Travel: Life-Changing Mindfulness Moments at Rotorua Polynesian Spa

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Bathing in the pools of the Polynesian Spa is pure bliss. Photo / Provided

Learning to relax can be a game-changer, and a famous Kiwi hot spring pool is the perfect place to recharge, writes Kelly Makiha.

Bursts of laughter.

This is how friends reacted when I told them I had to spend two days on a wellness retreat – relax, do yoga, meditate and learn to put myself forward.

The laughs of disbelief come from the fact that, like too many people these days, I lead a pretty hectic life.

There’s full-time work as a journalist, singing at parties several nights a week, being the mother of three children, who each play up to four winter sports, and coaching or managing two winter sports teams. children’s winter.

I’m the butt of office jokes for my work emails sometimes being sent at all hours of the night and for never turning off my notifications.

I love my life and having twin babies allows me to learn to function with just a few hours of sleep per night.

But that can’t be good for you, right?

While I’m proud to get things done and follow in the footsteps of my productive parents, I’m faced with the reality that my father, a man who worked two full-time jobs, died at the age of 53, probably because he was too busy to take care of himself.

A bath before a massage is a must.  Photo / Provided
A bath before a massage is a must. Photo / Provided

My best friend, Tania Hilliam, always talks to me about slowing down, but she’s a perfect example of someone who’s changed her lifestyle.

She survived stage 4 bowel cancer and since her diagnosis she has researched everything you need to do to shift gears in your body. She has been cancer-free for two and a half years.

She was the perfect companion for a Mindful Moments retreat at the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua.

A body scrub is exactly what the doctor ordered.  Photo / Provided
A body scrub is exactly what the doctor ordered. Photo / Provided

It is truly a magnificent resort and is ranked among the top 10 spas in the world. It proudly stands as one of Rotorua’s “must sees” not only for visitors but locals as well.

The spa waters come from two natural springs fed into the 28 mineral pools. There’s the slightly acidic Priest Spring which is great for soothing tired muscles, aches and pains while the alkaline waters of the Rachel Spring nourish the skin.

Add heated recliners dotted around the pools, dreamy spa therapies that will have you melting away in your massage bed, lovely herbal teas, great coffee, smoothies and gelatos in the on-site cafe and you’ll be forgiven for wanting just hide there always.

The healing powers of geothermal waters cannot be underestimated.  Photo / Provided
The healing powers of geothermal waters cannot be underestimated. Photo / Provided

On the first day we were welcomed with the offer of delicious tea and snacks while the 10 retreat guests got to know each other. Turns out I wasn’t the only one burning the candle at both ends.

Among the group were criminal defense lawyers, a GP, a single mother and a business owner.

Wellness expert Rachel Grunwell took care of us the first day. Grunwell, a former journalist colleague, had an epiphany a few years ago when she realized she lived coffee to coffee, was stressed and not particularly fit and healthy (sounds a bit familiar).

She made the switch and these days she’s the one being interviewed and giving advice. She then pursued a career in wellness coaching and traveled the world to share her knowledge.

Rachel Grunwell is a down-to-earth wellness expert with a knack for not nagging.  Photo / Provided
Rachel Grunwell is a down-to-earth wellness expert with a knack for not nagging. Photo / Provided

[subs cut here for print version] A lot of times when you have someone as gorgeous as Grunwell trying to tell you how to live your life, what to eat, and how to exercise, you want to roll your eyes and laugh at “easy on you. “. But Grunwell has this incredible knack for being humble, real, and delivering the message in a non-condescending way. [end]

After a bath and a manageable yoga session, we had a delicious lunch full of powerful and flavorful foods.

You are what you eat.  Photo / Provided
You are what you eat. Photo / Provided

The food was among the best I have ever eaten.  Photo / Provided
The food was among the best I have ever eaten. Photo / Provided

While on a relaxing walk through the amazing redwoods of Rotorua, we had a session with Grunwell where we went in depth on some wellness tips.

We were asked to rate ourselves out of 10 in terms of physical activity, food and nutrition, sleep, stress, emotional intelligence, relationships and happiness.

Turns out I’m perfectly happy, have a great relationship, but I’m a bit bad with food and nutrition and, no surprises here, shocking with sleep.

It is worth indulging in a mud wrap.  Photo / Provided
It is worth indulging in a mud wrap. Photo / Provided

    The facials at Polynesia Spa are just yum.  Photo / Provided
The facials at Polynesia Spa are just yum. Photo / Provided

Sunday’s program saw long, dreamy baths in the hot pools and relaxing on the heated recliners before we were whisked away for our spa treatments.

I received a full body therapeutic massage and it was perfect. I left like a ball of jelly ready to begin the meditation session with retreat leader Helena Keenan.

I have never meditated in my life and my first attempt was a bit of a failure. Even though it was good, I was relaxed, you’re not supposed to fall asleep.

I entered the next meditation session more prepared to just be present, relax my mind and think about nothing else – and Keenan’s almost magical voice helped me perfectly.

It was the most calming and relaxing thing I have ever experienced and I took what I learned from this session to help me sleep or just be calm in certain situations.

The retreat team during their yoga sessions with Rachel Grunwell.  Photo/Rachel Grunwell
The retreat team during their yoga sessions with Rachel Grunwell. Photo/Rachel Grunwell

Retreat guests receive goody bags filled with beautiful products from Pure Fiji, Waterlilly, Nellie Tier, Pure Source Rotorua, Linden Leaves and Artemis. Grunwell’s book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness was also among the goodies and has been an entertaining and practical resource to refer to since retirement.

Armed with my new tools, I now sleep at least seven hours a night and have made significant adjustments to make my life healthier in the future.

Instead of wishing you had the time to do something like this, take the time and enjoy it – it just might add years to your life.

Details
The next Mindful Moments retreat will take place on August 13-14, followed by the last of the year on November 12-13. polynesianspa.co.nz
For more things to see and do in the area, go to rotoruanz.com


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