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Experience the beauty of unspoilt wild nature here at The Ochre Hideaway, an intimate retreat space in the forested hills of central Portugal. Come here if you want to retreat to the tranquility of nature to be nourished by a comfortable homely environment, healthy wholesome food, deep restful sleep and space to reflect. All are welcome, whether you are travelling alone, with friends or as a couple (non-yoga partners are welcome too).
The house was built from the local stone and clay sometime well before 1748 which is when the family built the second house in the hamlet. In the past it was very much a working house as well as living space and was the centre of village life where linens were spun, chestnuts roasted and skinned, and all the bread for the village baked in the stone oven. Since buying the house in 2008, Michelle has invested energy and love into restoring it into a space that honours the traditional character and innate beauty of its past but with all the comforts of modern living. It is furnished simply yet tastefully and has been restored using natural materials wherever possible, including limewashed walls coloured from Ochre pigments, hence The Ochre Hideaway.
There are two bedrooms within the house. One is very spacious with two double beds and the other is smaller with two single beds. Each of the spaces can be booked as singe occupancy, twin-share or double. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. All bedding will be provided. Towels will be provided for showering, however please bring your own towel for swimming.
A retreat is the perfect opportunity to restore balance, harmony and clarity to your life. Michelle's focus is on inviting a deeper experience of yoga rather than exploring extreme postures so it will appeal to beginners who want to develop a strong foundation, but also to seasoned practitioners who are looking to clarify their practice.
Classes are based upon the Dynamic Yoga Method, which is a rhythmic and meditative practice, with a strong focus on the integrity of the spine.. During the week you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of this method which, when applied, respect the inherent intelligence and integrity of your body, thus inviting the process of reintegration to begin so that your practice may nourish you rather than deplete you.
You will be invited to explore your capacity moment by moment and to become intimate with the flow of sensations arising within you. In shifting your focus to feeling rather than thinking, the mind quietens and becomes absorbed into the whole, and that is why an authentic yoga practice, based on sensitivity to what is actually happening, is so deeply relaxing and restorative. What you do on your mat should make you feel good, inside and out.
The small class-size ensures you will receive lots of individual attention to maximise the benefits of your practice and classes can be tailored to meet the needs of individuals within the group as a whole. Each week will include five morning classes and three afternoon workshops/classes. The morning classes will be a minimum of two hours each, and include asana, pranayama, relaxation and meditation. Workshops will explore bandhas, spirals, pranayama practices to free your breath from any habituated patterns of tension and intention, and a deep release class.
In addition to the classes there is an evening meditation session every night to leave you perfectly relaxed and ready for a good nights sleep. All meditation practice will be based upon simply being aware of sensations arising in the body and thoughts passing through the mind so everyone can enjoy it as a practice.
This may vary slightly depending on the group.
Daily trips to the local river beach are included in the summer months.
Michelle is the owner of The Ochre Hideaway as well as the resident yoga teacher and massage therapist. She is passionate about life, yoga, juicing, giving massage and living a life as close to nature as possible. Michelle has been a yoga practitioner since 1997 and working as a yoga teacher and massage therapist since 2002.
The Ochre Hideaway is situated in the previously abandoned old part of the hamlet of Braal, Oleiros, in an area recognized for its natural beauty as part of the UNESCO Geopark Naturtejo. The area is blessed with amazing fresh air, spring water and wild nature all around. The nearest town of Oleiros is 5 kilometers away and has all amenities, as well as an outdoor swimming pool if you prefer that to the local river beach.
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Food will be hearty, wholesome, vegetarian or vegan and will be prepared from scratch wherever possible to retain the maximum vitality and nutritional value. Lovingly prepared with fresh ingredients, a wholefoods-based diet is perfect for yoga practice as it softens the tissues, supports clear thinking, promotes healing and gently cleanses the body.
Juicing will also be included as part of the retreat program as an extra boost to your health and well-being. There is also the option of combining your retreat stay with a 3-day or 5-day Juice Cleanse whereby some or all of your meals are replaced by satisfying raw food juices. Aside from revitalizing and recharging your body, the cleanse will also support you in releasing unhealthy dietary habits in order to reclaim your health. Please contact The Ochre Hideaway if you would like more information on this option.
