Formentera Yoga

»Proving that Ibiza is not just for clubs«

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At a 'secret location' on a sparkling Spanish island is the perfect antidote to the endless pounding music of the nightclubs that Ibiza is known for. Going back to the island's origins as a haven for bohemians, Formentera Yoga offers calming yoga sessions, three-course meals and well-appointed accommodation to anyone feeling the burn of a hectic modern lifestyle.

  • What we love
  • The overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants
  • The quirky habit of only giving the precise location to those who have signed up
  • All the cliches of an idyllic getaway – white sands, warm winds, turquoise waters
  • A wealth of extra activities like surfing, beauty treatments, and dance classes
  • What to know
  • Formentera operate in multiple locations so be specific when booking
  • Families are welcome
  • All small items like beach towels and yoga mats are supplied
  • Why go
  • The perfect blend of yoga and beach holiday
  • Skilled teachers
  • A wide range of participants from all walks of life

Formentera Yoga's first retreat location was – unsurprisingly – Formentera, a small island just a short boat ride from Ibiza in the Mediterranean Sea. The popularity of Formentera Yoga has grown to a point that instead of cramming more people into one location they have extended their reach. They now operate retreats in Goa (India), Morocco, the original Formentera, and Ibiza, the European capital of the nightclub scene.

During the Franco-ruled dictatorship years of Spain, Ibiza was the refuge of artists, musicians, and liberal-minded Spaniards who would have been tormented if they lived on the Spanish mainland. Most of the island retains the air of the off-beat, tranquil life that is little-known to anyone who associates Ibiza with the skimpily-dressed crowd of bright young things who dance the nights away each summer.

Yoga Formentera bring some of that idyllic bohemian attitude to their Ibizan retreats, which are run during the warmer months of April - September. Each retreat spans 5 or 6 days and all are variations on the theme of living more happily, healthily and peacefully. Jax May Lysycia is the primary teacher as well as being the head of Formentera Yoga. Her sunny nature and dedication to yoga is a big hit with guests, many of whom return to the retreat for her deft touch with people. Although primarily rejuvenation holidays, the retreats serve up some high-quality yoga. The morning Dynamic Yoga sessions and evening Yin Yoga sessions are Hatha-based and cunningly designed to begin the day vigorously and end it quietly. This kind of yoga is a little like sneaking vegetables into a child's meal – the physical and mental workout is so elegantly incorporated into the steady diet of fun and leisure that it seems effortless. The number of repeat visitors and the rave reviews only add to the air of easy success that surround the retreats.

Many visitors to the Ibiza retreat have not had a lot of contact with yoga prior to their arrival. This is part of the charm of Formentera Yoga: Beginners are warmly accommodated, while the flexibility of the retreats allow experienced yogis to stay on, extending their knowledge and personalizing their yoga journey with self-practice sessions. These are not part of a structured retreat, just a chance for an extended yogic ‘family’ to spend time together.

Accommodation is primarily in double rooms. Triple and family rooms are available on request and unlike many package-style getaways, singles are not charged extra unless a private room is specifically requested. As a general rule, one sole traveler will be paired with another, although if the group numbers do not perfectly add up to pairs then one lucky person will get a double room all to themselves at no extra cost.

Three tasty vegetarian meals a day are included and each meal is three courses each. Spring water, tea and fruit juice are available free all day. While the fees are already moderate, special arrangements can be made for the over-65s and families on low incomes - the yogic spirit in action.

A typical five-day retreat at Formentera Yoga involves no compulsory components. This means that if a guest wants to sleep for the entire five days, they are welcome to do so. Others jump in with both feet, attending the entire day's offerings starting with Dynamic Yoga at 8.15 am, continuing with a full day of activities and ending with Yin Yoga in the early evening and Satsang (evening chanting) just after dinner.

The daily activities are a luxury combination of physically active and just plain indulgent. Surfing, para-gliding, horse-back riding, hammock-lounging, massages, facials, dance lessons, and Pilates sessions are a sample of what's on offer. Hiking has been recently added to the schedule, allowing retreat guests to really experience the extraordinary natural beauty of the island over a 10km circuit. The delights of simply floating in the warm Mediterranean should not be underestimated though – a free and enjoyable way to kill time between naps and yoga classes. It's a hard life isn't it?

About the area: Ibiza

Although Eivissa is the island's real name, most of us will only have heard of Ibiza. Pronounced either Eebeetsa or Eebeetha depending on what kind of Spanish you speak, this is one of the jewels of the Mediterranean Sea. Long famed for its nightlife, which summons the world's best Djs from around the world each summer, Ibiza is also known for its private beaches and quirky artistic local community. The summer season begins as early as May, when temperatures begin to rise to an average of around 20 degrees C each day. Mid-year is the hottest at around 30 degrees C, although this is moderate compared to the mainland, thanks to the cool sea breezes. Beaches are most popular at this time as the water temperature reaches a very pleasant 25 degrees C. Apart from nightclubbing, Ibiza's main attractions lie in her natural splendor. The thick forests that are protected from logging, and the abundant, curious, unspoilt sealife make this a surprisingly fulfilling experience for visitors wanting to get away from it all.

Image credit: Formentera Yoga

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