Practice Self Love & Self Care this Valentines Day

By Larah Davis – Founder & Co-Director of Ibiza Retreats

“Be gentle with yourself”

In our society that celebrates high achievers, so many of us – and especially women – have pushed ourselves to and beyond our limits, and out of balance with our own natural rhythms and cycles that invite us to be gentle with ourselves at certain times of the lunar month – and year.

So the greatest gift of self love – that I practice every day and as often as I can remember, is to feel in, to tune onwards to my inner sense of self and to keep asking myself:

Does this feel like a pleasure? Or a pressure?

Your body, with its innate intelligence is ALWAYS channelling your highest good, so to feel inward is the key…. first thing in the morning, before you open your emails or turn on your phone… before you respond and say “yes” automatically…

“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
Max Ehrmann

So this Valentine’s day – be compassionate when you feel you should be doing more or better, be kind to yourself about the dropped balls, less-than calm moments, mistakes in judgement – arguments and anger, anxieties and fears.

You deserve to honour, love and en JOY yourself – you deserve to be soft as well as strong, vulnerable and in need of support as well as the high-flying leader – and you are all of these things – it is what makes you YOU and you human ( or woman ).

As a mother of now two wonderful young beings, chaos often reigns in the most colourful and challenging ways!

Ibiza Retreats was my first baby and the passion that I felt for growing this organisation, for our purpose in serving the wellness of our clients, in Ibiza, in many magical ways, was hard to surpass.

It has taken TWO bright and shining little angels, to call me UP to the next level of self-care because, unless I nourish myself and my needs first, I simply don’t have enough patience and energy to give them the wonderful life experience that they deserve.

And now, on returning more fully into Ibiza Retreats this year, as a retreat leader, teacher, coach and yoga therapist, (as well as the business development and management that is all part of this great journey) there are more opportunities than ever, into which I can pour my energy.  And ALL of this, has been my joyful creation – yet, unless carefully managed, internally and externally, it can also become overwhelming.

So to maintain my sense of self, my connect to source, spirit and inner-self – as well as a mother’s heightened sense of awareness of all that is happening to my children, our clients and our team….  practicing kindness and compassion towards myself is the HEART-stone, of my self-practice:

–  In my morning barefoot walk to ground myself and connect to Mother Earth’s replenishing energies…  amidst the almond trees (alone – and complete with a steaming cup of ginger, turmeric tea)

–  In my conscious breathing in the fresh morning air – where I breathe into my heart to invite the kindness and compassion in (and exhale out from my belly, to release all self-judgement and self-criticism)

–  In my morning meditations where I create a sense of inner space – and evening legs-up-the-wall kidney & adrenal loving Viparita Karani rejuvenation

–  In the way I practice my yoga – accepting that right now, less = more – yin, therapeutic, soft yet deep, restorative and nurturing – whenever I can, throughout the day, without being overly disciplined

–  In the way I mindfully eat enough of the “treat” dark chocolate with nuts, bio curries and sumptuous vegan roasts to feel like I am TREATING myself on a daily basis

My self-care practice has expanded in many different ways  – and I also plan time into my week which is PURELY for doing what I LOVE (riding my horse!) and for what truly fills me up (juices and breakfasts and singing circles with sisters).

Patanjali himself, in the original yoga sutras, talks about finding your source of joy and happiness, which enables you to access this Anandamaya Kosha level of existence.

Never has this been more important, because by being KIND to myself, rather than PUSHING myself to keep going, by surrendering to the mess and the chaos which is PART of every parent’s hood, I am letting go of the egoic need to control and constantly “succeed”. Through this, compassion flows from my heart to my children, to my husband, to our Ibiza Retreats team, clients, friends and the world around us.

Yet my greatest practice of self-love and self-care has to be practicing self-acceptance, when I feel tired and reactive, lose my patience or feel low. Those are the times when it is so much easier to self-critique – yet by observing these emotional highs and lows, and looking behind them to their root causes, I can see where I have been over-doing things, get to know my “tipping points” and come back again to where and when pleasure tipped into pressure…. and that, I believe is the root of all loving self-caring.

