If there’s one great thing to be said about recent times is that many have awakened to recognise how mental health and self-love is just as essential as eating well and exercising. Thankfully in Malaysia, the public is finally opening up on programmes focusing on their personal wellbeing, and some recognition for this should be attributed to model, actress and host, Sarah Lian, the founder of Supparetreat, a women-only wellness retreat that has been thriving over the years.
The Taiping-born, Vancouver-raised Malaysian shares that the idea behind Supparetreat stemmed from a successful workshop she first held with the women of her Suppagood Talent and PR agencies.
“It was an eye-opener. With the great feedback from my team, we just wanted to take more women on a journey of self-discovery,” says Sarah.
She then hosted a second by-invitation-only retreat with women from various industries, and it was this gathering that finally affirmed her vision that Supparetreat could grow into something colossal towards empowering the women community in Malaysia.
Our focus is empowering the individual woman first. We are building a community to help women succeed in life, but it always starts with yourself. Once you are able to fill that cup, only then you can be important to others.Sarah Lian
Then in 2018, Supparetreat officially held its first three-day open-to-the-public retreat at the Tanjong Jara Resort as a safe space for women to find inspiration, motivation and especially empowerment.
Hosted by local coaches Hannah Lo, Racheal Kwacz and Sarah herself, the programme encompassed a multitude of self-empowering themes via its workshops, talks, coaching, sharing circles and more.
“Indeed it was a very fulfilling experience. With Supparetreat we have specific pillars that we focus on,” shares Sarah. “There is Inner Empowerment, which focuses on areas like breath work and journaling; Life Design, which touches on the aspects of our mindset, goals, financial planning; and our last pillar is Intimacy and Relationships, which explores the subject of our ego, marriage, motherhood and other aspects along those lines.”
Gaining momentum through word of mouth from participants, soon even more women wanted in, so more events were planned and it was time to expand its reach abroad.
Supparetreat’s first overseas retreat, Ignite, was held in Canggu, Bali last year, right before the pandemic hit. Then it was time to rethink the concept for it to be virtually accessible, at least for the time being.
“What was great about having the Supparetreat workshops online is that we managed to get so many different types of women who have been looking at what we’re doing and had always wanted to join. But because they live in places like Australia and Singapore, now they finally get a chance to be a part of this community,” says Sarah. “It’s so beautiful to watch it grow and watch them discover themselves”.
From one to 75 online programmes later, Sarah realised that they have fruitfully tapped into a market that was underserved. So as an area of focus this year, Sarah wants to bring back Supparetreat’s well-received eight-week Remember Her programme, but catered for the virtual space spanning three to four weeks.
“We had 12 women who signed up last year, and the coaches and participants thought it was amazing. So we’d love to do it again this year and make it more interactive and beautiful via Zoom,” says Sarah.
That’s not all, once the lockdown eases up, Supparetreat is also looking at hosting retreats in hotels that are more inclusive to both men and women. “It will be a way more fluid programme where participants can bring their children, husbands or their group of girlfriends,” says Sarah.
With mindfulness and self-love finally getting the attention it deserves, Sarah is fairly positive that the world is on a wave of awakening. “It can be difficult being a woman sometimes, but things are headed forward,” she says.
“As long as we are in the position to learn, I have an optimistic view on how we’re looking at things. It’s so great to be a woman right now.”