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This holiday is about coming home to yourself - finding time and space to reconnect to what is important in life. Through yoga, meditation, pranayama, and asana practices, you will discover and unravel. With joyful focus, you will practice and then reap the benefits of the practice. Come and discover the magic of this valley with Vale de Moses, enjoy walks in nature, refreshing cold river swims, and soak in the ancient wisdom of the surrounding forests!
Since Vale de Moses arrived in 2008, they threw themselves wholeheartedly into restoring the four Xisto stone cottages at Vale de Moses with great care and respect to the old local Portuguese traditions of building with natural materials: clay, lime, stone, and wood. They hope you will enjoy staying in these old dwelling places as much as they have over the years. If you prefer to be even closer to nature, the Soulpad belle tents are a delightful and comfortable glamping experience.
They have a variety of accommodation options for your stay. You can choose one of two shared (single-sex) stone cottages Moses and the Monastic Adega, three private bedrooms in the farmhouse, or six Soulpads in the forest. Wherever you stay, you will have nearby access to indoor bathrooms and newly built modern showers. There are no en-suite rooms but there are plenty of showers and bathrooms near all the options.
Beds are quality Portuguese-made mattresses, all with memory foam toppers, cotton sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, good pillows, and duvets. Restorative sleep is an essential part of your retreat with them. They offer a 10 percent discount for returning guests, two-week stays, students, or group bookings of four or more. If staying two weeks, you will check out on the Saturday between retreats and stay a night in Oleiros either in a four-star hotel (80 to 120 EUR all included) or wooden cabin in the campsite by the river beach (30 to 65 EUR). They will arrange this for you in advance and take you to and from Oleiros.
All accommodation features the following amenities:
Through movement, rest, and nourishing food, you will find balance. A calm nervous system, a healthy body, and a peaceful mind. Acceptance, understanding, and connection. Enjoying the simple abundance of the present moment, the magnificence of life itself. A rejuvenating, inspiring, and cleansing experience. A sense of coming home to yourself. This retreat is for all levels, ages, and shapes of humans.
Whether you are a beginner to yoga or you already have a practice, there is something (everything) for you. Together, you will enjoy beginning each day in silence, dynamic morning yoga practices inspired by Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Embodied flow. Afternoon workshops will include a restorative mix of meditation, Yin yoga, Yoga Nidra, self-massage, and further exploration of the asanas.
When you first go to a yoga studio or buy a book or watch a video, you may do so because on some level, you recognize you are under strain, mental, physical, or emotional. You practice a little and feel loosened at greater ease. Some of the stress you carried before your practice seems to abate enough so that you may move into your life with assurance. Yoga is healing and offers you a return to a state of equilibrium. So you devote a little more time to yourselves, just for yourselves.
The teachers at Vale de Moses trustfully impart their experience of yoga as personal practitioners and as students. They employ the teachings of many styles, sharing their treasured love of this ancient practice in an earthy, simple, kindly, and compassionate manner. Morning classes are often flowing and energetic, inspired by Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, and Dynamic Hatha yoga, setting you up nicely for a day of therapies, sunbathing, and exploring.
Sultry afternoon classes of Yin yoga, focused asana exploration, playful unintimidating Partner or Acro yoga, and some quiet contemplation. Together, you artfully cultivate a love of the personally empowered practice and sow seeds of self-understanding so you can move more gracefully into a state of integration, wholeness and ultimately, relaxation. Right now, you may be in the early tentative days of this yoga romance or entirely certain that what was once a sporadic practice has now become a way of life.
Whatever stage in your relationship, a retreat at Vale de Moses is an invitation to deepen the love affair with yoga and with yourself. Removed from the normal stresses and responsibilities of life, surrounded by the stunning wilderness of the Portuguese forests, nurture yourself without distraction. Be romanced into yoga. Free from intimidating complex drills, open slowly, sweetly, squeeze, and savor all the juice out of your practice and digest every drop of the nutrients.
Through the gentle compassionate guidance of experienced teachers, you will be taken inward to connect with the harmonious rhythm of your breathing and from this rhythm into your body. Broaden, lengthen, and soften into each asana, into your day, into your week, and into your life.
The indulgent luxury of time loosens and dissolves nervous tension. From this calm space, confidence in yourselves and your personal experience grows. Return home with a stronger desire to cultivate a personal practice that encourages a little more contentment and ease in your world. One afternoon in the week, you will head off to the nearby Rio Zêzere for a wild swim and mud bath weather permitting. On Friday evening, there is a party with music and dancing.
During this retreat, you will take part in guided silent morning walks in the forest.