And as I keep filling my CUP with kindness, compassion and JOYFUL choices, it keeps flowing over to the world around me.

Wishing you all SO MUCH LOVE, this Valentine’s Day!

Larah x

Transform Resolutions into heart-felt Sankalpas…

 to set yourself up for healthy habits that you can grow and sustain


Happy January to you all!

How is the first month of 2018 shaping up for you?

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? Have you stuck to them? Or have you found that your genuine, considered and focussed plans for a healthier, cleaner, more productive ‘new you’ have already fallen by the wayside?

If you haven’t faltered and you are still going strong and sticking determinedly to your goals, then I send my heart-felt congratulations to you. Keep going! You’re doing great!

However, if you have stumbled, lost your way or even deliberately thrown in the towel under the indefinable pressure of the long, dark month of January, then I urge you not to lose heart –

Here are 3 ways to keep the faith and your healthier, happier, habits for 2015 alive!

You can re-set or ‘re-frame’ your New Year’s resolutions simply by looking at them in a different way.

(1) Be REALISTIC about the size and feasibility

Take a look at how ‘New Year’s resolutions are defined; if you look up the term ‘New Year’s Resolution’ in the dictionary – or online – you will undoubtedly see a variation of this;

“ A firm decision made on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day to do, or refrain from doing, something over the course of the coming year.”

That’s quite a tall order, isn’t it? Committing to ‘do or refrain from doing’ something over the course of a whole year?

So, on December 31st we traditionally make decisions on how we are going to live our lives, for the rest of the year, without any knowledge of what the coming months have in store for us?

(2) Rather than deny – focus on the “feel-good” factor

The concept of New Year’s resolutions are invariably tied up with a plan to deny ourselves something, (chocolate, wine, coffee) or to force ourselves to do something (daily 30 minute yoga practice, meditating instead of watching Netflix) which instantly bind us to either ‘Ego-led’ behavioural patterns when we achieve another day of sticking to our resolution, or the plummeting feeling of disappointment if we trip up on our pre-defined path of resolve.

Instead – focus on the good feelings that these new year’s resolutions are going to bring!

(3) Create a SANKALPA – a heart-felt – feel good intention brilliantly describe a Sankalpa like this….

“Unlike a goal, which is a personal need to accomplish something, the concept of sankalpa turns inward to connect with the heart’s highest intention. A goal can be thought of as an individual’s will, while the sankalpa is the universal will. A sankalpa is a positive declaration or affirmation, such as “peace is my true nature,” rather than the ego-driven “I want peace in my life.”

Doesn’t that sound more realistic, achievable and authentic?

The beauty of setting a daily Sankalpa is that you are not binding yourself to a year of commitment, of ego-led piety or dissolute failure, but instead you are making a daily intention.

For example;

  • Today I will be kind to myself and everyone I meet
  • Today I will get outside and walk in nature
  • Today I will be mindful of the fuel I put in my body
  • Today I will nourish my body with exercise
  • Today I will begin to read that lovely book I have been meaning to start!

You can re-set and re-frame your Sankalpa every day, according to your life, your commitments and your ‘inner voice’ that lets you really know how much you can manage in one day.

Yogic philosophy is very much grounded in living in the present moment. So why should we bind ourselves to rigid, external instructions of how to live each day throughout an entire year!

Remember the old saying of ‘Take Each Day As it Comes’ and if today didn’t go as planned, or was disappointing or frustrating in some way, don’t worry; we have another day tomorrow to set our very best intentions all over again.

Live ‘in the moment’ and be the most authentic, inspired, creative and optimistic version of yourself TODAY!


what is yoga therapy

What is Yoga Therapy and who does it benefit?

What is Yoga Therapy?

