As founder and co-owner of Ibiza Retreats, Larah Davis, perhaps understands more than anyone the importance of stillness, mindfulness practices, and of course, retreating. When the news of the impending lockdown was announced in Ibiza, Larah’s season had already begun with the incredible Energy Master Louise Mita visiting from Hawaii to host 10 days of seminars, workshops and Integrative Quantum Medicine trainings. “We were just about to begin out private retreat season,” says Larah. “It was exciting, the buzz of the new season beginning. Hosting teachers and group leaders from all over the world for private and corporate retreats, as well as our own Glow and Harmonise signature group retreats. At the time had no idea how much this would affect the travel market.”
Larah prefers to call the period of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions the Global Pause. An interesting concept, given the way nature has responded and revitalised as humans have been forced to go within – literally and figuratively. “I realise now I was too busy,” says Larah. “My days including teaching yoga, coaching and consulting, to preparing for thoure retreats, dropping the kids at school and activities – there was a lot of driving!” This pause has enabled Larah to adapt her ways of doing business, and she has also given much of her time to the Ibiza community to help ease the stress and pressure of this unexpected situation. Here, she talks about her experiences.
Describe your Ibiza lockdown situation?
We are incredibly fortunate to live in a beautiful home in the campo where we have acres of space, fruit trees and gardens, a yoga deck and a yurt. We have a kids’ play area, and we bought chickens as soon as the lockdown was announced – a constant source of entertainment.
Did you expect the Ibiza lockdown to be as lengthy and restrictive as it was?
We honestly thought it would be over in a matter of weeks and had no idea how deep and wide this lockdown would be, nor how much it would affect the travel market, let alone how much fear it would perpetuate about travelling.
What is your daily life like now?
We embraced this opportunity to fully focus on outdoor and indoor projects together – repainting our home, clearing old cupboards and getting old energy out. We planted a huerta (veggie patch) and are always tending to our chickens. We put together a chicken house from a kit which took three days! It was interesting to use whatever materials we could find for the chicken run, as all the hardware stores were closed. We begin every day with a ‘family circle’ of movement, breathing together, checking in on how everyone is you feeling at the time, what their intentions are, what they want to do, work on, and enjoy that day. Then we then do a ‘tapping’ where we tap in positive affirmations onto our thymus gland (some people call this MET or EFT), such as: ‘I am strong, I am healthy, I am abundant, I am free.’ We end with a big family hug and it helps us start the day on a very positive note, connected and clear.
Does the day also include school and work?
My son JP has had private Zoom homeschooling in the mornings – with extra breakfast between sessions whilst I work on creative projects with Aura, my three-year-old daughter. I have been teaching two Zoom yoga classes each week – initially for free and now donation based – weaving in Integrative Quantum Medicine to clear fears, anxieties and uncertainties (the prevailing emotional stressors), boosting immune system function, physical and emotional strength and deepening our spiritual connections with our self – God/Spirit/the Creator and of course – with each other! Human connections have taken on a whole new dynamic – being together via Zoom, chanting mantras, checking in, setting intentions, sharing self-reflections has been transformative, healing and deeply supportive.
How are you feeling on a personal level?
I am feeling really strong, clear and positive about the future. My nervous system has been extremely grateful for the stillness; my mind for the head space which, as I sleep in a beautiful yurt, happens mostly in the evenings with two kids at home! This has given me the space and time to reflect, listen to my heart, and my intuitive guidance system – to take stock, reassess my priorities and refocus on my life path to continue to minimise stress and very gently take baby steps back out into the teaching coaching and working world, to stay in harmony with what my own energy levels need, alongside the needs of my family.
Who or what do you miss most right now?
The stables are open now but in the first few months, I really missed my beautiful horse and visualised her often!
What’s been most the challenging thing for you throughout this experience?
I truly chose to embrace this exceptional time. At the beginning, my son found it extremely challenging and disappointing not to be able to see his friends. At the age of nine, his friends are everything but…
Has there been anything about the lockdown experience that you’ve enjoyed?
Connecting deeply to my family and nature every day. We are so privileged to be living in nature, and have been deep in gratitude every day for this. Our family has flourished and we have all relaxed deeply without the stressors of school runs and many daily ‘have tos’. It has enabled us all to reassess our basic needs and heartfelt wishes. We are calling it the ‘global pause’.
Have you set yourself any goals during this period?
To be true to myself and embrace every moment to listen to my body, my intuition and enjoy this time to be creative – playing the guitar, singing daily, meditating and practicing yoga every day with my family. Business-wise, I have had to reinvent the wheel – I have gone back to focusing (several days a week only, as I have the kids at home) on teaching yoga one to ones, Yoga Therapy, Quantum Coaching via Zoom and Retreat Consulting for an amazing new project too. We have been simultaneously been launching an Open Shala through Ibiza Retreats and are developing an online retreat called Re-emergence to support people to ease out of the lockdown with the insights and learnings from this time with confidence, clarity and ease.
How do you keep in touch with the outside world?
Zooms and limited phone time. There have been SO many WhatsApp groups and I realised that too much info simply spins me out of my centre. So I pay attention to the most important information coming through. Screening very carefully and limiting my time on WhatsApp to the times when I am away from the children.
What’s been entertaining you during this period?
