Peter & Sue moved here in January 2008 after searching extensively in the UK and abroad. We found this wonderful property called Bacelo which at the time was completely derelict and in need of love and care for the forested valley and the buildings. When we arrived there was no rooms which were habitable, no running water, no showers and no kitchens to cook food. We have to say that this was the start of a wonderful and sometimes incredibly challenging journey given that we had just spent every penny we had on buying the property. It was very fortunate that Peter had learnt how to build when he was in his 20’s and had lots of skills to work with as well as learning new skills along the way. Sue was the perfect labourer with her boundless energy and strength.
So with this massive gorgeous property to work with, we spent 18 months installing two kitchens and renovating six guest bedrooms so that we could start to allow our dream to be helpful to people who would like to spend time in nature and feel her nurturing touch all around. We chose to take on a restoration project so that we did not lose the traditional authentic Portuguese look and feel to our home.
We finished the renovation work after Seven years and now have ten guest rooms as well as some wooden caravans. Since we arrived we have held and taught over 180 yoga and meditation weeks and are really able to build our own practice as well as continue to invite people to stay with usto share the space we have created.
Our main practise here for many years is ashtanga vinyasa, the primary series, but as time has passed we realised that we needed to embark on a journey to learn more about, mindfulness, shamanism and astrology to bring a holistic view to the practises. We explore astrology from the birth chart which gives us a map of how the personality has developed Peter is our resident astrologer). This allows us to share what might be helpful with the many people that we meet as one shoe does not fit all.
Astanga is a set sequence of postures that starts with the sun salutations. This leads into the standing sequence which creates stability from the foundation upwards using alignments to activate the correct muscle groups to sustain the posture. The actual primary series does not begin until we arrive in the first sitting posture called Dandasana. We start in Dandasana and travel through a sequence of postures all linked together using vinyasa, which is the Sanskrit work for sequence. The primary series ends in Setu Bandasana and we then move into the closing sequence. This practice is balaned with yin in the evening.
The closing sequence is about cooling the yang (heat) created during the Sun moevements through the primary series and starts with a deep backbend called Danurasana before moving into the inversions and ending in Padmasana (lotus).
It is very important to note that in the astanga practice every movement also has an inhale or exhale accompanying it. So we could say that the practice is one long breathing exercise.
We have also started to teach Hatha weeks here and some flow retreat weeks. Hatha focuses on creating balance in our lives by learning several of the many thousands of practices the diciplice has to offer. It is common knowledge that all asana has its roots in Hatha.
Sue is our dynamic vinyasa teacher here and she brings in practices that can be accompanied with one of the elements of fire, water, air, and earth.
The most affordable yoga retreat in Europe
We have done our best over the years to keep our prices as low as we can so that we can be accessible for everybody. We simply have no desire to make people pay over the odds for a weeks stay here. We also have an instalment plan for those who are on a tight budget and need some flexibility.
Single £550 - Shared Twin or Double £500pp - Eco caravan £450
Stone Cottage £600pp
Yoga Evolution Retreats, Amieira, Oleiros, Castelo Branco, 6160 052, Portugal - 00351 272 634 004
with Sue & Peter