Giselle Bridger is the most Zen thing Milan has ever made. Born here to a Milanese mother and American father, the willowy half-Italian has touched down in the city — dressed up in a La DoubleJ Papaveri Big Skirt — on a brief sojourn back to her hometown from her adopted island of Ibiza. But don’t think she’s some kind of club rat or party girl, Bridger is a talented yoga teacher and healer, holding retreats for like-minded women where she shares her chosen practices of cranial sacral therapy, Kundalini yoga and the healing powers of essential oils.
Bridger’s journey to become a healer started younger than most. When other kids were sneaking out of their houses and heading to parties, she was waking up every morning with the sun and promptly saluting it. Introduced to the world of wellness by her like-minded father, after graduating university she hopped the next flight to Bali and dove straight into a six-month yoga teaching training course – and never looked back.
“I still feel the same freshness as I did when I was a teenager,” says Bridger of her journey, which saw her travelling to California after Bali, and qualifying as a Cranial Sacral facilitator. “Cranial sacral is the unloading of anything that is held in our nervous system,” she explains of the technique, which uses light touch and relaxation techniques to channel negative energy out of the body. “It’s a deep relaxation of the nervous system — like a descent into the earth.” After her stay in California, she travelled extensively, spending long chunks of time in India and Majorca before settling in Ibiza, only returning to Italy 3 years ago to have her daughter, Rumi Rose. But if you ask her, Ibiza is the last stop. She’s fallen head over heels in love with its idyllic coastline and laid back vibe.
“I don’t even know where the clubs are!” declares Bridger, who lives in a cottage on the quietly rugged north end, far away from the rave-fueled debauchery that has given the island its salacious reputation. The North End of Ibiza is better known for its quieter pace of life and focus on wellness, with ample room to for visitors and locals alike to escape from the frantic buzz of city life. But despite the relocation, her day-to-day routine remains mostly unchanged: she still wakes up before sunrise, going through her daily rituals in the pre-dawn stillness before her daughter wakes up and her day begins.
What initially drew her to the small Spanish island was the sense of community between the locals. Often her and the other parents will take turns bringing the kids to school, leaving the morning free to practice yoga — she holds sessions for friends in the living room of her cottage — or meet for breakfast at Can Guimo, a small cafe run by a local family. She swims most days, her favorite spot is a little Cala close to her home, Chiringuito Xarraca. But mostly she enjoys the stillness the island provides, soaking up the magnetic energy that longtime residents insist radiates from deep beneath the earth. “Locals speak about the island in such a poetic way,” marvels Bridger of her adopted home, “I love discovering all its secrets.”
What to do
According to Giselle, the best spot to catch one of the island’s enchanted sunsets is Puerta del Cielo, where visitors can stand on a rocky outcrop overlooking the ocean to admire the nightly show. Visit the mythical island of Es Vedra, one of the most magnetic places on the planet, for a truly transportive meditation session. For a dip in the aquamarine Ibizan waters, head to Tago Mago, a small island off the north east short of Ibiza. If a beach day is on the cards, Giselle recommends Cala Xarraca, a quiet spot with crystal clear waters and an excellent restaurant.
Where to eat & shop
Giselle loves the paella and fresh fish at Pou des Leo: “simple and delicious.” For dinner she recommends La Paloma. “my favorite restaurant on the island and a family owed business. My friends Prasuna and Samvega, and her husband Amit and daughter Moujiare, are running an impeccable business in a wonderful garden where they grow most of the veggies they use in the kitchen.” For breakfast she loves Can Guimo. “It’s an Argentinian and Brazilian family running a little café with delicious healthy food in a homey yet curated environment.” If you’re in the mood for a splurge, there’s also Nobu Ibiza, the island’s outpost of the celeb-filled Beverly Hills hotspot.
Giselle loves shopping at World Family Ibiza, which she describes as: “authentic tribal hippy handcrafted amazingness.”
Body first — to fly high, the body needs to be taken care of. It’s best to get everything done around sunrise: dry brushing, oil pulling, oiling the body, taking a cold shower, and wearing essential oil “outfits” by choosing the right oils to tune into your highest potential every day.Peppermint, Cypress, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Spearmint to keep cool and active during the warm hours of the day. Sandalwood, Geranium and Ylang Ylang to bring on the sexy in the evenings. Homemade salt, sugar or coffee scrubs in coconut oil and essential oils (Ginger, Lemongrass, Frankincense, and Lavender — to name a few) are a beautiful way to bask in self love.
Shaking and jumping every morning for 5 minutes is a great way to press the reset button. Giselle loves to jump while taking a cold shower, followed by 20 squats and 5 sun salutations. These are easy ways to get a mini workout and ignite your metabolism.
Sitting quietly for 10-15 minutes (or more of course) before sunrise (or whenever possible) is the best way to get into a receptive mode and clear the negative mind that most of us feel in the morning. It is helpful to meditate to specific mantras, as they help one plug into the space beyond the personal mind. Singing is also one of the most powerful medicines that one can use. Tuning into one’s own sound current clears blocks and funky energy stagnating in the physical, emotional and mental body. For Giselle, Kundalini mantras are the most powerful and effective. Some favorites include:
– Laura Todd