Empowering you with the self-knowledge and the “tools and techniques” to heal yourself, yoga therapy is fast-emerging as a leading therapeutic process that bridges the gap between complementary natural health-care and modern western medicine. Treating the mind, body, energetic body and spirit, it is both an art and a science that gives you the keys to your own self-healing.  Utilising ancient yogic models combined with an in-depth anatomical and physiological assessment, grounded in medical knowledge, the therapist invites the client to experientially create inspiring personalised home-practice programs that treat both the immediate pain/presenting symptoms and through this, enable a profound and insightful self-exploration that raises awareness of the links between the mental, physical and energetic symptoms and the root causes embedded in emotional blockages and lifestyle patterns in a liberating journey of self-discovery.

Incorporating therapeutic asana (postures), pranayama (breathwork), meditations and guided visualisations) and other yogic tools to deeply relax over-stimulated minds and nervous systems such as yoga nidra (yogic sleep) and restorative yoga,  the, the 1:1 sessions are grounded firmly in a clinically standardised, yet compassionate process which is goal-oriented and tailored to each individual’s lifestyle needs. So if 10 minutes in the morning is what works for you – your therapist will give you a written practice for you to do at your optimum time each day.  

Imagine that your yoga therapist is your own private taxi driver, yet you have the keys and can dictate how fast or slow you want to go. New generations of highly trained yoga therapists are graduating annually to raise the caliber of professional care. They are dedicated to accompanying you along YOUR preferred path of self-discovery, at every level of body, mind, spirit and heart:

On a physical level (in yogic terms: the Anamaya Kosha)

Your therapist aims to empower you to build confidence through conscious breath-led movements so that you feel safe and grounded in your body, and able to incrementally physical strength, enhance your flexibility, invite more spaciousness as needed.  As you develop trust in your own resources, you are able to dive deeper to the emotional issues and hidden causes that lie beneath the physical pain…. yet only when you are mentally ready to do so.  

On a mental level (in yogic terms: the Manomaya Kosha)

Your Yoga Therapist invites you to lead inner-exploration so that traumas can be revealed and delicate emotional matters can be gently explored only when you feel ready.  They seek to create a safe, non-judgmental space for you to observe the thought patterns and belief systems running through your mind and dictating your habitual actions and behaviours which can contribute to postural problems and/or energetic blockages.  Proven techniques, such as mindfulness meditation and guided visualisations, mantras and affirmations enable you to centre and calm.

On an energetic level (in yogic terms: the Pranamaya Kosha)

By connecting you to your breath, on which rides the “prana” (life force energy) you connect more deeply to your body and can create spaciousness, release muscular tension, which in turn frees the mental tension whilst optimizing the energetic pathways through asana (postures) and vinyasa (breath-synergised movement) sequences.

On an intuitive level (in yogic terms: the Vijnyanamaya Kosha)

Through body, mind, breath awareness, and awareness arise as you begin to connect to your “inner-compass”, intuition, or inner-guidance system resides.

All so you can feel good…. Naturally! In yogic terms: the Anandamaya Kosha is the bliss key that is turned on when you feel turned by experiences that uplift and inspire you, physically, emotionally or energetically.   Yoga therapy invites you to recognise what genuinely enables you to feel GOOD in life, to make the life choices, from work, to how you sit when you are driving, that optimize your health, happiness and holistic wellbeing.

Beginning with an in-depth health questionnaire, the first session begins with assessing postural issues (such as stiff necks and frozen shoulders from too much time at the lap-top or on the mobile phone), continues with reviewing breathing patterns that reveal energetic and emotional blockages.  All whilst encouraging you, as the client, to self-observe so that you can become aware of “links” between mental, physical and emotional issues, and to feedback, throughout your journey together, on what triggers pain and discomfort, both on the mat and in daily life so that you can make healing choices that enable you to experience more positive states of rest, rejuvenation and release.


Yoga Therapy is good for you if you:

Are anxious, highly stressed, suffer from panic attacks, are depressed or overwhelmed and are seeking holistic solutions to create more balance, calm and a lasting sense of control in your life.

