Aro Ha: The Creative force behind Dreams

Retreat Leader, Chris, meditating during a yoga class.

Retreat Leader, Chris, meditating during a yoga class.

I’m a forward thinker.

What I mean by that is my mind likes the sway to the future, to be very forward focused. If you know me at all you’ll know I have a million and one different ideas for the future. And I know at least one person who’s nodding their head reading this…

Well for a once, here’s a moment of looking back, spurred by the “new year” opportunity for reflection.

A young Beech tree enjoys the view from Aro Ha Wellness Retreat.

A young Beech tree enjoys the view from Aro Ha Wellness Retreat.

There was a real gift given to me in 2018, an alignment of the stars you could say. This gift was Aro Ha Wellness Retreat, and the job they offered me…

Would I like to guide yoga classes with the freedom to teach my own style? Or guide hikes in these beautiful South Island mountains? Turn up the volume as loud as I like and run exercise classes? Spin a towel around, (Sauna Aufguss style) in a sauna with the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen? Or (best of all) show all the wonderful guests coming through how they can experience a slice of stillness and peace in their lives?

Yes please.

Aro Ha, over the last year, has not only been a workplace I’ve throughly enjoyed, but has been a workplace I’m proud to be a part of. My home and my second-family…

The multi-award winning Aro Ha Wellness retreat. A place where dreams are encouraged by all.

The multi-award winning Aro Ha Wellness retreat. A place where dreams are encouraged by all.

I’ll let the imagery do most of the talking - Aro Ha is such a beautiful place - however I’ll share some words on what this place has really shown me this past year.

  • The folks you work with are the people you spend most of your life with. Don’t just befriend them, make them your family. Damian, Paula, and the team they’ve brought together at Aro Ha are just that; a big beautiful family, who challenge, test, encourage, and love each other.

  • Mindfulness a practice that seeps through into everything we do. As a Retreat Leader at Aro Ha, we share words and run sessions on mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful writing, mindful this and that. Why? Because everything is better when you’re aware of it. Developing awareness; a sensitivity to detail; a conscious breath; it makes life richer. Make your next meal, breath, or even visit to the loo mindful!

  • Taking your shoes off on a hike is amazing. Try it. Connect with the world on a tactile level. Be the landscape.

  • Seek the discomfort and seek to transform it to comfort. This is growth. There’ve been several occasions over this past year where I’ve felt nervous or a little scared, and stepped into the unknown. From each of these spaces I’ve become a wiser, more knowledgable, and a more confident person.

  • Self-care should ALWAYS come first. In a job role where holding space is central, and where energy is happily given to our (wonderful) guests readily, looking after myself is very important. Setting the alarm 30 mins earlier isn’t often easy (sometimes 5am rather than 5:30am) but this 30 minutes of calm I gift to myself shines through for the 17hrs I’m about to be awake for…

  • Share with the world your passions and your knowledge. People want to hear what others are passionate about. Being excited about something inspires others to do so. Be excited about living a better, more compassionate, loving life, and others will absorb that excitement.

  • Teach from what you know and feel, not from what you think the listener wants to hear. This has been huge for me. Now, if I forget what I was about to say, I don’t scan my mind looking for the rehearsed script. Rather, I feel into what I want to communicate, and speak from that space.

Thank you to Aro Ha. Thank you to the community built around this place. The friendships and the growth and the lessons.

Here’s to another wonderful year of growth, and another step into the unknown!

The early morning clouds lift above Lake Wakatipu; the view from Aro Ha’s yoga studio.

The early morning clouds lift above Lake Wakatipu; the view from Aro Ha’s yoga studio.

The mountains surrounding Lake Wakatipu have a strong, holding energy, standing tall and powerful.

The mountains surrounding Lake Wakatipu have a strong, holding energy, standing tall and powerful.

Bright orange flowers shine in the New Zealand sun.

Bright orange flowers shine in the New Zealand sun.

A busy bee works hard in the Aro Ha gardens.

A busy bee works hard in the Aro Ha gardens.

The gardens here are bursting with colour and life.

The gardens here are bursting with colour and life.

Lotuses bloom from the Aro Ha pond

Lotuses bloom from the Aro Ha pond

Getting close, personal, and tactile with the natural world around us.

Getting close, personal, and tactile with the natural world around us.

Hug a tree and see what different it makes to your soul.

Hug a tree and see what different it makes to your soul.

Em, a fellow Retreat Leader, taking mindfulness into nature.

Em, a fellow Retreat Leader, taking mindfulness into nature.

Swimming in Lake Wakatipu after a long hike.

Swimming in Lake Wakatipu after a long hike.

The library at Aro Ha is literally full of wonderful books to ignite your passion and inspire your soul.

The library at Aro Ha is literally full of wonderful books to ignite your passion and inspire your soul.

The Aro Ha kitchen dishes out wonder after wonder. A great, talented, passionate team of chefs live behind these doors.

The Aro Ha kitchen dishes out wonder after wonder. A great, talented, passionate team of chefs live behind these doors.

No shortage of homegrown and dried teas and herbs in the kitchen.

No shortage of homegrown and dried teas and herbs in the kitchen.

Edible flower garden beside the Aro Ha kitchen adds colour and flavour to everything they serve.

Edible flower garden beside the Aro Ha kitchen adds colour and flavour to everything they serve.

Archie, a constant provider of smiles.

Archie, a constant provider of smiles.

My fellow Retreat Leader Chris, being the positive, inspiring colleague and friend he is.

My fellow Retreat Leader Chris, being the positive, inspiring colleague and friend he is.

Pema, the beautiful little black pup who wags her whole body every time she sees you.

Pema, the beautiful little black pup who wags her whole body every time she sees you.