I absolutely love Spain and it’s beginning to feel like a second home to me since I go there so regularly. They say you are what you eat and in that case I would be a padron de pimiento since I ate them at any possible opportunity. The purpose of my frequent trips is to explore the holistic side of Spain, to give guidance and recommendations on yoga and wellness destinations. As a travel writer, travel wellness expert, yogi and self confessed retreat junkie there’s nothing I like more than getting on a plane from London to head to sunnier climates and go on a yoga retreat. Read my latest travel review on yoga, adventure and wellbeing in Spain.
Let’s start in Barcelona: The capital (where I can indulge in twice daily tapas and a vino tinto or two).
I’d heard about a new Urban Yoga Retreat that I wanted to check out called Yoga Weeks. I went to meet the founder of the company Ana Puig and spent a night at the apartment where she hosts the retreats. They have a stunning roof terrace where the yoga classes takes place with incredible views of the city.
Yoga Weeks will be offering retreat weeks throughout the summer with daily classes offered with some of the best international teachers, accommodation at their beautiful and newly renovated modernistic house with a high standard of comfort and daily vegetarian brunch after your morning class.
After 3 nights in Barcelona I headed to the train station for a very scenic five and a half hour train journey to Seville to the magical Suryalila for an Adventure Yoga Retreat. Originally an olive hacienda, Suryalila is located in the heart of the Spanish Andalucian hills, close to the charming villages of Arcos de la Frontera and Prado del Rey. On the edge of a stunning, mountainous national park, the property sits in a large river valley overlooking agricultural land and in the far distance, the white lakeside village of Bornos.
Suryalila is a composite of two Sanskrit words. Surya refers to the ancient sun god and lila means cosmic play (of the gods). Together the words mean “Cosmic Play of the Sun”.
In summary: High quality yoga, epic adventures, endless laughter and healthy & beautifully presented vegetarian & vegan food
I can honestly say this was the retreat that ticked every box for me. What you first notice when arriving at Suryalila is the breathtaking scenery and views. Suryalila is blessed to be surrounded by Mother Natures finest landscape of wild flowers and rolling hills. The birds, horses, chickens, peacocks and a cat add to the fairy tale feel you get once you have taken all the colour and beauty in.
Yoga in the OM Dome
The Om dome which holds up to 60 people has been dubbed the most magnificent yoga hall in Europe and it’s well deserved. There are no words to describe how it takes your yoga practice to another level. Imagine doing morning yoga as you watch the sunrise through the windows of the dome over the shimmering green and gold hills. It’s a meditation in itself and feels like you are held in a sacred space at the centre of the Earth. There is such a strong connection to the nature as you hear the sounds of the birds, bees and wildlife literally singing with happiness as they welcome in the day. This place is magical and healing. The walls of the dome have been beautiful decorated with colourful murals of Indian gods and Tibetan imagery, one of my favourite quotes is painted on one of the walls.
We practiced yoga twice a day – a two hour flow class in the morning from 7.30 – 9.30 am with a set theme for each day which was carefully planned out by the retreat leader and teacher, Lidiya. The restorative hour long evening classes were well needed and welcomed after the epic adventures.
The perfect balance of practicing yoga with your fellow yogis and playing with your friends
The retreat programme offered the perfect balance of daily adventures and yoga, doing activities outside of the retreat centre brought the group closer together and created a special bond. Every day offered a different activity: Flamenco dancing, canyoning at the Green Gorge, a spectacular canyon that has been artfully carved by the streams of Pinar River, hiking the stunning Sierra De Grazalema national, cycling the Green Way through tunnels in the Andalusian countryside on a former railway, now converted into a cycling and walking path, kayaking in Algar Lake and a trip to Ronda, the most famous white town of Andalusia.
The retreat group bonded right away and we really did laugh a lot and morale, camaraderie and spirits were high from day one as we cheered and helped each other break through our fear of heights as we abseiled down a rock. This was a first for me and I was on the verge of tears and the last person to go down. Once I had gotten over my fear I voted first to go down the second rock! It really was a case of ”fight the fear and do it anyway.”
You’ll never go hungry on this retreat
The beautifully presented, healthy vegetarian and vegan food was out of this world. Each day offered a different plethora of salads, breads, fruits, vegetables, homemade jams and spreads, soups and creative vegan and vegetarian dishes. I wish I could of packed one of their amazing chefs in my suitcase!
A week wasn’t enough on this amazing Yoga and Adventure retreat, even though I felt like I had been there a long time and part of the Suryalila family. Everyone there is super friendly and welcoming. It’s the kind of retreat centre that I have a vision of creating in the future.
I saw this sign in Seville on my last day before I headed to the airport which really sums it up for me. Life is made of little moments that help shape the direction of your life, but additionally, it is the small moments and the myriad of decisions you make in and around those moments that in many ways ultimately define your destiny.
Namaste & happy travels!
For more details on the retreats at Yoga Weeks and the Adventure and Yoga retreats at Suryalila visit the Recommended Retreats guide and receive an exclusive offer for Soul Seed Media fans.