It was a combination of intuition and logic that told Sebastien Carincotte – owner and founder of the Hot Yoga Ibiza studio in Ibiza town – that a long and serious lockdown was coming Ibiza’s way in late February. He’d been teaching at the studio six days a week as usual, but had started to notice his students’ attendance dropping off. This wasn’t like other winters, where some students took vacations or headed back to their hometowns. This was a totally different experience. The news from China had been dominating the news for months, and Italy had taken over the headlines from February. As the number of Spanish Coronavirus cases began to rise following the exact same pattern, Sebastien was not surprised with the announcement of state of alarm on March 14, 2020.
He had taught his last class the morning before, cancelling the evening’s class on the advice of the Balearic government. As police began closing down gyms, spas and sports centres, Sebastien retreated to his home with an understanding that he would need to make some serious adaptations to his life. The born and bred Parisian – who has worked in the yoga industry for 12 years with very little time off – found himself thriving under confinement, enjoying the time to go back to basics: think, breathe, relax and start to live sustainably off-grid, even planting his own vegetable garden. Here, he shares the positive side of living in lockdown, as he waits to see what the future holds for the yoga and tourism industries in Ibiza.
Describe your current Ibiza lockdown situation?
I’m locked down in a small house with a little garden in Cap Martinet, in the south of the island. I’m staying with my new room mate, who moved in right at the begining of the lockdown because he was in need, and my cat. I really believe sharing makes the experience much easier.
What is your daily life like now?
It’s so pleasant! I wake up in the mornings in a natural way, without stress – simply when my body doesn’t need to rest anymore, which is around 5am most of the time. I do some breathwork and enjoy staying in bed until the sun comes up. Now that we’re allowed to exercise in the mornings, I walk down to the sea and take a dip, and I love to take photographs at this time. Then it’s back home for breakfast for us, and the cat, and I go into our garden to check on the progress of our new huerta (veggie patch). If the sun is shining I’ll sunbathe for at least 20 minutes, I’ll clean the house – it all depends on my mood. There are so many things to do!
How are you feeling on a personal level right now?
I feel good most days, but on a rainy day for example, it feels a little heavier and I do start to feel more emotional. When I do feel a little down (which happens when I receive some bills, or the weather is bad), I do some breathwork on a deeper level and normally it helps me to balance my mindset. Then, I feel better.
Who or what do you miss most right now?
My daily routine of going to the beach and swimming. Although we’re allowed to exercise now and I can walk to the sea, the beaches are still closed for sunbathing and swimming.
What’s been most the challenging thing for you throughout this experience?
The economical aspect. No money, no honey.
Has there been anything about the lockdown experience you’ve enjoyed?
Lots of things! I’ve enjoyed having time, no running, no stress. It surprised me to see that the way I walk now is not he same as before – I’ve slowed down. I enjoy the silence, soooo much! No planes flying over my house during the day, almost no boats going to Formentera. Just the sounds of the birds or the neighbour’s chicken singing. I love going back to the roots!
How do you keep in touch with the outside world?
I’m doing what feels right for me – rarely using my phone or social media. I’ll check the news once in the morning, and then I try to keep my phone away all day, as I feel much better when I don’t use it. I don’t speak with many people, just friends maybe once a week. I’m not working at the moment, but I’m getting organised to teach some virtual breathwork classes, so I spend some time at the computer too.
What’s been keeping you busy during this period?
My housemate and I have done fabric painting, we play cards, bake cakes, listen to music and dance, paint the walls, and look after the huerta, I have my photography – there’s always something to do if you want it, but it’s also good to sometimes just do NOTHING. It’s nice to sleep a lot too.
What’s been entertaining you during this period?
I’m using social media less than ever before – I’m not really a fan of most channels anyway. The only one I love is TikTok – it’s so fun and fresh. I do listen to a lot of music, on YouTube or Soundcloud, and I watch series and movies on Netflix.
Are you factoring exercise and movement into your time spent at home?
Of course. When the sun begins to hit the terrace, it’s time for a body workout – sometimes on my own, sometimes with my housemate. We play in the garden, volleyball, we practice yoga, we do breathing. There is no strict routine, just whatever I feel like.
Have you set yourself any goals during this period?
I’ve just enjoyed being home, getting fatter! I gained weight and I’m soooo happy about it! I haven’t set any goals other than taking care of myself, and using this time as a kind of personal retreat. And it works!
How has the lockdown impacted your business and industry?
I had to close the Hot Yoga Ibiza studio due to the lockdown, temporarily, I hope. The impact of this will be huge. Not just for me, but also my students – most of them (like many people in Ibiza) rely directly or indirectly on tourism.
How do you manage your stress levels during such uncertain times?
I manage my stress by being present and using my breath, and mantras too. I observe the thinking process, without participating or nourishing it.
What are your hopes for Ibiza in the future?
I hope that we will go back to the roots of what is really important in life. Human behaviour normally changes when pushed beyond his limits, so… let’s see. I don’t think there will be much of a season this year, so the way Ibiza used to function is not going to work. We have to reinvent ourselves; find creative ways to do things in a different way, build communities of people that can work together to support one another. I wold love to see equality among all the people of Ibiza and a big shift in the way we treat the earth. We all know this is needed, now.
Do you have any fears for the future of the island?
I am a little afraid of going back into the ‘new normal’ and everything eventually going back to the way it was. Some people are still stuck in these old patterns of thinking, and are not willing to accept change. The people who have a lot will fight to keep things the way they are, but if you’re really human and see things as they really are, you understand we can’t keep going the way we were. It is not sustainable.
What about your own future – how is that looking right now?
It’s really hard to say right now, as the government are slowly giving the information about how places can open again with restrictions.. After this experience, I don’t want to work like crazy – I want more time for myself, but of course, I want to re-open the studio. I would love to lower the prices of our classes, so more people can practice yoga, but if we have to limit the number of people in classes (which is likely), it will change everything – for me, and for my students too. Maybe we can do more outdoor classes. I will wait to see what happens, and how it can work, but I have no attachments.
What are you most looking forward to when the restrictions are lifted?
Going to the beach, I miss it so much!