susie howell yoga

My own Awakening and Re-birth into Motherhood

By Susie Howell – Ibiza Retreat Co-Director
I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely, extended Easter Weekend?
Depending on your belief system, Easter is either the story of the crucifixion then resurrection of Christ, or it’s a Pagan Festival celebrating Spring in the Northern hemisphere OR it’s simply all about delicious chocolate eggs right?
But apart from those ideologies, for many of us it signifies the end of Winter and hibernation and the beginning of something new – of fresh new energies. It signifies an awakening and a re-birth – Or, in my case, an actual birth.
So this feels like a poignant and rather fitting time to talk about my experience of giving birth (not meaning details of the actual birth – don’t worry!) and how much it challenged me and therefore changed me.
It’s about my own re-birth into being a Mum and how I’ve had to break through old patterns and beliefs to embrace my new role of Motherhood.
When you have a baby – all your focus during your pregnancy is about the birth. This one event which you are preparing yourself for mentally, emotionally and physically. And then the birth bit happens (inevitably!) and you get through it and you’re like “wow that was intense! Phew, I’m glad that’s over”.
And then the reality dawns on you that this is actually where is all starts…
I woke up on the morning after I’d given birth and I immediately had the absolute realisation that I was not the same woman I’d been when I’d gone to sleep. It was a strange mix of emotions. I of course felt love and the desire to protect. But I also felt raw and incredibly over-whelmed.
I felt a huge sense of responsibility and I felt fear.
These challenging experiences, that we all encounter throughout life are triggers. And life is a rainbow full of challenging experiences, no matter who you are.
Whether it’s a birth, bereavement, break-up, break down (or as we like to call it a break THROUGH) or anything which, in turn, triggers the physical and emotional stress response in our nervous systems.
This is where the adrenaline and cortisol are released and your nervous system becomes over-activated to the point where the fight, flight or freeze response kicks-in.
This is exactly where I found myself in the midst of the joy… mixed with a heady concoction of hormones and sleep deprivation and I knew I had to dig deep.
I had to find some courage and strength and put a plan into place.
This is where I feel so much gratitude for the path I have chosen and all the teachers I have learnt from along the way through Ibiza Retreats.
With all the tools and techniques that we teach on retreat, it was now the time to walk my talk. And almost six months on, this is a daily practice which helps me stay grounded and to accept where I am each day – to be the best Mum I can be.
For me it was essential to create a daily ritual. A practise which was constant when all around me felt out of control.
On every single one of our retreats, we talk about the importance of cultivating this ritual. A ritual is a gentle commitment, a ritual is grounding and it has roots. Ritual is calming, nourishing and ritual is comforting. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here are some suggestions which really helped me to find my ‘inner warrior’ and to embrace being a mama. You can adjust to suit your lifestyle, and to support you in whatever your own ‘re-birth’ role is…
– Build your altar. Create a space for yourself which feels safe and calm. Make it sensory – we suggest a scented candle of your favourite oils. Make it comfortable with cushions and a yoga mat for example. Make it inspiring with a favourite quote or coloured scarf to adorn it. When you wake every morning, go to your altar – even if it’s just for five minutes before you speak to anyone else or start your day. It might mean setting your alarm for five minutes earlier, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifice of this.
– Drink tea! Take a herbal infusion with you (rather than caffeine as it’s a stimulant) to wake your system naturally
– Breathe! Take long deep breathes into your belly. Inhaling love, gratitude and positivity and exhaling anything which is not serving you including any negativity or negative thoughts or feelings.
Literally exhale and breathe them out of your system. Visualise waking up your entire being by focusing on breathing into each part of your body – beginning with your toes and working your way up to your ankles, knees, thighs, hands arms, spine, shoulders, neck, throat and face. This will help you to calm your thoughts and keep the monkey mind at bay.
– Move your body. Whether you are an experienced yoga practitioner or not, this practise is not about advanced postures, but about listening to your intuition (that quieter voice inside you) and shifting your energy.
With your eyes closed, move and stretch your body in the way that feels right. Of course you can transition into a full yoga practise here if you wish, but this is more about the subtleties. See if you can feel your way into the day and make space in your breath, your body and your mind to be in a place of response, rather than reaction.
– Set your intention (sankalpa) for the day – even if it’s a small intention. Keep it positive and keep it clear. For me, it was about my ability to be a good mother, so I made my intention to be kind with my thoughts about myself.
– Repeat a mantra! I used a  tapping technique. The Thymas gland is 7 centimetres under the hole at the base of the throat.
Tap “I love myself, I believe in myself, I trust myself, I am grateful to myself and I am courageous”. I added my personal mantra – “I am a wonderful mother”.
You tap this as many times as you need and it acts like a door into your subconscious until it becomes a true belief! It’s incredibly powerful.
For this tapping practise I have to say a heartfelt Thank You to our lovely Shamabala. Those of you who have been on retreat with us may well have had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful soul and her inspiring workshop on Meridean Energy Tapping.
And in the words of Rumi… ACCEPT. Each day will bring something new and each emotion will pass – just like the seasons.
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”
– Jalaluddin Rumi

Gentle ‘Cocooning’ tips for Winter Solstice

‘Cocoon yourself’ for Inner-peace this Festive Season


As the festive season approaches we, as humans of the world, of many denominations and faiths, ‘come together’ with our family and friends to celebrate, to re-connect and to spend time amongst our nearest and dearest.

