If I asked you what are the best, warmest places to go to for yoga retreats, you probably would say India and Bali. That would be correct; these two locations have been attracting yoga beginners and seniors already for a very long time, but today we are not traveling to Asia. Today, we are visiting one of the Balearic islands where amazing human, great yoga teacher, and the first ZENAGOY Ambassador resides—Ibiza! Yes, Ibiza, you read it correctly and you will be surprised to learn that this small island in the Mediterranean sea is a yoga retreat hub in Europe!
Q: Joaquin, you are living on an island that is often advertised as a party place; however, Ibiza has so much to offer when it comes to Yoga. How do these two very opposite activities manage to coexist on such a small island?
A: Ibiza has always been a very spiritual place and always provided that sense of “freedom.” During the 60s/70s hippies came to the island to reside because of this feeling due to isolation from the mainland, nature, weather, and energy. In the late 80s and 90s, the island started to become more popular and nightclubs started to open up. Slowly the island became the Ibiza most people know today—party place. The funny fact is that there are only a few specific places where the parties exist: San Antonio, Ibiza town, Playa den Bossa, maybe a couple more. However, places like Santa Eulalia, San Carlos, and San Lorenzo are still pretty much the same as before—quiet. That’s where yoga and meditation retreats are taking place. There are plenty of places where you can still sit alone on top of a rock and look at the sea or lose yourself in the middle of the countryside and look at the mountains, the sky. You could say that Ibiza is divided into two parts which do not disturb one another. Even though Ibiza is small—it has enough space for everyone who wants to come to meditate, to practice yoga or to dance. I do believe that the spiritual part of this island has a lot of potential in helping to shift the consciousness of people and this will not change.
Q: Tell us a little about your life before yoga and how it changed when you started practicing yoga?
A: My family and I moved to Ibiza from Argentina when I was 7 years old. I practiced athletics for about 10 years so I’ve always been connected with movement and known how to listen to my body. When I turned 18, I decided to go to London to study music. At some point, while I was still in UK, I realised that I was not truly happy with what I was doing. I felt lost in my life, in my mind, not knowing where I was going or what I would like to do anymore. I was in an unpleasant situation in my life. One day my girlfriend suggested I try out Yoga. Without too many expectations I gave it a chance and I think it was one of the best decisions I have made so far. Yoga practice became the only moment during the day where everything was okay. No worries, just being there, in that moment on my yoga mat, with my breath, my body, and my mind. Slowly, yoga became my daily practice. In no time everything in my life started falling into the right places, the pieces of the puzzles started coming together, and I started seeing a clear picture of where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do.
Q: Was becoming a yoga teacher one of the things you wanted to do?
A: When I decided to attend a yoga teacher training programme, I was not thinking necessarily to become a teacher. I just wanted to learn from the great teachers how to deepen my practice; I wanted to understand how yoga was helping me physically, emotionally, and mentally. I did learn a lot about myself and I still keep discovering myself. Only later, when I felt that I was ready to share my own experience of yoga and my yogic lifestyle with others did I begin teaching yoga.
Q: What attracts you the most about the yogic lifestyle?
A: Yoga provides us with a system to help us become more aware of who we are, to become more aware of ourselves. When we really get in touch with our inner self, we naturally start seeing or better to say perceiving things differently because we become more aware of the outer world. The yogic lifestyle connects a person with the entire world and everyone regardless of age, race, gender, political views can benefit from it. Absolutely anyone is capable of practicing yoga and everyone has the potential to shift their consciousness and become more aware of their lives, actions, and responsibilities.
Q: You were very excited to accept the challenge of becoming a ZENAGOY Ambassador. What do you like the most about it?
A: I decided to become a Zenagoy ambassador mainly because I truly believe in the Zenagoy philosophy and vision. When I met the Zenagoy team for the first time I could see the passion in their eyes, which motivated me even more to become mindful of myself and my actions. We all know how this world is paying for our mistakes and this brand is dedicated to making people understand that their spiritual practices start with the mindful decision to choose eco-friendly gear: whether it is a yoga mat, block, or meditation pillow. Zenagoy’s team cares about the future of our environment and they show it through their eco-friendly products. It is not a secret that for some companies sales become more important than anything else, but Zenagoy’s focus is different—a person, the planet, and the future.
Q: Do you think yoga and meditation can contribute towards the wellbeing of this world?
A: Yoga and meditation connect us with our inner self, offering us the key which can open the doors to infinite possibilities. It is not a written philosophy. It is a real-life experience. Yoga and meditation show us that the only way to find satisfaction and happiness in this life is to start loving ourselves. As soon as we learn how to love ourselves, we move to the next level—loving everything around us. This is exactly what the world needs now—mindful, loving, and caring people.
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