Vale de Moses Yoga Retreat in the Portuguese Mountains, open March to October
Vale de Moses Yoga Retreat Portugal
Vale de Moses is a family run yoga retreat in the heart of the Portuguese mountains. Spend a week or more practicing yoga, receiving massage and acupuncture treatments, walking in forests, swimming in natural river pools and eating delicious nutritious food.
Stay in one of the beautifully restored stone cottages, Soulpads or in a Tipi. Our retreat home is perfect for those in need of a break, rest and relaxation. We are surrounded by nature and forests, peace and tranquility – the perfect ingredients to restore your body and mind.
The combination of good food and sleep, clean mountain air and water, therapeutic massage and acupuncture, hill walking and river swimming, all create a highly restorative context in which to begin, or to deepen, your yoga practice.
Soulfully reconnect with our planet and with your own body. This warm invitation to deepen your love affair with yoga, is open for everyone, travelling alone or with friends, new to yoga or practicing for decades. Most of our retreats at Vale de Moses include morning and afternoon classes, a health consultation, massage/acupuncture treatment, 3 nourishing daily meals and a trip to the nearby Rio Zêzere.
Retreat Weeks for 2020
Yoga with Emilie
15- 22 March – 22 – 29 March
Breath by breath, layer by layer. This retreat is about coming home to yourself- finding space to reconnect with what is important in life. Through yoga – meditation practices, asana, movement and breathe work, we discover and unravel.
Vonetta Winter- Cultivate Contentment
23 – 29 August / 6 – 12 September
Being cared for on retreat in a family home; having a simple and comfortable space to rest; wholesome food to nourish; revitalising mud for the skin; experienced therapists to ease away persistent aches and pains; good company with time for meaningful conversation; silence and opportunity for reflection; early morning walks and late afternoon swims; visits to remote country villages, sampling the local fair. All of these things makes it just a little easier for those of us feeling stressed out and pulled in all directions, to feel restored.
A retreat encourages us to foster expectations in harmony with our experiences so that a more peaceful or blissful state, contentment, can arise. Daily Morning Yoga Classes designed to challenge your strength, flexibility and stamina will be broken down into easily accessible steps so that the complete beginner along with the more advanced Practitoner can both experience the contentment that yoga posture practice encourages. This Dynamic and Yin Yoga inspired week is aimed at broadening our hearts, opening our hips, and finally lengthening our limbs and spine so that we may walk a little taller in our lives, contentedly guided by each and every moment of life and each and every breath.
Tashi Dawa – This Yoga Life
29 March – 4 April / 5 – 11 April / 12 – 18 April / 19 – 25 April / 13 – 19 September / 20 – 26 September / 27 September – 3 October / 4 – 10 October 2020
Moving the body with awareness and experiencing the rhythmic breath allows us to move into a state of ease, space and a willingness to surrender. We naturally release from tension as we witness the transformation of doubt, agitation and stagnant energy when we embrace yoga as a life practice. This retreat will focus on how we can use our yoga practice to expand our centre, to live with steady ease, to create the platform for more skillful action in all aspects of our life. Drawing on philosophy, nature, creativity and human experience Tashi encourages the group to creatively explore their experience of yoga.
Vonetta Winter – Rainbows on your Eyelashes
9 – 15 August / 30 August – 5 September 2020
Being enclosed by the gentle rolling green hills of the Portuguese Forests easily invites our attention inward away from the normal concerns of daily life, heightening our awareness of our more intuitive or creative capacities. Released from the bombardment of modern stimuli, the countryside softens us and we become more conscious of our experience in each moment, fostering a childlike joy in the now, in the play of light through a window, through a Forest or through our own eyelashes.
As we take our early Morning walks we become more attentive to the details of the Forest, the texture of stone or the smell of the woodland floor underfoot. We earn and give ourselves the time to observe the changing nature of the light at Morning Yoga Practice and Evening Sunset Practice. The silence and noises of the countryside provide the natural soundtrack to Guided Meditation as we enlighten our imaginations through contemplation of the Chakra System.
The heat of the midday sun on our backs while dangling feet in a cold running stream rejuvenates us. Medicated therapeutic or relaxing oil massage soothes away the accumulated muscular aggravations as we become more connected to the intuitive, mysterious, and not easily verbalised aspects of ourselves so that we may return to our lives with a little less tension and with a little more delight.
