community consciousness

Community Consciousness – sober, centered and enjoying high vibes!

Photograph by Sophie Gomez Fonzo

When two candle-flames come together, the flame grows exponentially.

As the nights grow shorter and it gets colder doesn’t it feel good to get together, with other like-minded souls ?  Whether yoga, meditation, breathing, singing or even dancing together, when done with respect for one another, and one’s self, a certain magic happens and we come away feeling nourished at a heart-and-soul level.

  We are at a powerful turning point in humanity’s evolution.

We have spent too much time on Facebook, or alone in bed with our phones.

We are remembering how deeply good it feels to laugh, cry, sing, move, dance, practice yoga, meditation in silence or – equally – open our voices and share our stories with other open-minded, accepting and tolerant beings.

Because when we come together consciously, we are fulfilling one of the mot fundamental human needs: love and connection.   

Personally, being in groups where I can be myself, in my truth, helps me feel reconnected, seen, heard and also enables a vortex of energy in which, with common intentions, I can deepen my own experience and connection to myself. My inner-world and sense of spaciousness expands and I feel, in the right communities, a genuine raising of energy vibrations because I feel SAFE, my nervous system relaxes and I can rest into a rising sense of self-worth.

You, our retreat guests, give us as much positive feedback about the healing and inspiring process of forming a community dynamic as within your individual journeys on retreat.

For thousands of years, human beings have connected in circle, to smoke the pipe of peace, share the fire, eat together, sleep together to keep safe from wild animals, to pray, sing and dance for rain, sun and celebration.

We come as unique and magnificent beings whose energies, ideas and backgrounds weave a colourful and dynamic tapestry that is as enriching as it is interesting.

With so many of us living in individual apartments or homes, running our lives from our tablets and phones, a sense of disconnection can creep up and leave us feeling very much alonel being together like this enables us to be in the moment – to become present and feel more relaxed and in our zone.

So why not prioritise this November, as your mid-week radiator, your “in the diary non-negotiable” self-time to replenish your system with a positive self-love infusion of community-vibes?

Check our your local yoga studio for different and interesting events and experiences – because  it is much more than what happens on the mat.  The studios and shalas that are blossoming throughout our cities are becoming hubs for all sorts of consciousness-raising, good-vibes. They are creating “happenings” that offer opportunities for personal healing, growth – and above all the JOY of true connection.    

So, this November, make a promise to yourself of an ongoing commitment to nurture your own self-love and prioritise your self-care practices. Plan ahead where possible and make it an integral part of your day to day life.

And if you feel you are ready to invest further in yourSELF, have a look at our 2020 retreat calendar and join our beautiful community of like-minded souls on a transformational retreat at our luxurious hilltop hideaway in Ibiza – and enjoy a 10% discount off all retreat bookings made before December 31st!

We would be honoured to welcome you!

With love

Larah x

Embrace your Lunar Cycle for Deep Healing and Wellbeing

By Larah Davis

Our lunar cycle affects us in oh-so many ways….

 

This month, in the days prior to my bleed time, I felt angry, frustrated, highly emotional.  My “peaks and troughs” rendered me physically, as well as emotionally exhausted and, by the time my bleed arrived, the gratitude I felt, for this blissful relief and tension release, was beyond words.

And I was.  Beyond words.  The pains and aches had felt almost like contractions in the previous days.

Thankfully, I track my cycle.

I could surrender, pamper myself.  Let my family and husband know that I was in this “late autumn” phase of my moon cycle and that I needed more time and space to rest.  

So their expectations of me dropped.  And I could drop my own self-made pressures to ‘do-do-do’ for my children, home, and beyond.
When my bleed began, I was able to stop.  

To bless and just ‘be’ in the quieter time I needed.  I turned off my phone and minimised external interactions.  (And I have a 2 and an 8 year old – both on summer holidays – so this is no mean feat! I can tell you!)

I slept longer, gently cuddled my family more, and as I had pre-negotiated this “self-care time” I was able to retreat alone to my bed, bend my knees over a bolster and drift in and out of trance-like meditative sleeps.

