Sun, sea and salu­ta­tions: Learn­ing yoga on the beach in Spain

There’s more to Ibiza than bang­ing tunes and boat par­ties

Chat It's Fate - - Contents - Mon­ica Caf­ferky, 48, from Hud­der­s­field, West York­shire Fol­low Jemma Jane on Twit­ter @jem­ma­janeyoga

The plane to Ibiza was packed with young peo­ple, talk­ing ex­cit­edly about the su­per­star DJS they were go­ing to see. But I wasn’t fly­ing out to the leg­endary party isle to dance the nights away – hell, no! I breathed a sigh of re­lief as my taxi sped past the fa­mous night­club Am­ne­sia. Soon Ibiza Town and its thump­ing nightlife were far be­hind me as I headed north to the un­spoilt bay of Benir­ràs.

A huge yoga en­thu­si­ast, I’d booked into a week-long yoga hol­i­day. I’d opted to go slightly out of sea­son, when the Span­ish sun beats less fiercely – and it’s cheaper, too. My usual yoga class back home in­volves Asanas (pos­tures) then a short med­i­ta­tion. I was hop­ing to learn some breath­ing tech­niques on this hol­i­day – and to re­lax and un­wind, too.

As I un­packed my pos­ses­sions in my room at the stun­ning Villa Rocca, I won­dered what the next few days had in store…


Next ext morn­ing, I headed to the out­side yoga deck for my first three-hour ses­sion. The teacher, Jemma Jane Gore, asked the group of five if we had any in­juries, so I men­tioned my sore knee. ‘Go at your own pace, don’t do any­thing that causes pain,’ says Jemma. ‘It’s your yoga, your body. It’s not a com­pe­ti­tion.’ I nod­ded at the sound ad­vice and we be­gan our open­ing ex­er­cise Ka­palb­hati, or ‘breath of fire.’ ‘This breath­ing ex­er­cise, or pranayama, oxy­genates the blood, in­creases lung ca­pac­ity and en­er­gises the mind,’ Jemma told us. We sat cross­legged with our eyes shut, and ex­haled the stale air from our lungs. At the same time, we pulled in our tummies tightly.

In­hal­ing, we re­v­ersed the process. It was hard work and I strug­gled to de­velop a rhythm, but af­ter sev­eral rounds, I started to feel strangely calm.

Next, we tried Nadi Shod­hana, or al­ter­nate nos­tril breath­ing.

‘It It set­tles the mind, re­duces stress and clears the air­ways,’ Jemma ex­plained.

Breath­ing ex­er­cise

I closed my right nos­tril with my right thumb and breathed in through my left nos­tril. Then I closed my left nos­tril with my ring fin­ger and held my breath for a mo­ment be­fore breath­ing out through my right nos­tril. It sounds com­pli­cated – but I got the hang of it in the end! ‘If any thoughts come let them drift away,’ said

Jemma. ‘If it helps you can fo­cus on a mantra like Sat Nam, which means truth and iden­tity.’ ‘Yoga means unity. You use the breath to still the mind, calm the body and get be­hind the think­ing mind to the soul,’ Jemma said as we opened our eyes.


Next, Jemma took us through a series of pos­tures in­clud­ing sun salu­ta­tions, twists, stand­ing bal­ances, seated pos­tures and fun vari­a­tions of head­stands like tri­pod.

Her style of yoga is called Dy­namic Vinyasa, mean­ing that the pos­tures all flow to­gether. It’s chal­leng­ing but Jemma tai­lors the class to the dif­fer­ent lev­els.

At the end of the ses­sion we lay in a pose called Shavasana, which aids re­lax­ation. As my body sank into the floor, I thought, ‘This is bliss.’


Yoga helps you de­velop de­tach­ment

Ev­ery day, Jemma added ex­tra ex­er­cises to our ses­sions in­clud­ing Bhra­mari, or the ‘bee breath,’ which uses a hum­ming sound to qui­eten the mind, and a chakra vi­su­al­i­sa­tion where you see each of our seven chakras as dif­fer­ent colours.

‘When you reach your crown chakra, imag­ine your body fill­ing with light. See this light com­ing out of your heart into the world through com­pas­sion and love,’ Jemma told us.

At the end of ev­ery ses­sion, Jemma said a few words about yoga phi­los­o­phy. On the fi­nal morn­ing, she told us about the Eight Limbs of Yoga and how yo­gis are able to re­main de­tached from worldly prob­lems and re­main in bal­ance.

‘The prob­lem may not change but you can change your re­ac­tion to it,’ she ex­plained. I sud­denly re­alised what she’s talk­ing about – you see, if some­thing prob­lem­atic hap­pens, I im­me­di­ately try to ‘fix it’. What I should re­ally be do­ing is tak­ing a step back and view­ing the event with de­tach­ment, so it doesn’t throw me off bal­ance. I made a prom­ise to my­self to try and change. At the end of the hol­i­day, I might not have been a fully-fledged yo­gini, but the re­treat cer­tainly brought me a step closer to find­ing in­ner calm. Om.

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