If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’d probably realise quite quickly that I’m not ~quite~ a wellness blogger. I definitely quite like my veg, I’ve recently joined a gym and I’ve acquired quite a nice gym-wardrobe to go with it (although my dad likes to just call that ‘all gear, no idea’) but I’m about as much of a yogi bear as Baloo from the Jungle Book, and am about as good at switching off (and not worrying) as Ben Stiller in Along Came Polly. So yeah, there’s that…
So! When Joe and I were invited to try our first ever yoga retreat, at Soulshine Retreats, it’s safe to say I was a whole bag of excited, nervous and unsure as to what to expect. I’d only done yoga enough times to count on one hand (once being a class that I collapsed nearly every time I tried a move)- so it was safe to say I wasn’t going to be the most equipped person there. But, regardless of any concern, I had nothing to worry about, and was blown away by how welcome, encouraged and relaxed we were made to feel- so I thought I’d break it down and tell you a little more about our dreamy few days in Ibiza…
It’ll be a bit like being in a film…
Nestled away in the Ibizan countryside, our retreat was situated in a beautiful traditional farmhouse with green open grounds, a sparkling turquoise pool and fresh flowers dappling every corner. With fresh meals provided daily and cooked by an in house chef (who seriously knew her stuff)- it was easy to feel totally spoilt with the absolute minimum to think about- I was just waiting for Cameron Diaz to appear with her yoga mat at any moment…
Yoga can be incredibly rewarding (yes, this is still Liv typing)
Although I won’t score points in the flexibility department- the feeling of relaxation, work and payoff you get after spending the morning doing 2 hours of sunrise yoga is definitely something. With the option of yoga at least twice a day (which other classes or workshops in-between) there was plenty of opportunity to perfect tricky moves, and even a class for beginners like Joe and I. On top of that, doing yoga in such a mixed group definitely made me realise that a good teacher will always help you pick out your strengths and will never make you feel bad for not being able to do something. They want you to feel good, comfortable and by no means ever out of your depth- so I was definitely well looked after by their amazing team of teachers (even if I had to stick to childs pose a few times)!
Meeting new people wasn’t scary
…(and not everyone will be a yoga expert). Before we left Joe was worried that he’d be the only guy in the group that didn’t know much about yoga, but in reality you’ll meet a complete mix of people- all of whom will be lovely. For things like this, many people travel alone or in pairs, but everyone is willing and there to make friends and chat- everyone wants to have a lovely time after all! Once you get chatting I promise the rest will be easy!
Nothing is too much
Whilst we were at Soulshine, the team went above and beyond to make sure our stay was nothing short of spectacular. Even with Joe forgetting his contact lenses (not zen) to answering any question we had at any time of day (whether that was what directions to give our cab driver one evening)- the team were there to make sure each step of your break was as smooth as your vinyasa flow (see what I did there)?
A retreat isn’t like school
Unlike some places, this gorgeous retreat wanted you to relax. You don’t have to spend all day doing yoga if you don’t fancy it and you can have all the free time in the world if you want to- the team understand that it’s still your holiday; and how each person interprets relaxation is different and personal- and that’s fine! Equally if you want to tick off every activity here you can (they have the most amazing treatment menu packed with everything from massages to mindfulness)- so everything is totally optional.
Vegan food can be delicious
I’m going to be honest, this one I was a little worried about! I’m a relatively healthy eater at home- but being quite a fussy eater, I wasn’t sure how I’d get along with a totally healthy menu (no bread or sugar here)- and let me tell you, it was pretty damn delicious. With fresh breakfasts, juices, two course lunches and three courses dinners every day- I was amazed at the amount of new things I tried (they nailed the best chia pudding I’d tasted) and of course ended up feeling healthier then I’d ever felt- no bloating here, thank you!
Admittedly, you will feel amazing
Although my body did embrace the daytime hours of sleep (read: I slept, a LOT) and did find some things challenging, I found that I did start finding my confidence again. I hadn’t felt happy/been in a bikini in a while (no tiny violins here plz), but something about eating well and exercising definitely gave me the confidence to feel good in myself which was amazing and something I can’t thank everyone here enough for (now just to try and maintain it at home)!
And it doesn’t end there…
After coming home we were also lucky enough to receive an email packed with useful ways of incorporating the things we learnt during the retreat into my everyday life. The team are so aware that not everyone has 2 hours before breakfast to do yoga (I don’t have 2 hours to keep pressing snooze)- so it was refreshing to see how I could add a little yin and yang into my day to day hectic life and try and become a little more zen for the future- because heaven knows if I could, ever other week would just be spent here.