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7 Days Cultivate Contentment Yoga Retreat with Vonetta Winter in Portugal

Vale de Moses, Amieira, Oleiros, Castelo Branco, Portugal

Relaxing Yoga Retreat Portugal

Being cared for on a retreat in a family home; having a simple and comfortable space to rest; wholesome food to nourish; revitalizing mud for the skin; experienced therapists to ease away persistent aches and pains; good company with time for meaningful conversations; silence and opportunity for reflection; early morning walks and late afternoon swims; visits to remote country villages, sampling the local fair. All of these things make it just a little easier for those of us feeling stressed out and pulled in all directions, to feel restored.

Meet the instructors

Vonetta
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Highlights

  • Guided Shavasana and partner yoga
  • 5-morning yoga and pranayama classes
  • Guided silent morning walks in the forest
  • 4-afternoon sessions exploring the Bandhas and Meditation
  • A mid-week trip to the Rio Zêzere for a mud bath and swim
  • Enjoy one-hour body harmonizing massage
  • A half-hour private health consultation
  • Daily, breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 6 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Yoga styles


5 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Portuguese
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Accommodation

Since Vale de Moses arrived in 2008, they threw themselves whole-heartedly into restoring the four Xisto stone houses 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'll enjoy staying in these old dwelling places as much as we have over the years.

Beds are either quality mattresses or superb Portuguese made futons, all with cotton sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, good pillows, and duvets. Restorative sleep is an essential part of your retreat.

Program

A retreat encourages us to foster expectations in harmony with our experiences so that a more peaceful or blissful state, contentment, can arise. Daily morning yoga classes designed to challenge your strength, flexibility, and stamina will be broken down into easily accessible steps so that the complete beginner along with the more advanced practitioner can both experience the contentment that yoga posture practice encourages. This Dynamic and Yin yoga inspired week is aimed at broadening our hearts, opening our hips, and finally lengthening our limbs and spine so that we may walk a little taller in our lives, contentedly guided by each and every moment of life and each and every breath.

Yoga

Yoga is an invitation to relax. Yoga uses our anatomy to restore us physiologically, neurologically, energetically, and emotionally. Yoga is a doorway into the subtle, intuitive, perceptual qualities of our being. Modern western life is often stressful and combative and is heavily focused on the outward. Yoga and meditation are anecdotes. Yoga and meditation advance our inward journey to our own center. It is from this steady, calm, lucid, and awake center that we move outward into our daily lives. Through practice, we feel well, whatever the challenges of life.

Yoga is practiced according to the dynamic yoga method as developed by Godfrey Devereux. The dynamic yoga system is a well-balanced system and while challenging, it is instantly available to all levels of practitioner, requiring no profound flexibility, strength, or stamina. It is an unsurpassed system for exploring the journey into meditative movement. Our aim is that at the end of your stay you will feel challenged, relaxed, and replenished with a few more tools to assist you on your way.

Daily schedule

Retreats may differ slightly from each other, but generally, you will follow a schedule similar to this, with a full orientation around the houses and valleys on Monday morning after yoga class and breakfast.

  • 08.00 - 10.30: Morning silent walk followed by yoga
  • 10.45 - 11.00: Breakfast
  • 11.00 - 14.00: Massages (if it's one of your slots)
  • 14.00 - 15.00: Lunch
  • 15.00 - 16.30: Massages (if it's one of your slots); free time/swim/ guided hike/trip to the river, the forest, and river pools
  • 17.00 - 18.30: 4-afternoon yoga classes/workshops, or more massages (on no workshop afternoons)
  • 19.00 - 21.00: Dinner
  • 22.00: Begin a full, restorative nights sleep

Included excursions

A mid-week trip to the Rio Zêzere or Cambas for a mud bath and swim depending on the weather during your stay.

Instructors

Vonetta Winter

Retreat location

Vale de Moses is in the heart of the forested foothills of the Serra de Estrela. Life in these valleys 40 years ago was full of hard-working Portuguese smallholders who cultivated with their families every available piece of land by creating stone terraces on the hillsides. Small stone houses, adegas (winemaking sheds), corals, and water mills pepper the riversides and the valleys for miles around. Hence the name Moses, meaning a place of many milestones.

These days, like so many rural communities across southern Europe, those small holdings have been deserted by younger generations of the families that built them, needing to immigrate to the cities or abroad to find work. Exploring the surrounding areas by foot, by bike, or by car, you enter a bygone age, and marvel at both the views and the stonework of the river and terrace walls that seem to go on forever in all directions.

