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Moving the body with awareness and experiencing the rhythmic breath allows us to move into a state of ease, space, and a willingness to surrender. We naturally release from tension as we witness the transformation of doubt, agitation, and stagnant energy when we embrace yoga as a life practice. This retreat will focus on how we can use our yoga practice to expand our center, to live with steady ease, and to create the platform for more skillful action in all aspects of our life. Drawing on philosophy, nature, creativity and human experience, Tashi encourages the group to creatively explore their experience of yoga.
Since we arrived in 2008, we threw ourselves 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. We hope youll enjoy staying in these old dwelling places as much as we have over the years.
Relaxing bathrooms have been our luxury treat through the restoration work and so each house has its own. 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 with us. We allocate guests to our stone cottages depending on the size of group for the week.
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.
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.
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 small holders who cultivated with their families every available piece of land by creating stone terraces on the hillsides. Small stone houses, adegas (wine making sheds), corals, and water mills pepper the riversides and the valleys for miles around. Hence the name Moses, meaning a place of many millstones. 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. An old forest farming life that thankfully is still being lived here by a handful of our neighbors, so we still can learn how to do it before those old ways are lost forever.
Within a half an hour walk, you can discover the abandoned villages of Eira de Miguel and Felgueiras, with houses built in the 17th century and some stunning views over the Rio Zzere. Families still return through the year to look after their grapes and olives and harvest their pine and eucalyptus trees, but no one lives there. A 10 minute steep hike up the hill is our picturesque village of Amieira with great views north and an old church and a caf that opens only when you bang on the doors. The 2 families whose fathers built all the houses at
Moses a century ago still live in Amieira, and if your Portuguese is up to it, they will share a story or two with you. By car within half hour you can visit lvaro, Oleiros, Orvalho, Cambas, Estreito all of which have cafs and restaurants, shops, and more of the rich traditional Portuguese rural culture to experience.
We make tasty, nutritious, and nourishing meals largely from fresh vegetables and fruit available from our own or our neighbors gardens during the season and from our favorite local greengrocers in Oleiros. We provide homely meals rich in pulses, grains and fresh vegetables, low in salt, and high in fresh herbs. Honey from local wild bees is preferred over sugar.
Our food is eclectic in nature fusing Vonnies west Indian cooking with Andys English, Italian roots, Joshuas delight in a blender, and Ellies love of baking. Our food is cooked with mindful attention and according to basic yet profound Ayurvedic principles. This means that apart from tasty, our food is as fresh as possible, mostly cooked with some raw on the side and that we avoid certain food combinations which are difficult to digest, like fresh fruit during or after meals.
We serve our largest meal at lunch with warm and fragrant herbal tea to help you digest it the best. In this way, food is not only enjoyed during mealtimes, but will also truly support your yoga practice and well-being.
Your stay includes a fruit breakfast, hearty lunch, and light dinner; a range of herbal teas, fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds are always available in the farmhouse. If we are all very lucky, Eloise will make us one or two of her scrumptious vegan cakes. Food for the body, the spirit, and the soul.
Therell be plenty of time, when youre not on the massage table, to cool off, and swim in the natural river pools cascading through the valley. One afternoon, we all go off road to the Rio Zzere for a mud bath in isolated paradise. Its an ancient therapy as well as an incredible skin cleanse. On the way back, we stop in to the cafs of Abitureira to meet some of our lovely neighbors. One of the highlights of the week for many of our guests.
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 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.
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 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 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 our therapists available. The cost is 75 EUR for each 90 minute treatment session, payable at the end of your stay. Other therapies available include:
Take the Sunday afternoon coach from Lisbon (1.30 p.m.) or Porto (4.30 p.m.), to our local town, Oleiros, where we will pick you up by car on arrival.
Coach timetable, prices, and tickets are on the Rede Expressos website. Well email all guests the week before arrival so if youd like, you can contact each other to meet in Lisbon or Porto before travelling up to the forest together.
Good meeting place in Lisbon is the café in the zoo next to the coach station.
The trip from Porto has 2 changes, Coimbra, and Sert, with a chance at each for a tea and loo break. The coach from Lisbon has one short loo break half way at Tomar.
Depart: Return coach is 3.00 p.m. to Lisbon or 8.00 a.m. to Porto the following Saturday. You can buy your coach tickets in advance online or 15 minutes before you board.