There aren’t many places in Europe that are warm all year round, however the Canary Islands experiences a subtropical climate, which means that temperatures are mild and stable throughout the year.
So when you feel like a spontaneous or last minute retreat in the sun, even during the winter, Azulfit Yoga & Pilates Retreat in Fuerteventura is a splendid choice.
Azulfit have been going for over 10 years and run weekly retreats all year round (from Saturday to Saturday) along with some specialised signature retreats.
I chose September as my time to spend seven days at the Surya retreat. I arrived the night before the retreat started and was welcomed by the lovely Claire who checked me into my temporary room for the night (I was moved the next day), once my room for the week called Gecko was available.
I met the group from the previous week and had a lovely dinner with them. I could see how much they had already bonded after just one week and wondered what the next group would be like, and if it would be the same for us on our last night.
I also got a taste of what to expect on the retreat ahead from the group and also a taste of the food (all vegetarian and vegan) – it’s help yourself style to the freshly made salads, bread, dips, fruit, vegetables, dips and homemade food all served in the kitchen.
Azulfit has two venues – Surya is their flagship and is located in the village of Villaverde. Lotus is the other and is at Waikiki beach in Corralejo. If you are looking for somewhere to stay before or after your retreat I recommend the Avanti hotel where we stayed for two nights.
Pinned to the wall in the dining area is the weeks schedule which on most days consists of two classes per day – one of yoga and one of pilates.
The weeks schedule is lead by two dynamic and energetic teachers, Rachel and Jo, providing over 18 hours of classes throughout the week.
The whole vibe is very relaxing and the classes are aimed at all levels. There were 18 guests during this week and it was a real mix of levels, including beginners, more advanced and even some who had never done yoga or pilates before. So it’s perfect for those who want to learn and start their practice with the support and encouragement of the two teachers.
There’s a lot of fun and laughter during the classes which are good reminders as to not take ourselves too seriously and to give everything a try, even the more challenging postures. I’d always leave the classes in good spirits!
I really enjoyed the combination of both yoga and pilates. As a ‘well practiced’ yogi I hadn’t done much pilates. I had dipped into classes over the last few years but always thought of myself as more of a yoga person. However, I was totally sold on Jo’s method of pilates, she teachers Stott Pilates which focuses strongly on understanding correct form, body awareness and body synergy.
I could feel my core getting stronger after every class and felt more aligned and precise in my yoga asana’s. Jo is also the resident chef and nutrition advisor and runs nutrition workshops and her own signature retreats at Azulfit.
Before, during and after the retreat I decided to take notes on how I was feeling. I find it’s a good idea to keep a diary because we often don’t realise how much we progress, transform and become stronger.
Eating at Surya is a key part of the retreat. Not just because of the delicious food we ate, but also because this is where the group got to know each other.
After a few days it’s like being at home, meals around a big table and friendships forming very quickly between people. The group was a mixture of all ages from 20+ to 60+! The majority were women, besides one man and a couple. I have yet to find a more equal ratio of men to women on any retreat I have been on!
Healing therapies and treatments
The retreat weeks at Azulfit include a complimentary massage. Now, I have to admit that I am generally not a fan of any type of massage besides head, neck and shoulders. My body is super sensitive and even my legs and arms are ticklish!
My therapist Johanna, an Osteopath managed to convince me to give it ‘another try’ and I am sure she must of hypnotised me, as I actually found it relaxing and even managed to have my feet massaged (for a few seconds!).
She also cracked some bones into place in my back to straighten me up, since I have a very flexible left side and a tense right side. Then she put a few acupuncture needles in my ears to help stimulate my energy flow and get my nervous system running smoothly.
During the week you can choose to do some activities such as surfing and SUP. I chose SUP along with six others from the group. We had a very fun day, falling off (and getting back on) the board was all part of the camaraderie.
We were blessed with a hot and sunny day and perfect sea conditions. We spent a few hours in the water along with our expert teacher Paul, and afterwards there was time to chill out on the beach and have lunch.
Sign me up for Azulfit!
The Surya retreat was reviewed by me – Cheryl Slater, the CEO and founder of Soul Seed Travel. Before you gone on a retreat it’s important to know what you would like to get from it. This isn’t necessarily a goal, maybe it’s simply something like meeting new people, eating healthy food and practicing yoga on a daily basis.
Surya ticks all the boxes in this sense. I’d recommend it as an excellent choice for your first retreat. Azulfit has many return visitors who go back on an annual basis and have built a fantastic team over the years. If you are more of a beach bunny, sign up for the Lotus retreat.