From hatha to ashtanga, kundalini to bikram and vinyasa to power – the many forms of yoga are endless. But this is Ibiza, the magic island where anything is possible. Kids, horse and alpaca yoga anyone?
“My son was having a really tough time at his school in Santa Gertrudis,” says Larah Davies. “I found myself in the head teacher’s office one day telling him that it wasn’t right for teachers to be shouting at him all the time, when it suddenly dawned on me. It wasn’t my son’s fault nor the teachers, it was the whole system of trying to teach 25 pupils in one room every day – everyone was too stressed out.”
Larah’s journey to Ibiza was a long journey of discovery, following a mystical path that took in a shadow yoga teacher at university, ancient sites in Mexico, a life-changing meeting with a guru in London, running retreats in Australia’s Blue Mountains and attending a conscious group with superstar DJ Danny Rampling. Now, alongside partner Susie Howell, she is the co-owner of Ibiza Retreats, an organization offering a wide range of wellness techniques and therapies, including the transformative Yoga 4 Schools.
The programme was developed with teacher trainers Suzanne Faith and Diana Naya and incorporates emotional wellbeing, self-confidence, respecting one another and empowerment. “The first year all 600 pupils and teachers took part. The head teacher of the school even did extra training so we could get funding. The breathwork techniques to release tension were an absolute game changer and there were a lot of tears in those early sessions. The whole releasing of tension to inner calm, simple ways of self-practice to keep the energy flowing – these really helped everyone. Yoga is not meant to be about Instagram, it is about small doses of help that we can implement in different parts of our day.”
Like so many teachers and coaches in Ibiza, Claire Contie suffered burnout while running a stressful business and turned to yoga to recreate balance in her life. Now with her Arabian mare Noria, she has brought ekyoga – or horse yoga – to Ibiza. Horses have long been used to help humans with psychiatric and mental health care (evidence of which dates back to 400 BC), but it is only recently that ekyoga has become a recognized practice – and it is suddenly quite the thing. It’s a wonderful one-on-one experience involving balancing poses on horseback with lots of breathwork and awareness to deepen your connection to the animal.
“Interacting with the horse allows another way of looking at oneself, another way of developing self-confidence,” says Claire. “Ultimately, ekyoga leads you to free yourself from your fears to regain confidence and balance.”
ALPACA YOGA VILLAGE
For something completely different and oh-so-Ibiza, head off to the Alpaca Yoga village at Es Currals Alpacas Ibiza where hatha teacher Elena will help you release stress and tension and bring you into a total state of relaxation – while surrounded by the farm’s all-calm, all-soothing, all-zen alpacas. Only in Ibiza, heh?.