Have the words “self-care,” “wellness” or “travel” been on your vision board for 2023? Then you may want to consider adding a yoga retreat on the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada to your itinerary. Scheduled for April 24 through April 30, the Root to Rise Retreat is billed as “an intimate and unique opportunity to deepen your core connections with yourself and community.”
Co-creators of the event, Jackie Bailey, managing director of purpose-led and soul-aligned coaching company BEE You! Personal Development Ltd., and Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe, cofounder of Spice Harmony Yoga, a professional yoga therapist, pregnancy, labor and postpartum doula, promise an unforgettable experience over six days. Operating under the guiding principle that “Collective care is at the heart of self-care,” they envisage the retreat as “one big, beautiful sister circle of purpose, vision and intention.”
After living in the U.S. on and off for several years, Brooks-Smith-Lowe found moving back to her native Grenada very healing, and she is eager for the opportunity to offer that experience to others. “Jackie and I have wanted to collaborate on a retreat here for years,” she says. “Both of us do a lot of one-on-one work and we are seeking to address some of the recurring themes we see with our clients.” Bailey, who left a corporate role in 2012, has been on her own journey of self-discovery, personal development, and growth ever since. “Unapologetically carving out time for me has been a crucial part of this, and I relish sharing approaches to, and the positive impact of this with others,” she says.
We spoke with both event creators to get more insight.
ESSENCE: How did the concept/idea for this retreat come about?
Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe: Many of the women we work with are grappling with feeling overextended, burnt out, isolated and depleted. While they might generally feel really positive about their lives, so much of their energy is directed toward caregiving and productivity that they end up at the bottom of their own to-do lists. Root to Rise is an invitation to deepen core connections with self and nature, nurture self-compassion and acceptance, while being nourished by the spirit of being in healing community.
Jackie Bailey: I have curated and hosted retreats of three to seven days for six years. I started with two U.K.–based retreats and then hosted my third in Gambia for a week in 2019. My vision includes hosting global retreats, with an emphasis on the Caribbean and Africa, and integrating local history, culture and identity into the offering. Working with local artists and creatives so they share their services and products with participants is a core aspect. Root to Rise Retreat is wholly in alignment with this ethos.
ESSENCE: Who is the retreat for?
Bailey: The retreat is for women who are being called to ground and recenter in a supportive, embracing environment where they will meet, connect and commune with others, while also having time for self. It is for women who wish to deepen their connection with self, others and nature in a meaningful way as they participate in nourishing practices. Root to Rise Retreat is for those who seek a safe space, time and place for intentional reflection and purpose-led planning and visioning. It is for women ready to enhance their holistic health and well-being as they participate in rejuvenating and healing experiences. Come rise with us!
ESSENCE: What can folks expect to gain from attending the retreat?
Brooks-Smith-Lowe: Participants will have the chance to learn about and explore practical tools from the fields of personal development and yoga therapy to add to their self-care toolbox. They will get a taste of the natural and cultural riches of Grenada while exploring their inner world more deeply. This island offers the perfect environment for self-discovery—whether that’s in the treetop yoga studio at the resort, Tri-island Chocolate’s tree-to-bar cocoa farm, Grenada’s stunning beaches or taking in a sunset on the sea on our final night.
ESSENCE: What if participants have never done yoga before?
Brooks-Smith-Lowe: Root to Rise retreat is suitable for all levels of yoga practitioners, including beginners. In fact, it is a perfect opportunity for the “yoga curious” to have a supportive environment to explore how tools from yoga practice and philosophy can be applied to their own lives. Prior to the retreat, participants will fill out the personal history form that I use with my yoga therapy clients to give me a better sense of each woman’s unique needs. The sessions during the retreat will be accessible and designed to show how our practices are infinitely adaptable to our bodies’ particular needs each day. Participants can also book one-on-one sessions.
ESSENCE: Are there any other presenters besides you two?
Bailey: We have two guest facilitators:
Stacey Byer is a published children’s book illustrator and creative consultant from Grenada. She uses her skills to promote art education and literacy and has worked with different organizations such as Room to Read, UNDP and Harper Collins UK. She will be conducting our Nurture Your Inner Child in Art Therapy workshop.
Sheba Augustine is the founder and owner of OMI, an all-natural sustainable skin care brand. She creates skin-nourishing formulas using exclusively natural and organic ingredients, many of which are locally grown on Grenada. She will conduct a DIY Natural Skin Care workshop.
ESSENCE: What are some of the highlights?
Brooks-Smith-Lowe: Participants can look forward to a rich program of experiences to spark inquiry and nourish their mind, body and soul. These include:
- A special Root to Rise Visioning and BEEing intentional session
- Yoga Therapy
- Values and purpose circle
- Nature walk
- Cacao Ceremony
- Art therapy
- Connecting to cocoa and honey through Rastafarianism
- An “Ital” lunch
- Natural skin care workshop
- Sunset Cruise
- Time to Be
ESSENCE: What would you say to anyone who is new to this kind of retreat?
Bailey: This is the ideal opportunity to experience a refreshing blend of personal development, yoga therapy, meditation, journaling, being in nature, art therapy and connecting with the culture of Grenada. It’s an invitation to focus on yourself within a supportive circle of healing. The program also includes free time for you to use as you choose—whether that’s exploring more of Grenada or just being.
You can also reach out to us with any queries. We will provide you with plenty of information, tips and guidance beforehand so you will be prepared for the wonderful Root to Rise experience.
For more information on Root to Rise, connect with Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe on IG @malaikabsl or Jackie Bailey @beeyoupd.