Mt Maunganui far in the distance (in the far right of the picture). I wished I could sit there for hours. This, to me, is the definition of magic.
Being in nature is a therapy in itself, plus there are the movement benefits of course!
After walking, there’s a spa dip at nearby mineral hot springs (and you can opt to pay for a beauty treatment if you wish). Then in the afternoon there is an educational health seminar and some free time to relax. Then it’s a sit down chat for some reflection on the day, dinner and then free time before bed.
On the website, Annah Stretton writes “Come to Te Atawhai to Nurture, Nourish, and THRIVE”.
Rebecca spoke memorably about learning “awareness” – “which is a key to setting you free”.
I’d also say come along too to this home-away-from-home to connect with these incredible women. Here you can learn tools to inspire you to live your best life.
* Watch a quick video interview with the retreat’s chef Karissa about nourishing kai. Click HERE
* Rachel was kindly invited to review the retreat as a professional wellness blogger.
By Rachel Grunwell
I love a good blissful massage or foot rub. However, I can’t seem to convince (decode “bribe”) the bloke or my kids into doing this very often. Sadly.
Maybe, it’s my unattractive runner’s feet that make them run a mile?
Actually, I think the kids would rather do their own thing – or ANYTHING else – rather than rub their mum’s feet.
I can’t possibly understand why.
So, I was keen to give the shakti mat a whirl. The shakti website promised the use of their mat would be the equivalent of having my own “personal masseuse”.
Or rather: “relaxation whenever you want, wherever you want” , according to their website.
Does this mean I still have to work after I get my Shakti mat, I wonder?…
After all, I may choose to relax ALL THE TIME.
So, without reading any manual, I rushed in to try the mat. I couldn’t wait to try it. So, I immediately put my feet on the mat. I stood on that mat. And then I screamed. Loudly. Then whimpered.
There is a reason why these mats are likened to “a bed of nails”.
Please learn from my mistake and do not repeat what I did. Like doing yoga for the first time, you should ease into using a Shakti mat. Never, ever jump right on in with these things.
So, I decided to read the website for some guidance on how to use it. So, next time I approach the mat, I’m wearing socks. Ahhhhhh. Now we are talking. This feels gooooood.
The website recommends “slowly building up to bare feet”. And this people, is why you read manuals, or reviews, before using anything new for the first time. I still laugh at my blunder. I wonder if anyone else has done this. Or maybe it’s just me who rushes in like a bull-at-a-gate sometimes!
I use the mat in other ways too rather than just standing on it. The self-treatment of acupressure is fabulous. I love putting the mat on the back of my chair while I sit at my work desk.
A fave is to drape it over a rolled-up yoga-mat on the floor and ease back gently onto it so it can target my shoulders and back. After a long run, I sometimes place my legs gently over the top of the mat. Another fave way to use it is to have my legs up the wall (viparita karani) and my back on the mat. This is so nourishing, de-stressing and utter bliss. Well, at least until my cat Hermione decides she wants to play and flicks her tail in my face.
There are a few different mats. They have between 4000-8000 pressure points. I use the one for athletes the most.
The mat can leave some dimple marks on the skin, but these go after about 10-minutes. I noted the time-frame when I put on a backless dress and headed out to a glam event shortly after using the mat once!
I’ve enjoyed giving the mat a whirl and will keep using it. I recommend it. But remember to use it gently and slowly the first time. Don’t be overexcited like I was. Chuckle.
ps here’s a pic of me on the mat with my cat (Hermione). That’s her swishing her tail in my face as I try and bliss out on the mat….
To find out more about the mat check out their website: Click HERE
Rachel Grunwell is Good magazine’s wellness columnist and runs the InspiredHealth website. Follow her via InspiredHealth:
By Rachel Grunwell
The way to achieve your wellness goals is through “progression, not perfectionism”.
These wise words ring in my ears as I attend a three-day retreat in the Bay of Plenty.
I’m at Resolution Retreats, high up in the quiet, peaceful and beautiful bush-clad hills of Papamoa. It’s so green here, the air is fresh and I feel blissful and chilled-out just simply being in this stunning location. It’s wonderful to have “me time” and to be in a supportive and welcoming place that nurtures good health. It’s a place just solely for women to transform.
Here, you can kick-start a restorative journey to improve your own personal and individual health goals.
I’m among about a dozen women, mostly aged 40s and over, who have different goals from weight loss to wanting to improve their overall health, fitness, food knowledge or happiness levels. Some mums and daughters (aged in their 20s) too are here for a special healthy holiday. Others just wish to take a breath, refocus and feel pampered.
Founder and nutritional consultant, Joelene Ranby (pictured below), says she and her team will support everyone on their individual goals. Questions are welcome at any time.
I love that she tells us we can go to the daily fitness workouts or health seminars, or opt out for relaxation time instead, if we wish. It’s a no-pressure environment. One option for example, is walking to the Kaiate Falls. I opted in for that and loved being in nature (I’m pictured by one of the waterfalls below – how bliss does that look)!!!
Ranby says she aims to inspire, educate and motivate women with tools on how to de-stress, recuperate and refocus.
She promises to keep things “simple”. She doesn’t want anyone “overwhelmed” and “trying to do everything all at once”. This is a key theme: “progression, not perfectionism”.
She implores us to focus on one important health message daily and think about leaving the retreat with one change to truly focus on back at home. This is because one change at a time, and little by little, we can transform our lives and achieve our wellness goals, she promises.
The itinerary over three days includes daily gentle yoga and different fitness sessions (here’s a pic below of a pool work-out). Seminars range from healthy eating education, to de-coding food labels, and there is a cooking demonstration done by a professional chef who shares helpful and healthy tips and tricks.
Everyone raves about the girly-girl pampering sessions (you can get treatments from massages and facials to pedicures on-site). I have a facial which is so good I fall asleep! And a back massage helps me to de-stress down another notch.
I like that the retreat kept things accessible, realistic, and there are lots of real-life ideas shared. Food is super healthy (like this yum meal pictured below), but filling, and I cope okay without sugar (I’m generally a chocoholic!)
The snacks are delicious too on the retreat. Check out this blissball goodness!
My bedroom is a tranquil oasis and boasts an inside and outside bath. Check out how lush it looks!
I left the retreat feeling inspired and relaxed. What an amazing place where women can focus on themselves… and truly escape briefly the never-ending to-do-list and needs of the kids, partners and work commitments. I’d recommend Resolution Retreats as a friendly place that can empower women with real-life tools to live healthier and happier.
Top tips from the retreat:
Quit the guilt.
Keep things simple and focus on one health goal at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself. “Ladies tend to see the bar too high. We all do it!” says Joelene Ranby.
Protein can help to keep you fuller for longer.
Be organised with meals. It will help stop you reaching for unhealthy snacks.
Figure out the things that “slip you up” and plan around them ie if you love chocolate and chips perhaps don’t buy them or maybe keep them in a place you can’t see them.
Ask yourself before snacking: “Am I eating because I am stressed?”
Exercise and get your heart-rate up before breakfast – even if it’s just for a few minutes. It will help kick-start your metabolism.
This piece was published in Herald group newspapers. The piece was penned by Rachel Grunwell: wellness writer & columnist, marathoner, yoga teacher and the director of this lifestyle website InspiredHealth. Follow InspiredHealth on Facebook (click HERE) & Instagram (Click HERE). We have amazing regular health giveaways and inspiration on living “well”.
Resolution Retreats runs numerous retreats throughout the year, ranging from three days to three weeks.