You see, I began to study Womb Yoga several years ago.  So many of our retreat clients come with high levels of anxiety, depression, report mood-swings, exhaustion, overwhelm, insomnia, infertility…. I could keep going.

These are ALL stress-related issues and from what I have observed over the last 10 years of leading, teaching and facilitating on our retreats, the greatest stress that we put ourselves under constantly is to “perform” when our physical body, our innate knowing, our personal rhythms, are actually asking us to slow down, stop, rest and receive.

 

In essence, your Lunar Cycle calibrates the ovarian cycle that completes with menstruation each month.  Yet even pre, during and post-menopausal women, can still utilise the cycle to map out our monthly needs, as a woman.


Waxing Moon / Inner-Spring
– around days 7 – 13  (pre-ovulation phase)
Waxing to Full Moon / Inner-Summer – days 14 – 21 (ovulation)
Waning Moon / Inner-Autumn – days 21 – 28 (luteal phase)
Dark Moon / Inner-Winter – days 1 – 6 (approx)  menstruation

We all need the different internal ‘seasons’ which are naturally occurring, to both accelerate our creative projects, socialise and celebrate in Summer, to begin to slow down in autumn, reflect a little more, then rest and recharge in winter (where often the most amazing visions can flow forth) so that in Spring-time, from our winter of stillness, we are calmer, clearer fresh and replenished, full of new life and new zing!

By recording the fluctuations of your cycle you can recognise your emotional highs and lows, your energy peaks and troughs; you can identify when you are feeling physically and emotionally at your strongest and also know when you most need to ‘retreat’ and focus on your own self-care.


You can become the rider of your life horse, at one with the moon and the stars
to strategise your diary to meet and negotiate all your challenges – and yes these challenges can include such events as children’s birthday parties – when you are in your all-powerful, high-vibing summer-time.  Your meditation retreat? Best in Autumn or Winter.  Your 5K race? Possibly Spring!
Do you see how this can work for you? How, in fact, with this tracking and awareness of your cycle you can enable your whole BEING to work with the most benefit for you, as you stop over-doing it when your inner-wisdom tells you to.

And instead…. be like a tree…. reconnect to your body, that comes from the earth and receive the nourishment you need – open up your branches to receive the light, the space and the time that you need.

You can use different Apps to track your cycle – like My Moon Phase Lunar Calendar.

Or join us on our NOURISH women’s empowerment retreat that starts on Sunday 22nd of September, to experience a deep, transformative journey.

 

We utilise womb yoga, restorative and therapeutic flow yoga, sound healing, transformative breath-work, shakti-energy awakenings , pelvic floor healing, and crystal healing to embrace the sacred feminine power you hold – as well as naturopathic nutritionist guidance to balance your hormonal cycle.

Tailor-made programs of women’s treatments and therapies, enable you to focus on the personal healing you need, yet within an inspiring and supportive sisterhood – that enables you to live your truths, in body, heart and soul.

The world needs us to remember our connection to the earth – that we are “at one with the moon and the stars” (Desiderata).

 

Come join us this September – reconnect to the natural rhythms of your womb and her vital messages, release the self-made pressures….. and let your heart shine.

Contact us for full details of the Nourish Womens Empowerment retreat.

Wellbeing Voices

Of all of my years of Coaching, teaching, facilitating retreats, this May my dream to serve women leaders at the highest level became reality as we launched the first Wellbeing Voices residential program to serve the women who are serving our world to become a better place, at the highest and most dangerous and tenuous levels.

It was humbling and a deep honour to be present and seek to offer solutions for a Nobel Peace prize nominee, Vice president of an exiled political party who is seeking to inspire her country to create inner-peace.

Wellbeing Voices was born of shared visions, initiated by Silje Agustson, Vital Voices Board Member, our Ibiza Retreats client since 2015 and now-collaborator and my own dream to serve women leaders with vital tools and techniques to nourish their own physical, emotional and energetic needs.

