I’ve always wondered how I’d fare at a yoga retreat. While having certainly dabbled in the practice over the years I’ve never been as dedicated as I’d like to be and, despite my best intentions in all honesty I’ve often found it tricky to really discipline myself and concentrate. The plan was for this summer to be the catalyst for change; my 2020 vision board, so lovingly created one weekend in January when we all thought we had the adventures of a whole year ahead of us, features a cutout of a lithe bronzed body, eyes closed and face to the sun, in lotus pose on a jetty, surrounded by the glistening turquoise waters of the Balearic Islands. While the intention was there to at last take myself off to an Ibizan retreat, COVID evidently had other plans.
A retreat held in my living room may not have quite the same appeal as practicing in the healing environs of Es Vedra, but nonetheless an invitation to try the 40 day home programme from Soul Adventures persuaded me to give yoga another chance and try to change those ingrained habits. The lifestyle, healing and yoga retreat company was set up in 2006 by Trish Whelan, a renowned Kundalini Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Shamanic Healer, Reiki Master Teacher and Sound Healing Therapist. With its headquarters and main retreat home in Ibiza, a world away from the island’s buzzing club scene nestled in the hills of the north, its retreats have been running since 2013, with transformative practices to cleanse the soul and delicious menus of organic food to heal the body, on one of the world’s most beautiful and spiritual islands.
Earlier this year Trish launched The Essential Guide for Soul Adventurers, the 40 day programme focuses on daily warm ups, kundalini yoga practices, kriya practices and meditations, all set to carefully curated playlists and accessed via QR codes, for an empowering self-care experience that can be accessed from anywhere. Presented in a beautiful hardback peppered with inspirational images of Ibiza and beyond, it’s been created with the utmost love and care in every page. It’s a dedication to not just the transformative powers of the practice, but to the healing magic of Ibiza, and it’s left me itching to return next season.
I admit to apprehension, putting aside the time each day to dedicate to practice was the first hurdle; with a 10 or 20 minute daily warm up, followed by a ‘check in' with Trish, then the actual practice and relaxation, it seemed like a lot. With Day One launching straight in to an hour’s practice - a bold move given the previously admitted lack of concentration - I pondered whether this would be for me, but with lockdown life eliminating my commute and giving me an hour back each day there really was no excuse not to embrace it. The book is segmented to focus on cleansing different areas of the body through exercises over a period of several days.
Some practices I enjoyed more than others, some I found intensely difficult to see through, either mentally or physically, and ended up giving up on and returning to another day. More than once I doubted whether anything would come of the time I was putting in or whether the whole thing was really for me; it took me a while to really get into the swing of things and to find my space and it certainly took me a lot longer than 40 days to complete the whole thing. Nevertheless I persevered and while I’m not sure the extent to which I felt the profound sense of healing the retreat aims for, I did come out the other side stronger, leaner and - despite those initial misgivings - with a renewed level of concentration I wasn’t sure was possible. It’s been a journey which has helped navigate some of the more emotionally challenging aspects of this new lockdown life we’re all living and while my practices have reduced since completing the 40 days, it’s left me with the tools to dip back in when I need a focus, which I shall always value.
Fingers crossed next summer may see me back on the White Isle, but for now I’m firmly a virtual Soul Adventurer.
The Essential Guide for Soul Adventures €180, available HERE.