Soulla Demetriou founded Soulshine Retreats after discovering Yoga on a South American adventure, when she became fascinated by the powerful physiological, psychological and spiritual effects Yoga and meditation can offer. It was the incredible impact these practices had on her own life that lead her to give up a successful career in marketing and embark on a journey of learning and self-discovery. As someone who suffered from anxiety in her twenties and went through a major life overhaul in her early thirties, it was through her own journey, the highs and the lows, that the idea for Soulshine Retreats and all that it encompasses was born.
“…Learning to recognise what I am good at and perhaps more importantly what I am passionate about … has made an enormous difference … The areas of the business that are more challenging, outside your comfort or skill base or interest will end up draining so much of your energy and drawing you away from the areas that you are passionate and can really add value…”
Giving up a successful career in marketing to pursue a new career running a yoga retreat
My dramatic career change from marketer to Yogini was in part fuelled by a deep yearning to live life as fully as possible, to explore, adventure and live outside of the box – constantly challenging myself and experiencing things beyond my wildest imagination – to not just accept my future, to not simply settle for ‘moderate’ but seek ‘exceptionally awesome’. I dreaded becoming the person that moaned for 50 years on their daily commute without ever at least trying to live life differently.
Leaping far out of my comfort zone to experience a life of greater freedom and joy
This desire was coupled with an incredibly challenging period of my life, during which I experienced crippling anxiety and depression and felt deeply unhappy and lost. I initially perceived Yoga as an enabler to change my life and step outside of corporate living, but as I went deeper into the practices, I understood and experienced more clearly how profoundly healing and empowering they can be. And so the excitement and passion of my deepest desires for adventure combined forces with the greatest challenges in my life and ultimately fuelled the necessary energy and strength to walk away the safety of all that I knew and loved and leap far out of my comfort zone in order to experience a life of greater freedom and joy.
Recognising the brilliance that lies within all us all
Through my own struggles, I found the great gift of my ‘dharma’ or purpose in this life – to share my journey in order to facilitate the healing and growth of others. To provide experiences that empower us to recognise the brilliance that lies at all times within not just some of us, but everyone.
I am a passionate advocate for change. If you aren’t happy or are deep in dark times, then I feel that one of the greatest message of hope that anyone can receive is that it doesn’t have to be this way, that things can change and that ‘this too will pass’. I feel extraordinarily lucky every single day to now pour all my energy into something that I feel so passionate about and that can bring such positive and powerful change.
All year round
There are Soulshine Retreats running throughout the year. During the winter months you can join us at our Soulshine Snow Yoga Retreat Centre in the French Alps. The first retreat centre of its kind in Europe, we offer jam-packed experiences full of skiing, snowboarding, Yoga, massage, meditation, saunas, hot tubs and all sorts of Alpine gorgeousness, surrounded by the natural beauty of the French Alps.
Casa de la Luz, our luxury Ibiza Soulshine Retreat Centre opens its doors in April and runs all the way through to November, offering deeply transformative, healing and empowering breaks in breath-taking surroundings. Throughout the year we also organise specialised one-off retreats in handpicked destinations, such as bustling Marrakech and tranquil Umbria in Italy. Not to mention all the Soulshine workshops going on. There is pretty much always a Soulshine experience to pick from and indulge all your holistic needs!
Comfort and power in feeling part of something
Our Soulshine clients, or the Soulshine Gang as we are all happily known, are quire simply awesome! We feel very blessed by all the amazing souls that have crossed our path. At the foundation of what we do is a very strong desire to create a community of the heart or ‘kula’ to use the yogic term. There is great comfort and power in feeling part of something, of being truly seen and heard, and of knowing that there is a place where you will never be judged and will always be accepted and belong.
This place also happens to be full of fantastic friendships and an abundance of giggling and good times. This is our beloved Soulshine Gang!
We are endlessly grateful for the incredible feedback that we receive from our guests. It has been a phenomenally powerful experience to hear the intention that I set in my heart for the vision of Soulshine Retreats as a deeply healing and transformative experience, to be mirrored back to you through the unprompted words of our guests.
People again and again tell us that their lives have been changed, that they have never had such a deeply healing or transformative experience and that they feel so cared for and nurtured. It is an enormous privilege to be able to create and hold that space and to facilitate such profoundly healing journeys.
Your heart is calling out for you to follow your dreams
I think one of the hardest parts of getting a business started can be facing the lack of belief from those close to you and at times yourself. When the thinking mind takes over with its fearful practicalities, and endless to do lists, and apparently insurmountable challenges and financial woes, I’ve found it so important again and again to come back to that feeling that you had when you began – the passion in your belly, the vision deep in your heart and the truth of your gut instinct.
Take a deep breath and remember why you started, then keep hold of that tightly. If you really believe in what you are doing, if your heart is calling out for you to follow your dreams and if you keep listening to that gut instinct, then I believe you will find your flow and flourish.
Advice for starting a business: Delegate, let go of control and get help!
When you start out you feel like you should be great at every area of a business and able to do everything, but who was ever taught how to run a business? I think that the best advice I received has been to delegate, let go of control and get help!
Learning to recognise what I am good at and perhaps more importantly what I am passionate about and then allowing myself to grow a team (even if that felt financially scary) has made an enormous difference.
The areas of the business that are more challenging, outside your comfort or skill base or interest will end up draining so much of your energy and drawing you away from the areas that you are passionate and can really add value. You’re working so hard when you set up a business, that it’s really important to keep fuelling the passion and sparkle that drives the vision. So don’t be afraid to get help around you so you can keep your energy and channel it into the area where the magic that only you can bring happens!
Excitement on the horizon
There is so much excitement on the horizon for our little world of Soulshine! 2016 sees the launch of the Soul-Soother experiences – a new range of bespoke healing packages available at our luxury Soulshine Retreat Centre in Ibiza.
From our extensive experience running retreats and supporting people on their journey to healing and whole-hearted living, Soulshine Retreats has pin-pointed key areas to provide bespoke individual healing packages, to enable guests to dive-deep into their own personal healing journey. Focus of the Soulshine Bespoke Soul Soother packages includes: anxiety, stress, insomnia, burnout, life-coaching and boosting hormonal health and fertility.
We’re also very committed to continuing to build our Soulshine community and to expand the scope of what we offer beyond the retreat environment, so watch out for Soulshine online content and training in the future! We’re also launching Zen Hen Retreats in Ibiza next year – think hen parties with a wholesome and healthy twist (not an L-plate or plastic willy in sight!).
And longer-term, I have a really big, fat dream to start the Shine Bright Foundation – a charity focused on bringing healing skills and techniques off the yoga mat and out into the world. To empower healing and joy and get everyone to shining bright! Fingers crossed, it’s going to be brilliantly busy for a little while!