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When we move our bodies with yoga, in yoga, we are able to tap into a deep resource of presence and energy. When we gift ourselves with a retreat time, we nourish and bless ourselves. This can give us a way of understanding ourselves, our family, our friends, our community and our planet.
Yoga can also give us peace, a little bit of sanctuary within our busy lives. When you make some sacred space for yourself, you nourish your own wellbeing, and create the process of deep healing, and self empowerment.
Fiona will share her deep love of yoga and guide guests through the week. This retreat will be filled with yoga, asana exploration, fluid movement, breathing, and meditation. You will also have plenty of time for exploring the surrounding forest, walking to the water, swimming, walking to the village, shiatsu treatments, or relaxing and reading in hammocks.
One of the special things about this yoga retreat is the yurts. The guests are always very pleasantly surprised by just how comfortable everything is, despite being eco-friendly, and how well the systems for water heating and electricity, as well as the heating systems for the cooler months, work. Yoga Holidays Portugal is also able to accommodate couples in the smaller yurt for two.
All yurts and the bell tent have electricity, solar reading lamps, shelving and some storage space, carpets, and rugs. All the beds have mosquito nets. Yurts are shared with a maximum of two people. You can choose to stay in a private, double, or triple room.
Bathrooms and toilets are shared by a maximum of five guests. As Yoga Holidays Portugal is living sustainably, the bathrooms have solar heated hot water and eco-composting toilets. The bathrooms and toilets are built in a modern style using wood from their land. They are clean, comfortable, and totally green.
Adjoining each yurt is a covered kitchen and dining area. The kitchen is equipped with sink, two-ring gas hob and small grill, a fridge, pots, pans, crockery, and cooking utensils. The water comes from a bore hole 100 meters underground and is clean and untrained by fluoride and chlorine.
The ten classes (morning and afternoon) will be shared by Fiona, who will be alternating classes and bringing you a wide range of practices. The morning sessions will be dynamic with flowing yoga sequences, earthing through your roots, firing up your core, and moving fluidly into and through the asanas. With a balanced focus on both external alignment and awareness of internal space, Fiona will share their love of yoga with depth of knowledge and experience.
In the afternoons, you will practice yoga Nidra, mindfulness meditation, and slower, more Restorative yoga postures. Fiona will share her knowledge in mindfulness meditation practices and somatic approaches to yoga, and Fiona will share the practice of yoga Nidra and working with the power of intention and mantra. This retreat is suitable for beginners as well as those who wish to dive more deeply into their yoga and meditation practice.
The Sanskrit word asana translates as "seat", the practice of moving the body into shapes or postures, and also moving into the body when you are tangled in your mind. Asana can also be interpreted as "connection" to the ground underneath you, and to the beings and the world around you.
In asana practice, you move energetically into forms, a child, a dog, cat, pigeon, tree, or great sages. The postures hold within them, the knowledge, and the understanding of the ancient rishis are passed down through generations of practitioners. Yoga Holidays Portugal is blessed to be able to access this practice and share in this knowledge.
Through the practice of asana, you can relieve your bodies from years of built up stresses and strains, traumas, and stored memories. You can start to "disentangle your spirits". Your physical body will come to feel more alive, vibrant and dynamic, gaining in strength and flexibility.
Through sustained practice, you come to learn so much about yourself, recognize and break through your barriers and boundaries, and find new ways of opening and releasing. These qualities seep through into your day to day lives, yoga "off the mat"
Hatha yoga is a practice that has been passed down for centuries from teacher to student, and Yoga Holidays Portugal is so lucky to have access to this wonderful body of knowledge. The word Hatha is translated as willful or force.
Hatha yoga refers to a sequence of physical postures or asanas designed to create strength and healthy alignment in the body. The asanas can open the energy channels of the body and the spine, allowing energy to flow freely, loosening any blockages, freeing up restriction and generally creating a sense of well-being.
"Ha" translates form the Sanskrit to mean sun, and "tha" translates to mean moon. This refers to the masculine and feminine aspects, the heating and the cooling, the active and receptive, the sthira and sukha, and the yang and the yin.
Hatha yoga is a means of working towards and establishing union in your body, mind, and life, creating balance and uniting opposites. You will work to develop a balance between strength and flexibility, and you will also practice balancing your effort and surrender in each pose. Balancing the active by "doing" part of each posture, with relaxing and releasing.
Meditation is something that will develop over time when the mind has been calmed or focused with practice of dharana (concentration). It is only through dharana that dhyana (meditation) will come. The traditional purpose of yogasana is to enable the body to sit in meditation. It is good for you as beginners to use a particular technique to support us in our practice.
