‘A Taste of Happiness’ Yoga retreat
2 – 7 May 2018
D’Alijo Retreat Centre
Cabeceiras de Basto, Portugal (Minho region)
Team: Amber Jägers, Debbie Jongejan
We just got back from Portugal and look back on a wonderful retreat and an amazing experience. We are so grateful for those who have shared this experience with us. The the participants that trusted us with guiding them through a week of Yin & Yang Yoga practices, pranayama, reflections, yogic philosophy and meditation. Liladhar the massage therapeut (and husband of Debbie), put in his professionalism and service to those in need of a profound massage. But not the least all the staff of D’Alijo Retreat Center. Mike and Nico are the creative minds and hand-on men behind this amazing retreat center, that was put together with so much care and love. The cooks really deserve an applause for cooking us each and every day an amazing brunch and dinner. Each dinner a different theme, all dishes a bounty full of colors and tastes, all organic and vegan.
Every soul contributed making it into a wonderful week, full of all greatness life has to offer. In this blog I will share with you some high lights of this week, to give you a good impression and who knows you join us next time!
Luxury, sun and waterfalls
The retreat center was above all expectations, all rooms a real luxury, spacious and modern design, with crispy fresh sheets and towels. The retreat center itself is build on several terraces, with on top the yoga studio, overlooking the green hills, rivers and waterfalls that characterize the green lush nature of Northern Portugal. We were very lucky when it came to the weather: as from the first day it got better and better. From 19 degrees on Wednesday to 27 degrees at the final day (Monday). Nothing contributes more to relax your body and quiet your mind than the warmth and comfort of spring sunshine. To cool off we swam in the pool or dipped into one of the numerous waterfalls and small rivers that surround the retreat center.
Yoga, yoga, yoga
Of course it was not all chilling and sun bathing. Each morning we started the day in silence and meditated on the top terrace for half an hour. As we set down we faced the sunrise and by doing so nurtured the sun within our own bodies, awakening the whole system: a new day had risen. At 8:30 am we went into the studio for a 90 min Hatha Flow – AyurYoga practice. Each class focused on an element. From Ayurvedic perspective the body is made up of earth, water, fire, air and ether. By bringing our attention to the quality of that element within ourselves and expressing this through our yoga practice, we are able to nurture these qualities in our body and mind, bringing more balancing in the whole system. In this way the first morning practice focused on grounding the air element by focusing on the earth. As we rooted the body deep into the ground we nurtured a sense of stability, safety and trust within us, calming the nervous system.
We continued the next days with a cooling practice, focusing on the water element and opening the body through many backbends, side stretches and moon salutations. The third day (5th of May) we celebrated our freedom with a deep heart opening practice, using the healing sound of OHM and affirmations of love to reconnect to the heart and allowing compassion and love to grow from within. A heating and detoxifying practice to tune in with the fire element on the 5th day. And on the final day we brought all the elements together as one and focused on the essential meaning of Yoga ‘Union’. To unite all dualities of the world, to unveil the illusion of seperatedness, to unite our soul with the Universal consciousness, realizing we are all waves and as well the entire ocean in once.
Debbie was there to dive deep into the Yogic Philosophy while guiding us through deep stretches and profound stillness in her Yin classes, each afternoon from 5 to 6.30 pm. Inspired by the Bhagavat Gita, other spiritual scriptures and her own experience she shared about the demons within us, self love and care, growth, self realization and Union. Debbie brought us in a deep meditative state and nurtured us with her loving adjustments and caring massages in savasana. All accompanied by the sounds surrounding the yoga studio: birds singing, water falling, the soft breeze of the wind rustling the leaves on the top of the trees.
Bliss and gratitude
It has given us such joy to share Yoga beyond its physical expression and integrate its deeper meaning into each practice. The intimacy of the retreat allowed us to tune into individual needs and be fully present for each and every participant. Hopefully we will be able to share with you this bliss a next retreat.