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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

Yoga for daily life: Let’s go outside! 

Sometimes it’s all about changing the perspective. Shake things up and shake out the body to release stagnant energy, and Mother Nature offers us many gifts which can deepen our concentration and help guide the body within our yoga practice. So why not take your yoga practice outside? Ok, you might not be in Ibiza right now – but the sun can be shining in your heart!

Featured yoga pose: We love the good old Warrior 3! It strengthens the whole body, especially the legs, around the hips and most importantly, the core. It focuses the mind as you need the concentration to keep the energy flowing from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes. And today, we are going to try Warrior 3 against a tree.

  1. Begin in mountain pose, rooting down through your left leg
  2. Inhale and draw your right knee up towards your chest, hands on hips
  3. As you begin your exhale, lean forward, hands on the tree and extending your right leg back, hips square, energy between your hip bones
  4. Activate you whole body from toe to body perpendicular to the floor, keeping the core strong. Keep breathing here – take five to ten deep breaths up and down your spine, finding the space inside you
  5. Then inhale and bring your right leg back to standing – keep the leg up! And exhale back

Ask someone to stand behind you whilst you do this to ensure your hips are square. It may help to try to strengthen from the inner thigh rather than the outer thigh. They can even offer you their own thigh to press against – so you are using the tree and the other person to really activate the very core of you. Now you should feel the power of the warrior…

Book a one to one yoga session with our private instructors

Yoga for daily life: Purifying Breath Techniques

The essence of yoga is really all about purification. Keeping the body pure and healthy through the physical asanas, detoxifying the mind of negative thoughts and emotions and creating space in the breath for this ‘prana’ or life force energy to flow.

Featured breathing technique

Nadi Shodhan. We introduce this gently purifying ‘pranayama’ (breath) technique to help clear out blocked energy channels in the body, which in turn calms the mind. ‘Nadi’ means subtle energy channel and ‘Shodhan’ represents cleaning and purification. This can be done anytime of the day, not just on the yoga mat – we suggest two to three times daily to really experience the benefits.

  1. Sit comfortably with your spine long and shoulders relaxed
  2. Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, thumb on the right
  3. Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left
  4. Now breathe in from the left nostril, close the left nostril gently and breathe out from the right
  5. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. This is one round – try nine
Other benefits of purifying breath techniques?

Our minds have a tendency to regret or glorify the past or get anxious about the future. This helps us to stay present. It helps harmonise the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personalities. This breath technique prepares the body and mind for meditation, so try a short meditation afterwards.

Featured retreat: Boutique Yoga & Detox

The Ibiza Retreats Boutique Yoga and Detox retreat is very special. It’s for people wishing to begin a fresh journey into their wellbeing – words fail to exactly describe why this experience is so unique and touching. The transformations that happen in just four days, make it one of the most powerful retreats on offer. Our guests leave as completely different people, or rather, they have discovered who they really are again.

A typical day on retreat:

08.30:  Morning meditation and detoxifying yoga
11.00:   Detox juices and fresh organic brunch
12.00 – 16.00:  Massages and treatments by the pool
17.00:   Restorative yoga
19.00:   Sunset hike to Heaven’s Gate (Las Puertas del Cielo)
20.30:   Light supper
22.00:   Star-gazing, raw cacao hot chocolate and sweet dreams

The menu concept on the Boutique Yoga & Detox retreats is focused on a gentle detox for the mind and the body. It’s not about starvation, it’s about fresh and simple cuisine. Day three is a juice detox, a time to take your mind off food and focus inwards, in order to better understand your relationship with food and to give your system a total break and a gentle detox – perfect for those new to juicing.

Don’t be deceived by the name, the sea views, the deep green pine forest, the breeze blowing through the lavender or the beautiful burning torches which light the pathways at night. Our retreat location, Can Bikini, is a true sanctuary in every sense of the word, an oasis of calm and a little piece of paradise on the south-west coast of this magical island.

Reserve your mind and mat space now – our next Boutique Yoga & Detox retreat takes place from April 19 to 23, 2015 and there are also various dates over the forthcoming summer season. Find more information by clicking here.

Yoga for daily life: Postures to open your heart

Tightness around the chest and shoulders is often put down to the stress and tension of daily life, but it can also be the body’s natural defence against our hearts getting hurt. Heart-opening postures can help to gently open your heart through yoga – to new loves, life experiences and feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

Featured posture

Setu-Bhandu (bridge pose). As well as being a beautiful heart-opening posture, this also strengthens the spine, improves spinal flexibility and stimulates the thyroid gland. For the ultimate in restorative healing, use a block underneath your lower spine (just where the top of your buttocks start) to work with the adrenals and deeply relax the body.

  1. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet parallel
  2. Lift hips up
  3. Interlace fingers behind your back, drawing your shoulder blades together
  4. Lift the hips higher
  5. Draw the chest toward the chin
  6. Release the hands and peel the spine back to the mat
  7. Rest, allowing the knees to come together

After practicing heart-opening postures like this, you will feel lighter, brighter and more receptive to the beautiful things around you – especially to love!

Why not try Anusara yoga, which is a yoga philosophy completely dedicated to opening the heart? Make sure you focus on your breath when undertaking any posture or practice, for the breath will tell you all you need to know… when you learn to listen.