Ibiza wellness: Top Ibiza therapist – Ayda Koc Healing Arts

When one thinks of a shaman, images of wrinkled, ancient men wearing tribal garb tend to spring to mind. Here in Ibiza, qualified shaman Ayda Koc smashes this stereotype to smithereens from the moment you lay eyes on her warm, smiling face – not to mention her young and glowing complexion. Her skills and experience however, are a testament to the ancient practice, while her strength, warmth and down-to-earth honesty make it easy to trust in her completely.

Born in Germany to Turkish and Italian parents, Ayda was highly driven from a young age – as a professional dancer as a teenager, before injury halted her career, followed by a successful career in marketing luxury fashion brands. Her connection to the wellness world came through yoga – she trained to become a teacher in 2007 in India – which allowed her to switch focus in life. She moved to Ibiza in 2010 where she developed a reputation as one of the best private teachers on the island, but quietly, humbly, she was hiding an entire repertoire of healing arts she’d been building on over the years.

Her passion led her to create HEALING ARTS by Ayda Koc and her list of impressive testimonials prove there is much more to this talented healer than meets the eye. A healing arts session with Ayda can encompass anything from shamanic healing, traditional solutions-based therapy and EFT (tapping) to tantra, yoga and sound healing and more.

You initially built a reputation in Ibiza as a yoga teacher – what led you to expand your services to healing therapies?
Actually, I was always a therapist and a shaman – that part of what I do was always there, but when I first came to Ibiza I was a little overwhelmed by how many powerful healers and therapist were on the island. I wanted to get settled before humbly telling people what else I could offer, so I originally promoted myself as a yoga teacher.

At what point did you make the big reveal?
It was my clients who brought it out in me. After every class, I’d find myself talking with students, identifying issues off the mat and making suggestions for them to make changes. I could read people’s energies and body language through a combination of intuition, channeling and experience and they would naturally open up to me. It was happening in every session. My clients would start scheduling extra time with me for therapy, or people would book me because they felt drawn to me and they weren’t sure why. I went from doing around 80-percent teaching and 20-percent therapy to now only about 5-percent yoga practice and the rest is the healing arts. I decided to start revealing my full presence after a personal trauma and once I did that, I felt like I had reached my true calling.

How did you train to become a shaman – do they actually have qualifications for that kind of thing or is it more spiritual?
[Laughs] I really do have a qualification! Though no one has ever asked for it. I am a fully qualified Fuego Sagrado shaman. I spent 18 months training in Germany with Brazilian woman from Sao Paolo who lived for 15 years amongst an Amazonian tribe. This tribe wanted to develop a ‘technique’ so to speak, to bring into the Western world, so they could share their skills without bringing outsiders into their sacred tribes. And so they created Fuego Sagrado – the holy fire – which is a hands-on, channeling type of energy work. I met Monica, my trainer, on a congress about alternative care in 2008 and she told me she wanted to teach me. I was spooked at the time and wondered if it was like voodoo – I didn’t even know these words in English like mediumship, channeling and clairvoyance. I just knew it was something I had always done – ultimately, I thought she could help me focus my energies and tools.

Do you ever experience resistance when you tell people you are a shaman?
Occasionally people think I might offer ayahuasca, but I simply tell them I am not a ceremonial shaman. I can help with their issues without substances. Shamanism brings you back to your roots – to who you were before any trauma or sadness happened in your life. The role of the shaman is to deduct blockages, health problems, emotional limitations, to deduct if something is a karmic connection or something you have created in your life; to work out if we can reframe it. We channel affirmations, use healing stones, words, draw on past life connections but ultimately the aim is to show the client their own self-healing process. I am not here to fix you. I am unblocking, unleashing and guiding you to heal yourself. Rather than a shaman, I prefer to describe myself as a healing arts practitioner so I can use whatever tool I feel is needed in the moment.

How do you describe the healing arts to someone who has never experienced it?
It can include shamanic work, solutions based therapy, yoga, tantra, tapping and sound healing among other things. Sometimes I physically touch someone to get knots out like an open operation; sometimes I sage because their energy is so thick; sometimes we’re just talking and trust me, I am hardcore honest with my clients. I also specialise in therapy programmes and clinic-style retreats targeting addiction, burnout, panic attacks and other issues. Practicing the healing arts allows me to be free and creative with each client, trusting my intuition to choose whatever tool they need to heal. I work on the sacred mind, body and soul but I pick the person up how and where they need to be picked up. Not everyone needs the whole shebang with the drum and crystal bowls!

Speaking of… what are the physical tools you use in a session?
For a shamanic healing session, I bring my (vegan!) shamanic drum, a rattle from Mexico, different sages, a crystal sound bowl, angel cards, an earthing chime, crystals, Frankincense, Peruvian Aqua de Flores, a lot of flowers, feathers, circle of protection necklaces (for me), plus protection tools for my altar. I also have something to cover your eyes, yoga mats, blankets and notepads. And I’ve always got my secret little black book so I can make my confidential notes. I bring my speaker and music that I spend many many hours curating playlists for – this is essential. I really believe certain songs press certain buttons. When I am knocking on the door of a blockage with someone, I know what song to play to trigger it.

What is the purpose of the altar?
An altar is part of the ritual and everything on it defines me. It’s mainly for protection and also for honouring. In every session, I honour all my teachers, my spirits and my ancestors – and also those of my client. This is the highest respect you can give them. It’s like a mobile altar, so it gets cleansed and packed away at the end of each session.

Who are your programmes suitable for?
The healing arts are for everyone, but I am specialised in treating addiction, burnout, panic attacks, anxiety, eating disorders, those with damaged relationship patterns, traumas (whether emotional, physical or even money related) – anything you think you may seek therapy for. Right now, people are more aware and yet, more unaware than ever. We spend half of our day with our phones in our hands researching things – at the same time IQs are going down and depression is going up. I am here when people realise they need to change something before they breakdown.

What kind of changes do you see in your clients after a session?
I see massive changes, and it’s different in each person. Some have a total transformation – like a complete personal reset – after seven days of working with me. I’ve seen people recover from addiction, people return to business success after losing everything, people who recover from insomnia, anxiety, hormone rebalancing – it’s different in each person.

Do you think people are more open to therapies of an esoteric nature these days?
I believe people are fed up with normal therapy techniques and the idea that one concept, program and political system fits all. I also think my business and marketing background has given me the confidence and the ability to switch into different people’s minds and lifestyles and so they trust me. If I was a violet-wearing spiritual yogi type, I don’t think some of my clients in the business world would take me so seriously!

What is your personal wellness philosophy?
It’s a very boring marketing slogan – just do it! I also start the day with manifestation prayers and end the day by counting blessings and giving thanks, no matter how exhausted I may be or whatever has happened that day. I also meditate twice a day – that’s my private weapon.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
To see that I am able to hold space and hold the hands of my clients while they’re walking back into light. That I am allowed to come so close and that people trust me for this – that is the biggest gift to me personally.

Is it hard for you to let your clients go once they’ve completed their programmes?
No. Never. I don’t want to be a guru. I don’t want to be enlightened. I don’t want you to follow me. I always say the biggest compliment you can give me is that you never need to call me again. And I really mean it.

Photography by Ana Lui Photography