Sometimes all you need is yoga, the sun and one of the most beautiful beaches in Mallorca. Welcome to the amazing yoga holiday organized by Balearic Retreats.
I landed in Palma on a sunny and warm Sunday evening at the beginning of September, ready to enjoy some me time and reconnect with the yoga practice I left behind during the busy summer.I had been thrilled with the idea of visiting the island, saying goodbye to the hectic summer season and rejuvenating before the beginning of autumn, especially since Pilar, heart and soul of Balearic Retreats, sent me the video recorded during the first retreat of the year.
Waiting for me at the airport was Angie, a guest yoga teacher on this last retreat of the season, but most importantly a sweet, energetic and funny girl who squeezed me in what it turned out to be the first of a long series of hugs. Half an hour later, our little car was rapidly climbing the Tramontana Mountains, the UNESCO World Heritage mountain range located on the west side of the island and the stunning setting for this yoga holiday.
And so it started, with a beautiful and cosy dinner held on the patio of a charming rustic but luxurious Spanish villa where the four staff members and seven participants timidly introduced themselves. What happened during the next six days is that a group of 11 women all of different age, country of origin and backgrounds opened their hearts and created an emotional and intense yoga holiday that I won’t forget.
S’Era Vella, the stunning house where I was accommodated is composed of 1 apartment and 7 rooms all with private bathrooms. Each room had been decorated in warm tones with Mediterranean furniture and a cosy touch, while the outside area is characterised by extensive luxurious gardens along with a refreshing swimming pool.
The presence of three yoga teachers has clearly been one of the positive sides of this retreat. Their different personalities, approaches and styles made every single class unique and enjoyable. The first yoga session we had on a Monday morning after our arrival took place in the beautiful shala overlooking the garden where Pilar offered us the only Ashtanga class of the week. After a brief talk about the origin of the practice, we began with the primary series and Pilar didn’t hesitate to give adjustments and challenging variations when needed. After all, since she discovered and fell in love with Ashtanga in 2013, she travels every year to Mysore to practice with her guru R. Sharath Jois and her passion for the practice is evident. To me, she is the pure incarnation of an Ashtanga teacher, and I couldn’t have expected to begin this retreat any other way.
The following days we played and danced with some flowing Vinyasa classes held by Pilar or Angie, who turned out to be not only the energetic New Zealand girl I met at the airport but also an exceptionally gifted teacher that speaks and teaches from the heart. I’m not afraid to say I rarely felt as emotional and connected to my feelings as during and after Angie’s Vinyasa and Yin classes. I keep in my dearest memories the heart opening vinyasa class Angie held on a Wednesday morning when she focused her talk on vulnerability and showed me one more time the profound hidden world that lies behind every single asana we practice on the mat.
Finally, I had the chance to experiment the benefits of yoga Nidra with the lovely Nina. Her calm and relaxing voice allowed me to experience a refreshing state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, the pure feeling of relief I’d been dreaming of for so long.
To enrich the spiritual part of this holiday, every morning Pilar guided us through a few pranayama exercises, showing us how to integrate the breathing practice into our daily lives. With the same objective in the late afternoons, we sat down on the terrace surrounded by the quietness of the mountains and explored different meditation techniques. Another impressive aspect of this week was the food. It has not been one of those retreats where I spent the nights dreaming about the meals I couldn’t have during the day. What I imagined was to take the chef Lily and her culinary touch back home with me! And together with all the delicious local ingredients I had the opportunity to taste on the island. Lily spoiled us with vegan, colourful and yummy dishes like the traditional Salmorejo soup that opened the first dinner, the green smoothies, the salads and the most creamy and tasty porridge I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste.
With a spontaneous rather than a fixed schedule we let our bodies and souls decide how to spend the free afternoons. We balanced on a paddle board; snorkelled in pristine clear waters, explored a few stunning beaches and towns on the island and simply spent the afternoon by the pool talking about love and life.
And so this yoga holiday turned out to be like an extended group therapy session for me, and that’s the reason I enjoyed every single minute of it. I loved the way we all connected to each other. I loved the hugs we shared every morning, before going to bed and simply every time we needed to thank each other for the time spent together. I loved how we felt free to be ourselves in the most natural way I can think of, showing every single aspect of our personalities without feeling embarrassed or ashamed when emotions took over and tears streamed down our cheeks.
It didn’t matter in which phase of our lives we were; if we were dealing with a painful breakup, missing our families or enjoying the excitement that a new relationship inevitably involves. What it did matter was the support we gave each other during the week and the authentic, relaxing atmosphere we sensed from the very first moment we stepped into that beautiful villa.
I left Mallorca and the friends from Balearic retreats feeling incredibly grateful to these women, who gave me time and space for some self-reflection but also for friendly chit chats in front of a chai latte. I will be back on the island, ready to enjoy the other retreats Pilar has planned for next year and looking forward to experiencing one more time that sense of joy, balance and harmony I felt for the whole week of the retreat.
This review was conducted by the lovely Camilla, one of the Soul Seed Travel bloggers and owner of Wanderlust Solutions.