By car within half hour you can visit Alvaro, Oleiros, Orvalho, Cambas, Estreito all of which have cafes and restaurants, shops, and more of the rich traditional Portuguese rural culture to experience.

Distances:

  • Amieira - 10 minutes
  • Eira de Miguel and Felgueiras - 30 minutes' walk
  • Alvaro, Oleiros, Orvalho, Cambas, Estreito - 30 minutes' drive

Food

You won't be hungry as Vale de Moses feel it's important to nourish your body while on retreat with them. The kitchen team lovingly prepares three delicious and nutritious vegetarian/vegan meals every day. Fresh vegetables, salads, and fruit available from our own or our neighbors' gardens during the season and from our favorite local greengrocers in Oleiros. Rich in pulses and grains, low in salt and high in fresh herbs and spices. Honey from local wild bees is preferred over sugar.

The chefs this year bring passion and joy to their cooking. They have years of experience with vegetarian and vegan food and 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.

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 which they serve a hearty breakfast of rice, millet, quinoa or oat 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.

Vale de Moses is well versed in looking after those who have specific dietary requirements. The majority of the menus are vegan and gluten-free. Please do let them know any other requirements in advance and introduce yourself to the chef and the kitchen team when you arrive.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Detox juices

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
  • Raw food
  • Lactose Free
  • Other dietary requirements on request
  • Ayurvedic
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Spa treatments

Holistic treatments

  • 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.
  • Thai massage; a second clothed massage technique performed on the floor is a meditative dance between the 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 wellbeing 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.

Indonesian massage

If you prefer an oil treatment, then 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. Yummy!

Acupuncture

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 retuning so to speak. Symptoms of disharmony may be a pain in legs, sciatica, insomnia, stress, or irritable bowel syndrome, however, in acupuncture, the symptoms are treated within the context of the whole of your body.

During the week you can also book in additional treatments with one of the therapists available. The cost is 90 EUR per 90 minutes treatment session, payable at the end of your stay.

What's included

  • All food, accommodation, and facilities
  • 4-afternoon sessions exploring the Bandhas and meditation, guided Shavasana, and Partner yoga
  • 5-morning yoga and pranayama classes
  • 1-hour body harmonizing massage (Thai, Tui Na, Indonesian, Ayurvedic and/or Acupuncture)
  • A mid-week trip to the Rio Zêzere for a mud bath and swim (weather permitting)
  • Guided silent morning walks in the forest
  • Half hour private health consultation
  • Transport to and from Oleiros

What's not included

  • Additional massages or treatments are not included and will cost 90 EUR for 90 minutes (depending on the availability there might also be other workshops you can attend during your stay)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions from Lisbon

  • A1 north to A23 turn off
  • A23 to Abrantes, Villa de Rei turnoff
  • N2 to Sertã
  • Sertã to Oleiros
  • Oleiros to the village of Amieira

Driving directions from Porto

  • A1 south to Coimbra
  • A13 to Tomar
  • IC8 to Sertã
  • Sertã to Oleiros to Amieira
  • Good signposting throughout, but a SatNav with latest Portuguese new road map will help. The journey from both Lisbon and Porto with breaks 2.5 hours

Arrival by bus

Take the Sunday afternoon coach from Lisbon (1.30 p.m.) or Porto (4.30 p.m.), to the local town, Oleiros or Sertã (if arriving from Porto) where Vale de Moses will pick you up by car on arrival.

  • Coach timetable, prices, and tickets are on the Rede Expressos website. Vale de Moses will email all guests the week before arrival. So if you'd like, you can contact each other to meet in Lisbon or Porto before traveling up to the forest together. A good meeting place in Lisbon is the cafe in the zoo next to the coach station.
  • The trip from Porto has 2 changes, Coimbra, and Sertã, where you will get picked up to save the hour-long wait. However, you must remember to only buy your ticket on the 4:30 p.m. bus from Porto to Oleiros even though we will be picking you up in Sertã.
  • Depart: Return coach is 8.00 a.m. whether you are returning to Lisbon or to Porto on the following Saturday. You will be taken into Oleiros in time for your bus. You can buy your coach tickets in advance online or 15 minutes before you board.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Saturday August 29, 2020
(7 days / 6 nights)

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