Head to Mind Body Retreats for a relaxing and rejuvenating yoga break you’ll never forget…
What was once a sleepy island just off the coast of Spain has become synonymous with hardcore ravers, partying and package holidays, yet when you look beneath the flashing lights and paella-and-chips of Ibiza there is a much softer center where the traditional roots remain. Languid provincial towns, sandy beaches with crystal clear waters and a tranquil, spiritual vibe leads the way to a break that is far from the mad partying so often portrayed. We recently headed over to Mind Body Retreats, a yoga retreat just a short 25-minute drive from the airport for a week of rest and relaxation…
Mind Body Retreats is a real beauty spot nestled around the corner from a quiet yet convenient street with a handful of cafes and shops and a ten-minute walk from the beach front. You head through a gated entrance to a courtyard swathed in colourful blooms, where butterflies flutter around and the air is heady with the scents of fruits and herbs. It is quiet and tranquil and even before you’ve settled in you feel encased in a wrap of relaxation. As you first reach the main house, there is a pool to the right where we already see fellow retreaters catching the rays – as the September sun is still pleasantly strong – wind chimes hang off a large centre tree and a tiled seating area sits to the left. The villa itself is a beautiful white building with a choice of triple, twin or double rooms all of which have en-suite bathrooms and access to outside space. There are many lounging rooms to chill out in – including a beautiful space with a real log fire that is lit in the evenings. There are soft squishy armchairs and books and magazines to curl up with and read. The diet here is vegan and there is a large range of free fruit and herbal teas to help yourself to as well as a basket of healthy snacks.
We were greeted by our hosts Elinor (who bought the retreat just a couple of years ago with her husband) and Dana who stays and helps to run it. They are both lovely and welcoming as they show us to our room and around the retreat itself. The rooms themselves are beautiful and tranquil, with crisp white linens straight from the white company (bliss) and sleek marble, wood and granite fittings. They are minimalist and beautiful and ours leads out to the main sun terrace, ideal for early morning meditation and where the yoga takes place. The beds are beautifully comfortable, and the room is accented with unique accessories and books which add to the boutique rustic vibe. The bathroom is large and spacious and French windows can be flung open to let in floods of warm light. It is modern yet packed with character and the warm waterfall shower is perfect to unwind after a day in the sunshine.
Days in Mind Body Retreats begin with a yoga session at around 8-9 o clock depending on your instructor, out on the sun-drenched terrace with views over the island. Our instructor was Scarlett O’Connor who brought a contemporary and fresh innovative approach to yoga to the retreat. The morning classes were a little more vigorous with evening sessions focusing on yin or restorative yoga. It ran at everyone’s own pace with plenty of options making it as easy or challenging as you wish and as the week progressed we all pushed ourselves to really challenge our inner yogi, learning not only the different moves but also elements of the spiritual side too – about your chakras your inner balance. After just 24 hours you already feel your worries melt away, your stress leaving your body and the buzz of the UK’s fast paced life becoming a thing of the past.
For that was one of the strangest things about the retreat- learning to relax. I would sit down, pick up one of the well-thumbed books and feel a guilt to be doing something. For in the fast-paced city life, it is so rare to be able to indulge oneself and not have to worry about anything that it was really strange. And it made me realise just how important it is to switch off. How trivial things such as an Instagram post or an inbox of emails which can seem so time-pressingly important back home really aren’t the end of the world.
“It is so rare to be able to indulge yourself and not have to worry about anything”
After a morning yoga session is brunch, which is organised by local chef Monica and her company VegiTales with a focus on vegan food. Ibiza is an island with a great climate and fertile soils making the ideal host for an abundance of beautiful produce. Dishes include mixed vegetable tortilla, vegan pizza, mushroom and quinoa burgers and a host of delicious desserts such as a vegan brownie and vegan protein energy balls. Every dish is utterly delicious and as a devout meat eater I was surprised at how easy it was to turn vegan for a week. You don’t feel like you are missing out and each dish is so delicious, teeming with flavours and so beautifully presented you feel a real sense of satisfaction after each meal. Of course, if you are still hungry you can pop to one of the local shops for a bite to eat, so relaxed are the house rules here. (We even popped out for a bottle of vino to relax round the fire with one evening). Yet you are more likely to find yourself drinking green fruit smoothies together and going to bed early than hitting the clubs.
As well as the yoga classes they also sometimes bring in external people to run a session – we had a very interesting sound bath – a healing therapy using sound to induce a meditative state. I was cynical at first, but it was one of the most relaxing moments of the retreat. And a massage in the villa which gave our muscles a gentle reprieve from being worked out.
A typical schedule at Mind Body Retreats will accommodate for a yoga class in the morning, followed by brunch then free time for excursions before a late afternoon yoga class and dinner. These excursions are optional, but we would definitely recommend them. After all, why not see some of the island whilst you are there? Typically, on your retreat you will visit the famous hippie market (unfortunately bad weather on the day we were meant to visit meant it did not open) and head on a hike to see the mystical island of Es Vedra. This is a small rocky island which has a reputation for being a place of mystery and is the root of many tales and myths on the island. They will also normally arrange a night out to go and see the main centre of Ibiza where you can head for a cocktail or two if your head fancies (we headed to the old town and drank cocktails on beanbags under the skies, looking over the entire city, it was beautiful.)
There is also plenty of free time for you to explore the island yourself. We recommend heading to Port d’es Torrent beach which is about a twenty-minute walk away and a beautiful spot for sunbathing, or the rocky beach just a ten-minute walk straight down for the villa is a perfect spot for photo opportunities. Of course, if you fancy staying in the villa that is fine too. As well as the pool in the main entrance area, there is also a second outdoor pool in the gardens (a little colder) but a more secluded area to chill out.
Mind Body Retreats is a yoga retreat unlike any other. It offers you the chance to find yourself, to relax and reflect, yet is without the pressures and strictness that sometimes can be found on retreats. It is chilled, and it is super friendly. As you progress through your stay your housemates become like your family. You all sit round a fire in the evenings and talk with cups of tea while stars shine down outside. Phones are left in rooms and switched off and technology is soon made redundant. You are reminded of how good the simpler things in life are and just how important it is to switch off from the digital age every once in a while, for a real mental refresh. The food is divine and the setting so utterly beautiful you never want to leave. The hosts couldn’t make you feel more welcome and the fellow guests really make the trip. There’s not one bad thing we could thing to say about Mind Body Retreats except the fact our trip had to end. Book your retreat yourself for a yoga retreat that will be even better than you hope it to be.
Book your retreat here: https://www.mindbodyretreats.com/book-a-retreat
Price & Room Options per person:
€1299 triple share ensuite
€1499 twin share ensuite
€1499 double ensuite
€1750 double ensuite (sole occupancy)
Yoga teacher? Book the retreat here: https://www.mindbodyretreats.com/hire-our-retreat-centre
Mind Body Retreats
Carrer de Leganés 1,
07829 Sant Josep de sa Talaia
All photos shot on Canon G9 X Mark II