Ibiza wellness: Meet the therapist: Daya Cabestany, yoga teacher – Ibiza Calm
Born in Argentina, Daya Cabestany came to the island of Ibiza with her parents at the age of two and spent her childhoods here, surrounded by spiritual seekers. While many children may have been bored in the company of such grown up ideologies, the young Daya found meditation and healing approaches fascinating. It is no surprise she went on to discover yoga and now shares her skillset as a healing tool for those in recovery.
Daya’s role as in-house Kundalini yoga teacher (alongside Nora Belton, who teaches Hatha Yoga) at Ibiza rehabilitation clinic Ibiza Calm provides her much satisfaction, as she leads group classes twice a week in the beautiful countryside surroundings. No matter what level of physical or mental health a client may be at, Daya believes some level of practice can be achieved – be it breathing, guided meditation, mantras or physical positions – to help empower them on their journeys.
When did you first discover yoga?
I first discovered yoga in my early 20s and right away I knew I had never felt as comfortable in my own skin and body as when I practiced. I really understood yoga to be a medicine. A place to come and connect. I also really enjoyed the devotional side of it.
What attracted you to the style of Kumdalini yoga?
Kundalini Yoga literally found me! It arrived to my life through my email inbox during a very raw period of my healing journey. I tried a Kundalini meditation that was suggested in a newsletter and committed to doing it for 40 days. A love story began! I was hooked, the effects where so clear and therapeutic. I soon started travelling to attend workshops and trainings. I was amazed by the wide scope of practices it offers, physically dynamic while deeply subtle, quite confrontational for the egoistic mind, while travelling deep into the heart centre. It is fun, challenging, empowering and blissful.
Can you explain the practice of Kundalini to us?
Kundalini is called the yoga of awareness, the yoga of consciousness. We work with the body as a means to transcend our mind, and to eventually master our mind. The goal is not about stretching, how aligned you are or attaining postures in any way. It’s about having an inner experience that connects you to your true self – whatever your sense of something bigger than you might be. Kundalini works a lot with chakras, the energy centres, the glands and the nervous system and helps you become more regulated over time. It’s also fun because we use a lot of beautiful music, we have a lot of mantras and use the vibrations of our voices as a healing tool. It’s a very healing practice.
How did you come to teach Kundalini yoga as a tool for recovery?
I am myself on a journey of recovery and Kundalini yoga has been a blessing . At some stage of my healing process, I became aware that although I didn’t have substance addiction issues, I was vibrating in a frequency of addiction in different ways – which is so commonly accepted in our culture. As I understand it, addiction grows its roots in disconnection and trauma. Disconnection from self and others, from our breath, body and emotions and ultimately disconnection from the source. I committed myself into healing, doing my own work and research, and I became fascinated by this field. It is my passion to share what has helped me find deeper joy, serenity and contentment.
How did you get involved with the team at Ibiza Calm?
I had known the original director since I was a kid – he used to be in a meditation group with my parents. He invited me to work here from the very beginning. It’s such rewarding work, everyone here is really motivated and we’ve seen such beautiful growth as everyone learns more and more how to adapt to what the clients need.
Given that your work is more physical-based than the psychological elements of treatment, how does yoga work with clients in different stages of recovery?
The first thing I always tell our clients is we’re going to adapt the practice to whatever they can do. It’s not about how flexible you are. Sometimes, depending on the condition of the person, they can do it sitting in a chair. It’s my intention to facilitate them having an experience of reconnection through their bodies and their sensations. I do a lot of work with mindfulness and awareness and I am also training as a trauma healing practitioner in Somatic Experiencing so I weave a lot of that into our classes too. There is an abundance of practices everyone can do, for example Yoga Nidra, or exploring the healing power of sound, mantras, vibrational instruments and our own voices, or simply being able to relearn how to breathe and come back in touch with our body. There are a lots of tools that come together and clients learn quickly through experience how to work with what they have within them to shift the way they feel. The shift we see in clients in just four to five weeks at Ibiza Calm is really amazing.
How do you explain your personal teaching style?
I feel there is a loving and compassionate flavour in the way I live and share the practices, interweaving lots of mindful sensory awareness and a devotional attitude. While cultivating a sense of joy and playfulness as I believe deeply in the healing value of keeping it fun while we dig deep in our truth. We tend to take ourselves too seriously!
How would you encourage someone who was considering treatment but unsure to come forward?
I would suggest they speak to people who have found recovery and have them share their experiences, then take the first step and come in for an interview. They say that when the pain is bigger than the fear to change, then you do it. It’s about looking at your life and thinking: does it work, are you happy with that, do you love yourself enough to give it this opportunity? There is always that resistance to change, because you don’t know what it’s going to be like when you surrender everything and allow yourself to relearn again, but if the way you are doing it doesn’t work and you don’t know how to do it any other way, it’s time.
What is your favourite thing about your work?
Planting spiritual seeds and offering a deeper understanding of yoga, as something accessible and potentially life changing. I aim to guide students to discover a tool box always available within them. It’s so humbling to see the capacity of the human being to heal, to reconnect with the heart, to transform their beliefs, especially during treatment in such a short period of time! It’s a long journey – and it feels very rewarding to be able to witness when those seeds were planted in a fertile soil and there is a new awareness and possibility building up in them from the inside out.
What is one of the biggest challenges in your work?
When you get to really love them they leave! You see clients change so much – sometimes they are reluctant at the beginning or have prejudices against anything spiritual. But it is also really rewarding when they leave and you see how much hope there is in their eyes.
Where do you look for inspiration?
There are so many teachers that I continue to experience ongoing learning from, such as Tommy Rosen, Kia Miller, Gurmukh, or Carolyn Cowan… and from other lineages, teachers like Elena Brower and Suzanne Faith Slocum-Gori (with whom I’m currently training in Hatha here in the island). This is my journey first and I feel that I can only take people as far as I’ve gone myself so I draw deep inspiration from my daily practices, from where I am able to share what works best for me. Being commited to be a teacher keeps me humble and motivated.
What is your own preferred method of ‘escaping’?
I don’t like escaping anymore. I love being present so much – my whole journey moves towards feeling whole and present, so that is my favourite thing.
Why do you think Ibiza is a good location for a rehabilitation clinic?
I think wherever in nature there’s a vortex of any kind, there’s also a counter-vortex, and where there’s darkness there’s light. I think this island is really powerful, attracting the extremes and polarities. A huge spiritual community has its roots here and it is really vibrating and pulsating with that life. I think it really makes sense that it attracts both sides, it doesn’t exclude anyone.
Portrait photography by Maria Simon