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Chōsen Retreats: Life-changing holidays

The dawn of a new year brings resolutions to lose this, trim that and stop drinking for, oh well, at least a few weeks. Well how about taking it one step further and embarking upon a regime that promises total life change?

Detox is so noughties darling. 2017’s path to a Brand New You is an altogether more holistic experience that involves intellectual, spiritual and physical challenges; where your quest for change and rejuvenation will push you to your limits, albeit amid lavish, tropical surrounds and in the company of a select group of like-minded individuals.

Founded in 2013, Chōsen Experiences combine incredible destinations – hello Bali, Iceland, New Zealand and Guatemala – with meticulously prepared programs that combine lifestyle change with out-of-this-world adventure, nutrition and fitness with spiritual awareness, all in the confines of a luxury resort. Numbers on the retreats are kept deliberately small, no two days are alike and you’re guided to personal transformation via the likes of former Olympic athletes, celebrated yogis, motivational life coaches, mindfulness experts and nutritional whizzes.  

But what does it involve, exactly, and who can you expect to bare all and sweat it out with? Twice participant of Chōsen Bali, Amira Morgan tells us what to expect.

First things first, why join a retreat like Chōsen?

A multitude of reasons but it’s often people who are at a professional or personal juncture – Chōsen helps recalibrate, reassess and gather strength for upcoming challenges. There’s an emphasis on the group dynamic, which creates an environment where you don’t feel like you are a part of a structured experience. Everything appears effortlessly planned, and the group is small; often attendees feel like they’re simply hanging out with a group of friends at a luxurious villa, eating fantastic food and generally having a great time. The difference being it’s all designed to be good for you!

Describe a typical day…

No two days are the same; and there’s always an element of surprise – you don’t find out what you’re doing until the night before. Settling into the unknown can be unsettling but it forces you to let go and trust the experience, to ‘be in the moment’.

Most days start at dawn’s crack – syncing with nature’s rhythm is an integral part of the program. There’s always an element of self exploration and some kind of challenge, whether it’s a super-intensive workout, trying a new sport like surfing, or learning to do nothing during a rest day. The philosophy is that we all have different challenges, and there is a chance for everyone to understand and tackle their own.

In between the activities, there’s plenty of rest time to lounge around the luxurious villas, read books from an extensive and impeccably stocked library, or just sip super-smoothies by the gorgeous pool.

What type of people go?

Chōsen attracts a like-minded group with a common appetite for continued learning, self-exploration and the desire to be the best version of themselves. Participants come from all over the world. At the retreat in Bali last October there were participants from New York, Singapore, Auckland and Dubai.

What role does nutrition play?

The Chōsen experts believe that nutrition is the foundation of well being (even more so than exercise) and menus are designed by a nutritionist, updated by the food science specialist, then perfectly executed using locally-sourced organic ingredients – it’s delicious, wholesome and super fresh.

And finally, what was your takeaway from the experience?

I learnt about that I am capable of so much more than I tend to think. Somehow through the experience I became aware of my thoughts. The moment I could hear, and then proceed to ignore that familiar voice of self-doubt, I could launch at what was ahead with less fear. To my surprise, I succeeded every time.

To find out more about Chōsen Experiences in 2017 visit

Looking for more mind and body-realigning retreats? Try these three:

Como Shambhala Estate

Bali’s astounding, jungly Como Shambhala Estate is a pioneer of the immersive wellbeing experience, combining adventure and cultural discovery with nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and good ol’ fashioned relaxation.


Long renowned for is sumptuous spas, the iconic hotelier Aman has waded into the wellness sector with expert-led 3-10 day group retreats that take place in the inspiring surrounds of some of their most astonishing destinations, natch.

Exotic Voyages

Forget a namby pamby retreat, why not go all out with a once-in-a-lifetime, 3-month spiritual expedition across Asia and the Middle East? Run by Exotic Voyages, this epic journey spanning 13 countries will see you meditating with monks in Thailand, forest bathing in South Korea and trekking in Tibet. Not for the faint of heart or light of wallet, the ‘Razor’s Edge: A Spiritual and Cultural Quest’ is seriously life affirming.

– Published 6 January 2016.

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