As a former CEO, Silje knew, firsthand, that self-care and holistic health is the vital key to sustaining energy levels and enabling success in high pressure situations.  She invited me to create a bespoke program design the first Wellbeing Voices program to offer an integrated wellness experience to release stress and tensions, to maximise inner strength, inner-peace and fitness of body, mind and heart. And through this process, with workshops and experiences to allow the women space to deepen connections with themselves and each other, to empower the Vital Voices beneficiaries to rewrite their script for a sustainable future that starts with THEM filling their cups first, so that they have more to give.

With the invaluable support of Sagra Maceira de Rosen, Chair of Vital Voices Europe and Alyse Nelson, CEO and President of Vital Voices internationally, together we sponsorship was gained to fly participants in from around the world.  And together, with combined intentions, we realised the transformative power of coming together in a cohesive sisterhood to recharge and super-charge each others projects, political campaigns, international and internal peace-making.

“The women leaders that Vital Voices supports around the world carry entire communities and countries on their shoulders. The Wellbeing Voices Program in partnership with Ibiza Retreats could not have come at a better moment. The world is craving more women leaders but so often these leaders sacrifice their physical and emotional health to heal those around them. Over the course of six days, I watched these leaders release, exhale, focus on themselves and rejuvenate their mind, body and spirit. Many of the women who participated told me that this was one of the most valuable investments Vital Voices had made in them as leaders. I know each of us will carry the insights, practices and love from the week to fuel this important work forward.”       Alyse Nelson CEO Vital Voices

We welcomed beneficiaries from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mumbai, Washington DC, leaders of countries, humanitarian peacekeepers, incredibly articulate, movers & shakers, socio-economic innovators and bright-eyed, lion-hearted peaceful-warriors.  As we shared stories, I learned about a whole other level of stress – these incredible women have faced all sorts of adversity – including life-threatening situations on many occasions.  And still they continue….  to be the change the world needs to feel, hear and see.

 

“In the face of a global emergency to stand  for women’s rights, many of us have committed so fully and deeply to the struggle that we have at times forgotten to care for the ever so beautiful invisible energy that moves us day after day.   

 Wellbeing Voices is a powerful, integrative space for body, spirit and mind that allowed me to pause, connect, recharge and return to the essence within me.  Much like an air filter, it helped me clean up, to fiercely share myself and work with the world again.”

Xiomara Diaz, Founder of UPNicaragua

Founded by Hilary Clinton in 1997 and US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, following following the United Nations Fourth world conference on women in Beijing, these leading ladies created Vital Voices to make space for women to be heard. The founders knew then what has now become a universal truth: that women are essential to progress in their communities. Our world cannot move forward without their full participation. Today, the organisation is the product of the women who have been involved, their insights into leadership and adapting to our changing world.

Under the guidance of CEO and President Alyse Nelson and integrated leadership boards, Vital Voices identifies a Woman Leader with a daring vision, and then the organisation partners with her to make that vision a reality  Through long-term investments that expand her skills, connections and visibility, Vital Voices accelerates her efforts. This groundbreaking approach is divided in to four areas of focus:

 

  1. Individualised Investments
  2. Signature Programmes
  3. Network activation & Global Advocacy
  4. Thought Leadership

 

Vital Voices invests in leaders because they take the responsibility to improve societies. They strengthen laws, create jobs and defend political freedoms.

Our investment in one woman leader impacts hundreds and thousands more. Vital Voices partners with women who demonstrate leadership that unites and inspires people, who exhibit visionary thinking and take risks to innovate. Each leader in their global network believes in mentoring the rising generation and shares her knowledge, experience and influence with others.

Our work with Vital Voices has only just begun – because we are all, as women leaders, vital voices for all those who cannot yet speak, due to trauma, fear of self-expression or political or religious repression, through working together, we co-create, we stimulate, we envision and dreams for peace and wellbeing for humanity, can begin to truly unfold

Life success can only happen when teachers, students, leaders, all of us are embodying “SELF-CARE” as THEY key to sustainable health and happiness.  We are seeing it and feeling it.in the blossoming yoga studios and wellness centers, in the kids on facebook and instagram going on strike to raise awareness about the damage we are doing to our planet to create wellness at the level of mother earth, in attitude and in proactive responsibility for our world.

