Yoga & ayurveda vacation in Portugal

Price:
From 650 (6 days) excluding flights
650€ shared cottage or tipi 800€ private room or tipi 10% discount for staying a second week and for group bookings of 4 or more.
Vouchers: accepted
Dates:
Offers:
Last few places left on our Summer Yoga Retreats in Portugal. 10% discount for a 2 week stay. From 585€ to 800€ a week, excl flights.
Reviews:
1 review5 star rating
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Yoga & ayurveda vacation in Portugal

Yoga & ayurveda vacation in Portugal

Responsible travel: Yoga & ayurveda vacation in Portugal

Environment

We came from London with a mindset of “light footsteps” to produce the minimum environmental impact possible. However quite quickly we grew to realise that what we actually wanted to do was have the maximum possible impact on the environment through our life here. By managing the forest responsibly, clearing the bush vegetation on the forest floor to enable the larger trees to thrive and at the same time protect the forest and village from the ravages of fire. By producing tractor loads of our own compost to enrich the soil. By nurturing and encouraging a much larger array of biodiversity in the plants and wildlife. We have planted a thousand shrubs and plants with the sole purpose of encouraging more bees, insects and birds to be able to make their homes in this part of the forest. Along with hundreds of deciduous woodland trees that will alter the micro climate of the valley as they grow tall, wide canopied and strong over the next few decades.

Community

The best people to ask about our community involvement would be our lovely Portuguese neighbours. They'll tell you what they think about us. We're proud to be considered their friends, but in reality it often feels like we're their students. They have been our best teachers since we arrived, always with open houses and gardens ready to show us how it's done, teach us their language and tell of their history. In return we help them with their olive, wine and crop harvests. It's a great honour to now be able to buy their produce too for our yoga retreat menus. Our own olive oil is delicious, but their's has a few more tasty decades worth of experience.

Eventhough it is possible for us to source cheaper building materials, plants and food from further away, we have always chosen to support our local town economy too wherever possible.

We buy local. It has always been important to us that our local economy benefits directly from our family life and retreat business in Portugal. All the building materials and manpower used in the 4 year restoration work on the 4 small stone houses were sourced locally. We employed, and still do, our neighbours to help us build in the old traditional Portuguese ways with natural materials of clay, stone, straw and wood, and to clear and manage the forest around us. We buy the majority of food for our yoga retreats from the local shops in our nearest town of Oleiros and also as mentioned directly from our neighbour’s own produce – their tasty olive oil, potatoes, onions, salads, beans and corn. We grow our own herbs, salads, fresh beans and tomatoes.

We seek to distribute the revenue made from our retreats directly to our community. During the yoga season we rent the working farm next door from our neighbours to house a small staff team of volunteers that help manage our retreats. This provides a much needed annual income for our neighbours. We employ local drivers to bring our guests the 15km from the nearest town of Oleiros.

Wider afield, we have begun working in partnership with other Portuguese owned rural tourism projects. In 2013 we are hosting our first Yoga and Surf retreat at one of these projects – a beautiful set of bed and breakfast cottages by the beach on the renowned Costa Vincentina. We hope to provide more retreats at other projects in Portugal in the years to come.

There isn't a day that goes by where we don't give thanks for what the Portuguese families built with their hands in this valley a hundred years ago. The stone work in the terraces and river walls run for miles and miles in every direction. The daughters of the men who built the original farmhouses that we renovated are still alive and living in our village up the hill. We feel very connected.

Wider afield, the kids have helped us all integrate quickly at the beginning by being such fantastic contributors to their local school in Oleiros. It's a small town of less than 5000 people spread over 465 sq km (population density 1 person per 4 square kms), and it hasn't taken us long to feel really part of it.

You will be warmly welcomed in any café or restaurant in our town. It's a region of Portugal famous for its hospitality.

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The story of the provider of Yoga & ayurveda vacation in Portugal

In 2005 we bought a golden retriever to help our son Joshua overcome his fear of dogs and also to encourage us to take regular walks in London’s wonderful parks as a family. We named our dog Moses and joked with friends that he would lead us to the proverbial promised land. In 2007 Andrew sold his charity design agency and Vonetta closed her yoga and acupuncture clinic to take a year’s family adventure round Southern Europe in a motorhome. 6 months in, we found an old abandoned farm in Portugal . Moses our dog actually helped us find it too. Naturally, we stayed and bought it and after 4 years of loving restoration work and rooting ourselves in our local community, we now run intimate yoga retreats for those that are, like we once were, in need of a soulful restorative break.

Yoga & ayurveda vacation in Portugal

Reviewed 11 Jan 2014 by Holly Parker5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I had such an amazing time at Yoga at Moses, I don't think I could pinpoint my favourite moment, but the things that stood out the most were: the beautiful morning walks and yoga sessions overlooking the valley, the copious amounts of delicious, nutritious food, with loads of variety at every meal, the completely horizontal feeling of relaxation at Moses and the welcoming and accepting attitudes of the Winter family.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Just come as you are and be open to being welcomed in to the fold.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - the team at Moses were cautious with water consumption and how they drained it, bought all their produce locally or grew their own where they could. They employed local drivers to help with collecting people, and introduced us to the people of the village nearby where we joined them for coffee and beer one afternoon. They were also committed to caring for their land, clearing areas out and planting new trees around the valley.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Absolutely amazing. Completely rejuvenating, relaxing and full of opportunities to learn - emphasized through the yoga which was of a high standard of teaching, but also through the variety of people who passed through and the Winter family themselves. I would (and have already) recommend this vacation for anyone with an interest in yoga or a need for peace and laughter.
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