Written and Photographed by Joy Dushey
We spoke with Joy Dushey, founder of The Joyful Approach and M.O.F. (member of the flock) on her first-ever wellness retreat that provides the perfect reset for busy mamas and non-mamas, alike. Needless to say, we are IN on the next one and will bring you along with us. In the meantime, she tell us about her magical weekend away.
My first “The Joyful Approach Retreat” was one of the most heightened experiences of my life. I created the retreat with the intention of bringing all kinds of women together to unite in a healing process through The Joyful Approach intensive workshop, with astrology integration, and daily yoga, all in beautiful Tulum, Mexico.
I collaborated with Alia Mai, a yoga instructor and founder of Kin Yoga Retreats in Tulum along with the outstanding astrologer Rose Theodora based in Los Angeles. Both Alia and Rose are contributors to The Joyful Approach and both incorporate spirituality to their teachings. The three of us worked thoroughly on creating an integrative retreat that would facilitate growth and healing through introspective work, as well as bringing awareness to the mind, body and spirit by creating a sacred space for women to open up and share in a safe environment.
The retreat was situated at Casa Violeta, a chic, tranquil hotel on the stunning white sand shores of Tulum. The hotel is family-owned and the staff pours love and care into every detail to ensure the guests feel comfortable, rejuvenated and can have a profound experience. We were a total of 15 diverse women from New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, New Mexico, South Carolina and Steamboat Springs, CO. Out of the 15, nine of us are dedicated mamas trying to find the balance in our lives for self care and support in the day to day responsibilities that come along with mama-hood.
The morning began with a morning practice of meditation and Hatha Vinyasa. We then had a beautifully prepared breakfast set overlooking the ocean with delicious fruits and natural ingredient foods, such as pancakes made with ginger, almond and quinoa.
For the first two days, I taught The Joyful Approach curriculum.
The first day was based on the six fundamental components of the Joyful Approach holistic lifestyle: Sleep, Nutrition, Hydration, Breathing, Thinking and Movement. It was about raising awareness and bringing the components into balance to create a more holistic approach to our lives. On each topic, we touched on supporting mamas in challenges they face. When we spoke on the importance of movement and time management, we talked through creative ideas of how to exercise with your child. I taught the importance of breathing throughout our day as well as dedicating time for meditation with mindfulness. I guided a meditation and stressed how important this is to avoid “reacting” with your child and learning to pause and breathe in moments of stress.
The second day was part two based on more emotional components and how we relate to each other, ourselves and the world. The components that support the six fundamentals such as “boundary setting”, setting intentions, core values, self love and living in authenticity. Boundary setting is an area I still work on day to day, so we all shared the importance of setting boundaries as mamas. Core Values are also an area for us to create clarity so that we can make choices as mamas with always having our core values in place.
On the third day, Rose led a powerful workshop on astrology. It was not only fun and exciting but also eye opening. Rose facilitated private sessions for each guest with an astrology reading based on their charts that were prepared in advance. She guided those that asked about their children’s signs and offered skills to orient with them with a better understanding of why they are the way they are!
After these workshops we broke for another delicious meal prepared with love and creativity for lunch. There were a few hours left open for free time to go out on excursions and discover Tulum until our daily practice of Yin Yoga. This was a beautiful way for us to melt our minds and bodies into deep relaxation.
We had elegant dinners that were also tons of fun. It was a time where we could all share our experiences from the day in an intimate setting or someone would prepare a speech and bring gifts for the group.
We were blessed to have a sound bath with the amazing Alesandra Montana of Suhuy Multi Vibrational Therapy after dinner. We layed comfortably on our mats in the darkness with the warm breeze brushing our faces, the smell of Kopal in the air and surrendered to the sound waves and harmonic vibrations. The several sound instruments included quartz, crystal, Tibetan bowls, Chinese gongs, mayan shells, didgeridoo and human voice that all helped to restore inner balance. It was complete magic.
Another highlight of the retreat was a pop up shop of Kimonos hand sewn with intention by my LA sister Rita Ghanime. There were also beautiful dream catchers designed by Alia Mai, hand-knit crochet bikinis by Laguna Collective, and essential oils I brought with me from my teacher David Elliot, along with Lavendar silk eye pillows from Lara Elliot made with her Reiki light.
The last powerful event was my facilitating a group Breathwork healing session. I have had groundbreaking transformative experiences with this style of Pranayama Breathwork. With my intention to be able to share this with the world. I witnessed these women letting go, feeling safe to experience cathartic journeys and free themselves through endorphin release. When the session ended we stayed in this space of radiant love, we were laughing, crying, and playing like we were children again. It was beautiful and a memory that will stay in my heart forever.
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As modern mamas living in the over information age, (where everyone is an expert and parenting opinions are shared as freely and easily as an Instagram post) it can be tough to filter through the white noise to find the facts. Naturally, we’d love to consider ourselves wise in all sorts of ways, but the truth is sometimes we’re scrawling SOS in the sand. Good thing we’ve got the guidance and expertise of our own personal rockstars: the people who inspire us on the daily. Our rockstars (our flock) are enthusiasts, professionals and influencers in the fields of wellness, travel, education, style—the list goes on. Each one brings a profoundly different perspective to the table, one informed by their own experiences and outlooks. And that perspective is priceless.
They say it takes a village…we say it takes a flock.