All fresh produce is locally sourced to support the local community and will be lovingly prepared by a retreat chef with years of experience in cooking tasty wholefoods.
Life here is unhurried and follows the rhythms of nature and the seasons. You can walk for hours in the surrounding pine and eucalyptus forests, laze in the sun, read a book from The Ochre Hideaways collection or catch up on some much-needed rest in the hammock.
From June to September there are numerous freshwater swimming spots nearby, known as Praia Fluvial or River Beaches. Daily afternoon trips to the local river beach are included so you can swim and cool off. In addition to your massage that is included, extra treatments will be available throughout the week.
Depending on the time of year you come, you can also pick sun-ripened fruit straight off the trees in the hamlet including figs, oranges, tangerines, plums and cherries or help with the grape or olive harvest.
A good massage is truly one of life's greatest pleasures. Michelle massages mainly with her forearms, which readily mold themselves around the body encouraging tense knotted tissues to release effortlessly. Through the release of tension and stress, the body and mind is invited to recover to its natural state of innate balance, and is thus fortified and rejuvenated. Supporting and harmonizing both body and mind, massage therapy can be of benefit to everyone - whether your health is good or has room for improvement.
Therapeutic massage: is a thorough massage combining techniques from Swedish deep -tissue, and no-hands massage to effortlessly soothe away muscular aches and pains. Treatment can be either localized or full-body. Guaranteed to leave you feeling lighter and brighter. Relaxation massage is a soft flowing full-body treatment for those who don't have any specific aches or pains or who just want to be pampered into total relaxation.
Facial massage: with pure Monoi oil, includes acupressure points and massage to the neck to rejuvenate, refresh and revive. As a result of the increased blood circulation and stimulation, the temperature of the skin increases, opening the pores and cleansing the skin from deep within. In addition to improving skin and muscle tone, as well as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, the skin is hydrated and rejuvenated. Rediscover a more radiant youthful-looking skin, naturally!
Holistic clinical aromatherapy: involves the application of essential oils to improve physical and emotional well-being. Although the massage may be offered without the addition of essential oils, it has been Michelle's experience that the benefits are often enhanced when they are used due to their inherent therapeutic properties, as a result of their unique energetic nature and chemical composition.
Massage treatments are charged at 50 EUR per hour or part thereof.
A document detailing all possible travel options will be sent to you upon request or at the time of booking.
If you wish to hire a car, the journey time is just over 2 hours from Lisbon and 2.5 hours from Porto. If you would like to share car hire please let The Ochre Hideaway know when booking and they will put you in touch with the other guests on your retreat week
Both Lisbon and Porto have onward connections to Oleiros via coach. On Sundays, there are two coaches from Lisbon Sete Rios direct to Oleiros: departs at 13:30 arrives at 17:00 and departs at 18:00 arrives at 21:30. There is also a late coach that leaves from behind Lisbon Oriente train station at 20:00, arriving in Sertã at 23:00. From Porto, there are two options. The coach to Oleiros leaving at 16:30 arriving at 21:30 with two changes in Coimbra and Sertã. Alternatively, there are two coaches from Porto to Sertã with one change in Coimbra, leaving at 17:00 arriving in Sertã at 19:45, and 20:00 arriving in Sertã at 22:30. A taxi from Sertã can be organised to collect you at a cost of 20 EUR. Departure is on Saturday at 08:00 arriving in Lisbon at midday and Porto at 12.30.
On Sundays, there are three trains from Lisbon Oriente to Vila Velha de Rodão: departs at 13:24 arrives at 15:41; departs at 16:24 arrives at 19:03; and departs at 19:24 arrives at 21:41. From Porto Campanha to Vila Velha de Rodão, there are three train options depending on your arrival time and they all involve changing trains at Entroncamento: departs at 14:52 arrives at 19:03; departs at 17:45 arrives at 21:26; and departs at 17:52 arrives at 21:41. A taxi can be organized to meet you in Vila Velha at a cost of 45-50 EUR.
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