We have been in nature – and playing a lot of music! Especially from our incredible Ibiza community, with albums from dear friends like Laor Oman-Naharin, Nick Mulvey and many other Ibiza Familia talented artists all performing live on Facebook in a huge global CANTO COM AMOR which raised all of our heart frequencies to coalesce into a powerful loving sense of unity – strong, vibrant and bright!
What’s been educating you?
I have a lot of amazing friends who are neuro-scientists and natural researchers and I glide over the thousands of conspiracy theories to keep checking in with what is valuable to know about, with what I truly feel has truth in it and then I consider whether it is beneficial to share it or not. I had the pleasure of giving a podcast to educate about how to tap into the Quantum Field to empower ourselves in these challenging times on Vital Voices’ Voices of Resilience, which the phenomenal CEO Alyse Nelson launched as an online support for their 8,000.000 women around the world who are on the frontline serving their communities in famine, disaster areas and through war – places where safety is challenged and deep wells of personal strength are required.
What’s made you laugh during this time?
My kids – every day! And our chickens – who are, just hilarious – we love “chillin’ with the chickens”.
How do you feel Ibiza has come together (while staying apart) during lockdown?
It has been incredible – from driving food to people in need to the online support for emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.
How has the lockdown impacted your business and industry?
Honestly – we have had to put the physical side of Ibiza Retreats on pause until September. For the last two months, we’ve been offering online meditations, yoga and coaching to provide strength and support during these challenging times. We have launched our Open Shala weekly online classes plus one to one, Quantum Coaching, Yoga Therapy and Sound Healing workshops – keeping the vibes high and offering human connection, healing and empowerment for as many as we can. This was all initially free for the first six weeks and is now donation based to ensure everything is accessible and reflective of the way the Global Pause has impacted many in different ways.
How do you manage stress during such uncertain times?
Luckily I have an outdoor yoga deck – daily movement – yoga, breathwork, singing and DANCING! Plus a good ‘organic scream’ with my family team every once in a while – then back to dancing again!
How do you plan to adapt to the ‘new normality’ when business returns?
We have recalibrated our retreat business to begin on September 1, 2020 – we have had to allow for the uncertainty and not-knowing – and we will be launching the R-EVOLUTION Retreat which Susie Howell, my wonderful partner in Ibiza Retreats, and I, will be co-facilitating. The retreat is designed to empower you to reflect on your learnings from lockdown, to revitalise your body, optimise your energy levels and reset your life priorities to live with more purpose, passion and in a way that serves our world. It will feature Quantum Coaching to re-evaluate your life, reset your life priorities, and refocus on creating a NEW life story – where you live in greater harmony with yourself, your needs and those of your loved ones and the global community. We will empower you to revitalise and glow with uplifting flow yoga, yin and restorative yoga, and meditation practices; to release and transcend with transformative breathwork; celebrate your rebirth with Voiceessence Vocal Music Journey. Soothe your soul with massages and holistic therapies from our phenomenal team of therapists – leave with a clear life vision and a practical plan grounded in personalised daily rituals that empower you to thrive in body, soul and mind.
What are your hopes for Ibiza in the future?
To learn from what nature has shown us in these months – how quickly she regains her balance when we let her ‘be’ for a while. The dolphins swimming in the marinas, the birdsong louder than ever, and our hands-in-the-earth planting – we need to work as a community to care for our island, for each other and to find ways to equalise the economic divide to harmonise our island community again .
Do you have any fears for the future of the island?
Only if people rush back into the high-stress profit-oriented ‘survival and success’ driven day-to-day – we have to remember the importance of sharing, caring, our families, our friends, the small things that make life beautiful. The importance of human connection, being present for each other and listening to our needs so that we can live with much less stress and in greater joy and harmony.
What about your own future – how is that looking?
Ibiza Retreats is reopening in September and we’ll be launching our R-EVOLUTION Retreat, as mentioned earlier, where Susie Howell and I will be supporting you to ride the wave of transformation that this Global Pause has begun. I am very excited to continue to offer online tools for Vital Voices’ Global Partnership for leaders of non-profit organisations who have dedicated their lives to the greater good of humanity, and Tailormade Retreats for Vital Voices and many other organisations who recognise that health = happiness and that this is the true source of life wealth. Our continued collaboration with Sir Richard Branson’s The Lodge in Verbier and the amazing Wholey Cow Yoga Studio there also promise beautiful Alpine retreats to complement those in Ibiza and we are launching our 200-hour Teacher Training in Spring 2021. I am also excited to be meeting back with Suzanne Faith and our Yoga 4 Schools program, with a dedicated team of teachers to launch the second stage of the pilot project for teachers and students at local schools in Ibiza! Please get in touch if you are interested in more info.
What are you most looking forward to when the lockdown restrictions are lifted?
Ride my horse! Swim in the sea! Sing together with friends! Dance in the moonlight with friends!
Is there anything you might miss?
The peace – the quiet – the stillness – the simplicity – all elements we will be bringing into the new foundations we are laying in our personal family life, and with which we will be supporting our yogis and retreat guests to embed into their own self-care practices.
Any other reflections you’d like to share?
Embrace it. We have been running, running, running for so long. CHOOSE to consciously experience this re-emergence as an opportunity to continue to reassess your life choices and priorities. All the learnings from lockdown will support you to live a healthier, happier life with more consciousness about who you are, and your connection to the rest of humanity.