When deciding whether to go on a yoga holiday or a retreat, there are a few things to consider; pricing is an obvious one but it’s also equally important to think about what you want to get out of the trip…
A ‘retreat’ is typically for those who are a little more serious about yoga and want to spend an immersive week (or weekend) learning or delving deeper into their physical or meditation practice. Typically the retreat would be hosted by one person (or a company) and the yoga teacher would be free to provide support and coaching throughout the week or weekend. There would likely be a detox element to the week with no alcohol served and vegan / vegetarian food only.
A yoga holiday in comparison is likely to be run by a teacher who will lead the twice daily classes as well as organising the catering and interacting with the guests. They will take you on trips and join you for a glass of wine if you’d like them to, or if you prefer to head out and explore the island or town, there’s plenty of time accounted for that also. It’s more of a holiday for people who enjoy yoga with a less dogmatic approach to the practice.
What can you expect from our yoga holiday?
I came up with the concept for ‘Yogi Beach Haven’ during my yoga teacher training back in March 2015. A few months afterwards, I was extremely lucky to bag a spot teaching on a week-long yoga retreat in Croatia that Autumn. It was a daunting experience as a newly-qualified teacher but one that I enjoyed so much that I was delighted to be invited back the following year to teach alongside the resident teacher Vanessa and then asked if I’d be interested in leaving behind my job in London to join them for an entire season the following Spring/Summer. It sounded like a dream opportunity but something held me back, and that intuition was a quiet knowing that really I wanted to organise and lead my own retreats and holidays.
Alongside teaching yoga, I’ve been working as an events manager for over 9 years and knew that my professional organisational skills coupled with my love of teaching and my passion for bringing people together was exactly the right cocktail to make my own yoga holidays a success. Around the same time as this dream was manifesting, I returned to Ibiza for a yoga festival and saw a completely different side of the island to the one I’d experienced whilst partying as a teenager. Away from San Antonio Bay, the island has been drawing in yogis, hippies and alternative therapists for decades and it’s easy to see, or rather to feel, why. It’s a feeling that is difficult to put into words without sounding cheesy but there’s a magical energy to the island that draws people back again and again and I knew it was the place I wanted to host my first yoga holiday.
Fast forward a few years and I’m now returning to the island to run my fourth yoga holiday in a stunning villa overlooking Santa Eulalia bay. We’re perfectly located in a quiet cove overlooking the ocean, offering twice-daily classes and a healthy homemade brunch plus dinner prepared by a local chef. You can read more about the holiday here, but what I wanted to share was why I decided to create these yoga holiday experiences in the first place.
When I started dreaming up my first retreat I wanted to create the kind of environment I’d been looking for as a young twenty-something travel lover who had suddenly become single at a time when most of my friends were coupled up and getting married. I wanted a break from London life but I didn’t want to be alone and I also didn’t necessarily want to stay in a hostel. So I went on my first retreat, and then another the following year and I found that wherever I went, I was able to meet and bond with women* of all ages through our mutual love of yoga, good healthy food and the odd glass of wine. The environment encouraged sharing for those who wanted to, as we each slipped off the masks of our professional identities and no one really cared what you did at home anyway as we sat in our leggings enjoying brunch overlooking the mountains or ocean.
As much as I love yoga, I believe that a retreat or holiday is just as much about the people you meet and the bonds you make as it is about the physical practice. It all comes back to that idea of bringing people together and as a once lonely Londoner, one of the aspects I enjoy most as a teacher or guest, is sitting around a dinner table for hours and chatting with the other guests. I still go on yoga holidays now when I need a break and I still make the kind of connections that last way beyond the week-long trip. And this is the offering I want to bring to my retreat / yoga holiday guests in May.
Another aspect I love, is the invitation to slow down. With a morning class followed by a leisurely brunch, there’s a five to six hours in between where you can choose to head to the beach, hunt down the local markets or boutique shops or simply relax by the pool with a good book. A second yoga class and dinner to follow and then there’s nothing more to do other than relax. Although there might be a glass of wine or two with dinner, the lasting calming affects from the yoga class mean that guests are much less likely to head out in the evening to explore the local bars and so there’s more time to catch up on sleep or ponder life goals without those regular real-life distractions. Yoga helps to clear the mind and then there’s space for inspiration to flood in. Ibiza in particular isn’t the kind of place to tick off tourist attractions, but rather a place to simply enjoy being, or observing, and certainly feeling.
So come along ~ Enjoy the movement, the stillness and the connection!
*Retreats do tend to attract a majority of women but I would love to see more men taking the time out to relax and enjoy this experience. My boyfriend is the resident breakfast chef so you won’t be alone if you do decide to take the leap!