Coming Home with Mars Gossi
26 April – 2 May / 3 – 9 May / 28 June – 4 July/ 5 – 11 July
Step onto your mat and come home. Come home to your breath, come home to your body and anchor yourself with the present moment. Come home to that place inside you where you can nurture a kinder, more compassionate you.
Yoga is the practice of coming home. Its ancient teachings and practices can help you find more awareness, clarity, grounding, balance and harmony. The door is always open, it’s up to you to walk inside…
During this retreat, you will be guided by Mars, a playful, generous and heartfelt teacher. You’ll practice yoga inspired by ashtanga, vinyasa flow and yin to creatively and freely enquire into the Self through movement and breath. In a shala with magical views across pine and eucalyptus forest, you’ll also explore yoga philosophy, powerful breath exercises, guided meditations, yoga nidra, partner yoga, kirtan and sound healing.
This retreat is open to all levels. invites you to become more intimate with yourself, to challenge yourself, to express yourself, to be more generous and kind with yourself. Using movement, laughter, song, dance, sharing, touch and play, find freedom and connection in a loving environment.
Mars Gossi – Realign & Reignite
24 – 30 May / 31 May – 6 June
This human experience is a gift, an opportunity to align body, mind and heart so we can express ourselves completely and honestly. This means living authentically to who we really are.
When we live in alignment, we feel expansive, in the flow and joyful. When we are misaligned, we feel contracted, stagnant and fearful. The mind experiences some 60,000 thoughts a day, of which 80% are negative. Why do we pay so much attention to the noisy chatter getting us down and not enough time listening to the whispers of our heart?
This retreat is open to all levels and is designed to help you realign and reignite. Through the practice of yoga and mindfulness, you’re invited to connect with your deepest truths and heartfelt desires to evolve into a kinder, more compassionate you. Challenge your old beliefs, let go of things no longer serving you, and open up to your unique potential.
Mindfulness in the Mountains with Emma
14 – 20 June
The natural and splendid surroundings of the mountains offer us the perfect breathing space to re-connect to ourselves and give both our mental and physical well-being some much needed love and care. Take this opportunity to join the lovely Emma on retreat and enjoy time spent nourishing your body with a daily flowing yoga practice, delicious meals and some good sleep for a deeply relaxing retreat experience.
Ease into your week with Emma by experiencing a nurturing blend of morning Hatha & Yin flows to help peacefully ground you into the day ahead. These gently paced morning practices will then be followed by afternoons filled with Restorative Yoga and Mindfulness based workshops.
Emma is a qualified Mindfulness meditation teacher and instinctively weaves these techniques through her yoga teaching with a patient and encouraging approach. She advocates gentle self-inquiry, curiosity and compassion in class, aiming to create a sense of compassion for self, and for others. She will use her combined understanding on yoga, meditation and mindfulness to help guide you through a restorative week designed to re-ignite your sense of contentment from within.
Fleur Van Hille – Flow with Fleur
19 – 26 July / 26 July – 1 August
The hectic pace of life for many of us these days asks a lot of our ‘head’. Getting caught up in our thoughts can make life difficult, it moves us away from our true selves and we might even forget what we really want in life. Instead of nourishing these restless thoughts, we invite you to open and listen to your heart. Maybe suddenly life is not so confusing anymore.
This week, music and nature will lead us the way. As music touches the soul, we will flow our yoga practice on inspiring vibrations. We will become aware of our breath and how it influences our being. Away from our daily routine, out in the beautiful natural landscape of this valley in Portugal, with nourishing food and therapeutic massage, let’s flow!
Ali Burrell – Yoga & Pilates
14 – 20 June / 21 – 27 June
“Tensions are our guests; we have invited them. Relaxation is our nature, we don’t have to invite it. You don’t have to relax; you have to just stop inviting tensions, and relaxation will start on it’s own accord.” – Osho
The magical and restorative powers of Vale de Moses will provide you with the perfect backdrop to unwind and feel nurtured, whilst the fusion of yoga and Pilates classes will help you to reconnect to your centre and feel physically and mentally realigned, revitalised and rejuvenated. You will be invited to breathe deeply and peel back the layers of tension and residue to deliver you sweetly back to yourself and your true nature.