Wellbeing Voices has also served as the launchpad for expanding our offerings for Corporate retreats.

Sometimes we need help to rediscover our Glow…

 By Susie Howell. Co-Director of Ibiza Retreats.

I am always amazed by the human condition and how people deal with life. It can be so beautiful and yet so cruel. There is so much pain and suffering in the world, but there is also so much joy and happiness and love. Sometimes we have to work a little harder to find the love and sometimes we need a little help to stay on track through the ups and downs, to hold our nerve through the waves and the deserts.
In this work that I am so fortunate call a career – or a vocation –  I am more and more fascinated by the true power of intention, of positive vibration and the absolutely unequivocal notion that mental health and harmony is at the root of leading a peaceful and happy life.
Mental health (or mental wealth as we prefer to call it) is not simply about ‘getting through’ life. It’s about the belief that every human being has a right to navigate their own pathway, fully equipped with resources of inner strength, compassion and self awareness, so that we can negotiate the twists and turns of life and all its unique challenges.
We all have tough times – and mental ‘dis-ease’ looks very different for each individual. But the way in which we view periods of ‘dis-ease’ in ourselves goes a long way to explaining how we can heal and be empowered through them.
We can do this by re-balancing, by grounding, by reconnecting – by doing the work (yeah – unfortunately it IS work!) that leads us towards self-realisation and teaches us the value of a daily practice to keep us anchored when the waters of life get rough.
We have just completed the first two Glow retreats of the season and I am starting to understand how profound the initial vision we had for this retreat has been and how this concept is really so right – for right now – for these challenging times and is so needed, by so many!
I have honestly been blown away by the impact that this retreat has had on the lives of the wonderful people who have joined us so far. I have received countless emails and updates from our Glow guests and it feels like such a privilege to be part of it.
It’s been a soul-achingly beautiful experience, and I am so full of gratitude for this journey that I am on right now.
Despite having a yoga retreat company and access to all the ‘tools’ possible, the last few months have been the most difficult of my life.
What my own experience is teaching me is that when your heart feels cracked open (and I really get that now) – you can accept and let in the LIGHT!
You can also access and let out all the love, empathy and compassion, kindness and raw human emotion that you have inside your heart.
You can let it wash out and pour over everything that you encounter and everyone you meet.
You can see the person standing in front of you with 20/20 vision and really look someone in the eye and say “I understand” and really mean it.
I have so much gratitude for what the last few difficult months have taught me. The raw-ness, the pain –  it has been hard, but now this huge ‘opening of a doorway’ into myself feels like an incredible opportunity for self-realisation and to let go finally of what is not serving me.
This is how I can best describe our GLOW retreats;
“It’s not something that is easy to define, but ‘to glow’ is a shining & inspiring state of consciousness; an internal understanding between your inner self and your physical body, which exudes and radiates, from the inside out, that shows a positive effect on every part of you, in body, mind & spirit.”
The concept was originally something we we worked on last year when we were defining and developing the retreats we offer. It just felt right and it felt good… The only way I know how to run a retreat is by creating an experience which appeals to me and which I would like to attend myself. I had no idea at the time how this retreat concept would unfold and how grateful I would be for this experience.
So, this is my invitation to you.
Be brave, be courageous and work towards being the best version of yourself that you possibly can. Navigate your inner compass and reconnect to your source. Give yourself this gift. In fact, it is not a gift –  it’s a necessity for life. Going on retreat should no longer be considered a luxury, but an incredibly important part of the self-care journey towards understanding and nurturing your mental WEALTH and doing what you need to do to be the best friend, daughter, partner, wife, husband, mother, father, friend.
Don’t focus on what it will cost you – look at the value of this connection back to yourself and how it will serve you on your life path.
I have been sent this beautiful testimonial from a recent Glow retreat guest, who has generously allowed me to share it, so that others can appreciate the transformation that can happen when you take that brave step towards your deserved happiness…..

