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Oil and Water: Pilates and Yoga

A golden layer of oil over clear water symbolises the unexpected rivalry at our retreat, reminding us of the importance of unity in wellness practices
Oil and water: a visual metaphor for our Pilates and yoga retreat experience in Crete, highlighting the contrast yet coexistence of two wellness disciplines.

As we wrap up our retreat here in beautiful Crete, I find myself reflecting on the experience with a mix of delight and perplexity. Crete has truly been a revelation—a new island, a wonderful hotel, and the warmest of welcomes from the staff. We've been thoroughly impressed and plan on returning next year.

However, an unexpected dynamic arose that has left us all a bit puzzled. Another group sharing the hotel with us this week was a yoga retreat. Initially, we were excited at the prospect of connecting with like-minded individuals who share our passion for wellness and movement. But, as it turned out, our enthusiasm was met with a wall of indifference.

Despite our efforts to engage—smiling, attempting to initiate conversations—the yoga group remained aloof. It was a surprising and somewhat disheartening experience. The tension was palpable, particularly around the use of a prime space for our classes. The hotel staff informed us that the yoga group was quite upset about not being offered this space, which added an unnecessary competitive edge to the atmosphere.

This rivalry is baffling. In the world of wellness, there should be no competition. Whether we come from a Pilates background or a yoga tradition, our common goal is to help people feel better, move better, and ultimately lead healthier lives. The techniques may differ, but the intention is the same. So why the animosity?

It makes me wonder about the influence of leadership in setting the tone for such events. If the person running a retreat fosters a spirit of competition rather than collaboration, it's likely that this mindset will permeate the group. It's a reminder of how important it is for us, as teachers and leaders, to model the behaviour we wish to see.

In Pilates, we emphasise the unity of body and mind, striving to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and supported. This retreat was a stark reminder that not everyone shares this approach. But it also reinforced the importance of continuing to build bridges and foster a sense of community, even when faced with indifference or competition.

As we look ahead to next year's retreat, we're more committed than ever to nurturing an atmosphere of openness and camaraderie. We'll continue to reach out, smile, and extend a hand of friendship to all those who share our space, regardless of their discipline.

Let's remember that in the vast sea of wellness practices, there's room for everyone. After all, oil and water may not mix easily, but they can coexist beautifully, each enhancing the richness of the other.

Until next year, Crete.



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