EDITION: August - October 2016

Ibiza’s Health & Wellness Retreats

By Michelle Robertson
Ibiza has become a destination for all types of alternative retreats – from yoga to boot camps, mindfulness workshops to pure exploration, adventure holidays to walking the coastline... and everything in between. All are designed with the intention of leaving participants feeling good both inside and out. There has been a steady growth in the demand for such holidays over the past several years, and Ibiza has become a primary location for those who are seeking respite, relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s now become the norm for people to head off to the white island in search of fitness, freedom… and perhaps inner knowing.

It seems that there aren’t that many places in the world which possess all the right elements to support these kinds of experiences. Many people who come to Ibiza feel that they are in a place that is free from the constraints of society; a place that encourages them to look inward in a bid to find new aspects of themselves. There are powerful underlying reasons why our island has this incredible effect on people who arrive with a yearning to unleash their untapped potential. Some ascribe it to Ibiza’s ever-presiding protector the Goddess Tanit who stands for love, dance and healing. According to a famous tale she is the reason why so many females who connect with the island’s vibrant energy can get almost anything they desire.

As the story goes, it was at a historic full moon gathering many years ago that Ibiza’s women asked Tanit for help in addressing the problem of unequal distribution of inherited wealth. The island’s men were being given all of the prosperous farming land, while the females were left with only the worthless tracts along the coast. Soon after this meeting the women’s prayers were answered as tourism came to Ibiza, and everything changed. The land that lay close to the Mediterranean shot up in value and the women most certainly had the last laugh. They wholeheartedly believed it was the power of Tanit that transformed the situation, and that she is the main reason why there are so many powerful women on Ibiza who flourish as they heal, grow and blossom.

Ibiza hosts numerous retreats that explore different types of health and healing. Yoga retreats in particular are booked solid many months in advance and the variety of yoga on offer in conjunction with meditation and spiritual workshops is exceptionally appealing for those who need to detox their mind, body and soul. Another category of retreats could be called ‘spiritual’ as the focus is most definitely on feeling good, finding yourself and perhaps guiding you on an inner journey to stillness that opens you to places of peace far beyond your surface mind. Some are set in stunning villas, while others are nestled in more pristine natural locations. They can be centred on meditation, dancing, workshops – whatever it takes to break free from conventional patterns. As an added bonus, there are very few places like Ibiza that offer the dichotomy of having such a wide variety of wellness retreats, while just a hop, skip and a jump away are the world’s hottest party spots. These places encourage you to completely lose yourself in a different way... which for some can be a beautiful compliment to their growth... while for others... not so great…

Most retreats give you plenty of free time to enjoy the island, and they offer access to healing and exercise professionals who can be booked for individual or group sessions. One of the most popular extra activities is going on guided walks. Discovering the natural beauty of Ibiza on foot is inherently energizing, and by immersing yourself in her abundant ‘naturaleza’ you can’t fail to feel the magic that emanates from the island itself. Offering hidden gems that you can only reach by hiking or kayaking, there are several well respected and knowledgeable organizations that run guided tours to secret beaches fringed by crystal clear waters, and many other beautiful spots. They include Walking Ibiza, Ibiza Walking Association, Ibiza Kayak, the Ibiza Consell, Ibiza Auténtica, Wellness Walks Ibiza and Hiking Ibiza.

Discovering the island’s rustic beauty and rugged charm is without a
doubt enlightening for the soul. Another activity that has become very
popular is personal fitness. Some retreats are built around this, while
others offer it as an optional activity with one of Ibiza’s many
exercise professionals.

Most of the retreats on Ibiza have the potential to give you unexpected moments of realization and clarity. I have experienced this myself – so much so that it led me to a complete change in career in my mid-30s and to following my first love of fitness. Now a fully qualified personal trainer, I also took the plunge with a new venture called Ibiza Adventures. My aim is to encourage people to completely let go and indulge in everything that makes them feel good – all while experiencing the sheer magic and outstanding beauty of the island. Ibiza Adventures is about trying something different, pushing that bit harder physically and mentally, activating your body and mind, combining a love of the new and exciting with what’s going on in Ibiza and indulging in the finer things in life. Taking you to the most beautiful and often relatively unknown parts of our little paradise, we walk, explore, stretch and tone our muscles to challenge ourselves before the rewards come out – healthy gourmet picnics on the beach, plus the odd night out to famous hotspots.

Uncovering how truly incredible you are on an island powered by the notion of letting go of all your inhibitions and feeling free, is a wonderful way to get on the road to inner peace and happiness. There’s a famous quote that goes like this: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood...” and that’s exceptionally true when it comes to embarking on the often challenging, yet remarkably rewarding retreats Ibiza has to offer. •