How does a week in Bali – specially designed just for you and your little one – sound? We meet the mama behind this blissful concept
Polish mama Marta Komosa is a holistic advisor, meditation guide and retreat facilitator who lives in Bali with her adorable 1-year-old son. As the co-founder of Transform Retreats she’s spent the past few years running private retreats focused on personal transformation and healing, with a particular interest in women’s deep work retreats (such as Women In Transition by Hubud and others).
This year, inspired by her journey and learnings from single motherhood, Marta has launched a new Mama & Child Retreat that will take place from 3 to 9 March (she’s already got additional retreats in the works for June, September and November). Spanning 7 days and 6 nights in Ubud, the retreat invites 10 mamas and their children to unwind, connect, and truly celebrate the amazing mother-child bond.
When she reached out to tell us about it we were so blown away we just had to share the concept with our audience. We caught up with Marta to hear more about what mamas can expect!
What gave you the idea to start this retreat specifically for mamas and their children? Have you ever seen or experienced anything like this elsewhere?
Launching retreats for mothers and their kids is the culmination of all my accumulated knowledge, skills, and my personal experience as a mom of a wonderful toddler boy. I’m originally from Poland, but led by a deep intuition and call to change my life and path, I moved to Bali over five years ago.
I’ve invested a lot of energy over these five years into working on myself, growing, becoming a much more conscious and mindful person, and turning my learnings into offerings to others. I’ve hosted many sharing circles with women and have co-facilitated women’s retreats focused on personal growth and transformation. Since becoming a mom, I’ve come to learn how difficult, and yet how crucial, things like self-care, mindfulness, calmness, strong support and rest are.
Read more: Why Self-Care is so important for mamas
How I treat myself and feel as a mother translates directly into how my son feels and develops. Consequently, I concluded that if I could use a retreat for myself, there must be many mamas out there in need of the same care and support.
It’s important not only to show mamas that their life doesn’t “end” when they have kids, but also, to remind them that creating space for self-care becomes even more of a priority at this time. Our kids are our best guides and teachers in respect to what really matters. During the retreat, we focus a great deal on learning from the kids and their natural wisdom.
In regards to similar experiences, when I started thinking of hosting these retreats, I conducted a lot of a research, and yes, there are some lovely offerings for moms and kids who want to travel together to exotic places. There are also some beautiful mama and child holidays, focused on yoga, though mostly based in Europe. I believe there is still much more we can do towards creating these spaces for mothers and kids.
You’ve been running more general retreats in Bali for a while now; what do your guests typically find to be the biggest benefit of a retreat once they’re through?
After a few years of studying various healing modalities, mediation and experiencing different ways in which we can create conscious changes in our lives, I started offering private retreats here in Bali, focused on personal transformation. I collaborate with very gifted and trustworthy practitioners, both local and western, and help individuals gain more clarity by guiding them through the changes they intend for themselves.
These are very personal journeys, and some of the main benefits relate to acquiring the tools to ground themselves and cultivate a feeling of calm in their life by connecting with the breath and their body, relaxing their mind, to begin connecting more strongly with their intuition. We want to shift the narrative, such that no matter what happened or is happening in their life, there is a different, more positive way of embracing it.
It is also important to feel that one is never alone in their experience. The support that comes from finding the courage to be honest, authentic and vulnerable to speak about your challenges is a huge gift for most people. Typically, we feel so lonely and isolated in our difficulties because we struggle to share openly. There is a lot of fakery and shame in society. It is very important to have a safe space that allows one to be vulnerable and expressive; creating such a space it is a big part of the retreat process.
The main takeaway for most people is the realization and experience that they can really impact their lives in a positive and conscious way, if they learn how to connect with the deeper wisdom within themselves. There is a great support on this journey, if you know how to ask for and receive help.
Read more: We review the CHICKFIT Retreat in Bali
What age children is this retreat open to? Can a mama bring more than one child?
Different age groups have different needs and interests and therefore require other activities. For this first retreat in March, I’m inviting children up to 5 years old and they will be split into 2-3 small groups to make sure they receive exactly what they need for the age – gentle care and much in-arms time for the youngest ones; freedom to explore, fun and interesting activities for the older ones.
For four hours daily kids will be invited to participate in their activities, and for the rest of the day, they will be part of the main program and around their mamas, but with a constant support of a few nannies.
I am happy to create groups with older kids during the next retreats. I have already decided to host retreats in June, September and November 2019. The format of the residential retreats is more adapted for children, not teens. Teens would probably prefer to be more out the world, exploring the island. I’m definitely open to feedback and requests from moms and co-creating the next programs together. Reach out, mamas!
I have already been asked for the programs for older kids; for kids with certain disabilities; for retreats focused on single moms and for retreats for moms only; coming for a week without kids. I’m thrilled to look into all these options and hold space for all these needs in the best way I can. For this first retreat in March mamas are welcome to come with more than one child under 5 years old and in that case I recommend booking an additional nanny just for this mom, so she can actually have some time off during the week. This retreat can be a part of a longer family holiday as well. Dads are welcome to stay at the venue, join the morning program and then enjoy the free time on the island as the main program focuses on the mothers and kids. I am sure that some fathers would love a week off in Bali for themselves as well.
