How did Elena, the founder of Realign Retreats, start her own mind-body movement journey?
Updated: Apr 16
Hitting 40 last year, I realised that movement like wellbeing is an ongoing personal journey. We constantly explore and what might have worked for you when you were 20 or 30 might shift and change in your 40's or 50's.
During adolescence I was into swimming, skiing and volley ball. At university, I started going to the gym and attended various group fitness classes. At work later on, I started occasionally running outdoors and then came boxing. At some point in my late late 20's it hit me: I realised that movement had always been an integral part of my life helping me to cope with physical and emotional stress. When I included movement in my life I felt at my best!
In 2010, I tried my first mind-body movement class in a pilates studio in Brussels. Only after a few pilates mat classes, I felt more energetic and more in tune with myself. I was learning how to get a stronger body without over exhausting myself. In my 20's, I was used to going into a workout and trying to give 100% of my physical effort (no connection to my breath or alignment & posture) thus was left feeling depleted most of the time. Now in my early 30's, it was actually experiencing the opposite: less repetitions with good quality of mindful, low impact movement that left me feeling balanced and energised even after the longest work days. It felt like magic to me.
During the next 10 years, i fell in love with the depth of the classical pilates discipline, the challenge it brings for continuous improvement and the striking benefits it gives to almost all body types. I soon realised that pilates was a system that when embraced could lead to a mind-body transformation. It was after becoming a mum to my first son, that I trained under a Comprehensive Pilates Certification Program, were i completed 400 hours of extensive training.
While working as a pilates instructor in various studios but also in my home studio in Paris, France (@pilatesmovementparis), I enjoyed enormously helping mum's increase their body awareness after pregnancies, strengthen their bodies and regain alignment and flexibility.
For me these days (I will soon be turning 41), mind-body movement is an absolute daily necessity along with a list of other self-care rituals that help me balance out. A lot has changed since I started my movement journey back as an adolescent but as I grow its been more and more a priority to connect and listen to what my body needs. This is also the foundation on which Realign Retreats was built. To truly disconnect and re-connect to our mind-body needs on a deeper level, while enjoying the best island locations and wellness resorts in Greece.