The Big Stretch

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The Big Life Stretch combines time out in nature with creative coaching, so you can answer your big questions and kick-start confident change. Of course, The Big Life Stretch is deeply rejuvenating too – a week’s holiday in a rural corner of Spain, amongst interesting and refreshing people.

You can also arrange a bespoke Stretch on Waiheke Island, New Zealand or in London with our founder. Each private Stretch follows principles similar to those described below, but will be tailored to your unique and emerging needs.

Conde Nast Traveller: 12 Hottest Adventure and Spa Retreats Worldwide - read this press


Based at a comfortable mountain retreat, you're walking in wild landscapes. Away from the everyday, stretching your body in magnificent vistas, your outlook naturally starts to expand.

At the same time, high calibre coaches are guiding you to explore the passions which uplift you, the strengths you rely on, and the interacting forces in your life. Proven exercises help you to broaden your perspective, get unstuck and map out an inspirational future.

You're mentally and physically stretched by day, but have every creature comfort by night.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." — Helen Keller


You have a short preparatory workbook to start unblocking your thinking before you arrive.

We start the day with some yoga stretching. After breakfast, our coaches guide you to take an honest look at who you really are, including your values, wishes and innermost dreams. Things that have been holding you back — from self belief to external circumstance — become clear if they weren't before. Your coaches enter fully into the details of your situation, and help you bring courage and creativity to bear on ambitions where change seems huge. No one tells you what to think – it’s your space to get clarity and formulate fresh ideas.


Walking out in the mountains each afternoon, your mind incubates on the morning's thinking: exciting notions will resonate and grow. Disparate strands of your situation come together, and whole new possibilities take shape. Your coaches are always available as you walk. We lay out delicious picnics on the hills. You return each evening to the relaxation of a private room and peaceful rural views.

In one liberating week you’ll have:


The tried and tested Stretch programme will engage you at an emotional as well as an intellectual level. The coaches make sure you become practical, with a time-based plan of action AND you have a coaching session once you’re home to ensure you keep acting on the plans you created. There's the option to continue working at regular intervals with your coach.

You can read the itinerary here


You can embark on an Individual Big Stretch on Waiheke Island, Auckland with our founder Rosie Walford. Perfect when you want to make clearsighted and holistic decisions, this powerful one-day, individual Stretch means you rapidly tap into your highest possibilities, see the complex forces shaping your situation, and get yourself ready for positive action, fast. After an initial diagnosis conversation, the day is tailored to absolutely suit the transitions you're in.

There's a version designed for leaders of organisations too. In this package - called The HIgh Ground - we have a diagnosis session, a full day's outdoor coaching on Waiheke Island, and ongoing coaching as you're managing the changes that need to happen. Having reflected on yourself in the system, you intuit behaviours and solutions which give you great impact. You also engage others with your values, with all the the authority and integrity that brings.

On 7-9th November 2014 we are co-hosting our next long weekend Coromandel retreat , Nature Nurture. We interweave Big Stretch thinking with 5 rhythms dance and guided exploration of our nourishing connection with nature in the pristine bush at Te Moata Retreat, Coromandel. This active weekend moves us beyond the realms of language and judgement. We reach a state where we can enjoy clear expression of our authenticity and an enlivening sense of our place in the world around us. From here we make clear choices, and return to the everyday, remembering what it is to be at home in our body and our lives.

Periodically we host a Leadership for this Time rainforest retreat with legendary author, international speaker and change agent, Margaret Wheatley. Margaret says “ I define a leader as anyone who sees an issue in their community their family,  their organization, and is willing to step forward and do something about it. “

Email us to have a chat about participating in any of the NZ or Australia programmes.



The Big Life Stretch combines two powerful disciplines.

One element is life coaching, which helps people achieve balance and fulfilment in both their personal and professional lives. It examines all the elements of life and some fundamental questions too. (for example: What is my purpose? What has ever brought me joy? What do I want to stop? What mark would I like to make? What kind of relationships do I want to be in? What holds me back?) On The Big Stretch, we particularly focus on how you can align yourself with your values for humanity and the environment. We make it easy to access your personal truths by converting these rather huge questions into exercises and games.

Particularly pressing areas are then opened up using creative problem solving. You re-frame old questions. You challenge old sticking points with lateral thinking. We organise a safe, creative session where others give you fresh approaches. You convert ideas into workable, time-based plans.