Emilie de la Chapelle is a movement enthusiast and bodywork therapist born in Finland. One particularly cold winter Emilie found herself in a small town on the East coast of Canada and her salvation became a hot yoga studio. Hot yoga leads her to Vinyasa or Hatha and eventually a yoga teacher training in Costa Rica with many more to follow (RYT 500-hour). Emilie practices and studies Ashtanga, Authentic Flow, embodied Yin, Tantra, and various types of bodywork therapies such as Thai yoga massage, trigger point release therapy, and osteopathy.
The center of Portugal is not as well known as other parts of Portugal. Oleiros is far off the international tourist routes and as such is still undiscovered. It is quiet, humble, and beautiful in its remoteness. The isolated nature of the mountain communities here means the culture is one of self-sufficiency for food, water, and shelter, together with a reliance on the help and support of neighbors.
Hundreds of thousands of Portuguese have left these gorgeous valleys over the last 40 years in search of work in the cities, on the coast or abroad, so a project like this is bringing vibrant life and employment to those who have chosen to stay and helping to put Oleiros on the global map of well-being tourist destinations. The neighbors and local community are 100 percent behind them and you will be welcomed with open hearts and doors on your walks around.
Do consider extending your trip here before or after your retreat with them to see more of beautiful Portugal. If you can, add a few days to your stay to visit the charming cities of Lisbon, Porto, or Coimbra, the historic towns and villages peppered throughout the country or any of the award-winning beaches around the coast.
Hostels and guest houses are clean and well run in Portugal and there are some wonderful holiday cottages where you will be well looked after with renowned Portuguese hospitality. You will also find some gems of houses and apartments on Airbnb. For a beach stay with daily yoga classes, there is Sandhi House just north of Lisbon.
If you prefer to travel further, a favorite most unspoiled part of the coast in Portugal is the Rota Vicentina. Guesthouse hosts there will look after you, arrange surf lessons, hikes, and other activities, or suggest other places along the coast if they are full. Best hire car deals seem to be through rentalcars.com. Well worth buying a Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to Portugal to see what you have in store.
Perhaps you might like to head straight for the country after flying into Portugal, spending a day or two either side of your retreat here in Oleiros to explore the wider area. There are a few lovely places to consider. Vilar dos Condes in nearby Madeirã, the Campismo next to the Praia Fluvial, a stone cottage called Casa do Dão, the Santa Margarida four-star hotel, or the Refúgios do Pinhal guesthouse.
Each offers a special price for guests of Vale de Moses, so mention them when you contact those places. If you are staying two weeks or more on retreat at Vale de Moses, they will check you into one of these places for the Saturday in between your retreats and pick you up on Sunday afternoon.
You will not be hungry as Vale de Moses feels it is important to nourish your body while on retreat with them. They are feeders. They lovingly prepare three delicious and nutritious vegetarian or vegan meals every day. Fresh vegetables, salads, and fruit are available from their own or their neighbors' gardens during the season and from their favorite local greengrocers in Oleiros.
The food is rich in pulses and grains, low in salt, and high in fresh herbs and spices. Honey from local wild bees is preferred over sugar. Their talented plant-based chefs bring passion and joy to their cooking. They have years of experience with vegetarian and vegan food in a variety of settings around the world. Their fusion of ingredients, spices, and flavors, according to the principles of Ayurveda, mean every dish is not only tasty but also easy to digest.
The majority of the menus are vegan and gluten-free. You will start the day with warming tea, fruit, and nuts before a silent meditation walk in the forest, followed by a yoga class. After that, they serve a hearty breakfast of rice, millet, quinoa, or buckwheat porridge with fruit salad, toasted nuts and seeds, and freshly squeezed juices. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day when your stomachs are best able to digest.
Dinners are light to help you sleep more deeply. Food is plentiful at Vale de Moses and one of the highlights mentioned in many of their reviews. They are well-versed in looking after those who have specific dietary requirements. Please do let them know any other requirements in advance and introduce yourself to their chef when you arrive.
Availability for these workshops will vary from week to week depending on the chef and the availability of the local friends to offer tours.
There is also the option to join in on an interactive and dynamic cooking workshop with one of the talented chefs on Thursday afternoons before your yoga class.
On Tuesdays or Wednesdays in between breakfast and lunchtime, you will have the opportunity to explore more of the surrounding area by joining one of their neighbors and local tour guides for a hike off-site.
It is often difficult within the routine hustle and bustle of your busy lives to remember to take time out and gift yourselves with a soothing massage or healing treatment. So this is why on the retreat at Vale de Moses, they have made sure that each of their lovely guests will receive an inclusive 90-minute treatment with one of their amazing massage therapists.
