Get to know Micki Phit

Experience a Pilates Retreat in Crete with Expert Micki Havard

Travelgems works with world-leading experts in the fields of fitness, wellness, and holistic health. One expert we’ve been grateful to work with for several years is Micki Havard, a pilates expert who is hosting a retreat with us in Crete (16-21 September). Here she tells the story of how she met Travelgems, what to expect from her retreat, and what inspires her each day.

It feels immensely strange to me that my upcoming retreat will be the fifth one I’ve hosted since 2021 with Travelgems. When I first started teaching pilates 20 years ago I could scarcely have imagined that I would still be teaching today, let alone experiencing all the incredible opportunities that have come my way as a result of that. 

Let me start with a bit about me. I’ve been in the fitness and wellness industry for most of my career. Even before I threw myself into this job though, I’d always been a lover of movement, excited and enthused by the way that fitness is a route into not just wellness but self-discovery. As I started to teach pilates, I realised how much I enjoyed sharing that with my friends, family, and those around me. 

Having discovered my passion, I set up my business, MickiPhit Wellness to provide clients with weight loss coaching, pilates instruction, and fitness programmes, but also a space to unwind, to reflect on themselves, and start to form the person they wanted to become.

A few years ago, I realised I wanted to share what I’d learned over the years more broadly and wrote a book called Pilates For Everyone, showcasing 50 different exercises, with a mix of classic pilates exercises, and once I’d come up with myself: the MickiPhit Method. I believe that pilates and movement is for everyone, and by including a variety of different styles and modifications in the book, I was able to do my part to open it up to more students.

It was shortly after the publication of my book that Niki, the founder of Travelgems reached out to me on Instagram. She asked if I might be interested in hosting a retreat for people who loved pilates as much as me, not just those who’d already tried, but those who were beginners interested in learning more. 

It’s funny to me that Niki happened to get in touch with me when she did. A few years earlier, I might have been more reluctant, but I’d reached a place in my life where I was trying to be open to new experiences and said “yes”. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and the rest was history. 

Being able to connect with my students on a more intimate level is the number one reason that I love hosting retreats. It’s always exciting to meet new participants. I have mother and daughter duos, couples, singles, women, men, pilates instructors and beginners. 

I cater to every fitness level. There’s absolutely no prior pilates experience required to participate in my Pilates retreat.  My goal is to expose as many people to pilates as possible and to build a community of like-minded people who are seeking wellness, travel, and adventure!

The beauty about my retreats is that you can really make it your own. I am certain that each participant gets something different out of the experience. And now that I’m on my fifth time around, you can trust me on that. 

We start each day with a Pilates class and we end each day with a community dinner. In between there are wonderful cultural excursions, optional breathwork sessions, amazing meals, personal connections, shopping and more!

Past Micki Phit Travelgems retreats have seen us cruising the Greek islands off the coast of Santorini, learning traditional Italian cooking in Tuscany, hiking the Swiss Alps, and visiting Picasso’s home in Spain. The absolute best part about all of those adventures and special times is that I was able to share them.

If you’re preparing for my next retreat, set your intention and figure out what you want to get out of it. But give yourself permission to relax and enjoy the experience. Commit to having an open mind and being open to new things. Hone your sense of adventure and be prepared to connect, both to yourself and others.

What makes a Travelgems retreat different from any other retreat is that it always feels like we’ve built our own little community, founded on the principles of movement, adventure, and conversation. It really does feel like we are building a wellness family that reaches much further than just pilates.

After 20 years in the fitness industry, I know that there’s no one size fits all package, but that those who are willing to open themselves up to new experiences will come away revitalised, transformed and nourished.

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