With this approach, our clients have found they can go ahead and pursue success in ways they'd never thought possible before.

Whether you're kick-starting an initiative, or tackling an aspect of your life that's out of balance, The Big Life Stretch replaces confusion with peace, and reconnects you with your sense of purpose in the wider world. Many find a joy of life that they have not felt since they were a child. A renewed sense of control. Communication with loved ones improves.

"The Big Life Stretch is a powerful experience. It takes a little bit of courage to sign up. But once you're on board and in the process of resolving your life's deeper issues, The Big Stretch taps hidden reserves of creativity - just when you need it . You've got nothing to lose but the things you want to lose, and everything in life to gain" - Guy Browning, The Guardian -read this press

“A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are for.” — William Shedd

mountain picnicWHAT THE PRESS SAY

We've received much praise from journalists who've had real personal issues to solve and brought them on The Big Stretch. Read in-depth features from The Financial Times, Psychologies magazine, The Independent, The Guardian, NZ Herald and more here.


Maria, age 39

Despite being very well rewarded in her work, Maria arrived on The Big Stretch feeling that something… maybe everything... needed to change. She was frustrated with London, lack of relationship, and unchallenging yet stressful work.

In the first couple of days, Maria uncovered a long-held dream – to run a retreat centre abroad. If she waited a year she’d amass the funds necessary to see her through a change of direction… but she couldn’t face another year among the same people, living in the same rut.

Together with her coach, she realised she could use that year as a research period for her dream, so that once financially free, she’d be ready to leap into decisive action. In creative sessions, she came up with ideas – to take monthly weekend breaks abroad to look at potential venues, do night classes in hospitality, take retreats and workshops for inspiration. In the course of all this activity, she didn’t just firm up her plans – she also met her mate and found the ideal Spanish town. She lives there now, with husband and child, leading a completely different life – peopled and fulfilled.


Simon, age 56

Simon, a father of three, had been part of a rural solicitors’ partnership for thirty years. He was working long hours, and was disgruntled at weekends. His wife had suggested he try The Big Stretch to shift his energy.

Simon saw that had been so focused on performing at work and being the provider at home, that he’d lost touch with the things he loved. Retirement looked, frankly, scary.

Through the week, it emerged that Simon’s greatest joy at work was nurturing younger colleagues, not client service any more. He also harboured a forgotten dream – sailing the mediterranean with his wife. Through the week he developed a plan –  during his last years at work he’d make his firm famous for its charitable trust which broadened opportunities for talented young solicitors; he’d leave work with a sense of legacy and pride. He’d also learn to sail. An exciting future ahead, he returned from the week energised in a way he hadn’t been for decades, very much alive.

Harry, age 46

Harry had been a banker in the City of London for more than 20 years. It's all he knew - other than that he wanted now to make a difference in the world. But what difference? This he didn't know, and so for far too long, he hadn't make any moves at all. He was in a 'velvet rut'.

Harry realised that it wasn't clever to jump on any old charitable idea that crossed his path. On his stretch he found there were a couple of candidate causes that got his compassion. He needed to learn about the different types of organisation which address those issues - and the many roles within them - from working at the coalface in the field, to raising funds for such work from philanthropic networks closer to home.

One week later, Harry had mapped out a period of travel, volunteering and research. One week later he'd resigned and his new adventure was taking shape.

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away." — Henry David Thoreau


happiness"The Big Stretch brought my distant dream to just under my nose: I got a very clear vision of how to tackle my project and ideas flooded out. I've started making in-roads into my next journey. Very exciting." —recent widow, 58

"I made links between different areas of my life. I could see what to concentrate on first. I loved developing a 'maybe I can' attitude, rather than 'yes but' or 'I can't'." — Clinical psychologist, 38

"A fantastic process for situations that are in need of lateral thinking, are logistically daunting or are emotionally difficult." — IT consultant, 39

"A great combination of the physical and cerebral. The 1:1 coaching, particularly, was like wearing a pair of prescription glasses for the first time. I didn't have to leave my company, I had to change how I was behaving with my partners." — GC, creative director, 49


Big Stretch HolidaysspacerOther Ways to StretchspacerBig Life StretchspacerBig Career StretchspacerHow Journeys WorkspacerContact Us
I want to expand my horizonsspacerpic02spacerI want to get more from lifespacerpic04spacerI want to think creativelyspacerpic06spacerI want to start something newspacerpic08