Have a functional illness such as fibromyalgia, auto-immune related conditions, IBS, Fertility concerns, and have been to many different specialists without being able to diagnose or find proper treatment for your condition

Have asthma or breathing difficulties

Are in recovery from Cancer or other long-term illnesses

Want to replace “props” such as caffeine, painkillers, sugar, alcohol with proven body-mind relaxation and energy rejuvenation techniques

Have been experiencing recurring pain in your body ie: lower-back or sciatica, without being able to find the right treatment.

Feel regularly exhausted and lack the energy to embrace exercise or have physical ailments, chronic conditions or injuries that prevent you from joining group / yoga classes.

Wish to create a carefully facilitated bridge from dependency on prescription drugs ie: anti-depressants

Are ready to commit to a program of self-led practice, designed to suit your lifestyle, and can embrace your innate ability to heal yourself

 Yoga therapy is goal oriented, working with your short and long term Sankalpa (intentions) and goals, which are reviewed at each session to focus on the present needs. 1 session offers a powerful springboard into new levels of self-awareness, yet with 3 – 5 weekly / bi-weekly sessions to shape and sculpt your practice to complement and enhance your life-style and bring you the benefits you seek.

ibiza retreats dawn

Setting springtime intentions at Ibiza Retreats

The amazing spring sunshine in Ibiza is warming our hearts and minds, and we can feel excitement mounting as new spring energies invite us to “get going”, to become outdoors-active, to spring-clean and to creatively arise!  With the evenings getting longer, we turn towards the light, and it feels more important to spend some time preparing ourselves for the Summer and to cultivate balance in body, heart and mind. 

So how are you going to balance this new energy infusion?  How would you like to have the tools to ride the waves of new creative impulses, both personally AND professionally?

Here is a quick 5 step “spring energy assessment” to focus your wishes, intentions and actions into a simple-fun-for-life strategy:. 

(1) List YOUR top 5 intentions – or goals – for this spring-summer season, ensuring they are positively stated and in the present tense as if you are experiencing them right now.

i.e: “I am writing a blog about healthy eating and the way that it has changed my life.”

(2) Now write down the ENERGY benefits of each of these intentions/goals; what will be the benefits for you, your life, your loved ones and your family when you are creating / achieving all of these?

i.e.: ”From writing this blog I am feeling fulfilled and focussed, purposeful and I feel I am offering the world something with meaning. It is giving me more to talk about with friends and family and I am deepening my interest in nutrition and sharing my passion for this with all those around me, which I can see is inspiring them too.”

(3) Re-read the list – and place the one at the top that will GIVE YOU the most energy, and that will keep your batteries charged.

 i.e.: “I am taking 30 minutes every morning to walk/jog and do wild yoga stretches in the park” “this is giving me clarity, focus and energises me for the day, whilst being in nature gives me a feeling of being grounded, calm and in control.  I am less reactive and feel relaxed and able to surmount the challenges of the day. I am more patient with my children and kinder to myself.”

(4) Give each of these a colour and allocate the amount of time per DAY / WEEK you can realistically give to this – whether thinking about it, feeling it or taking action on it.

i.e. “Monday – 30 mins morning walk / 30 mins evening Blog research & writing whilst children are having bed-time story with daddy”

(5) Now COLOUR your diary with the days/dates/times when you will be giving your time & energy to these intentions and goals.  This engages your subconscious mind to “block” these times for your purpose. Take a step back and double-check this

The secret is to reflect each Sunday, before the week ahead begins and to double check, as you plan your YOU-time diary for the week ahead, that everything feels realistic and compelling. It should not feel stressful or overwhelming – if it does – do less, and “be” more.  Notice any patterns of self-pressure and keep doing less until you are on track to keep doing what your body-mind-heart desires. Remember – all of this is supposed to be FUN!

JOY is the highest energy vibration which feeds itself sustainably – so check in with how you feel when planning and progressing this springtime.  Be happy!

