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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 15°C
Leigh Arnold
Wellness Wednesday A postcard from Leigh Arnold in Ibiza
Actress and wellness advocate Leigh Arnold and her husband run a wellness retreat in Ibiza. She set up a free online wellness portal for everyone in lockdown.

ON A FREEZING cold January morning in 2016 my husband Steve and I made the life-changing decision to move our young family to our sacred happy space, the island of Ibiza.

Ibiza has been known as a party lovers’ haven, however, few people know the real island, the beautiful place we fell in love with, that has allowed us to live a happier and healthier life.

It was a place we had both visited over the years to see friends and family, during which time we were introduced to what we felt were its unique healing qualities, that ultimately helped us come to terms with losing our baby son Flynn. That was a time in our lives that really, conventional medicines had just served to bandage over our grief – a wound that was too big to heal.

A healing place

Alternative therapies and healthy daily practice including meditation, yoga and breathwork were a saving grace for me and Steve over the past few years. They have continued to help us both cope with life’s obstacles and challenges, rather than sweep them under the carpet, in such a way that we can now look at our lives with positivity, grace and above all acceptance.

When we found our dream home in the north of Ibiza on top of a mountain overlooking the Benirras rock, we knew it was a place we couldn’t keep to ourselves, but rather it had to be a place of healing where we could share with others all the wonderful practices and facilitators that had helped us through our path to healing and growth. And so our retreat, Transformation Station was born.

retreat Leigh Arnold Transformation Station retreat, Ibiza. Leigh Arnold

We run wellness retreats in spring, summer and autumn. Our guests experience anything from 3-7 days of what they are looking for at that time. Some retreats cater towards a more mindful and relaxing experience where our guests experience rest, nutritional organic food, mindful practice, meditation and yoga.

Many of the guests enjoy hiking in the surrounding hills, sunrise and sunset set swims, and general rebooting. We and feeling better in themselves when they return to their daily life, hopefully opening their everyday life into a more conscious and aware state and daily simple practices.

Other retreats are more intense. They are for people who feel stuck and unable to shift patterns and emotions that have become part of their daily makeup.

Our facilitators work on both group and one-on-one sessions and workshops where the individual is allowed to come face to face with whatever is holding them back in an extremely safe and loving environment. The whole point of transformation is to become who we truly are and to live a life of honesty and fulfilment.

Unexpected changes

The coronavirus has caused us huge stress, as it did for so many people around the world, isolated in their homes, trying to come to terms with the “new normal”.

Ibiza, as part of Spain, has taken lockdown extremely seriously. Our kids, like all the children in Ireland, were taken out of school and we had to really reevaluate and readjust our lives, like so many others.

We were not allowed to walk more than 100 metres from our homes. Children were not allowed in cars with parents only in an emergency situation. Masks were to be worn in public places at all times.

However, we stuck to the rules and the cases on the island were very few. The airports are now open to tourism and it’s wonderful to see life buzzing again. But it is by no means the normal Ibiza summer. Bars and cafes are catering more for families and there is less of a party feel to the place. It’s actually lovely, peaceful and quite organic as opposed to the usual hustle and bustle!

I have been in constant contact with friends and family in Ireland, and really applaud how brave and patient they have all been. It’s not been easy to be separated from our loved ones but because of their dedication, it’s wonderful now to see Ireland opening up again, as Spain is starting to.

Many people in lockdown for the first time had time to reflect and look inwards, searching for a deeper meaning in their lives. We, like so many others, had to look at our business with fresh eyes and put our Spring and Summer plans on hold. And with the word in crisis we realised there was more of a need than ever to help people going through these tough times. And so we took things online and created TS Live.

Our TS Live sessions offer meditation, breathwork, yoga, nutrition and much more, reaching people who might not have otherwise had the time or confidence to try them if it wasn’t for lockdown.

From their homes, in the ultimate ‘safe space’, people of all ages and ability levels have taken advantage of the free sessions to grow from the inside out. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response.

Making time for daily self-love and healthy habits can have life-affirming and life-changing effect, and we feel humbled that we can in any way help people in these uncertain times, to grow with a community who share our vision.

Retreat_Ca_Na_Rosa_Rosie_Randisi_Photography-25 Transformation Station Transformation Station

If we can take anything out of these crazy times, it’s to recharge, re-evaluate and restart your life in the way you want to live it. Don’t be afraid. Feel it, be brave, and take the leap. Take care of yourself. You have only one life, so make it count!

Your spiritual inner health is the key to opening to a more fulfilling world. Look inside. Believe me, once you’ve found who you are and worked through the pain and stress, everything and everyone around you will benefit in a truly positive way.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is the everyone has a story. No one goes through life untouched. Let’s be kind to each other. Being kind to yourself is a good place to start. Our retreats will start again later this year when it’s safe, in an immersive rural setting that celebrates nature and the powerful energies of the island. We hope you can join us when it’s safe to do so.

Leigh Arnold is an actress, entrepreneur, wellness advocate, trauma survivor and mother of four. After a successful career in television and theatre, she lost her young baby Flynn to SIDS and her life changed forever. She and her husband Steve now run the Transformation Station retreat centre in Ibiza. Information on retreats here and live sessions here.

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