While for many this can be a deeply enriching time of joyful reunions and comforting relaxation, into an environment of easy relationships, amongst those who know us best – and accept all of our faults and our foibles, sadly for others, it can be a more stressful time, where old ‘family wounds’ rear their heads and stress levels rise exponentially.

Wherever you sit in these scenarios of social gatherings in the festive period, it is important to still make time for some precious and private introspection – this will help you preserve your inner-peace and to maintain positive and centered energy, so that you can relate, in the ways that you WISH to respond as a conscious, compassionate adult – rather than to react, as you may have done as a teenager, to old painful or embarrassing “triggers”.


So this year – as you step forward, mindfully, into a higher, better state of “being” – here are 5 easy steps to ‘Cocoon’ yourself, to connect to your OWN self-care processes and inner-peace connection.


(1)  Begin each day with 5 minutes of quiet meditation or introspection: Watch your breathing move in and out of your body. Guide your breath to go deeper with each inhale, and to move more slowly out with each exhale.


**If you have children, before you arise, even 5 rounds of conscious belly breathing will ‘drop’ you from your head, to your heart, and by placing your hands below the navel you will direct the breath to your parasympathetic (rest/digest/create/eliminate) side of the autonomic nervous system.


(2)  Move your body! Shake off the energy charges that arise from emotional triggers by doing some indoor yoga, physically “shaking it out” or going for a walk in mother nature, who transmutes and transforms energy constantly.


(3)  Practice heart-to-heart connections and give yourself a ‘digital detox.’ Ration your phone and screen usage to instead honestly and openly ask people how they are.  In a time where “face-to-screen” time is so prevalent, feel how different this eye to eye contact feels, and how, with your heart-felt intention, it opens new pathways for more positive relationships and intra-familial relating.


(4)   Upload those photos later! Make “being” your practice – as a human BEING within your family or social space. You don’t need to be available to anyone other than who is with you right now. Pre-arrange a time for phone calls or video chats with other friends or family members who are not with you – determine to stick to it.


(5)  Choose or compose a mantra to maintain your Cocoon inner-peace state – enabling you at a cellular level, to constantly be in a place of regeneration and new possibilities. Now, lighting a candle, take 5 deep breaths and fill your heart with GRATITUDE. Then, repeat this mantra, or choose one of your own.

  • I am not alone….
  • I am grateful for this connection with the people around me… / the abundance all around me / for the delicious meal I am being served (or am serving!)
  • I am blessed….

Repeat this mantra five times, with a fuller breath each time…


And whenever you can – whenever you feel a moment of quietness, or MOST challenged by your surrounds,  think of those less fortunate than yourself; for those who are alone, for our elderly citizens who go through this festive period without seeing another living soul, for parents who can not provide their children with the wishes and dreams so many children hope for at this time of year.


Know that you are a unique and special human being, and that your compassion and understanding of the difficulties other people face mean that you are working towards your Life Purpose – being a conscious, compassionate and understanding human being who feels and empathises with those in less fortunate positions.


Without compassion, we are nothing. By practicing your “inner-peace Cocoon” amongst the ones you most love – yet who may also trigger you most emotionally – you have the perfect opportunity to put your compassion into action…


So lets spread the inner-peace through compassion…. And may your hearts glow bright!


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. 

Learn to love yourself… this Valentine’s season

Do you find it far easier to give time and energy to others, than you do to investing in yourself?

As corny as it may sound, learning to love yourself IS the key to health and happiness.  Yet why do you and I resist it so?

Yep, it is a proven scientific fact: smiling increases serotonin levels and laughing helps endorphins swim around your system, soothing your nervous tension and, as you relax.  So why not give yourself a hug every day for a week and feel the benefits as you smile from the inside out:

So here are 5 tips to learn to love yourself, more easily, this Valentine’s season:

1*  Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you:

– speak to yourself kindly, especially when things don’t go to plan or when you make those very “human” errors that can make us feel so stupid at the time

– appreciate yourself for all of the good goings you do on a daily basis, for others and the world around you

– set realistic targets – in both work and home life –  and be kind to yourself whether you reach them… or not.

2* Be kind to yourself: – listen to your body and if you feel to tired to complete a task or have a conversation – choose to rest and rejuvenate your system.

3* Make regular you-dates: – choose somewhere beautiful, for lunch, a tea, a walk in nature, a museum with inspiring art and design, whatever fills you up with good energy ( and ideally helps you feel indulged, treated and boosts your inner-smile )

4* Re-treat yourself for a few minutes each day: – take a 10 minute “disconnection” break, without iPhone, emails, tweets or pings.  Just Stop! And out on some relaxing music – take some time to just be.

5* Book yourself into a yoga class, for a massage or for a day in the spa:- give yourself the gift of healing hands, our body does crave touch to release and let go, you deserve to feel nourished and cared for.

And most of all…. En joy what you do this Valentine’s season.

Make choices that make you happy.  Choose pleasure rather than pressure.   And do include dark chocolate, as it is also proven by our team’s smiles that a bite of what tastes that good is also great for your happiness and spreads the good loving feelings.


Join our Get Glowing Retreat to learn empowering and heart-opening techniques!