Wait, There Are Barre Retreats Now?

Either you’ve been to a yoga retreat or heard of one. And if you thought there were too many of these retreats going around, we have news here — it’s only about to get more rampant.

Right here in Singapore, we now have barre retreats.

Let’s contextualise this trend.

The trend for fitness retreats is set to grow. It’s essentially riding on a larger, global wellness consumer trend. According to the Global Wellness Summit’s report from last October, the global “Fitness & Mind-Body” industry amounted to a whooping US$595 billion (approximately S$806 billion) in 2017. The global “Wellness Tourism” industry topped that, aggregating US$639 billion (approximately S$866 billion).

And those numbers simply mean that consumers are now restructuring their lifestyle choices, choosing to pivot their quotidian habits around activities that benefit both the environment and their personal wellbeing.

It then makes sense that instead of the conventional shopping and feasting holidays, consumers are now opting for fitness retreats. And more often than not, these retreats are designed to recalibrate both the mental and physical spaces — marrying calming meditation and stretching sessions with strenuous physical workouts.

In Singapore, the first barre retreat was conducted last year by the local boutique studio, WeBarre. It was a short getaway to the luxurious resort, The Residence, in Bintan. 18 people turned up for this first-ever intimate barre retreat. While it marked a humble beginning for the barre retreat landscape here in Singapore, Anabel Chew, the co-founder of WeBarre, notes that the very trend is picking up in other countries as well.

“The concept of retreats is still relatively new in Singapore and it will take awhile for fitness studios to catch on,” she explains. “Barre retreats are popular in Australia. We have seen at least three different barre studios holding bi-annual retreats across Indonesia, Australia, and Thailand.”

This April, WeBarre is set to hold their second retreat to the private villas of Shalimar Estate, located in the Canggu district in Bali.

While WeBarre's workout programmes are based on traditional ballet conditioning techniques, there are strength, HIIT, and cardio components as well. Photograph by Tung Pham.
While WeBarre’s workout programmes are based on traditional ballet conditioning techniques, there are strength, HIIT, and cardio components as well. Photograph by Tung Pham.

We took a look at the itinerary and it looks like an intensive four-day bootcamp. “We can expect three to four WeBarre classes per day,” says Chew. If you have ever been to one of WeBarre‘s fundamental, signature or HIIT classes, you know the feeling of jelly legs and burning arms — so multiply that by four.

These strenuous workouts are then balanced with “one or two body and mind sessions such as mindfulness practice, meditation, and stretch therapy,” Chew continues. Some of these classes may be held in Bali’s picturesque paddy fields.

In between the workouts, “nourishing and healthy” meals will be served, alongside spa treatments and local activities such as healthy cooking classes, and excursions to local villages.

One of the 12 private villas at the Shalimar Estate (@asiaholidayretreats) in the Canggu district of Bali.
One of the 12 private villas at the Shalimar Estate (@asiaholidayretreats) in the Canggu district of Bali.

While Chew assures that the workouts are all optional for the attendees, it’s quite unlikely that you find yourself slacking away.

Be it beginners or regular barre-goers, you wound up making friends with and being accountable to your fellow travellers. Chew adds, “You foster and build relationships with the best people ever!”

At the end of the day, contrary to popular belief that yoga or barre retreats are only for the well-versed yogi or ballerina, these retreats are conducive for the one who is trying to kickstart or return to a regular fitness regime. You probably will never get as much attention or time with your instructor to correct your stance or posture. Likewise, this is going to be perfect for the one who is looking to shed some weight, tone up real quick, and give herself some well-deserved self-care, rest, and me-time.

The WeBarre retreat is taking place from the 4th to 7th April 2019, at the Shalimar Estate in Canggu, Bali at S$1,788 per pax.