Jamie will fix it for you

29 March 2011

Location: Azul Yoga & Pilates Retreat, Villaverde

Team Fix It: Jamie, Karissa, Radhika, Annie, Jo and Adele

Operation fix Steve: Setting up and running a charity and attempting to achieve a world record, though extremely rewarding, is stressful and definitely takes its toll on the mind and body.  Steve has been battered and bruised after spending 235 days driving Martha 28,268 miles across five continents.  Due to the ship’s regulations we weren’t able to travel with Martha this time, so while she was bobbing across the Atlantic (I miss her) the goal of the week was to rest, recuperate and work (FTFE admin) in a super relaxed environment before the final push back to London.  The Azul Yoga and Pilates Retreat was the perfect place to bring Steve back to wellness, whilst attempting to straighten his drivers back, catch up on much needed sleep and give him the energy to get home without 14 cups of coffee and two red bulls a day!

Operation fix Amy: I don’t like to grumble but being on the fire engine day in day out definitely takes its toll on your back, it really doesn’t help if you suffer from sciatica too!  When I first met Karissa at the Port I thought I was going to cry, we were so in need of a rest I just wanted to hug her.

Jamie and Karissa of Azul Fit had very generously offered to take Steve and I into their retreat for a week to make us feel human again.  Karissa said “My sister is just recovering from thyroid cancer and my dad is battling prostate cancer so I know how important it is to raise awareness!!”  Their mission at the retreat is to improve the health, happiness and wellbeing of guests through the practice of Yoga, Pilates & Meditation.  They put us on their incredible program which includes a mix of pilates, yoga and meditation classes every day, a delicious and nutritious morning brunch and evening meals designed by nutrition adviser Jo.

VillaAzul (15 of 28) Doing classes in the morning and evening gave us the opportunity to spend the day on all things that keep the Follow That Fire Engine charity going – liaising with charities and supporters, organising the route for the final stage, maintaining the website, FTFE accounting and sponsorship, PR and marketing, producing videos and arranging the home coming in Greenwich on 10th April (not long now!).  Working for FTFE is like studying for your finals, you feel guilty if you’re not working and no matter how much you do, it’s never enough, the list just keeps growing.

From the moment we entered Azul Villa we instantly felt calmer.  The retreat has a wonderful energy and ambiance, amazing views that stretch out to sea and each room has an individual theme incorporating amazing colours and textures.  Once you step foot inside you never want to leave the peaceful sanctuary they have created.  And in fact we only left the villa once a day to walk two minutes into the local village to pick up lunch from the bakery!

Our timetable for a typical day started at 8am:

8am – Pilates

10am to 12am – FTFE admin

12:30pm to 1pm – lunch

1pm to 4pm – FTFE admin

4:30pm – Restorative yoga

6pm – Guided meditation

6:30pm – Evening meal

7:30pm to 10pm – FTFE admin

We managed to get more work done than we do on the truck and couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful office space!  My favourite part of our stay has been the amazing classes (and the food!), having not been able to do any real exercise for five months.  Some of the benefits of yoga and Pilates include an improved sense of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, improved flexibility and reduced stress.  Just what the doctor ordered!  All the instructors as so enthusiastic and make the classes fun.  I enjoyed working on improving postures, breathing techniques and increasing the energy flow to my body.  Steve has a new found love of Pilates, spurred on by Head Pilates Instructor Jamie who told him it’s for real men!

So now recharged, relaxed and ready to take on the world again, we’re very sad to be leaving Azul and Team Fix It!  I would recommend Azul Villa to everyone, if you’re a beginner you can work at your own pace and if you’re more advanced you’ll be challenged in a good way.  It’s a fantastic place to make new friends, and meet some beautiful and inspiring people.  As Jamie and Karissa explain “The Azul Villa offers guests a more focussed and exclusive yoga & pilates retreat experience combined with a variety of accommodation options, from luxury to options for those on a budget”.  I can’t wait to come back next year, hopefully I won’t be so in need of a rest and I can leave my laptop at home!  Huge thanks again to Jamie and Karissa for this amazing opportunity to revitalise!

Check out http://www.azulfit.com/ for more information.

Jamie rolling like a ball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0Us5sm28Mg

Now all we have do do is put Martha back together and drive 3,500 miles back to London by 10th April.  Easy right?


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