This week will celebrate the similarities and differences between yoga and Pilates. Morning yoga practices will be breath initiated, mindful and flowing. At times we’ll go slow and keep it simple and soothing and other times we’ll pick up the intensity with some deep and strong poses. You will be encouraged to journey inside and explore your own felt sense awareness to facilitate presence and connection to yourself and discover freedom, clarity and joy.
In our afternoon Pilates workshops we will explore what ‘core’ really means and learn how to move from our centre whilst experiencing first hand the transformative power that this has in enhancing our yoga practice, making it safer, more powerful, graceful and fluid. All are welcome and no previous experience of yoga or Pilates is required.
Yoga and Sleep retreat with Dr Nerina Ramlakhan & Vonetta Winter
30 August – 5 September
Being enclosed by the gentle rolling green hills of the Portuguese Forests easily invites our attention inward away from the normal concerns of daily life, heightening our awareness of our more intuitive or creative capacities. Released from the bombardment of modern stimuli, the countryside softens us and we become more conscious of our experience in each moment.
We are looking forward to having our dear friend Nerina on board with us for this special yoga and sleep retreat in August. It is a great opportunity to escape from our daily habits that prevent good sleep and learn how bad daytime habits such as: skipping breakfast, running on adrenaline, being permanently connected, alcohol, sugar and caffeine, all create barriers to quality, restorative sleep at night. The daily routine at Vale de Moses of morning yoga classes with Vonetta, nutritious food, hill walking, river swimming with massage and acupuncture treatments will help reinforce the sleep-inducing habits that Dr Ramlakhan will teach us during her afternoon workshops.
We spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping but this magical process is still a mystery. On this sleep/yoga retreat you will learn about: Why we sleep? How should we sleep? Busting myths and misconceptions. Your unique relationship with sleep. Sleep, technology and nature. How sattvic (pure) sleep heals mind, body and spirit. Sleep and the retreat experience. The secrets of the Sleep Whisperer – tools for getting sattvic sleep and amazing vitality in your everyday life. What to do when you get home – taking your retreat experience back into your everyday life.
A variety of styles of yoga are taught at Vale de Moses through the year by some delightful and inspiring teachers who will take care of you on your mat. You will be safely and physically challenged. Please do not worry about being “good” enough. Or flexible or thin enough. Or whatever enough. We prefer to think you are perfect just as you are. Whatever your capability or experience may be, you are truly welcome. It might be your first yoga retreat, perhaps your first yoga class, or maybe you’ve been practicing regularly for decades.
Though the format and language of yoga styles taught by our teachers may differ (Dynamic, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and more), they are in essence, just one. The very meaning of the word Yoga, is union. A daily invitation to explore the possibility of what our bodies can do and what they can show us, about ourselves and the world we perceive around us. A wonderful journey of self enquiry and discovery.
The teachers at Vale de Moses trustfully impart their experience of yoga, as personal practitioners and as students. They employ the teachings of many styles, sharing their treasured love of this ancient practice in an earthy, simple, kindly and compassionate manner. Morning classes are often flowing and energetic, inspired by Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and Dynamic Hatha Yoga, setting us up nicely for a day of therapies, sun bathing and exploring.
Sultry afternoon classes of Yin Yoga, focused asana exploration, playful unintimidating partner or Acro Yoga and some quiet contemplation. Together we artfully cultivate a love of personally empowered practice and sow seeds of self understanding so we can move more gracefully into a state of integration, wholeness and ultimately, relaxation.
Right now, you may be in the early tentative days of this yoga romance, or entirely certain that what was once a sporadic practice has now become a way of life. Whatever stage in your relationship, a retreat at Vale de Moses is an invitation to deepen the love affair. With yoga and with yourself. Removed from the normal stresses and responsibilities of life, surrounded by the stunning wilderness of the Portuguese forests, nurture yourself, without distraction. Be romanced into yoga, free from intimidating complex drills, open slowly, sweetly, squeeze and savour all the juice out of your practice and digest every drop of the nutrients.