Dear Susie, Morris, Sarah, Anna, Mar and everyone at Ibiza Retreats

I’m sorry that it has taken me so long to write and thank you. I had a blissful weekend with my family when I got home and then have been straight back into work (which gave me a huge headache on my first day). 
I can’t tell you quite how much you have done for me really. I can’t thank you all enough. Alongside Louise, Fay and Shambala, you have all played a very important role in my journey of recovery! I am once again present in myself and everyone I have seen has welcomed me back. My tone has normalised (apparently) and I am able to BE with the people around me again. I have been pouring love into my children and I hope that I have made it back to them just in time….I’ve learned so much about the practice of yoga that I didn’t know before and now understand what it can do for healing. I hope to continue somewhere here when I can find a practice that suits my schedule. I have been grounding and meditating every day, the children have also been doing this with me and it is really helping us all to deal with the stresses and strains of our overstimulated days! 
I think about you all regularly and hope that you are experiencing love and luck in your every day lives. Please do keep me updated with what’s going on and if there is every a space on a retreat going begging, me and my husband would jump at the chance!! 
Massive love to you all, you are doing the most amazing work. 
Crushing hugs,
XXXXX
If you are ready to join us, here is some more information about what you can expect to experience on the Glow retreat;
* Amazing yoga led by one of the most incredible teachers I have ever met. Anna McColl teaches yoga in a way which means you can really go inside yourself. Her cues and choreography are so beautiful and inviting that you find you can close your eyes whilst she teaches and really ‘feel’ into your own body.
Do you ever get that feeling that you are living a few feet away from your physical body? The yoga that Anna teaches brings you back to the present, to the moment – where you are truly alive. She breaks down the myths and scary bits about so many elements of asana and pranayama so that you can make huge progress in your practice whilst you are with us.
* A journey through chanting, mantra and meditation. We explain, we show up and we CREATE, as we explore the ancient mantra systems and chant to open the energy channels of the subtle body. You can expect huge transformations, without a doubt! A yoga practice is exactly that – it’s a work in progress and it’s a colourful journey towards the light within.
* A beautiful, soulful place to rest your head. Our retreat villa, Can Luminosa, is set high on top of a mountain in the pine forest with panoramic views of the mystical, tranquil North of Ibiza.
* Incredible soul-feeding, nourishing, colourful (you’ll be eating a rainbow!) food created with pure love by our chef, Mar Talavera. Mar’s passion and energy is really heartfelt – and you can taste it! It’s true that we are what we eat. We serve seasonal, mostly organic, totally home-made vegetarian food with some local cheese, honey and eggs. We can cater for vegans and most other dietary requirements or preferences. You will quickly see and feel the difference in your body and mind.
* Magical experiences which we like to keep a secret until you arrive! Mind blowing and existential openings to breathe in, absorb and then take away with you. Let go of what you think you need and fill yourself to the brim with all this new knowledge and understanding.
* A team of incredibly supportive, genuinely beautiful souls, who are all in service to you and are there to ensure you get the best from your experience with us. We are on hand to support you and your process throughout your time with us.
I’d love you to come and join us on this beautiful journey.
With love,

 

 Susie x

 

Dates for the GLOW retreats are:
* 11-14 May – Mini weekend GLOW
* 19-25 May
* 15-21 June
* 10-17 August – Summer GLOW
* 17-24 August – Summer GLOW
* 16-22 September
* 05-10 October

It’s January – How are you doing?

By Susie Howell – Co-Director of Ibiza Retreats.

December is such an intense month, isn’t it? The social and family plans, the food shopping, the present buying and possibly some expensive travel arrangements to visit relatives thrown into the mix mean that stress levels are already understandably high before we even get to the build up to the end of the year –

It can feel super ‘strong’ on our nervous systems & on our emotions…

And then the expectation is that when the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December, heralding the start of a New Year, we will wake up full of enthusiasm, clarity, inspiration and ideas and we jump out of bed in order to begin this exciting process of complete transformation!

