Review: Soulshine Ibiza Yoga Retreat

Soulshine pool

In an Ibizan paradise, Leonie Lee discovers Soulshine’s luxury yoga and wellness retreat

It’s 86°C and I pull up to Can Shui a little flustered from both the heat and my slightly late arrival. My jittery little hired Fiat Panda has made it up the steep, rugged, winding roads of the Ibizan campo and now, at the end of a tiny lane, I can go no further.

The tall wooden door opens to reveal an utterly breathtaking view of an unending sea. Immediately taken with the calm serenity, I’m greeted with a warm hug from host Soulla who shows me to an outside snug.

Over a cup of mint tea, I’m given an overview of my day to come. Soulshine guests typically stay on retreat for six days, but I’m just here for a taste of the experience – which, as I’m 24 weeks pregnant, has been masterfully tailored to me and my bump.

Soulshine interior and view

Soulla leaves me to finish my tea and I close my eyes and breathe in the silence. There is a faint clink of wind chimes, the shush of the sea… and that’s it. No voices, no traffic, no beeps of technology – the hustle and bustle of everyday life seems very far away.

For my first yoga session, I head up to an incense-scented wooden platform set into pine trees overlooking the sea. Kate is Soulshine’s pre-natal tutor, and is leading me in a one to one pregnancy yoga session.

Soulshine yoga

Although I haven’t done much in the way of yoga, I needn’t have worried – the class is built around not only my pregnancy but also my ‘beginners’ level. I spend an hour practising beautiful, empowering poses along with meditation and Pranayama breathing techniques, and leave with a wonderful sense of peace and achievement.

Returning to the snug, I meet nutritional therapist Anna King for a group session on gut health. As an natural nutrition enthusiast, I’m looking forward to the talk and it doesn’t disappoint. Anna’s clear passion her topic makes her delivery both informative and fun, and the small group and informal setting means I feel confident enough to ask questions; leaving with a full notebook and the sense of having absorbed a lot of complex information.

Soulshine summer rolls

I’ve lost all sense of time and, as our group disperses for individual activities, I check out what’s next for me on my personalised chalkboard – happy to discover that it’s time for me to relax by the pool. Set into a nook on the cliff, it’s a world away from a hotel pool environment, and I recline and doze until the lunch gong sounds.

Soulshine’s group retreat offers the best of both worlds – giving you time alone to switch off but also the chance to socialise over informal meals at a long table. Our  incredible three-course lunch is organic, vegetarian and utterly delicious – comprising spiced beetroot soup, raw vegan pizza, and a refined sugar and dairy-free version of a Snickers ice-cream.

Back up on the yoga platform, I meet Soulshine’s lead therapist Alison and experience an intensely relaxing, pregnancy-apt full body massage, which puts me in the perfect mindset to meet Ross Stephenson for my introduction to mindfulness.

Up on a balcony I meet mindfulness expert and acupuncturist Ross. Although I’ve heard a lot about mindfulness and meditation, I’ve never experienced classes in either area.

Although I’m not sure what to expect, I think like most people with busy lives I have a ‘restless mind’, and am very much looking forward to experiencing the benefits. Ross exudes calm and, sitting across from him, I’m immediately drawn into a sense of restfulness.

An hour later, yet without me realising more than 20 minutes had passed, Ross has de-mystified techniques that I can take away from Soulshine and apply to my daily life.

My taster day at an end, I take a moment to reflect. I’ve loved every minute at the retreat. I’d arrived at Can Shui busy-minded, looking forward to escaping the pressures and routines of everyday life for a few hours. I leave emotionally decluttered and refreshed, having had both my body and mind truly treated.

This retreat is much, much more than a yoga holiday – it’s enlightening and wholly empowering, healing and positive. Chatting to other guests who all tell me they come every single year, I can only imagine how good you’d feel after spending the whole week here, but I intend to find out. See you again, Soulshine.

Make it happen
Soulshine Ibiza offers six-night yoga retreats with forthcoming dates from September-November.
For more information, click here.

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