With January being the month of detoxes, diets, and other dreary things beginning with D, it's also the time to think about planning that mind/body break you've always meant to take. I for sure will be booking another yoga holiday in 2018 so I thought I'd share with you my favourite retreat from last year in case you fancy this kind of break too. You know how much I love Ibiza so when I was invited to visit the new Mind, Body, Retreats for a few days last October, I jumped on that 'plane as fast as security would allow. What I didn't expect, apart from the awesome yoga, was relaxing, raw food & raving.........
Just going through the gates of this white Ibizan villa, in Cala de Bou, and I felt like I was in another world surrounded by the most beautiful gardens full of ancient pine trees, flowers, pools and a view of the bay, which was just a short walk down the road. Despite it being near the end of October the weather was just perfect with a big blue sky, hot days and a warm sea - just magical. And breathe.......
Yoga classes were taught by the gorgeous Andrea Everingham , below, who teaches a Jivamukti & Restorative yoga practice - just perfect for a woman my age! I loved it and so did my body. But what was also really special was practising outside, in the morning and evening, in perfect temperatures, overlooking the beautiful Ibizan countryside.
However, if you like a more energetic yoga retreat, don't worry there's a heap of more strenuous activities to do here as well as different yoga styles to suit everyone: from Dynamic to Vinyasa Flow. Click here.
If you want to feel the burn, you can do a HIIT class, or take a day-long hike in the hills. If you want to just chill by the pool, you can do that too, with a massage thrown in. As well as nurturing the mind and the body the owner, Elinor, also gives a respectful nod to the island's legendary nightlife and will even arrange a club night for you! You really can be as lazy or "busy" as you like at this retreat. I chose lazy, but talking of energetic........
The retreat was founded by former city banker Elinor Evans, who changed her life after putting on weight with her third pregnancy. Leaving behind the high-stress life of her City job, she got into tattoos, trained as a yoga teacher, took up boxing, and became a serial ultra-marathon runner. (She completed the 1st Marathon des Sables, Peru 2017, and broke two toes, straight after this retreat!) I feel tired just writing this.
This lovely woman (born on the same day as me, several decades apart) knows all about the importance of a work/life balance so, in my opinion, has got the mix just right at this retreat, so different to others I've been to in the past. (If you want to see a 10 minute interview I did with Elinor at the retreat, I think you'll find the story of her journey fascinating as well as hearing some great top tips for ageing in perfect balance and harmony.) Click here.
The rooms and bathrooms are Ibizan beautiful and boutique style. You can even get a cave-like room with a view of people in the pool! The wifi was awesome (very important to me!) and I had a twin room all to myself. So I was happy. Most of the rooms are for two or three, or even four sharing (starting at 1199 Euros for the week including all yoga, food & transfers) but single occupancy is available, obviously costing a little more. Click here for room prices.
REAL COFFEE, RAW FOOD!
Apart from having excellent wifi in my room, the other thing that I love having on any holiday is a freshly made coffee in the morning, (some yoga teachers forbid it, but Andrea doesn't) AND fabulous, healthy food. The optional coffee & tea was on tap and the vegan, often raw, meals included every day, were absolutely delicious and made the most of the island's fertile produce. The raw food on Ibiza is just the best I have had anywhere in the world and at this retreat we ate like kings.
YING & YANG
Another thing I liked about this retreat was that there was no alcohol served with the meals (you'd be amazed how many yoga retreats do) so no temptation for me. But if you wanted to go out on the lash you could pop to the local village bar. The choice was yours.
On the other hand, if you wanted to experience the meditative benefits of a silent retreat, there were a couple of women in our group who practised "silent eating" at night. According to the Dalai Lama, "if you talk you are only saying what you already know, but if you listen you may learn something new" Brilliant. Now that's what I call a retreat offering a full mind-body balance, being treated like a proper grown up to follow your own path.
So what else can you do apart from all this chilling, yoga and eating good, healthy food? There are all the usual day trips on offer including my favourite hippy market, Las Dalias, and a visit to Ibiza town, for those in need of a spot of retail therapy. The retreat has its own transport to whisk you off to wherever you want to go.
And if you don't feel like moving from the beautiful house and gardens, there are two gorgeous swimming pools where you can catch some rays, read or chat.....
.......and my personal favourite was a good walk down to the local beach, Cala de Bou, each day, it was my absolute joy. As gregarious as I am, I do like having a bit of quiet time on my own, so really relished my 15-minute walk to the beautiful little bay to have an afternoon snooze and a dip in the sea - amazing considering it was the end of October.
You can also be far more energetic than I was and do a day hike in the hills to see more of this beautiful island. That's going on my must-do list when I go back again for longer. And just look at the view you can feast your eyes on...........taken by Imelda J. Photography.
And after a day of shopping, hiking or chilling, back at the house....... if the evenings are a bit chilly, as they tend to be at the end of October, there's a gorgeous real fire in the main villa as well as and plenty of hot drinks, pure water, and snacks on tap. As a group, we all bought our own favourite munchies and popped them on the communal table. Lovely idea.
But, of course, Ibiza is famous for its sunsets and raving, as well as its spiritual side.... so, as a group, we couldn't possibly pass up on an end of season sunset party to celebrate the end of our yoga week, complete with a DJ set. We ate "normal" food, mostly local fish, drank prosecco and danced our socks off at Sunset Ashram, Cala Comte. Perfect!
It was the most fitting end to a wonderful few days spending time with the nicest bunch of Mancunians I could possibly hope to meet on a yoga retreat!
Personally, I love the fact that a yoga holiday can offer spiritual, meditative, restorative yoga with raw & vegan meals, as well as allowing me to have my morning coffee whilst checking my emails! Everyone can get out of it what they need..... some may want to drink wine every night 'cause they're on holiday. Some, like me, may want early nights and raw, vegan food & an alcohol-free week, with a party at the end! Others may want to go the whole hog and have a silent, toxin free week, they can do that too.
It was a perfect retreat for me so I will certainly be back for some more restorative yoga with Andrea, in October. See you there? I'll be the one at the end of the table trying not to talk during the meal. Not! And if you fancy another type of Yoga, there are others to chose from here.
I would love to hear about your yoga holidays and what you want to get out of your retreat. I have been on too many to mention and they're all so different.
See you soon,