What sorts of activities will the children participate in during the retreat? Can you tell us more about the “bedtime ritual” on the schedule?
The final selection of the kids-only activities depends of the age of all participants and also their personalities, which I discuss with every mom who signs up. In the morning, before breakfast, we start the day with fun yoga or barefoot dance all together to move our bodies and fill them up with juicy energy.
Other bonding times, apart from meals, include pool time and rest time – I encourage moms to have naps together with their kids, or receive a massage in that time. Kids will also have the possibility to receive a short massage or reflexology sessions; we are lucky to collaborate with an amazing specialist in that field. Older kids will be invited to join a Balinese offering-making workshop and an outdoor cooking class.
Kids-only activities include drumming; natural toys making; singing; and dancing. They will also have time to enjoy the amazing space of the centre, to run freely and explore, to be in nature. This is one of the biggest gifts Bali has to offer. We will also have a beach day trip.
Last but not least, kids will be a part of our opening circle and the cacao ceremony. This is the time for some magic and beauty. If you are curious what that means, you just need to join us!
The entire program is an invitation, not the obligation. I am open to adapt the schedule to the participants. If you feel too tired to join the morning meditation, sleep in. Resting is one of the key aspects of the program, together with the gentleness towards yourself and your kid. I have reserved “bedtime rituals” time in the schedule to honour different ways mothers assist their kids in going to bed. We will also help calm the energies at the end of the day with a simple mindfulness practice, gentle music and a bedtime story. Personally, I’m still breastfeeding my son in the evening and it is a very precious time for both of us.
Can you tell us a bit more about the birthing clinic that you visit during the retreat?
Yayasan Bumi Sehat is a special place not only in Bali, but in the world. It has been created by an incredible midwife, Robin Lim, an American woman who moved to Bali over 30 years ago and realized there was no space for Balinese women to give birth with dignity and the right support. Since then, Robin has trained thousands of midwives around Indonesia and beyond, and opened a few natural birthing clinics in the country and in the region. She is known to fly with her team to places around Southern-East Asia devastated by natural disasters like a tsunami, tornado or earthquake and set up a temporary birthing clinic there to support women in distress.
In 2011 she was awarded a CNN Woman of The Year Award. During the retreat we will go visit the clinic and meet Robin. She will share her insights on the “Gentle birth heals Mother Earth” philosophy of the clinic, and give her view on the “Happy Mama = Happy Child” concept, one of the foundations of my retreats.
It will also be an opportunity to contribute to the clinic by bringing some goods that are needed there and hard to get in Indonesia. I am very excited for the participants to meet Robin Lim, she is an inspiration. Two other amazing special guests have also accepted my invitation to offer workshops during the week. We will be learn more about holistic parenting, and a mother’s body and needs from the health perspective.
What is the lodging like?
Finding the right venue was one of the main requirements for me to launch these retreats. It is a new retreat centre, opened just last year by very supportive Australian owners, surrounded by lush nature, located a 20-minute drive from Ubud centre. There are 10 ensuite double/twin rooms. As it is located north of town, towards the mountains, it’s cooler and breezier than downtown Ubud. The area is spacious, fenced, with an amazing grass lawn and a pool adapted for kids.
We can also enjoy a lovely yoga sala, a big air conditioned room for playtime and activities, a spa with 3 private rooms, and an organic vegetable and fruit garden with an outdoor kitchen. I love this space and I’m sure the participants will enjoy it as well.
What do you hope that mamas and their children will take away from this special experience?
The core aspects of the program for moms include relaxing, nurturing, learning, connecting and contributing.
This week is our opportunity, as mothers, to come back to our core, to pause, rest, breathe, and nourish ourselves and our kids with the amazing gifts of Bali: nature, good food, massage, yoga, meditation, connection with the energy of the island and connecting with others.
I believe that this retreat is a gift that a mama offers herself and her child. A balanced, rested, nourished and supported mama is a happy mama. And a happy mama makes for a happy, calm, healthy child, a child ready to explore the world and grow into their full potential.
In terms of the kids, I hope for them to have a lovely, gentle and fun time, soaking up Bali’s nature, freedom of movement, loving care of every member of the team and to feel seen and held, not only as important participants of the program, but even more, as guides and teachers.
So much of the self development work we do is related to connecting again with this innocence, non-judgment and simply being ourselves. I wish for mamas to leave the program with the following: new tools to help them in maintaining self-care and more balance in their busy lives; new ideas to inspire and to implement into their everyday parenting; and a tribe of great women who will continue to support each other on their journeys, even from opposite ends of the world. I feel super blessed to be holding space for that process and if you feel called to be part of that, we still have spots for the March week and the upcoming retreats. Thank you for inviting me to share this new venture with you, Sassy Mamas!
All the details!
What: First-ever Mama & Child Retreat
When: 3-9 March 2019 (other Bali retreats planned for 2-8 June, 15-21 September and 3-9 November)
Where: Ubud, Bali
Who: 10 mamas and their children (up to age 5)
How much: US$1,500 per family (US$1700 within 30 days). Inquire about family discounts and discounts for Ubud residents.
Image #6 via Yayasan Bumi Sehat