There are many techniques for cultivating dharana or concentration of the mind, such as concentrative practices, which focuses on a sound or a part of the body or the breath, for example japa mantra; mindfulness practices, which integrates meditation with your everyday experience, being present, for example, walking meditation or mindfulness of breathing practice; and contemplative or analytical practices, where you might explore a question or 'truth' and allow a deeper process of inquiry to occur, for example, "who am I?" or "who is the self?"
Yoga Holidays Portugal's retreats offer many different methods of cultivating a meditation practice. From mindfulness based meditation working with breath and observation to Osho-style dynamic meditation and dance based, movement meditation practices.
Your breath is what keeps you alive. If you did not breathe, you would not live. It is your breath that connects you with your spirit, and the practice of conscious breathing enables you to develop mindfulness, awareness, and connection. Awareness and mindfulness of your breathing are one of the most common techniques for concentrating the mind and dropping into the practice of meditation.
The practice of pranayama, generally translated from the Sanskrit as restraining or controlling the breath, is a practice that can really put you in touch with the basic connection of being alive. Before you start to understand many of the yogic pranayama practices, you must untangle your breath from years of habitual holding and unconscious restraints or blockages.
As your body hang on to memories of physical and emotional experiences, your process of breathing can become unnatural as you grow through life. You develop habits of holding, both body and breath, which you need to unwind and understand before you can move on. Pranayama can also be interpreted as developing and understanding the intimacy with your own breath and freeing it from restraint and restriction.
Your breath is also intimately connected with movement. Your body moves as you breathe. The connection between the breath and the movement of the spine is an integral point of exploration in a yoga practice. Sometimes, the subtle motion of your breath can lead you to your spine, and the more dynamic movements of your spine can lead you to your breath.
Vinyasa translates as "to place in a special way". In today's asana based yoga classes, this translates as intelligently sequenced postures and is often taught in a dynamic style, moving with the breath, and transitioning between postures with each breath.
Most practitioners will be familiar with surya namaskar, or sun salutations, which come in many varieties, and are commonly taught or used as a warming up sequence. Many current popular yoga styles are built around surya namaskar and variations, using this sequence as the basis for moving in and out of other asana explorations.
Vinyasa krama means that yoga should be approached in a systematic way, moving from simple to more complex postures, building up to a complex asana progressively, or moving from dynamic flow into stillness, allowing time for the body to integrate its experience. Ideally, a class will build postures one upon the next, creating the perfect energetic situations for asanas to be explored and deeply understood.
The Sanskrit word yoga derives from the root word yug, which means to yoke, or to join. This also brings up words in English, such as relationship and connection. A yoga retreat provides the time and space to explore some of the deeper aspects and meaning of yoga.
The practice of yoga can bring you into a deeper relationship and connection with your own bodies, minds, and emotions. It could join you together if you are a little disconnected and it can also reintegrate you. Over time, it could make your body become stronger and healthier, and it could help you better understand your thoughts and emotions.
The practice of yoga Nidra (yoga sleep), comes from the traditions of Tantra, meaning that it is a practice which works for the transformation of the mind. Yoga Nidra is designed to take you into a deep conscious relaxation, a true relaxation, allowing the stresses of fast paced, modern day living to melt away as you sink into effective and restorative rest.
The systematic relaxation of a yoga Nidra session can be equivalent to hours of ordinary sleep. When you rest in yoga Nidra, you will still maintain some awareness and remain conscious. Normally, when you sleep, you will lose awareness and you can also remain stressed and physically tense while sleeping. Yoga Nidra brings you to a state of mind between being awake and dreaming, and it opens the deeper subconscious aspects of the mind.
It therefore enables you to work on the subconscious habits and patterns of behavior that you may adopt. A yoga Nidra practice will bring you into a state of receptivity, similar but not the same as a hypnotic state.
It is in this receptive state that you can place suggestions and make resolutions for your subconscious to absorb. The resolution you make in yoga Nidra is called a sankalpa, a short mental statement which is introduced and embedded in the subconscious mind before and after the practice. It is said that when the mind is relaxed, the sankalpa is more effective.
