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My name is: Mark Sands.

I'm known for being: Area Spa Director for Six Senses in Asia, based at Soneva Kiri in Koh Kood, Thailand.

I’m hosting a retreat called: Yogic Sleep.

It’s located: year round at Soneva Kiri resort, led by the wellness team from Six Senses Spa.

I was drawn to this destination because: of its outstanding natural beauty. The still unspoiled Thaid island of Koh Kood, where Soneva Kiri is located, boasts the best beaches in Thailand, secret waterfalls and lots of other hidden gems. I was also drawn to Soneva for its sustainability values, which resonate when you see an island that has not been overdeveloped. You really feel the difference you are making.

This retreat is special because: The Yogic Sleep retreat is special because it incorporates 4,000-year-old knowledge and traditions with modern wellness screening technology to help measure biomarkers. This allows for a totally personalized program of treatments, yoga, meditation (including yoga nidra or “psychic sleep”), yogic cleanses (if needed) and, of course, wonderful, relaxing spa treatments. An integrated wellness screening with Dr. Dinesh, our in-house ayurvedic doctor and yoga expert, takes no more than 45 minutes and provides a very detailed review of your current state of health. With that information, we are able to offer personalized nutritional advice to support real, measurable results (as demonstrated by a post-program screening).

Naturally, yoga provides much of the content of the retreat, with either daily private yoga sessions (these are bespoke based on the level of the guests and can include flying yoga) or daily group classes (with the particular favorite being “Yoga Nidra”). Meals are tuned to guests’ individual preferences and designed to help improve health, along with advice on how to prepare for a great night’s sleep. Excursions and activities are encouraged to keep the guests motivated, active and outdoors as much as possible, and to help them take full advantage of this unique jungle and beach setting. The retreat is suitable for everyone from a beginner to an experienced yoga or retreat practitioner. The personalized approach means that guests can focus totally on themselves and take home lasting practices they have learned from our team.

One thing you can’t miss is: coconut oil making or the singing bowl workshop—both great interactive classes.

Your body will thank you because: Our goal is for you to leave in a better state of physical and mental health. You’ll be sleeping better, returning home with lower stress levels and a new knowledge base through which to continue your yoga practice. Specific measurable biomarkers will showcase the improvements you’ve made during your stay and allow us to provide targeted take-home advice. You’ll be a relaxed healthier happier you!

I never retreat without bringing: my worry journal, which helps me pen any concerns or thoughts that might come to mind whilst in the process of internalizing. I get great ideas when I allow time to reconnect with myself in this way, and the simple practice of making notes also allows me to switch off before bed. I try to avoid using screens or devices an hour before sleep and a short singing bowl meditation sets me on my way.

Retreating is part of my process because: Today, we are so virtually and digitally connected that we lose sight of the connections around us—with ourselves, other people and the world. Our ability to talk to anyone, anytime, around the world, has left us disconnected from ourselves. These moments when we retreat provide us a respite, a moment to reset and focus on our own wellness.

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