Before 2022 came to a close, we had a chance to experience Supparetreat’s “Goddess and Warrior”, held at The Hooton Retreat. Here’s what went down.
A week before I whisked myself away to the retreat that promised to awaken both ‘goddess’ and ‘warrior’ in me, I mulled over the various possibilities of what it would entail. I admit, I am one of those sceptics who never really believed in words like ‘meditation’ and ‘healing’ — at least, not apart from the literal sense. But once I’d made my decision, I became determined to shed the doubt from my mind, and trudged on with conviction.
Helmed by actress-slash-entrepreneur Sarah Lian (also our LSA100 Explorer alumnus), Supparetreat presents itself as more than just a wellness retreat — it’s a community for anyone to come explore and connect deeply with not only themselves but with each other. In other words, Supparetreat makes its name synonymous with ‘safe space’. A place one goes to when they want to unload their shoulders and share what has been stirring in the mind.
As we pulled up to The Hooton Retreat, I felt a surge of anxiety, curiosity and just a hint of excitement — staring at the thicket of trees around me, I was not fitting in right away. Eventually, I got over my nerves, and even I could tell that beyond all the greenery and the alarmingly low phone signals, a sense of serenity is about to set in for the weekend.
The Hooton, tucked about an hour away from the city of Seremban, depicts itself as a perfect glamping site. Sprawling measurably over a large expanse of the forest, the retreat is dotted with tent-like domes, designed so that you can have a bit of privacy while still getting a great view of the trees — and of the stars at night. There were also enclosed villas available for stay, but for the full nature retreat experience, I opted for the dome. Once you look past the bugs and the heat of the afternoon (the way I ultimately had to) it was undeniably gorgeous. So far removed from the tall skyscrapers of the city, I was swept up by the view of the sky — despite the pesky critters, I slept soundly that first night.
On that first day, we met the Goddesses and Warriors that would lead our weekend retreat: child and development specialist Racheal Kwacz, relationship coach Hannah Lo, sex advocate Jasmine King, yoga instructor Hansen Lee and movement practitioner Chiron Yeng. Already we could gauge what the weekend would bring us. We were forewarned that Supparetreat would be a truly ‘raw’ experience. The itinerary included phrases like “Sensual Goddess Come Alive” and “Embodying the Zen Warrior”. We were to have meaningful and honest conversations to learn the art of sharing and listening. There was no room for scepticism anymore, so I decided to just let go.
Upon an hour of knowing nothing beyond each other’s names, we were paired up and told to stare each other down, never taking our eyes off the other as we drew closer, all the while clapping and stomping our bare feet against the concrete. This will awaken the inner warrior, we were told. It was sufficiently awkward at first. There were a lot of nervous laughs, sceptical glances, and actual fear in our eyes — which later we learned was precisely the point. And the entire point of Supparetreat was to fully embrace the embarrassment: the parts of you shut away, now out in the open without fear of judgement. Everybody is a little bit broken in their own way, and the purpose of the retreat was not to fix that but only to assure us that we are not alone in our feelings.
Exhausted by the end of it, we concluded the evening with something gentle, crafting flower offerings around a candlelight circle. This is kind of cultish, I texted my colleague as soon as my phone picked up a signal. I think there’s Celtic music playing in the background. (I had recently seen Midsommar.) Yet there was something strangely beautiful about it: a group of women, gathered together, arranging flowers however we saw fit. We had each shared a heavy part of ourselves by that time, and felt a little more deeply connected. It was somewhat moving, seeing all the women’s stories reflected in something as simple as flower arrangements.
Day two urged us to be bold. Over breakfast — a delicious spread of nasi lemak, roti canai, toast, cereals and cheeses aplenty at The Hooton’s al fresco cafeteria — we had a choice to make. I decided to skip Jasmine King’s “Owning Your Sexual Power”, instead opting for Sarah Lian’s “Radical Acceptance” session, where we were encouraged to uncover the various ‘characters’ living within us. There was a visceral discomfort around the space at being vulnerable in front of everyone, but eventually, it became a fun exercise. Before the session ended, we learned that among the quieter faces, there lived a benevolent princess, a swaggy man named Leroy, a nagging 70-year-old Asian grandma — many colourful personalities that contribute to the way we live each day.
That same afternoon, we women moved on to “Claim Our Wildest Desires”. Jasmine King led the way, calling for music — not Celtic songs this time but a proper feel-good, Jessie J type beat — and soon we were taking turns walking down the ‘runway’ and flexing our most ‘desirable’ poses. “Ladies, shake that thang!” Jasmine called, spurring us on. “Shake what your mama gave you!”
We would go on shaking until the bonfire party. Here once again, I couldn’t help thinking back to Midsommar, but the night ended on a poignant, light-hearted note. We made good use of The Hooton’s grill, meats and seafood sizzling on a flaming barbecue. There was impromptu karaoke, temporary tattoos to commemorate the bond of understanding between us, and a whole lot of dancing. Connecting through deep conversations is one thing, but as someone who is often averse to dance, I understood then the real power of just moving together in harmony. Little did we know, we would be subject to Hansen Lee’s spine-altering yoga class at sunrise, before making our “Angel Walk” to mark our journey’s end.
On the last day, I felt a little sad, and almost hesitant to leave — here I had spent a weekend unlocking feelings I hadn’t known existed within me; here I had met beautiful souls I might never cross paths with again; here I had made a little breathing space in my busy life. The thought was far-fetched from when I had first arrived at The Hooton. What I had dismissed as ‘just another wellness retreat’ impacted me more deeply than I had anticipated.
Of course, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that a single weekend with Supparetreat completely changed my life — if anything, it taught me that to truly understand and accept yourself is a never-ending journey. But it certainly opened my eyes about the nature of these retreats, and it’s that it certainly doesn’t hurt to catch your breath from the routine of life every now and then, and take time to look inwards. As we were whisked on the road back to Kuala Lumpur, The Hooton out of sight, we knew that the wisdom transpired from Supparetreat would never truly leave us. It’s up to us to put it to use in our quotidian lives.
To learn more about Supparetreat and all it has to offer, head to its official website HERE.