Ibiza wellness: Monica Costa – Top Ibiza yoga teacher

Monica Costa has always been a traveller. It’s only in recent years that those travels have taken an internal journey towards harmony and happiness. Born in Alicante, her parents moved frequently but eventually ended up in Ibiza 14 years ago where Monica joined them. It was here she found her true life purpose even though it took a little time to appear. Now that it finally has, it seems there is no stopping her.

She’s one of those people whose smile starts in the chin and works all the way up to her eyes, which shine brightly with warmth and joy. Yoga was not a natural calling for Monica however. It was more like a slow burner, and on discovering the contemporary practice of Aeroyoga, her fire was finally lit and today it burns bright from her beautiful and colourful studio, Holistic Borboleta Aeroyoga, in the heart of Ibiza town.

How did you first discover yoga?
I never thought I would like yoga. A friend invited me to a class and I didn’t want to be rude so I went. I thought yoga would be too light and it wouldn’t suit me at all. In that first class I discovered yoga is pretty complicated! But I still didn’t connect and fall in love with yoga. But I kept going anyway.

What made you keep going?
My moment was when I understood that it was not only physical work but also internal work and that you can’t have one without the other. I understood then that it was important for me but I still never thought to become a teacher. Never! But then I discovered Aeroyoga…

How did Aeroyoga change your perspective?
It looked interesting so I went to a class and then I was hooked. I was 49 years old and I left everything behind to dedicate myself to Aeroyoga. I had a beauty salon. I did a lot of fitness, Pilates, step, and then when I discovered Aeroyoga and I said ‘yes’! I knew I was not doing what I was meant to in life but I didn’t know what it was that I wanted to do. Then with Aeroyoga, it all made sense.

Was there a moment where you realised it was your life’s purpose?
I had all the comforts in my life but something was missing. One day I was cleaning my terrace and I slipped and broke my wrist. Breaking my wrist was a message. I told myself if I recovered the use of my wrist, I would continue with these changes. That was the realisation. I was turning 50. When I recovered, I went back to Madrid to keep training as an Aeroyoga teacher.

What inspired you to open Holistic Borboleta Aeroyoga?
It was like a light switching on. I left everything. I sold my business. My life changed totally. That was five years ago. I did it all on my own at the age of 49. My family went crazy! My friends thought I was mad. It took me one year to make all the changes and start Holitisic Borboleta Aeroyoga. I felt good during these changes. I knew what I was doing. And I had the passion. I wanted to transmit what I feel to other people. That was what fueled me.

What kind of classes do you offer?
We do Aeroyoga, of course, Aeropilates, normal Pilates and Aerofitness, which is more aerobic. Also Yoga Synergy and restorative sessions. We have a weekly schedule running from Monday to Friday and also offer private classes or small group classes.

What are the foundations of Aeroyoga?
My teacher in Madrid, Rafael Martinez, developed it. It’s a fusion of distinct methods and schools of yoga. It uses suspension and antigravity to develop physically and emotionally. Aeroyoga has a base in Natha Yoga, Mallakhmab Rope, Ayuerveda, Pilates and modern dance. We work with a swing and each person works within the limitations of their own body. It is not acrobatic work. We work with conscious breath and feeling the body.

How does the swing work?
We are always searching for gravity. The swing helps to shift your attention to the parts of the body that needs it most, physically and emotionally. All of our emotions are stored within the body. If you are not conscious of that the swing helps you become that way because you are suspended. Sometimes you don’t even realise you are working on your core or abdomen because you are so focused on the sensation of suspension.

What are the different levels in Aeroyoga?
There are three levels. Level 0 is for people who have little mobility – either because of some kind of pathology or they have very little body consciousness. It’s the level that appears to use the least effort but actually has the biggest results. From the outside it looks easy, but learning to isolate your movements is really complicated. Most of us pay no attention to our movements; we operate on autopilot.

And the next level?
In Level 1, you still have contact with the floor but we use suspension as well. You are working just above the floor because we are of the earth – we need that solidity and security. Once you lift your feet, it is as though you are up high but the floor is always there if you need it.

How does Level 2 differ?
This level is totally in suspension. There is so much going on, independent of the effort you put in. It helps the lymphatic system, respiratory system and emotional balance… there’s a lot you don’t notice. Above all is the interior work. We put lots of limitations on ourselves. We say, “Oh, I can’t do that!” without understanding why. In Aeroyoga, you address your limitations and it crosses over into daily life, sometimes without you even knowing it.

How would you describe your teaching methods?
It’s intuitive. To work in yoga you have to work with energy. You cannot mechanise the classes. At night, I think about the class the next day. And then I arrive and feel what the students need.

How would you describe your relationship with your students?
It’s an exchange. They support me a lot more than I support them! But they don’t know it! I grow with them. They feed me in a way. When I see someone who is struggling and then gets it, it’s a great sensation.

What is the best part of your job?
When my students leave the swing after the relaxation period. That is the best moment for me. I see their faces; they are in states of subconsciousness. That moment is so intimate. It’s like when you wake up in the morning. They are protected by the swing, wrapped in it. It’s like the feeing of a hug. That look is the best thing.

Describe one of your most profound yoga moments.
It was during meditation. I entered a state of subconsciousness. I can’t describe it. I cried and cried. Not out of sadness but out of something else. And also in my first class with Rafael Martinez. I had done antigravity here in Ibiza, but that first Aeroyoga class with Rafael was indescribable. It was very powerful.

How have you changed since opening Holistic Borboleta Aeroyoga?
I have stopped searching. I am where I need to be. It’s not that I don’t want things or desire things for my life but I am not searching any more for my meaning. I am here now.

What is your personal yoga philosophy?
It is to be and let be. You do not have to look outside of yourself. You have everything you need inside you already.

What does the future hold for you?
I don’t think of the future. I have things I want to do, of course. But the future? No, I don’t think of it at all. I am where I am.

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