By Caroline Sylger Jones
Best for Healing - Breathing Space Retreat
Transformational Breathing is one of the most liberating therapies I’ve ever had - and I’ve had a few. A treatment based around a ‘conscious breathing’ technique developed by Dr Judith Kravitz, it’s designed to help people open up the full potential of their breathing system for better physical and emotional wellbeing.
If you have an issue to sort out, or just an underlying feeling that something in your life just ain’t quite right, you can book a private retreat in the village of Oasis de Nazaret with Alan Dolan, the man who brought Transformational Breathing to the UK. His retreats take up to four people in a stylish three-bedroomed villa, arranged around a sheltered pool with a hot tub and plenty of chill-out places. Each day you’ll have one private breathing session, one group breathing session and tasty but healthy meals (Persian carrot salad, vegetable satay with wholegrain rice, local goat’s cheese ...) You can then add yoga, massage, personal training, or even volcano climbing into the mix (these cost extra, usually £100 a session).
During a Transformational Breathing session, you’re asked to breathe in and out through an open mouth (‘to access 100% of your respiratory system’), while the therapist does a spot of acupressure and encourages you to release any blocked physical, emotional or psychological trauma by making sounds or moving your limbs. The idea is you move through a emotion that comes up, rather than getting stuck in it. It feels odd at first, but because the combination occupies you on both a physical and mental level, you can’t just switch off or rationalise your feelings. It was so powerful for me that, during one session, I re-lived the birth of my now five- year old daughter in a compelling, all-consuming, tear-filled experience.
Breathing Space Retreat, Lanzarote, +34 690 162 426,. Doubles from £1880 for 4 nights, including all meals and twice-daily breathing sessions.
Best for Chilling - Finca De Arrieta
A laid-back collection of eight eco-friendly stone cottages and eight yurts, just a few moments from Arrieta beach, in the undeveloped north of the island,Finca de Arrieta is a chilled, outdoorsy kind of place to stay and a brilliant base for day-long mountain biking or surfing. Groups can book the Eco Yurt Royale, which sleeps six in three bedrooms, and has a private walled, gated terrace and stylish Mongolian and Balinese hardwood furniture. Couples can go for a smaller Eco Yurt or Eco Beach Yurt. Holistic therapies from Reiki to massage can be arranged with local therapist Angie Appleton, a 15 minute drive away, or if you’ve got lots of muscular aches and pains, book osteopath Jamie Last, who can come to your yurt or cottage. For a wild beach experience and surf lessons, take your Toyota hybrid electric car for a spin (which comes included with most of the properties) to Famara beach, a 30 minute drive away.
Finca De Arrieta, Tabayesco, 35542 Haría, Lanzarote, , +34 928 826720. Doubles from £90, room only. Treatments from 25 euros (about £18) for a 30 minute massage.
Best for Hiking - Blackstone Treks
Lanzarote’s other-worldly landscapes make for some great walking country. The whole island is a Unesco-designated biosphere reserve, with 14 protected natural areas, and has many sites of unusual beauty, including the volcanic wastelands in Timanfaya national park and Jameos del Agua's surreal underground lake, which is part of a vast lava tube. To see the island in all its glory, book some hiking with Blackstone Treks, whose founder, Jose Luis, has been guiding walks for years and knows the island inside out, from its aloe vera fields near Orzola in the north to its wineries such as El Grifo in the centre. Do anything from a day’s hike up to a full five- day walking holiday.
Blackstone Treks, Sancho de Herrera, 235530 Villa de Teguise, Lanzarote, +34 645 895 225. From £200 for an 8-hour hike for 4 people, including transfers, wine tasting and your guide. Stay at Finca de Arrieta , above, doubles from £90, room only
Monarch has return flights to Lanzarote from London Gatwick, London Luton and selected nationwide airports, from around £120.
Book Holiday Extras meet-and-greet parking (at 26 airports throughout the UK, as well as car hire, travel insurance and transfers). Meet-and-greet parking from £79 for eight days
For more of Caroline Sylger Jones' retreat ideas around the world, see Queen of Retreats