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Mind, Body & Soul - Yogi's in Ibiza

Every now and then Maili meets a Yogi that impresses. Arlette Amouyan, year round Ibiza Yogi, gets Maili's vote of confidence.

Interspersed throughout this column I will occasionally Ibiza spotlight some of our amazing community of yoga practitioners.

Our first local yogi is Arlette Amouyan. She is a well-loved local teacher who has four summer seasons in Ibiza under her belt and is approaching spending her second full year here. After spending her first winter here she says spring is her favourite season as she felt the island waking up, warming up and shaking off the lethargy of winter.

Arlette was born in Beirut but she grew up in France. As a young adult she moved across the pond and spent twelve years in London. When she arrived in London she looked for dance classes as she had grown up dancing, but her busy job in fashion got in the way and she gave up the search.

A friend invited her to a Hatha yoga class. She thought the class was sweet enough to try another one. Then, another friend suggested they take an Ashtanga class very early one weekend morning, which did not impress, but as they approached the studio she said she could see steam on the glass windows of the studio, then the door opened and out poured an intangible intensity of energy, vibrancy, along with a smell of sweat and incense. After that first physically intense class she felt a sense of ‘OK, bring it on'.

As a dancer, a lover of movement, she was hooked and had found her practice. To this day, though she teaches other styles, Ashtanga continues to be her personal practice.

After some time Arlette felt the need to explore the practice more deeply than was possible in public classes so she took a sixteen hour yoga foundations course. This course introduced her to philosophy, pranayama and a Buddhist style meditation. She incorporated these into her practice. Around this same time she made her first visits to Ibiza with some friends. Initially, she was reluctant to come to Ibiza because of the ‘party island' reputation but she needed the break as it was September and already raining hard in London.

On that first trip she fell in love with Ibiza's natural beauty and began to come once and sometimes even more times a year, taking weeklong yoga retreats to grow her practice and be in nature.

Eventually, as it became more apparent that there was a rich philosophy that she wanted to explore in tandem with the asana, this desire to deepen her physical practice, expand her knowledge, was the impetus for taking her first yoga teacher training.

She had absolutely no intention of teaching yoga but friends and family began to ask her to teach them. She first started teaching at home was surprised to discover that her students loved the class and asked for another one but more importantly that she loved teaching yoga. It built from there until one day the balance between her high-stress fashion job, her yoga teaching, her yoga practice and her personal life became strained. And since she is a full-time yoga teacher in Ibiza we know how this story goes!

Body:

Arlette loves back bending. She finds backbends deeply heart- opening and a wonderful pick-me-up if she feels low-energy or emotionally drained. She is working towards loving handstands which she feels do not come so naturally to her. Yoga is part of a lifelong arc of physical practice evolving from dance.

Mind:

The Ashtanga practice is a meditative practice. As the sequence is physically always the same the yoga becomes a mental exercise. A daily check in with the mind to see where one is at: accepting or resistant, negative or positive. Yoga is mental gymnastics, cultivating not only a strong body but also a disciplined mind.

Spirit:

Yoga is a daily check-in. Yoga provides a moment of introversion that can be so challenging to find time for in this busy life. Yoga is a practice of knowing oneself. Yoga is Arlette's daily journey towards self-discovery following mind, breath and body and seeing where she ends up.

Arlette teaches year round in Ibiza. Look out for classes and workshops or e-mail her directly: arlette.yoga@gmail.com

Maili Dinim is a Yoga Instructor and Natural Food Chef. She can be contacted via MailiDinim.com

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