Ibiza wellness: Circle Retreats – A creative rebalancing experience

Finding balance in today’s society is a challenge, no matter what stage of life’s journey you find yourself at, no matter where you’re from, no matter how old you are and no matter what you do. Balance is as important to leading a happy life as the air we breathe. With this in mind, Gabriel Marshall and Krysia Howard – lifelong friends who specialise in therapeutic arts – created Circle Retreats, a retreat company with a difference who are hosting their third island-based retreat in June 2018.

Rather than focus on results-driven goals such as detoxing, losing weight, improving your fitness levels or yoga practice, Circle Retreats aims to simply nurture and support each of their guests on a holistic level and through interactive wellness and creative experiences. There are no prerequisites, no expectations and most importantly no judgement. Absolutely everyone is welcome (female, male, all age groups and all walks of life – participants must be over 18 years of age) and encouraged to participate in the daily program – which incorporates the creative arts, yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic principles, holistic treatments and nourishing cuisine – in order to leave feeling more balanced and ready to tackle any challenges life may have in store.

The six-day Ayurvedic Balancing Retreat takes place within the tranquil and beautiful surrounds of professional Ibiza retreat centre Casa Lakshmi Luz in the heart of the island’s bohemian north. “Finding the right location was very important,” says Gabriel. “We wanted somewhere that was professional and fully equipped to host a retreat like ours, but we knew it also had to have soul and feel like a home. Casa Lakshmi Luz is perfect – both luxurious and homely.” From June 23 to 29, 2018 the retreat centre becomes Circle Retreats’ excusive Ibiza home base, with a variety of private and shared rooms (each with their own unique character) available for guests.

With indoor and outdoor yoga decks and a blissful meditation garden, a professional grade kitchen, dedicated treatment spaces and a swimming pool plus chill-out areas, the beautifully restored traditional Ibicenco style finca is the ideal place to take valuable time out and reconnect with yourself. Named after the Hindu goddess of abundance, Casa Lakshmi Luz delivers peace, tranquility and healing energy to all those who stay within her beautiful grounds. Combine this with the transformational Circle Retreats experience and you’ve got the makings of a powerful, positive, life changing experience.

Having both held a long-term interest in emotional wellbeing and sharing a love of the arts and creativity, it was only a matter of time before Gabriel and Krysia would devise a way in which their passions and experiences could benefit others. “We both just felt like there was something missing when looking at emotional wellbeing, and managing physical and mental health as a whole,” says Gabriel, who originally studied fine art at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London before transferring her creative skills to the healing industry via a Post Graduate in Arts Psychotherapy and Child Counselling. “We wanted to create a retreat that gave people the opportunity to really start thinking about what they need for themselves. It’s not skills-based, or about being good at something, like yoga or spirituality. Really, we designed a retreat we would want to go on ourselves.”

“Creativity is such an important part of wellbeing but the idea of incorporating the arts can sound scary to some people. We don’t want people to come filled with fear because they were told as a child they weren’t good at drawing or art. These feelings can run so deep but it’s not about being talented at all! The arts can be a wonderful tool for accessing our creative brain, and that’s linked to our feelings and our bodies and our sensations. We guide everyone into the creative arts workshops so they’re never stuck thinking, ‘Oh my god, I don’t know what to draw!’ or ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’ It’s more observational. The workshops are based in visual art, collage and drawing but we’re not limited to that. We use the body a lot, we use movement and music. We have a creative arts room full of materials – it’s also fun! The arts have the power to be so healing for everyone.”

Another of the important elements of the retreat is introducing guests to the concept of Ayurveda through a collaboration with UK Ayurvedic practitioner Sonja Shah-Williams. Ayurveda is the oldest form of completely holistic medicine in the world, drawing on ancient wisdom combined with individual body types and ‘elements’ in order to prescribe a lifestyle where your physical, mental, emotional and energetic bodies are balanced and work in harmony. “I’ve always been interested in Ayurveda,” says Gabriel of the team’s decision to bring Sonja onboard for this retreat. “I started bringing it into my own life and incorporating it into my diet, and I have never felt so well in my own body. It just seemed to make sense to introduce it on this retreat, as it treats the whole of a person, just as we do with our workshops.”

Sonja will give an introductory presentation on the concept, plus a one-to-one with each participant to assess their health and wellbeing. Each guest will be given personalised programs to take back to ‘real life’ once the retreat is over, in order to continue working on retaining balance through diet and lifestyle should they feel a connection with it. The Ayurvedic principles introduced by Sonja will also be carried through each day’s yoga practice and into the nourishing cuisine. Guests will be treated to healthy and hearty vegetarian meals, lovingly created from seasonal local produce andin line with Ayurvedic qualities – in essence, it’s all about what foods and spices can (and cannot) be combined in order for your body to thrive, allowing maximum vitamin and nutrient absorption – the deliciousness is an added bonus.

Meditation and yoga too, form an important part of the daily experience but it’s important to note all levels are welcomed. Days begin with a ten-minute mindfulness meditation, led in a group circle by Krysia, focusing on the here and now to lead guests into the day in a positive way. Evenings end with a gentle restorative yoga practice with instructor Emily Goodyear. Emily’s classes are not about being ‘the best’ at a position or getting your legs up over your head – rather, it’s about connecting with yourself and setting good intentions, creating positive energy and treating your body to the benefits of a soft, slow and gentle, Hatha-based yoga practice. Additional optional holistic treatments will also be on offer throughout the week, ranging from Reiki healing and reflexology to different types of massage and facials, all focusing on treating the person holistically.

“It’s been amazing to watch our retreat groups bond and support each other,” says Gabriel, who alongside Krysia acts as a warm and welcoming host and supportive facilitator. “For a lot of our guests, it’s their first retreat experience or they are in a time of transition – coming out of a relationship, moving house or changing jobs – and it’s really important for us to create a space where they all feel safe and welcomed. It’s about rebalancing and gaining tools and strengths for the next stage of your life.” Circle Retreats Ayurvedic Balancing Retreat takes place from June 23 to 29, 2018 and prices start from 2195 GBP per person. For questions regarding payment options or any additional questions you may have regarding this retreat, please contact info@circleretreats.com directly.

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