Ok, so the reality is more often than not a little different, to say the least!

Many of us feel really exhausted after the over-indulgences of the festive period – be it food, alcohol, sugar, family and of course the pressure that we put on ourselves… it can mean January the 1st might leave you feeling a little flat and less than fabulous, with a definite air of uncertainty on how to make a change in your life. It can feel like an onslaught of all the things you ‘should’ be doing to go into this new year as a ‘better’ version of yourself, and this can be incredibly overwhelming.

I actually dislike the whole concept of New Year’s resolutions, as I feel that they make us look at what we think we need to improve about ourselves. This intrinsically means we are not accepting ourselves as we are and are looking to ‘fix’ things about ourselves that are not good enough.

I prefer a slightly adjusted version of the word ‘resolution’ and I thing it sounds so much more kind to say “I resolve.”

Instead of making a resolution to do, eat, behave differently, ‘to resolve’ is like a kind promise to yourself.

For example;

  • I resolve to take myself on a walk outside, or in nature as much as possible.
  • I resolve to treat myself kindly and give myself a little time each day.
  • I resolve to not push myself too hard and to listen to what my soul really needs.
  • I resolve to regularly nourish myself with good, healthy food.

Rather than start the New Year off with a whole bunch of stuff you say you ‘shouldn’t be doing’ each day, try resolving to bring some wonderful practices into your life that will make you feel enriched and alive, instead of pressured and deprived.

Here are some of my personal & really practical tips for easing into 2019 and for creating the smoothest start possible. These tips are not about punishment – they are about reward. So you ended up having a glass of wine on January 3rd – who cares? Every day is a new beginning. You have not failed, you are human and you are doing your best.

 

  • Resolve to spend more time coming back to yourself and taking a moment to focus on your breath. It’s ok to start at the next breath – each breath is a new beginning, a fresh start. So never feel like you’ve missed the boat. Just take a deep breath and…start again
  • Resolve to nurture yourself by drinking plenty of water. It’s easier to do this in the summer when we feel parched more often, but resolve to hydrate your body a little more every day. Clear your system from the inside-out and clean your internal space. It’s funny how once you begin the process of self –care with tiny steps, each step feels that much easier. So start small – from tiny acorns the tallest oak trees grow,
  • Resolve to take a few minutes each morning, before you do anything else, to connect to your breath. To ground yourself and root yourself . Set a very simple intention for the day ahead – rather than a very long list of unrealistic goals. Be specific! Take one day at a time but have an overall goal of wellness and self-care in your head. One daily task achieved is better than a long list of uncompleted aspirations.
  • Resolve to be kinder and more forgiving to yourself. Every day, every hour, every minute, every breath is a new start. Rather than tie yourself to a day on the calendar  – that will come around again soon enough – try looking at each moment in life as a new beginning.

 

We’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to join us on one of our incredible healing and transformational retreats.

 Our soulful retreats offer peace, relaxation but plenty of fun with inspiring holistic support alongside practical techniques to learn and take away with you, to incorporate into your day-to- day life. We offer a unique blend of yoga, mindfulness, life-coaching, holistic wellness workshops and tailor-made strategies for on-going self-care.

If you need to change something in your life, then along with the little things, take a really positive step and start planning your own Self Care for 2019.

If you feel you would like to dive deep, join us on one of our Harmonise or Nourish retreats – where your experience is very held and you are guided through the process.

Or if you like the yoga practice to do the work for you, as you trust in the magical process which takes place on the mat , try our GLOW retreat.

If you book before the end of January, then we will offer you a 10% discount and the choice of either an Indian Head Massage or Reflexology treatment, to add to your complimentary diagnostic, holistic full body massage. 

Remember – as we forge forwards into 2019, Kindness is Key – say something lovely to yourself every day.

I hope we will see you on the mat here at Ibiza Retreats soon!

Namaste

Susie x