Situated just below the hilltop village of Amieira in the Castelo Branco district of Portugal you will find an authentic yoga retreat centre that was founded in 2008 by two senior yoga teachers from the UK called Sue and Peter.
Yoga has seen a steady growth in popularity in the west since the 70’s but up until about 10 years ago there were relatively few yoga retreats especially in Europe. Since then there has been an explosion with retreats popping up all over the globe offering the opportunity to escape the daily grind to immerse yourself in these ancient mind, body and spiritual practices. It sounds fantastic but unfortunately, like most good things that come into the wider consciousness the practice of yoga is often being diluted, distorted and losing much of its original essence & purpose so much so that finding a retreat where you can truly experience its integrity and transformational effects has become incredibly difficult.
Meet two people who have avoided turning yoga retreats into often superficial, gimmicky. holiday experiences.
Back in 2006 Peter and Sue were teaching yoga classes in the evenings while holding down full time jobs. They started holding weekend retreats in a converted barn in the Yorkshire dales for their students and seeing the incredible effects immersive practice, yoga diet and community spirit was having on people they decided to open a centre where they could teach yoga and meditation all through the year . They had very little savings and it soon became obvious that they would not be able to afford a property in the UK , so they started to search around Europe. After a couple of years they found and fell in love with a place right in the heart of Portugal that just felt right , it had all the ingredients peace & tranquility, pure water, ancient trees ,an abundance of nature & wild life, incredible views & a special healing energy that was hard to describe .
The small country estate called Bacelo translating as trunk of the vine was a traditional property set in six hectares of seriously overgrown forested & terraced land and consisting of seven separate derelict stone buildings. The place had been abandoned for over 30 years and although they realised it would be a mammoth task to renovate the buildings & care for the land they knew they had been brought here for a special purpose so they rolled up their sleeves and set to work.
Sue & Peter had spent nearly everything they had on purchasing the property so had very little left to fund the renovations so ever since they have worked incredibly hard with very little outside help to create a beautiful natural space to hold genuine yoga immersions where people could spend their hard earned holiday time practicing and experiencing the heart of yoga. Self sufficiency and slow sustainable growth has been their ethos. When they first took students nine years ago they could only accommodate six people at a time, the practice space was the attic of the main house, the land was so overgrown none of the ancient terraces could be identified and there was only a tiny plunge pool converted from an old water storage tank to cool of in the hot summer months. Today after grafting hard they now have the capacity for sixteen, a spacious purpose built practice space, stunning landscapes and a beautiful salt water swimming pool while not forfeiting any of the lands original charm.
It is incredibly refreshing to witness the tirelessness and dedication that Sue and Peter have for being of genuine service to people who arrive from all over the world desperate to find balance & peace in their lives. They make themselves available outside of class to both pass the time & have a friendly chat and to advise students who are experiencing difficulties with their practice or any aspects of their health . They deliberately keep the retreat prices as low as they can to be able to both enhance the environment and to emphasise Inclusivity over exclusivity. These two are definitely not in this for the money which is something that is somewhat rare in the commercial yoga world of today.
Peter commented “the yoga that is often taught today is really Yang merely focusing on the external physical aesthetics of the body. Often Yoga centres rely on slick websites & marketing tools to sell classes and retreats making promises of quickly attaining perfect health & spiritual enlightenment if you pay through the nose for it .This make a mockery of yoga as a spiritual evolutionary path which is actually a long and often demanding journey . A person cannot do all the work in one week, all a responsible teacher can do is start the healing journey with a person, and provide them with the tools to assist them along the way”
Sue & Peter certainly have a lot of experience & a wealth of knowledge.Their training over the years has been intensive & deep. In addition to being qualified to teach various styles of yoga they have also expanded their skill base into other healing arts. Peter is also a qualified Mindfulness Teacher, Shamanic Practitioner & Evolutionary Astrologer , while Sue is also a Yoga Therapist specialising in mental health & is currently nearing the end of a four year course to become a Shamanic homeopath. They are also both studying qigong & are soon leaving for an extended training in Thailand so that they will soon be qualified Medical Qigong Teachers.
If you would like more information or to attend one of the courses on offer then stop by the website below.
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Yoga Evolution Retreats, on Wednesday 3 October, 2018. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/