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Joy and inner peace at the Ibiza Spirit Festival

Ibiza’s alternative, spiritual side on display in all its colours.

Those that have been to Ibiza will already be acquainted with its alternative side. If you haven't glimpsed a super-sized Buddha statue or visited a hippy market, then you haven't seen the fullness of what Ibiza is about. If you were at a yoga retreat, then you are forgiven.

The Ibiza Spirit Festival is perhaps one of the best ways to dip your psychic toe into these spiritual waters as it brings together the many practices involved in everything New Age. A big success, it first started in 2013 and is now held twice-yearly in May and October.

Whether you are well versed in the holistic or just spiritual-curious, you will seriously delight in this event; there is truly something for everyone and you could lose yourself here for the whole day. You might also find yourself too.

Beautiful setting

You could not want for a more beautiful setting, that of the exquisite gardens of agroturismo Atzaró. Eastern-style pagodas, authentic temple doors, giant white letters spelling out L O V E - a spiritual haven. The serenity and peaceful feeling of the whole place makes it the ultimate setting for a showcase of these alternative ways of living and being.

Getting there is easy, just past the turning for San Lorenzo heading north; you'll also find that parking is simple with lots of fields for that purpose right next door. Paying a very reasonable donation of €10 gets you access to all the talks, meditations and dance sessions. This, plus multiple flavours of yoga throughout the day as well as a whole host of activities for mind, body and spirit in the chill out area. Private therapists for things like massage or readings are extra.

Lots of lovely market-style stalls greet you as you walk in with all manner of hand-crafted goods from wind chimes, to woven rugs, beautiful pieces of jewellery and even local honey. My friend got a beautiful and delicate silver pendant, whilst I had my nose over some hand made cosmetics – the outside being as important as the inside of course.

Music as medicine

A true eclectic musical mix is there to be savoured: the dreamy sounds of Ariel Zutel and his ‘hang' instrument was a delight. For me, the mesmerising percussion and tribal drumming sounds of the Ibango Vegantastics gave pure magic. The music here is the sort that seems to permeate your whole body with sonic wonderment and a feeling of renewal. Quite literally, music as medicine.

One of the best sights is to see spiritual leaders and gurus wondering around in flowing robes as if out to get a newspaper: it all seems entirely normal of course. You will see flower children of all ages, women (and men) with fantastic headgear and people generally from all walks of life. It is a beautiful and diverse human jungle with peace and positivity flowing in abundance.

I decided to try the inner peace meditation session being given by one of the organisers, Sabina. This one was a great introduction to the idea of meditation and would be a great technique to add to your roster if you already are a meditator.

We sat on the floor on cushions as we were walked through the technique. Sabina suggests you meditate before getting out of bed, to start your day in a positive and calming way. To me this seemed very easy and certainly helps to counter any excuse for not doing it. As one who has lapsed of late in doing their meditation, I found this a great inspiration.

Googling your inner-net

An event hightlight was the talk given by Gopi Kallayil, a senior Google executive and the man responsible for bringing yoga to that company. He gave us tips taken from his book, The Internet to the ‘inner net'. The premise of this is about honouring your inner technologies first, helping you to master the outer technologies, such as mobile phones that are increasingly becoming a big part of our lives.

For those that feel that tech could be taking over, Gopi has some good advice. He says: “technology is like fire, if you misuse it, it can burn your house down, so instead we contain it in ovens or fireplaces. Similarly, with technology, you need to control its use: simply put it down or switch it off at dinner. It's all about making responsible choices so that the outer technology doesn't take over.”

One of his tips to help you in life is to start by spending a minute a day on something that nurtures you to turn it into a habit. This could be a minute of meditation or one minute of yoga. By doing this you soon find yourself steadily increasing the time you devote to it. Other ideas are to focus on just one thing at a time and, one I particularly liked, to ‘friend' yourself.

Next it was the Kirtan singing circle, chanting sacred Sanskrit verse. If you struggle with stilling the mind, this form of meditation is super easy to get into: all you need do is join in and sing along and feel the love in the air; and, I can tell you that you truly do.

To sing or to yoga

There really are so many things that you can do and you will find that you want to do a bit of everything. Later on I had a very hard choice: more singing or kundalini yoga? A first world problem, I know. Well, I couldn't do both, so I asked a delightful lady, a travel writer by the name of Christine Lendt to give me a review of the yoga.

Christine has been doing kundalini for 15 years, so is something of an expert. She felt that the teacher had set the level just right for anyone coming to try it for the first time. She also loved practising it within the festival under the magical light of Ibiza, which she thought added something intangible, something special - something which many of the participants seemed to feel.

So it was to the singing circle for me to complete the day. My friend and I sang our hearts out. These were songs (in English) with messages of peace, love and joy, the latter being very apt since the person orchestrating the whole affair was also called Joy. And, joyful to do it was indeed plus a great way to end my day at the festival. I left with a big grin on my face, feeling fulfilled and more than a bit happy.

I would love to be able to say more about the Ibiza Spirit Festival, but there is so much to say. The only way to really understand how cool it is, is to go and try whatever appeals to you. I know that you, like me, will leave feeling a lot brighter and full of life.

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