Unlimited Fitness in cooperation with Erongo Wilderness Lodge organized the first Pilates and Yoga Retreat from the 8th to 10th March 2013.

The lodge has ten luxury tented chalets in a dramatic setting of granite boulders and breathtaking views. It is encircled by the Erongo Mountains where the desert, mountain, and bushveld ecosystems merge (check: www.erongowilderness-namibia.com)

This lodge gives the perfect surrounding for Pilates, Yoga and Massages – a great place to rejuvenate, exercise and meditate.

On board were 3 experts in their field of expertise: Nangula Uiras (Massage Therapist), Jutta Dobler (Yoga Instructor) and Birgit Nakamhela (Pilates Instructor).

Nangula Uiras is a qualified Massage Therapist who qualified in Deep Tissue and Swedish Massage, Traditional Thai Massage, Chair Massage, Thai Footflex, Hotpalm Massage and Indian Head Massages.

Jutta Dobler qualified at the Aura Yoga Wellness Centre in Massachusetts and specializes in Power Yoga, which is a combination of awareness, deep breathing and core strength.

Birgit Nakamhela, the owner and manager of Unlimited Fitness, has a variety of qualifications in the Personal Training, Health and Sports field. Her main focus in her work is the Pilates method. She is a member of "PMA" (Pilates Method Alliance) in the USA. This is a non-profit professional association and was established to protect the public by establishing certification and continuing educations standards for Pilates professionals.

On arrival, all clients were welcomed by the friendly staff of "Erongo Wilderness Lodge" with a delicious drink. They were brought to their tents and another surprise was waiting on their beds: a wonderful goodie bag which was filled with beauty & wellness and sports products.

The first class was a combination class of Pilates and Yoga. Most participants attend Pilates regularly – therefore it was necessary for Jutta to give a brief explanation about the principles and postures of Yoga.

Yoga and Pilates have similar principles – they both focus on alignment, correct posture and breathing (although the breathing techniques differ). With exception of the Partner Pilates class and the Theraband class no equipment was used during the exercise classes.

After this class, it was time to prepare for the sun-downer and the dinner on the deck of the lodge. The meal was excellent and the participants could choose either fish or game. The evening was filled with interesting talks and always a perfect view to the stars of the African night sky.

On Saturday morning, the day started with a Yoga class which woke up even very sleepy muscles. Stretching while the sun rises, the birds chirp and the dassies chat. What a great way to start the day!

The morning continued with a Pilates class which added more rotation work to the traditional Pilates mat class.

At 9 am the amazing, healthy breakfast was served. The morning was filled with time for chatting, resting or having a massage by Nangula.

Truly in a peaceful surrounding, one felt like in heaven – only birds and dassies were heard during the massage and the body and mind could relax deeper.

Before lunch, another Yogalates class was on the schedule which was fun and enjoyable for everyone. Lunch was prepared and it was nice for the participants to just sit down and enjoy a healthy meal in the inviting surrounding of the lodge and in the company of fellow participants.

The afternoon could be spent either in the tent, at the pool or one could have another massage by Nangula.

The Pilates hike required good shoes, a hat, good mood and some endurance to climb up the Erongo Mountains. While Birgit made sure everyone could do some extra work by doing outside push ups, a spontaneous obstacle course, abdominal pull ins over stones and much more, she also encouraged everyone to straighten up and watch their posture.

Everyone was happy when the top was finally reached. What a great surprise when suddenly a table with table cloth and wonderful ice cold drinks appeared. The staff of Erongo Wilderness Lodge were there to serve and surprise the clients and everyone enjoyed the amazing sun-downer over the Erongo Mountains.

The evening ended with an amazing dinner prepared by the cooks of Erongo Wilderness Lodge and interesting chats.

Sunday morning 6h30 am – and this time Pilates helped the sleeping muscles to wake up with the theraband and the reflex ball. The last Yoga practice for this weekend followed and this routine was concluded with a meditation session.

A wonderful breakfast, again with some surprises made this whole weekend complete. Everyone received a prize at the end of the retreat. What a wonderful and successful weekend here in Namibia!

Comments from the participants:

Helga: I liked it very much. Challenging!!! The classes were very good. The massages were very good. Everything was fine. The food and the service were excellent. My highlight was the walk on top the mountain. The sundowner-something special.

The weekend was well planned and organized. Thank you Birgit, Jutta and Nangula and the staff of Erongo Wilderness Lodge for a great weekend.

Marianne: Absolutely wonderful! My highlight was the massage AFTER the Pilates and Yoga ;-) A very, very big THANKY YOU to all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steffi: I enjoyed the program a lot! It was challenging at times, but then again we survived and had so much fun with Roger's comments :). Personally I wouldn't change the program as such! The Yogalates classes were an excellent idea. Especially on Friday, just as a starter and then on Saturday lunch time! The short meditation on Sunday morning was very good, as it just brought a calmness to the whole packing and going home rush! Suddenly there was no rush no more.

The food was delicious and so well-prepared. Just last night I thought we should have a cook at home preparing food that good. I specifically liked the fresh vegetables (instead of frozen), greek salad and the fresh fruit salad in the mornings. The accommodation was stunning. I particularly liked the company in the bathroom ... tiny scorpion babys, geckos and the dassie keeping me company :). I took a lots of fotos – the kids envied me for my special friends :)!!!

The group was so harmonious, although we hardly know each other! We had so much fun and so many really good and open conversations, that to me was the highlight. Oh oh wait – before I forget the absolutely stunning class roomgosh I miss that view and open windows :) !!!!

I'll definitely attend another – it gave me so much energy!!!! It was just such a marvelous weekend! THANK YOU!!!!

Ursula: The program was very good and versatile. I especially liked the mixture of the different types of exercises. I also liked the massages very much. Next time I would try to do more of them – Nangula has a very good touch:.The lodge itself is excellent – the tents, the beds, the food – highly recommendable! My highlight of this weekend were the Pilates -and Yoga classes in the morning when the sun rose and we had a wonderful view over the Erongo Mountains. I definitely recommend this weekend to my friends and family and will also attend another retreat.