Aside from your included 90-minute treatment, you will also have the chance to book yourself in for additional massages while you are here. Vale de Moses has gathered a talented team of professional bodywork, reconnective healing, and herbal therapists from around the world who offer a variety of healing and restorative massage treatments that you can find out more about.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote healing and feeling of well-being and relaxation in the recipient. The essential oils are extracted from the parts of herbs and plants and contain all the properties of the plants themselves. During aromatherapy massage, the skin is warmed and the blood is drawn to the surface, increasing circulation, and encouraging the elimination of toxins from the body, which has the consequence of speeding up the recovery time from any illness or injury.
The manipulation of the muscles continues the process, whilst at the same time releasing tense knotted muscles by dispersing the build-up of lactic acid which often occurs after exercise. As the circulation increases, the oils are absorbed through the skin and carried around the body, allowing their healing effects to permeate to all the major body organs.
If you prefer oil treatment, Indonesian massage is also available. Indonesian massage is characterized by deep work along the lines of muscle tissues to lengthen shortened and tightened muscle fibers. Indonesian massage is soulful. You simply lie on the table and allow yourself to be perfumed, pampered, and nourished.
Thai massage is a clothed massage technique performed on the floor. It is like a meditative dance between therapist and the person receiving the treatment. In a Thai massage, the nadis, energetic, or qi lines are systematically pressed and stimulated by thumbs and hands to remove energetic blockages from the body.
Thai massage is a wonderful compliment to yoga practice as it invites deeper opening in the joints, particularly the hip sockets, and the shoulders encouraging flexibility and mobility, a deep sense of well being and contentment. After a Thai massage, the body drifts as light as a feather on a breeze, the spirit is refueled and the mind contemplative and serene.
Chinese Tui Na massage is a deep tissue treatment on a clothed or covered body excellent for chronic complaints such as whiplash injury, tension, disc problems, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, migraines, neuralgia, depression, insomnia, chronic strain, frozen shoulder, lumbar pain, and other illnesses of repetitive strain. You will be kneaded into a state of health.
Acupuncture rebalances the energetic potential of your body by stimulating energetic points or pools of energy through the insertion of needles. Acupuncture examines your physiological and psychological health as a whole to look for patterns of disharmony or imbalance in your body. You are viewed as a whole being in need of re-tuning so to speak. Symptoms of disharmony may be a pain in legs, sciatica, insomnia, stress, and irritable bowel syndrome. However, in acupuncture, the symptoms are treated within the context of the whole of your body.
One of the greatest benefits of energy healing is stress reduction and relaxation, which triggers the body's natural healing abilities and improves and maintains health. Energy healing is a natural therapy that gently balances the body’s life-force and brings health and well being to the recipient. When the flow of the 'Life Force Energy' is disrupted, weakened, or blocked, emotional or health problems tend to occur.
Imbalances can be caused from many situations occurring in your lives, such as emotional or physical trauma, injury, negative thoughts and feelings, including fear, worry, doubt, anger, anxiety, negative self-talk, toxicity, nutritional depletion, destructive lifestyle and relationships, neglect of self and lack of love for oneself or others, from emotions that are not expressed in a healthy way. Energy healing is excellent for healing any physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual issues of any kind and it gives wonderful results.
Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport
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Lisbon Portela Airport
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Please book your flight to arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) or Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO). Fly into Lisbon or Porto on Friday or Saturday if you can and enjoy time in those charming cities or by the beach before heading up to see Vale de Moses in the mountains on the Sunday afternoon coaches (the 1:30 p.m. from Lisbon or the 4:30 p.m. from Porto) to the local town of Oleiros, where they will pick you up by car on arrival.
Buy your coach tickets online (only visible a month in advance) via the Rede Expressos website or better still their Myrne app. The Sete Rios coach station in Lisbon is a 15-minute shuttle bus, metro, or taxi ride from both the airport and city center. The Porto coach station is a 25-minute train ride into the center from the airport to 24 de Agosto metro station. They will email everyone a week or so before arrival so if you wish, you can arrange to meet each other before traveling up to the forest together.
The good meeting place in Lisbon is the café in the zoo next to the coach station. The trip from Porto changes in Coimbra and they will pick you up at 7:45 p.m. in Sertã. If you prefer to spend the afternoon in Coimbra rather than Porto, you can take an earlier coach or train in time for the 6:30 p.m. bus to Sertã. The return coach is on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. from Oleiros to both Lisbon and Porto arriving midday. Best to choose evening flights home or stay a night there and fly home Sunday.
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