Enjoy holistic life and energy Coaching during our HARMONISE, NOURISH and GET GLOWING RETREATS. You can also book private sessions with Ibiza Retreats Founder and Co-Director Larah Davies via SKYPE. Email for details. 

ibiza yoga retreat

Springtime energy at Ibiza Retreats!

As the spring energies softly flow in, have you shaken off the last of the winter blues? Are you ready to embrace the energy of the new spring sunshine?

If you are still feeling lethargic, blocked, or in any way “not quite there” then maybe your lifestyle needs some purifying – a detox – to create fresh space in your body, your home, your life.

Our minds are constantly filtering information from our environmental surrounds.   This over-engages what we call the monkey mind and can create those “niggling” blockages and “up at night” insomnia moments, unless we have a regular, purifying internal / external clear-out.  Whatever the “stuff” is that is stuffed into that drawer, whichever emails have been sitting, gathering dust at the back of your inbox and yes – those relationships where there are still things “left unsaid” or, if YOU are needing to create inner-space, to give yourself extra focus and love, all of these components that make your life YOURS need regular attention to keep them clean, flowing and pure.

So here is a 5 step guide to clarify which parts of your life, into which you have been focussing YOUR time and energy (yep even subconsciously – this still plays a weight on your mind-body system), are creating a “pain in your neck” causing your to “carry extra weight” or have been “draining your energy”:   

(1) Fridge & Cupboards

How do you feel when you look at what you see? If you imagine eating what you are looking at, do you feel like it will BOOST or DRAIN your energy?  Anything UNDER 7-10 for energy boosting needs to go.  Your physical response is your inner-truth, it may come through as a quiet voice, physical feeling or a subtle “sense”.  And the more practice… the more your inner-wisdom can flow.

(2) Emails & Social Media

Digital detox time! Unsubscribe from anything other than what enables you to feel 7-10 GOOD to read.  News as we know it, is scripted to create “reactions” which over-stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (which is what turns our system on to fight-flight-or-freeze, mode and activates our adrenals and stimulates the production of cortisol). So if you want more clarity and calm in your life – at every level – start to set the 7-10 FILTERS, opt-OUT and unsubscribe.  Choose happy information instead!

(3) Yoga, Exercise, Outdoors-in-nature appointments

How can you up your serotonin levels most easily? Get breathing, get moving, create inner-space and focus on nourishing your “whole self”.  Get into the magical OUTDOORS as often as you can, make “nature dates” to immerse yourself in OXYGEN and to re-ionise through walking on earth rather than concrete.  Yes, even in cities, get to the parks to embalm yourself with calming colour green from trees, lawns and beautiful beds of flowers to help you feel more serene.

(4) Wardrobe & Home

How many pieces of exquisite design have you picked up at sales that “don’t quite fit” or just simply don’t feel 100% right?  Apply the 7/10 rule – beginning with your wardrobe to declutter clothes, shoes and accessories and then continue throughout your home interiors.  keepsakes, and knick-knacks all take up head-space, albeit it subconsciously to ensure that everything that you surround yourself with is doing its job, to help you feel GOOD energetically and emotionally.

(5) Social relationships

Are your friendships bringing you the warmth, love and support that feels good for you this year? If there are any that are NOT, then for BOTH of your wellbeing, isn’t it better to be clear?  Choose to spend time with those with whom you can be yourself and truly shine.  Then you can be sustainable radiators for each other and enhance each others’ state of body, soul and mind!

So is it time to choose to step up and spring-clean your lifestyle? It is all about “tuning in” and checking in with how you “feel” on a scale of 1 – 10. It really is that simple… and fun once you have begun!  You can also invite a friend to come and help you keep reality-checked and the more your practice, the more slick and super-fun your life-flow will become.

Like this ? Want to experience more… join us on an inspiring, transformational retreat this spring-time in Ibiza and feel an amazing energy boost – we begin each retreat with holistic energy coaching to detox your lifestyle and encounter new and amazing ways to magically upgrade your newly re-energised-life!