I don’t know whose job it is to officially declare these days (to whom it may concern – may I suggest an international Ibiza day please?), and I’m not sure I understand the relevance of the particular date to its selected theme, if you know what I mean. Anyway, let’s just go with it and let me take this opportunity to wish you a happy International Yoga Day! So why am I writing about International Yoga Day in my Ibiza blog? Well, yoga and Ibiza seem to go hand in hand these days. Vogue recently wrote about the magical ‘other’ side to our island, citing yoga as a major element within the island’s overall healing energy – and you know if it’s in Vogue or on the internet (better yet, like in this case: both) it must be true. And one of the things you may not know about me, dear readers (and if you’ve been reading for as long as I’ve been writing, you certainly know a lot), is that I like to consider myself a bit of a yogi. Now let’s hold up a second. Before your mind runs away with you and you start thinking I’m a twisty, flexy, bendy, stretchy, skinny little unicorn-legging clad, glitter-faced person, let me set you straight. I’m definitely not. Nor am I the beautiful yogi you see in the silhouettes of these photos – that’s the gorgeous Miss Y, whose own yogic journey you can read all about in the most recent edition of WHITE Ibiza Magazine – though we could just pretend it is and move right along! You could think of me a little more like the leopard print legging clad Bridget Jones of yoga…
I first discovered yoga, as many girls (and gays) my age did, through our lady of yoga, Madonna. I was working in glossy magazines and had to write more than a few articles about how she got those amazingly toned arms. As it turned out, one of her teachers was based in the city where I was living, and had opened up a beginner’s yoga course so of course, I knew I had to try it as yoga would be the key to toned triceps. And maybe then enlightenment. My friend Miss G and I went to class and learned the foundations of Ashtanga, and then on the way home we’d pass through the drive-thru window of our local KFC or McDonald’s. Clearly, we were learning the physical basics, but the deeper roots and philosophy were not to come to me for many, many more years. My next big intro to yoga came about three summers ago, when I was feeling at my mental and physical rock bottom, and Chief White, aka Miss N, suggested I try yoga to help restore balance in my life – yep, mind, body and soul. I admired her own yogic lifestyle and principles and thought it would be worth taking a leaf out of her book. At this point, I began practicing under the tutelage of the amazing Sebastien Carincotte at Hot Yoga Ibiza, who you can see looking all bendy, flexy and smiley in this picture below. He’s awesome. You should all try a class (or three) there while you’re on the island (don’t let the name fool you – there are classes without sweaty heat if that’s not your thing). Tell him Miss W sent you!
At the same time, I was also commissioned to write a series of blogs for the studio, which allowed me to delve deeper into the philosophies of the practice, and with what felt like unlimited access into Sebastien’s deeply educated yogic brain and the wonders of my friend Google to draw upon, plus my own experience based on my oh-so-slowly evolving practice, I started to feel a connection to the world of yoga. I couldn’t put my finger on the root of the connection. I must admit it wasn’t immediately physical – I hurt every time I did a class. I am not a naturally flexible person and I do anything to avoid physical exercise. But it was the buzz I felt after leaving the class – and perhaps even more interestingly, the buzz I felt after writing these blogs about yoga, that really got me hooked – so thank you, Miss N and Sebastien, for contributing to something that I still feel has the potential to change my life. It was almost addictive (I am feeling it right now as I type). Every time I filed my blog copy, I’d find myself smiling. I mean, really smiling. And not in an ego way (well maybe a little – I mean, let’s face it, I haven’t gone ‘full yogi’ just yet). But I just felt so happy to have researched and learned about these amazing ancient philosophies, techniques and concepts, and I felt even happier to be sharing them with others. I thought, if even one of my blogs could get someone on the mat, then I could make a difference in someone’s life. Wow (oops, there’s the ego again!).
Which leads me to now. Over the past few months, I’ve been fortunate slash lucky (and maybe even hashtag blessed) enough to have interviewed Ibiza’s top ten yoga teachers for White Ibiza, and I have been more inspired by these amazing human beings than by anyone else I’ve ever interviewed before (and I’ve interviewed J.Lo, Kylie and SJP – the aforementioned girls and gays my age will understand the significance of this). You can read all about them in our upcoming Top 10 Yoga Teacher special – watch this space in the next few weeks. We have discussed the ins and outs of Ashtanga, Yoga Therapy, Sivananda, Bikram, CORE 40, Kundalini, Tantra and Jivamukti among other styles, plus what gets these teachers onto the mat in the mornings and what led them to share the practice with others. What I have discovered is each and every one of these teachers is very different, but what they all have in common is a deep love for this island we all call home, or a home away from home if you don’t live here all year round. There is a yoga for everyone in Ibiza. You might have to be a bit like Goldilocks in the beginning, trying them all out until you find the one that is j-u-u-s-t right. But when you find it, and when you get that buzz – you’ll know. You’ll feel it. Practicing yoga in Ibiza is – just like Vogue and the internet told us so – a magical experience. And so today, on International Yoga Day, I hope my own little yogi blog encourages at least one person to get on the mat. Whether you want to come over and enrol in a transformational retreat, try a drop-in class at a studio or even study to become a teacher – if you’re reading this blog right now this minute, take it as a sign and just do it!
Hmm, perhaps I should practice what I preach. At this time of year – you know the score, Ibiza summer, busy busy busy – I have not entered my favourite yoga studio for over two months (I’m sorry! I still love you! I’m coming!), my beloved collection of yoga pants and mats (all the gear, no idea) are gathering dust in a corner and the only cat position that’s happening for me is bending down to give my kitties biscuits in the morning. But as all you yogis out there know, this doesn’t have to make me a non-practicing yogi. Not in the slightest. I still think about the practice every day – and not in a sense that ‘oh, I really should make time for class’ (though that also does cross my mind often). It’s the sense that a true yogi should live their practice. Each and every day, I do my best to do no harm to others (even mosquitos!). I now try to minimise all waste (something I was never very good at doing in the past). I set intentions in the morning and try my best to be a better person. I now try (and this is hard!) not to react instantly to things, but to give them space and time. You know, the physical practice is just one element after all… Oh, would you look at the time? I’ve just missed the 6.30pm class AGAIN. Oh well, I’m going to listen to my favourite Yoga Girl podcast (like 2.1 million other wannabe yogis in the world, I am totally obsessed with Rachel Brathen) and feed the cats some more biscuits and consider my practice done for the day with the signing off (and consequent buzz) of yet another yoga blog. And maybe get some McD’s on the way home (some things never change). Happy International Yoga Day, wherever in the world you may be practicing (or thinking about practicing). Namaste… Yogayda photography by Ana Lui