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Travel Diary: Wali Solehin’s One-week Fitness Retreat At Maison De La Vaure

Travel Diary: Wali Solehin's One-week Fitness Retreat At Maison De La Vaure

7-days of amazing fitness routines, waking up and sleeping into the scenic landscape of French countryside, and indulging in delectable vegetarian meals

Sounds amazing, isn’t it? But first, here’s a bit introduction about Wali Solehin. Wali is an Entrepreneur and a Chemical Engineering graduate from the University of Leeds. He is currently living in Malaysia and working on a project; Vertical Indoor Urban Farming where they focus on a more sustainable way to grow vegetables. Besides that, he is also currently training to be an indoor cycling instructor at PWRHOUSE. As a matter of fact, they are expecting to open their physical studio very soon. Can’t wait!

As a friend, I have always enjoyed his traveling postings from all over the world. Just to clarify, I’m not a stalker though lol. I knew that there would be some interesting memories to be shared. So when I asked, his one-week fitness retreat in Maison De La Vaure in Chillac, France, came to mind instantly.

I’m really glad that he wants to share this beautiful story with Hipshut. Not just because of the stunning location, but the story gets more interesting, funny, and emotional as you read. You’ll see what I mean. Without further ado, here is his story.

Q: Why did you choose to go to the Maison De La Vaure’s fitness retreat? What did you expect to achieve?

A: The fitness retreat was organized by Oliver Retreats by Oliver Black in Maison De La Vaure. The reason being I chose to go to this retreat was honestly because I’m quite attracted to the estate, it gives mid-century vibes architecture and because it is also located in the countryside of South France- Bordeaux. Since I’m into fitness, so the combination between fitness and a week of holiday in French countryside, just make sense for me to book the retreat. 

Before the retreat, since this was a fitness retreat I expected to lose some weights and physically healthier since they only offer vegetarian food (yes everything vegetarian for a whole week). 

Q: What was the fitness retreat all about?

A: The retreat provides a week-long holiday without having to put a pause to my fitness routine. The retreat incorporates a combination of strength exercises, HITT workout as well as yoga.

The retreat was also complemented with delicious nutritious vegetarian meals prepared by the chefs. 

Q: How was your one week schedule like? What did you do on a daily basis?

A: Every morning we started our day with a 60-75mins Vinyasa yoga to energize our body lead by Minnie. Then, after yoga, we have breakfast where we usually have it outdoor under the sun. The food here was prepared portion by portion to us (it was a big portion). After breakfast, we were given free time to do anything, usually, most of us will just chill by the pool sunbathing, reading books and listening to music. Some days, we took the bike and cycled around the estate and the neighbourhood.  

Then, before our lunch, there’s strength session which led by Oliver Black himself. After the strength exercises, its time for lunch where we usually have it outdoor as well (can’t help it we just love the summer sun in Europe!!).

Then we have a 4 hours gap to do anything before our HITT session. The chef also prepared us so delicious smoothies every day before our HITT session.  Right after our HITT session, we had our Yin/Hatha yoga session.

This was definitely my favourite part of the day, after those brutal exercises, this was the time to stretch it out. Then, after the yin yoga session, we were given time to clean up ourselves and get ready for dinner. Then after dinner, we had a walk around the estate.

Unfortunately, during our time, the sunflowers weren’t blooming so that was quite a bummer for us. The best part about this place was, during the night, the sky was so clear we had the chance for star-gazing. 

The day continue same as it is for the next 7 days. 

Q: How would you describe your experience, both emotionally and physically?

  • While the retreat is ongoing.

A: In term of physical, I feel so much stronger and leaner. 

Emotionally, during the retreat, I had a breakthrough with myself, where I felt so emotional. I felt like throughout these years I’ve not loved myself enough and appreciate myself enough. I’ve always let myself feeling down and not letting go and not live in the moment. But during the retreat, where I was away from the busyness, from social media (because the coverage was quite bad), it gave me time to appreciate myself and all the things that my body are capable of doing. So I think this was the best part of this retreat in my experienced, helps me to learn about myself, my body and my soul. 

  • After it is done.

A: This retreat has not only helped me get stronger physically. The whole retreat has helped me so much to calm my mind and put feelings back into perspective. It gave me the opportunity, to be honest with myself and to let go of any preconceptions and judgment. 

Q: List 3 challenging moments that you had to face while you were there.

A: The food since its vegetarians because I love a good steak so much! But because the chefs really know the nutrition that our body needs it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I didn’t feel hungry or tired even after all the workout. 

The workout was quite challenging especially those HITT workouts; at one point I feel like I was in an army camp training for combat.

Since I’m not a morning person, so to wake up as early as 7 am for yoga was quite tough for the first few days. 

Q: What was the most unforgettable moment?

A: Definitely the setting of the retreat, it was just so calming. There’s just something special about being away from everything at beautiful French countryside. If you’ve watched “Call Me by Your Name’ the whole environment was almost similar to it.  I REALLY CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK ONCE THIS PANDEMIC IS OVER! 

Q: What was your favorite part?

A: I love the early morning yoga, it just so calming and I really felt good after. Besides that, the people I met throughout the retreats, they are supportive people and those 1 week was surrounded by love and support towards each other. 

Besides that, pool time was one of the best time where we hung out and sunbathed, we danced to some silly music, it was definitely one of my favorite moment. 

Q: Do you look at life differently after the retreat?

A: The retreat has really taught me self-love, to not harm my body and my mind, especially now when most of us are so into social media and it can be a very toxic place to be. I now appreciate myself better and always take it easy on myself. If somethings hold you back from growing, move on because bigger things await you.  I’m also more conscious about what I eat and put inside my body. But I still do enjoy a cheeky junk food from time to time. 

Q: What did you learn from the experience that you can pass on to others?

A: Never take yourself for granted, try to venture out from your comfort zone, and always allow yourself to transform as many times as you need for you to feel the happiness and free. Do not shy away from opportunities that may get you to your dreams.  

Q: Do you still practice the philosophy or fitness routines that you learned from the Maison De La Vaure’s fitness retreat?

A: I try to do yoga as much as I can since it really helps me to appreciate myself. I believe, yoga does not only help me physically but it also helps me mentally especially when you’re busy working. My advice, try to do yoga more, you’ll feel the difference not only physically as well as mentally. I also do meatless Monday when I’ll try to avoid eating any meats for the whole day. 

What an incredible story! Hope that it will inspire you as much as it does for me.

Ezza Zainal

Be the storyteller that everyone can’t get enough of. Period!

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