Yoga Alliance E-RYT 200, RYT 500 (Yoga)
Byron Yoga Centre Yoga Alliance RYT 500 (Yoga)
Fiona is a mother of three and lives on site in Portugal, facilitating and teaching on retreats. She was introduced to yoga as a teenager in secondary school. Fiona completed formal training to teach in 2009 at Byron Yoga Centre, Australia and teaches classes locally in Portugal. She teaches a breathing practice and slower asana with more focus on alignment and deep release. Fiona incorporates Vini yoga into her teaching and offers private classes for specific health issues. She has also completed training to teach both Pre-natal and Post-natal yoga.
Returning to Portugal Yurt Eco Retreat this year, Blanche will host two weeks of Embodied yoga, mindfulness, and somatic movement. Blanche is a yoga and mindfulness teacher trainer with Still Flowing Yoga, a Shiatsu body worker, and has trained in somatic movement education.
Situated near Coimbra, Central Portugal, this retreat offers a chance to truly get back to nature with outdoor yoga and dining while staying in a unique yurt accommodation amongst the forests.
Central Portugal is full of old castles, churches, monasteries, and Roman ruins. The retreat is just over an hour's drive from Coimbra, an historic university city, and the Roman ruins at Conimbriga, which have some very well preserved mosaics. It is also a 45-minute drive from Tomar, which has a famous Templar castle. Fatima, the place of pilgrimage for many Catholics, is also nearby.
During the retreat, you will be served daily tasty and wholesome vegetarian meals. The fruits and vegetables are locally sourced and from their own organic garden. The foods served will be approximately 80 percent vegan and 20 percent raw. Yoga Holidays Portugal also has goats here and make their own cheese. They got really great feedback from the guests as they spend a lot of time and care preparing the food. A selection of tea (green, black, and herbal) and coffee are available all day.
Breakfast is self-service with seasonal fruits, a selection of cereals, toasted sourdough, and local corn bread, accompanied by homemade jam or marmalade.
Lunches consist of fresh garden salads, grain salads, falafel, or Spanish omelet, usually served with a variety of raw dips, nut pates, or hummus.
Evening meals include a variety of curries with biryani rice or coconut rice, vegetable noodles with stir-fried tofu and vegetables, moussaka and salad, and spiced potatoes with honey, aubergine, and couscous.
Almost every weekend in the summer months, there are local festas. These vary in size depending on the town or village and each town has its own celebration. Yoga Holidays Portugal will be able to tell you if there are any festas during your stay.
The local markets are filled with local sellers selling homegrown fruit and vegetables, as well as traders with imported produce. Fresh bread, local eggs, honey, and cheese are all available. You can find local markets are in Pedrógão Grande every Monday, Pedrógão Pequeno every Sunday, Figueiro dos Vinhos every Saturday, and a big market in Serta every Friday.
The property is surrounded by woods with many tracks and beautiful old abandoned houses and buildings. It is also close to the reservoir and the village. There are many forest tracks to explore and to spend time walking in the woods.
There is a water park in Castanheira da Pera, only a 30-minute drive away.
The venue is located 20 minutes from the Cabril Reservoir and also close to several local wild swimming locations for guests with cars. Central Portugal has many pria fluviais for summer time swimming, many which have been developed in a simple manner to create safe child friendly places for swimming, with cafés and restaurants nearby.
Guests often enjoy a walk to the local village, where there are two cafés and small shops selling snacks, drinks, or an ice cream.
You may also book massages and other therapies, relax with a yoga book from the library, and have a relaxing evening in the wood-fired hot tub.
Yoga Holidays Portugal organizes a local therapist to come one or two days in the week to offer massage treatments. The price is between 40 and 50 EUR. Other treatments are also available upon request at additional costs.
Treatments available include: Thai massage, holistic massage, Altai massage, Shiatsu, Ayurvedic massage, foot reflexology, sound sessions and aroma touch treatment, Myofascial release, and other treatments to work with issues within the body or recovery from injury and trauma.
Please book your flight to arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS). Transportation can be arranged with four people or more on request. In Lisbon, you can catch a bus or taxi from the airport to Sete Rios bus station.
Please arrive at the Pedrogao Grande bus station. Yoga Holidays Portugal will pick you up from the station. The pick-up is included in the price. The bus from Lisbon leaves at 3:45 p.m. and arrives at Pedrogao Grande at 7:30 p.m. The bus from Porto leaves at 5:00 p.m. and arrives in Pedrogao Grande at 7:30 p.m. Please plan your flights accordingly.
Buses leave Pedrogao Grande on Saturday morning at 7:45 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., this gives guests plenty of time for their connecting flights if travelling on the same day. Some guests may have to take a taxi back to the bus on the Saturday, a taxi costs approximately 18 EUR.
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