“Not all sandals & candles!” Q&A, Michael Boland, Nurrish Retreats

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“The idea to host this retreat was a lightbulb over the head moment,” says Nurrish founder and naturopathic nutritionist Michael Boland of the upcoming Nurrish Retreat at Paissa D’en Bernat in September 2014.

“We [Michael and his wife Laura, founder of Glam Ibiza] were driving past the villa, where we actually got married, when we were on holiday in Ibiza last year and we would have done anything to be back there! The thought of swapping our offices to sit by the pool with that incredible view and genuinely be able to work somewhere like this… it just all made sense. We knew were moving our businesses to Ibiza – living here had been part of the plan for many years – so running retreats and working with a wider group of people was the next step.”

Photography by Ana Lui

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Tell us a bit about the retreat villa?
It’s a really magical place, tucked up in the hills on the way to Cala Vadella, with only the sound of the wind in the trees – it really lends itself to relaxation and meditation style retreats. Obviously we have an affinity with it, but I can tell you, the atmosphere is just incredible and to be able to share it with our clients is just amazing. It has amazing sunset views, plenty of great areas to chill out and is really special.

How did you come up with the retreat concept?
As a lifelong vegetarian, I’ve had a lifelong interest in food, so you could say my two passions were Ibiza and food! So it was a logical progression really to combine the two, and I think Ibiza lends itself to something like this but there seems to be a gap in the market. The yoga retreat market is very well catered for already, we wanted to up the game and offer something unique, with a high level of personal service and amazing experiences for the participants. I think nutrition should be accessible for everyone… we also have a bit of a fitness focus too, some pampering, plus daily meditation so the physical and non-physical aspects of health are covered. I want people to go away at the end of the week with some practical advice and lessons, plus the feeling of having had an amazing holiday in Ibiza.

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What type of people do you have in mind as participants?
In my head, the target audience is a bit like myself (in the past) – maybe they work in offices, in the corporate world, doing jobs that keep them very busy and stressed… the kinds of people who are interested in health and nutrition but just don’t find the time for it in day-to-day life. Of course, aside from eating well, calming practices like mindfulness and meditation are really important for our wellbeing and those people who are more seasoned at retreats are more than welcome too. But I want everyone to understand we’re not all about sandals and candles – we’re about practical tools and information to take back to your life for the other 51 weeks of the year.

Is the nutrition concept tailored to each guest?
Overall the fundamental principles will be the same for everybody on the retreat, but we know everyone is different and have different nutritional needs based on their age, lifestyle, stress and other factors, and I’m trained to look at each person as a whole so of course it will be tailored individually. Some people might work from home and have more time and access to prepare meals, so recipes and tips can work for them while others might be constantly on the go so need more clear advice on healthy choices. I can also advise on health issues, whether it’s as simple as losing weight and keeping it off in a safe way, or low energy, poor sleep, skin conditions, poor digestion… I’ll be asking everyone to fill in health-based questionnaires before they arrive so I can get a feel for each guest and really customize their experience.

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Tell us a bit about a typical day on retreat with you?
The mornings will be fairly structured – starting with a collective meditation by the pool followed by short (45 minutes to an hour) daily workshops, but after that, I really want to encourage everyone to relax and unwind – it’s also a holiday! We’ll spend the afternoons taking excursions around the island, or just relaxing in the villa. I will be spending a lot of one-to-one time with guests over the week too, and we’ll be arranging massages and some outdoor workout sessions too – I think striking the right balance between structure and downtime is very important.

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Who do you have working with you on the retreat?
We’ve tried to keep a lot of it in the family this time round. There’s myself and Laura of course, who has a background in beauty and will provide the pampering side of things, like holistic body scrubs that aid the detoxification process and massages (with extra treatments available on request). The daily meditations will be guided by my mother – she spent a lot of time in India between the ‘70s and ‘80s learning yoga and she’s been leading meditations for about 25 years! Laura’s mother will also be helping out around the villa, and we will have a super knowledgeable local chef onboard to source organic produce provide meals, and drop-in sessions with Virgil of The Workout Club Ibiza. We want people to feel like they are being welcomed into our home…

And do you get the chance to relax and unwind too?
[Laughs] I doubt it! I think with 10 guests I have my work cut out for me…

For more Ibiza nutrition information or to book your place on the Nurrish Ibiza retreat, contact info@nurrish.me, call +34 657 402 731 or get in touch via White Ibiza.

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