Thu | Nov 30, 2023

Portland resort promoting healthy lifestyle, wellness

Published:Friday | June 14, 2019 | 12:10 AMPaul H. Williams/ - Gleaner Writer
Kai Wakeling (left) conducting a yoga session at Great Huts in Boston, Portland, recently.
Kai Wakeling (left) conducting a yoga session at Great Huts in Boston, Portland, recently.

The increase in the number of people who are afflicted by non-communicable diseases and lifestyle-related illnesses has been countered by efforts the world over to promote good health and wellness.

Right here in Jamaica, the Government has embarked upon an initiative to promote healthy lifestyles with its Jamaica Moves programme. Even the name of the Ministry of Health was recently changed to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

One entity that is flowing with the tide of wellness promotion and perpetuation is Great Huts Resort, located at Boston Bay, Portland. The eco-friendly getaway is now embarking upon programmes to keep its guests, staff and community healthy and well, through a thrust called ‘Wellness arrives in Portland’. Known as Paradise on the Edge, the resort prides itself as a place to“reset and renew”.

Guests, safely tucked away from the hectic, stressful world that challenges people to take charge of their lives and health, have a space to retreat, unwind and restore. To that end, Great Huts is now bringing greater levels of wellness to Portland, gathering experts who will offer “truly life-enhancing, entertaining and effective healthy programmes”, according to Vivene Levison, managing partner and director of marketing at Great Huts.

Great Huts recently hosted its inaugural Reset and Renew Health Retreat for international and local guests, staff and community members. Facilitators from Yoga Angels International began the day on the cliff-side yoga deck with healing teas from St Mary Spices. Singer and yoga instructor Kai Wakeling, led peaceful meditation practices and discussions about ‘detoxing the mind’ and morning rituals.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Yoga Angels,” says Levison. “They have done remarkable work with underserved youth in Los Angeles and Jamaica, with their unique programmes to enhance life skills along with music therapy.”

The activities then shifted to the Great Room in Africana House for an informative and lively presentation from Eric Scott of the Ultimate Vitality Club about natural health modalities based on the studies of many ancient cultures, anti-ageing techniques that focus on our digestive system, and the powerful impact of our own everyday choices.


The connection between the overall good health of the digestive system and general wellness was made. It is all about the amount and types of food we consume, and when they are to be consumed. The combination of the types of food eaten is also integral to your wellness. Detoxification was discussed as one way of bringing the unwell digestive system back to good heath.

It was a most revealing session in which participants got the chance to discuss their health, dietary and nutritional challenges. The seminar was followed by another invigorating yoga session. A healthful lunch washed down by fresh juices was an appropriate way to end activities.

The partnership with Yoga Angels International, is a natural fit for Great Huts, as both organisations are dedicated to bringing accessible health and healing practices to individuals and communities, reducing anxiety and depression, and fostering creativity and hope.

Levison said that Great Huts plans to host more of these day retreats with Yoga Angels International as it embraces wellness in all aspects of its operations. The main restaurant on the Safari Deck now only uses coconut oil, and has removed all traces of MSG and artificial flavourings, and uses local herbs and produce as much as possible.

“As the resort ‘resets’, guests can look forward to protein shakes, natural make-up seminars, easy access to yoga classes (mats are provided with any room/hut stay) and many more healthy touches, including all-natural Blue Mountain products, if needed,” Levison told Living.

Further, Yoga Angels founder and master healer Subhadra said, “Our classes empower persons to embrace their wholeness and channel negative emotions and experiences into strength-enabling frames that assert an individual’s gifts and abilities.”

Next April, Subhadra will join ‘dub yoga’ specialist and entertainer, Jah9 and others to host the first Yoga Angels certification training at Great Huts.