I know that Tonya is the best Pilates teacher around, but I had no idea what to expect on the Tropical Pilates Retreat. It was one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken. Haramara is divine. The cabanas are open so that you hear the wave crashing against the rocks at night. There were butterflies everywhere as I walked along the path leading to the beach. I needed to unplug and this is what I got. I shared a room and had a great time with my roomie. If you are short on funds don't be afraid to give that a try. I did not know my cabana-mate except to see her every so often at Tonya's Aspire Pilates Studio, but at the end of the trip I felt that I had made a lifelong friend.
It was so amazing to wake up and take a Pilates class watching the sun rise in the sky while the Chachalaca birds woke up and started chattering. One morning as class was ending we watched whales breaching in the ocean. The evening began with another Pilates class. Two Pilates classes a day? Yes! I saw results immediately with my body's flexibility and strength. I can't say enough about what an amazing teacher Tonya is. She is everything - kind, patient, skilled and fun.
One of the many highlights of the retreat was the bonding experience with other women over food, food and more food - and a couple of nights where we indulged in margaritas. It was so nice to just sit ad tell stories, listen to stories, compare life notes all under the light of glowing oil lamps. Men are welcome too, but we just happened to be all ladies on this trip and it was like a grown-up slumber party.The only unfortunate part of the trip was having to say goodbye... Haramara, tú siempre estás en mi corazon!
Harmara and the Tropical Pilates Retreat are like living in the movie "Enchanted April" only in Spanish and with more exercise. A short three and a half hour plane ride from the Bay Area on a dreary February day and I found myself in paradise. We were greeted in Puerto Vallarta by Harmara's driver who whisked us away to an enchanted hillside. The sun was getting low and cast a gorgeous orange glow over the treetop terrace with the sound of the waves at the beach below. The staff carried our bags to our casitas while the house manager offered us cool drinks and gathered information about our dietary preferences. Arriving at my casita I literally gasped at the beauty and grace of the place; soft white bedding, graceful gauzy curtains, an abundance of candles and oil lamps, beautiful dark wood flooring, stone terrazzo floor in the bathroom open air shower, and my own private terrace where I could meditate, star gaze, and sun myself in my small clothes. Our meals were events in themselves; leisurely, creative, luscious, abundant, and guilt free. Every little detail was seen to; one day it got a bit cool and the house manager personally brought a blanket to my casita where I was napping because she thought I might be cold. I have never been so pampered, not even at the most luxurious five star resort. Morning Pilates sessions were devoted to strength and afternoons to stretching and release work. We had people at all levels from those with mobility limitations to fitness junkies. My gains in strength were downright shocking; I was thrilled with the progress I made over the course of the week. I came home with a new perspective on how good life can be and how well my body can be if I give it a bit of rest, good food, and a bit of exercise. It was inspiring. Not to be missed - massages by Harumi, best massage of my life. Practical notes - the hillside is steep and some stairs are uneven, but if you can walk a couple of blocks on city streets you'll be fine. The beach is not great for swimming, but a nice swimming beach is a 20 minute walk through a cool jungle that looks like something out of Jurassic park. Mossies were not a problem in dry February. Bring your headlamp because it gets dark, dark, dark at night (good for stargazing). As a female alone I felt very safe here. This is a generally safe area of Mexico and the resort is set far enough away from town to be off the path of those looking for easy pickings. The retreat also employs men who patrol the property at night keeping an eye on things. More than once I ran into them on my way back to my casita at night and they personally escorted me, lighting the path.
Tonya is my big (little) sister. She has been trying to get me to attend one of her classes forever! I have a child with severe special needs that leaves me with no time to ever care for myself. My body has gotten so very old and weak over the years... This retreat was the only way to get me to STOP and breath. BREATH amazing fresh sea air, EAT scrumptious all organic fresh full course meals, stretch, strengthen and inspire my body to learn, regroup and heal. I am truly grateful my sister persuaded me to go, that persuasion will not at all be necessary next year! I will definitely be going again!!! This time I will be bringing along 4 friends. We have pledged to make this magical retreat our yearly desperately needed mind, body and spirit jump start! Thank you Tonya for not giving up on me! I had a blast!!!!