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          November 2023 Retreat Reviews
(and by the way, if you're feeling out of condition and unsure if this is for you, makes sure you read Yuli's review at the bottom...)

A retreat in the true sense of the word. A break from the daily rhythm of life in a peaceful, beautiful spot. 

Time for yourself. Extended time to re-acquaint yourself with flexibility which was a memory. The frequency of Slings sessions really creates change supported by Stephanie’s attentiveness and knowledge. 

Regeneration has taken place also with excellent food and supportive, happy companionship. 

I would highly recommend this experience. 

Justin Snoxall

This retreat has been a real treat!

Stephanie offers incredible warmth, genuine compassion and support to everyone. It is such a nourishing retreat both on a personal/self developmental front as well as from a professional teaching perspective. 

A heartfelt thank you for a wonderful week in nature, having great food and for sharing your amazing knowledge so generously and with such care!


"My husband and I had a transforming experience that exceeded any expectations with the beautiful scenery, delicious healthy meals, and thoughtful workouts. Stephanie is a gifted teacher and inspirational mover who makes novices and instructors alike feel both comfortable and challenged.”      


Vanessa, St. Paul, MN USA

We had a very special time with Stephanie at the Slings Pilates retreat in November 2023. Stephanie created a unique 5-day programme which enabled us to practise and learn truly life-changing techniques of developing mobility in our bodies with long lasting positive impact on the whole wellbeing. Stephanie shared her knowledge generously which made every meal and time outside of 3 daily sessions a special learning experience too. I absolutely loved the retreat and hope to be back.
Daria Snoxall 

After experiencing a term of weekly classes with Stephanie, I did not hesitate to sign up for the Slings retreat in the stunning location of Monte Velho in the south west of Portugal.


Stephanie has a huge wealth of knowledge of the human anatomy and has a very intuitive way of explaining her lessons and how all the different parts of the body work together in harmony in order to move in the right way. She is able to quickly identify specific problem areas with each and every one of her students and gives instant feedback to put you immediately on the right path. Stephanie is a passionate teacher and a true master of her craft. 


I found all the practice sessions and classes challenging and profoundly beneficial for my body and mind. By the end of the week I felt like a markedly improved version of myself, I felt taller, stronger and more confident in my own skin and I came away with a renewed sense of optimism that I hadn’t felt for a long time.



I attended Stephanie Ross Russell’s Movement For Living Well Slings Retreat, with a limited understanding of Slings and an open mind. I left with a rejuvenated body, a valuable education on fascia; its essential role in movement, and easy-to-follow maintenance routines.


Stephanie's Retreat combines ancient Tibetan movements, breathing purification routines, and Slings exercise progressions to provide the most rewarding personal investment we have ever made.


Stephanie Ross Russell is more than an instructor and author of the retreat curriculum. Her life experiences, extensive trainings, abilities to demonstrate, keen observations, and passion to share are all exceptional. She uniquely and kindly provides each participant with a professional private lesson experience within in a group setting.


Stephanie moves with the grace of a swan and carries the strength of a lumberjack😊



I greatly enjoyed my time at Monte Velho during a warm and sunny week in November - a real boost of sunshine, such an autumn treat! 


The slings classes were something of a revelation - the careful precision of movement, the almost 'painful' use of props (those torturous spiky balls!) coupled with the breath work and detailed attention to the Tibetan Rites left me feeling stretched, challenged, calm and content. 


A special mention has to go to the amazing food, always delicious and plentiful, which is just as well because it's hard to resist seconds!!



With my hole heart I thank you so much for the fantastic week at

Monte Velho.

Such a beautiful place, the nature, the food and the very beautiful 

comfortable rooms.


Stephanie you are a truly fantastic teacher, your knowledge is deep

and profound, the way you see all individuals in the room, how to help,

encourage and support us in doing more, challenge our selfs.

I felt so safe and secure, never judged.



Such a rich week, so much learing, working, resting, breathing, laugheter, joy and

pure happiness.

I am so so happy that I decided to do this!!!!



This week has been a transforming experience for me. I have had a life long aversion to any form of organised exercises (and unorganised ones as well, particularly when life is hectic which is most of the time!) and usually hold strong suspicion of claims of any “alternative “ form of exercises or diets, particularly ones made by some “guru” or such. My own life style and attitude have unfortunately led to a much weakened and definitely misaligned body and an recent knee injury had nearly completely incapacitated me. I knew something had to be done so encouraged by a friend I came to Portugal with much trepidation and brimmed with worries.

The beautiful setting of the retreat and the nourishing and delicious foods must have helped to put me at ease a bit but I think it is Stephanie’s framing of what she would like to achieve during the week with us in the first evening that made me relax a bit further.  I did think I was completely out of place once I learned that some participants were professional dancers and yoga/Pilates teachers!  

I must say that the first day of practices was a complete shock to my body! What is more, in my attempt to keep up with the class, I also unwittingly aggravated my injured joints further and the pain was excruciating. I flopped to bed that night thinking there was no way I could sustain this for another 4 days! My struggles were so obvious that I think everyone including Stephanie was probably wondering the same. Miraculously, despite waking up several times during the night, the next day I felt my energy returning and the joints pain had eased, to my complete surprise, I was ready for the day and I wanted to learn more. I believe this is very much due to the fact that Stephenie is a phenomenal teacher - she is very knowledgeable and her passion to share her knowledge and understanding is infectious.
I recognised in her an true artisan who is devoted to her craft - an rare find in our modern life.  And what’s more, she has such a commend of her magnificent body that she is able to demonstrate what she teaches with such a level of precision that one can’t help to be transfixed by its perfection even while struggling to find the relevant body parts in one’s own, that hidden underneath somewhere to activate.  

I had tried a few lessons of Yoga and Pilates here and there over the years but always struggled to sustain it for long as I was just trying to imitate the moves and poses without understanding the fundamental mechanics of them. Stephanie’s teaching is very different- she goes into great detail to make you understand the mechanics first and breaks it down into accessible steps. She is also a very keen observer and no mistakes escape her watchful eyes and from her vast teaching experiences she is able to diagnose the issue quickly and help you rectify the problem on the spot. I felt so supported and safe under her guidance that I was willing to push myself and explore my boundaries. So despite being exhausted at the end of each day, I was always ready next morning to explore a bit more, learn a bit more and feel how my body moved differently after each training session. It would be delusional of me to think this one week would change my body in some fundamental way but it does change my attitude towards my body, towards movements and this hopefully will put me on a sustainable journey of repair, recovery and hopefully in time a more functional body. I still need time to process and absorb the information into practice but I could almost feel that I am standing slightly straighter and sitting a bit taller already after this week!

I am sorry to write such a long and winding feedback for the week but I am hoping that by sharing my experience, it would help to encourage others like me to benefit from Stephanie’s teaching.


Yuli Gu

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