My Island Retreats, Ibiza
Elating, connected retreats with superior yoga and treatments, hikes & rainbow food
Best for: Successful and health-conscious middle-aged singles in need of nurturing and balance, or couples in search of a reboot.
Not for: The restless youth, more into doing than being.
Takes up to 12 guests
These elegant, yet whole-hearted Ibizan retreats run five times a year each Spring and Autumn, offering a combination of expert yoga and treatments, rambling hikes, delightfully creative vegetarian food and lots of space to heal, settle and shine. Come to achieve something you can’t at home – whether that is simply abstaining from coffee, alcohol and sugar or healing a deeper wound and accessing a richer sense of self. You’ll stay in a luxury villa in beautiful surroundings, with watchful poplar trees, a cool pool reflecting sunrises, orchards of Nisperos hanging ripely, cloud scudded skies and a yurt of dreams. It is hard not to unravel with the careful attention to thought, flesh and heart here.
Erin’s soft and gracious manner, which allows everyone to transform under the magic of being truly seen and heard. The enchanted yurt, moreishly scented and hued.
Ibizan villas can feel cold when the rains come down, so take layers incase you get unlucky.
My Island Retreats combine group activities with a personally tailored treatment itinerary. Choose from two types of retreat – Yoga and Hiking, and Mind to Heart with Louka Leppard, weaving in Leppard’s unique and transformative Tulamassage, Tulayoga and visualisations. On each retreat activities include yoga and meditation, dance, cookery, hiking, kayaking, personal training, star gazing, rock jumping, climbing, tennis, paddle-boarding, sea and pool swimming.
Yoga takes place twice a day, apart from hike days, and is predominantly taught by Suzanne Faith, certified Anusara teacher with over 13 years teaching experience, though Anna McColl teaches a slow yet strong devotional flow yoga on the November retreat.
The 8am sessions with Suzanne move from gentle stretching and opening with the use of blocks and bolsters, to more vigorous sun salutations, balances and backbends. She sows and elaborates on a focus for the week, such as Shiva’s Tandava dance, the vigorous source of creation, preservation and dissolution. Her focus is on the detail and integrity of positions, correcting and refining each person’s individual stance, while dropping pearls of wisdom, such as ‘you are the mother, your breath is the child, you must take your breath by the hand and guide it’.
The 5pm class is more yin based, holding supported postures for up to five minutes to restore and release from deep in the fascia. There may be a short meditation before shavasana, or corpse pose, but Erin also hosts guided candle-lit meditations in the yurt after supper to demand. Surely the sign of a good yoga class is how well it enables you to let go? Be prepared to transcend.
Hikes vary on each retreat, and might include a tour of Ibiza old town, with a stop off for vegan ice-cream. One trek meanders through forest to Heaven’s Gate, the second is coastal, starting at the startlingly blue Cala Conte, while the tour of Ibiza old town provides a welcome change, and opportunity to stroll warmly and peruse Ibiza’s wares. Toby Clarke from Walking Ibiza is the perfect walking guide – born in Ibiza, he understands the magic of the island, and the sting in its tail, which is the reckoning it gives most new dwellers, notoriously summoned by the magnetic strength of legendary rocky island Es Vedra.
On some retreats, Chris Connors leads a 5 Rhythms style dance – a dynamic movement practice moving through the five different states of flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, stillness. There is a tennis court, with equipment provided, and coaching available on request. You can also book Personal training with local fitness instructor Neil Beechey.
Rock- jumping and climbing take place on the West Coast with expert climbing guide; expect rugged, rural and exhilarating, with small groups so to ensure maximum learning and rock exposure. There are also beautiful kayaking expeditions, led by Toby the walking guide – paddle from San Miguel to Benirras at sunset, exploring caves along the way. There are two pools at the villa, the large main one, and a more secluded smaller kidney shaped one amid palms – and also opportunities for sea swims if you love the big blue. San Antonio is the nearest beach for a full immersion, but it is worth the 20 minutes drive or taxi to bathe at Benirras, the epitome of Ibiza for some.
Depending on the retreat you choose, treatments and therapies include harmonising Tulamassage and Tulayoga with Louka Leppard, the former of which entails the unique experience of being suspended weightless in the air to classical music; intense and stimulating bodywork/masssage with Kim Lewis, who will courageously make a dent in any tension you have been shouldering; otherworldly crystal healing with Abby Dixon, who works intuitively with large and powerful crystals, and also sings and plays the guitar; cranio-sacral therapy with Emanuelle Passes, a subtle treatment working with the cerebrospinal fluid to help return the body to a parasympathetic state; facials with Marion Stone; and psychosynthesis, which integrates spiritual as well as psychological elements, with renowned practitioner Shan Velveteen.
Nothing quite beats picking a lemon off one of the outside trees for a morning refresh. If you are a sea swimmer maybe take your swimmers on the Cala Conte hike so you can stay on the beach afterwards and pick up some Sunset Ashram vibes. If you’re intending to kick the coffee for the week, maybe start a few days prior to the retreat to avoid those fearful headaches.
When to Go
Ibiza is generally warm, and can be up to 23 degrees in March. That said it has been unpredictable of late. September ad October can be among the loveliest days, and are perhaps a safer bet if you want that golden light.
The kitchen is the heart of the house, with four doors leading off like arteries to all directions and a long trestle table, dotted with vases of wild flowers, and lit up for supper by the softly departing evening light. Meals are eaten inside, or outside on the tiled terrace, at wooden tables with sun chairs and umbrellas.
Chef Ali’s all vegetarian menu is a sensation for eyes and tastebuds, yet never feels depriving. With locally sourced ingredients, mostly from morning markets, she creates everything from scratch. Breakfasts are hearty with anything from banana and oat pancakes to a mouth-watering breakfast burrito, washed down by a colourful smoothie. Lunch might be a large lentil pasta salad, roasted vegetables, tofu and cauliflower rice, while suppers tend towards a more fragrant and light pho soup, Thai curry, intricate sushi platter, or an array of tapas including pardon peppers and tortillas. It is honestly like eating out at an exotic and high end restaurant every meal, but with less of the guilt, there being no refined sugar, gluten or bread, and minimal dairy.
Occasional puddings are either fruit based – such as mango with mint, chilli, toasted cashews and soya cream and agave drizzle – or naughtier melting mousses construed of avocado and cacao. Sometimes just a bite of an energy ball, from cranberry and cashew, to pineapple and cacao, will suffice for a collective mmmmm after a meal. What an absolute privilege it is to be cooked for by such an artist while re-educating the system into eating nutrient and fibre dense meals that stop snacking in its tracks.
Drinks are smoothies for breakfast, teas or water for lunch, and sometimes jugs of Ali’s fruit and vegetable infused special teas. There is no alcohol, and caffeine is advised against, though not forbidden.
The villa has facilities for recycling, and the menu uses fresh fruit from the surrounding trees. The chef buys seasonal, organic produce from the local markets, and all staff are local. The villa’s owner has also planted a gazillion trees to help preserve, enrich and oxygenate the surrounding ecosystem.
Can Almaria, San Rafael
Transfer Time: 20 mins