Ibiza has long been a haven for yoga enthusiasts, whether it’s to experience a rejuvenating retreat in beautiful surroundings, or as a place of permanent residence for those seeking to escape the hectic pace of city life. As the wellness community in Ibiza continues to expand at a rapid rate, more and more of the world’s leading yoga teachers are landing on our doorsteps. We caught up with some of our favourite instructors to find out just what it is about Ibiza that makes it such a special place to embark on a yoga practice…
James Giuseppi, Stretchom
English born James Giuseppi was working as a trader in London in the 90s, when he fell into a spiral of alcohol and drug addiction. He took up yoga, to try and balance his lifestyle but it was only after a trip to Ibiza that he began to take the idea of becoming clean and sober seriously. He says without yoga, this couldn’t have been possible and today he is one of the island’s leading private yoga and retreat teachers.
‘If you’re going to teach, you have to take time to tune in to how you feel. It’s absolutely vital for integrity,’ he says. ‘But saying I’m a completely enlightened being, it’s absolute bollocks, I’m not. I still struggle with loads of stuff and if I don’t do my yoga for a couple of days I become really quite crabby!’
Susie Howell, Ibiza Retreats
Ex-advertising guru Susie Howell spent her 20s working hard, playing hard and making the most of her glamorous life in London, using her yoga practice as a way to find internal balance. Upon announcing her plans to move to Ibiza as a full-time yoga teacher in 2010, her colleagues suspected she was turning into a crazy, tree-hugging hippy… but secretly, now they’re probably all just a little envious of her newfound lifestyle.
‘You’ll often find me on the beach doing yoga, or I’ll go to Es Vedra to meditate,’ she says of her self-practice here on the island. ‘There’s just something about this place. I think the fact it’s drawn so many party people for so many years, there’s got to be something about the energy and I think it’s wonderful that we’re able to use it for holistic purposes too.’
James DeMaria, DeMaria Yoga Dance
Former dancer James DeMaria was lured to Ibiza by the call of the acid house culture, combined with the ability to practice yoga within the island’s beautiful natural surroundings. It was love at first sight, and after returning home, he tied up all loose ends and hotfooted it back to the white isle to take up teaching full-time. Today, he runs Yoga In The Village in San Juan, plus teaches retreats and private classes.
‘I think people can find peace here and they can also go crazy,’ he says. ‘They can have the best of both worlds – the idea of having yoga holidays and also being able to go clubbing is quite attractive. At the end of the day, yoga is not a geographical location, people find the discovery in themselves. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, it’s more of a space inside.’
Sebastien Carincotte, Hot Yoga Ibiza
French-born Sebastien Carincotte has been living in Ibiza for seven years and teaching Bikram Yoga for the last three years. Today he runs Hot Yoga Ibiza, a drop-in yoga centre on the outskirts of Ibiza Town (and the only Bikram studio in Ibiza), open all-year round and attracting locals and holidaymakers alike.
‘Most people think Ibiza is all about parties and clubs, but that’s not right at all,’ he says. ‘It’s a lot of other things – you can do yoga, go to the beach, eat great food… there’s a balance, you get two sides to Ibiza. It’s a really special place on all levels. You speak Spanish, French, English Italian – it makes me grow, spiritually.’