Are you searching for an experience that is more than just a holiday away? Where you don’t need any particular qualifications? Where there are no expectations or demands made of you? Where you don’t need to be a certain age, dress a certain way, act a certain way? Are you yearning for nurturing and healing with complete permission to be yourself?
If you’re looking for a sublime experience that includes tapping into the joy of movement and connecting to your own uniqueness, to a sense of community and to infinite possibilities, then Sophie Marsh’s Nia Journey into Joy in Fiji could be the perfect holiday for you.
In 2011, I travelled to Daku Resort near the town of Savusavu in the north island of Fiji, Vanua Levu, for Sophie’s first Journey into Joy Retreat. I loved it so much that I’m returning this year for the third time. From the moment we arrived at the tiny airport and were met by the cheeky, twinkly-blue-eyed JJ (John) Rothnie-Jones and his wife Delia, I was transported back in time to the early 1980s when my parents lived in Western Samoa. The same friendly smiles, warm-hearted greetings and relaxed atmosphere permeated every interaction I had with the locals and it’s one of the main reasons I keep going back.
But the over-arching reason is Nia, and Sophie’s magical mastery of this joyful practice. Nia celebrates its 30th Anniversary in July this year. It’s a practice for every BODY, no matter their age, fitness level or experience. It provides a liberating sense of joy and connection with oneself, with others and with something bigger and beyond. Some call it spirit, some call it community, some call it universal energy. No matter the label, the practice of Nia makes me feel really, really good. And it has completely transformed my life.
Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts. It empowers people of all shapes and sizes by connecting the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Classes are taken barefoot to soul-stirring music and every Nia experience can be adapted to individual needs and abilities.
At Daku Resort in Fiji, Nia classes are taken in the Shala overlooking the exquisite Savusavu Bay. Fringed by coconut palms, the view is constantly changing as the light plays on the water and the verdantly green hills that cradle the bay. Sometimes we dance as gentle showers sweep across our view, to be replaced by sunshine creating sparkly diamond-like radiance on the water or spectacular rainbows. The view is inspiring and enhances the blending of music and movement to create a magical experience that nurtures the body and nourishes the soul.
On offer as part of Sophie’s Nia retreat is a morning breath, stretch or Nia 5 Stages class, followed by a breakfast of colourful, fresh, tropical fruits and continental breakfast. Then before the day gets too warm, we dance into an hour-long Nia class.
Every Nia class has 7 Cycles beginning with a focus and intent and every class offers a unique combination of 52 moves that correspond with the main areas of the body: base, core and upper extremities. Complete beginners and seasoned devotees alike can adapt Nia to meet their needs by choosing from three intensity levels.
Perhaps more importantly, we are encouraged by Sophie to move our bodies in a way that feels good and to choose pleasure over pain. Nia uses awareness of body sensation as a guide to making movement choices that are kind to the body and that enhance and improve health, wellbeing, fitness and vitality. Plus it’s a lot of fun and Sophie brings an infectious joy and playfulness, as well as her huge-hearted love and compassion to every aspect of the journey.
After class, the day opens up to relax by the pool or enjoy resident masseur Kalo’s heavenly massages, to go swimming, snorkelling or kayaking in the bay, to go exploring the magnificent nearby rainforest or visiting town - a quick walk or taxi ride away. There’s also the option to visit Savusavu Pearl Farm and take home a very special souvenir, and to visit a local village and enjoy the most generous, warm-hearted Fijian hospitality.
A beautiful buffet lunch awaits us after our morning pursuits. Then there’s free time before we dance again in the late after
noon and drink in the view as the sun sets. Before dinner there are cocktails on offer (the yummiest daiquiris I’ve had using all that fresh fruit) and a selection of fine wines. Then a delicious three course dinner is served, most welcome after moving and dancing throughout the day.
JJ, Delia and the beautiful Fijian staff are consummate hosts and make the stay at Daku feel like home. There is a traditional Fijian kava drinking ceremony on the first night when we are adopted as part of the Daku family and made to feel like family for the rest of the week.
Daku Resort is a low-key tranquil hideaway, relaxed and charming. Little pathways lined with hibiscus, coconut palms and other tropical plants lead you to private or shared Bures, most with beautiful views directly over the bay. The rooms are simply furnished and relaxed, and every morning after class you will find the bed made, the washing collected and fresh, tropical flowers decorating the space.
If you’re looking for simplicity, relaxation, the invitation to play and explore and a complete recharge and revitalization of your body, mind, emotions and spirit, Sophie’s Fijian Journey into Joy Nia Retreat offers all that and much more.
Writer Ann Boon (pictured left in Fiji with Sophie)
ABOUT SOPHIE MARSH
Sophie Marsh thrives on sharing her contagious passion for Nia, inspiring people to live their authentic joy and offering innovative Nia clas
ses, playshops, retreats and White Belt trainings. She believes embodying the Joy of Movement is key to embracing our innate vitality, body wisdom and passion for life.
The first Australian Nia Black Belt and Nia Trainer, Sophie blends over 18 years experience in holistic fitness and as a corporate trainer. Through Nia's playful integration of body, mind and spirit Sophie lovingly guides people to move beyond their perceived limits, to discover and express the infinite potential of their true selves, to connect with others in meaningful ways and to co-create conscious communities.
Nia in Fiji: Journey into Joy with Sophie Marsh
17-24 August, 2013
Cost and Booking
$1550 twin share; includes accommodation, meals, excursions, one free massage and course fees. Single room: $350 supplement.
Call +61 (02) 8094 1613 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Return airport transfers from Savusavu airport to Daku Resort.
7 nights accommodation at Daku Resort.
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Excursions as indicated.
Travel to Savusavu
Comprehensive Travel Insurance
Optional activities not listed on the program.
Costs of a personal nature such as laundry, massages, private trips.
Meals taken in transit at the airport.