Through the gentle compassionate guidance of experienced teachers, be taken inward to connect with the harmonious rhythm of your breathing and from this rhythm into your body. Broaden, lengthen and soften into each asana, into your day, into your week and into your life. The indulgent luxury of time loosens and dissolves nervous tension. From this calm space, a confidence in ourselves and our personal experience grows.
Return home from Vale de Moses with a stronger desire to cultivate a personal practice that encourages a little more contentment and ease in your world.
Bend, stretch, ground, bind, flow, cry, invert, balance, fold, open, relax, tuck, twist, release, close, experience silence, contemplate, walk, broaden, sing, dance, digest, taste, consolidate, stand, swim, sit, lengthen, soften, calm, laugh, live, love, lie down.
Inspired by Ayurveda, our daily menus at Vale de Moses are always colourful, easy to digest and soul satisfying. Enjoy three tasty and nutritious meals every day, cooked from fresh local ingredients, low in salt and rich in home grown herbs and salads. You will not go hungry on this retreat, you will be nourished and fed! We are well versed in catering for vegans and for those with special dietary requirements.
There are 3 private double bedrooms, each with a double bed, in the farmhouse that also houses the main kitchens, a library with grand piano, internet access, and the yoga shala floating above the herb and salad gardens below.
There are also delightful Soulpad belle tents with single, double or twin mahogany beds, drawers, carpets, electricity, hot water bottles, blankets, towels, mosquito nets and sun loungers, hammocks and solar outside. These are located in a quiet valley with the best views of the sunsets and stars at night.
Our guest cottage sleeps 4 and is surrounded by olive trees and newly planted fruit orchards. Inside it is open plan (no internal doors) over 3 storeys with a single bed on the mezzanine over the kitchen, a single bed on the ground floor, and twin beds on the first floor. Each have comfy mattress toppers for a deep sleep.
The bathroom is in the small building on the right, which used to be the kitchen and houses a new shower and a dry toilet. The fully equipped kitchen is perfect for early morning and night time teas.
Just below the cottage, there is a plunge pool fed from the cold running stream, essential for cooling off in the heat of the summer retreats. There are also a couple of natural pools in the streams for daily swimming (weather permitting).
The Adega is the name of the place where the Portuguese make their wine. We’ve restored it into a simple monastic living space. Sleeps 3, with singles on the ground floor, a mezzanine and in a tiny room at the top (fondly named the Ninja Suite). Built into the mountainside, with access up stone carved steps, right next to one of the rivers running through Vale de Moses. We added electricity in order to light the rooms more safely than candles in the summer.
The Adega is a cosy place to sleep nestled into the rock, with lovely views down the valley, and with what our guests often describe as a timeless quality. Outside is a shower in the old grape pressing tank with water solar heated from an ancient Moorish water mine up the valley. On the olive terrace below is a wooden cabin wc and wash room. You are also welcome to use any of our other bath and shower rooms too as well as the kitchen in the Moses guest cottage round the corner.
It is our smallest stone cottage and the perfect place to “unplug” and rest deeply to the soundscape of the forest, the running water in the stream below and the heart beat of the mountain. Bring a torch.
What past guests have said
“Vale de Moses is magic!! Being in nature all day, having great yoga practice, eating delicious food and hanging out with new friends. All this made Vale de Moses an unforgettable experience! I will keep all the beautiful memories of this wonderful week with me for a very long time. Andrew, Vonetta, their grown up children and all their team are lovely people and truly inspiring!”. Maren, Germany
”I cannot recommend a retreat at Vale de Moses highly enough! Without a doubt the most relaxing and inspirational holiday we have been on. There were so many memorable parts…the setting in the forest & doing yoga in the beautiful shala with the sound of the river and birds, the silent morning walks, the ayurvedic and delicious food everyday, the amazing treatments and acupuncture, all the lovely people including the perfect hosts the Winter family, Tashi, Oli, Katherine & Jude. Anyone looking to get away from it all and reconnect with your self and nature should come to this retreat. We will definitely be back!.” Jordan, Brighton
”Vale de Moses is a living example of harmony between people, nature and the land. Andy and Vonetta have created a space that allows people to enter into that harmony in comfort and joy. My soul is still captured by that place; may it never recover! We were invited to share in the incredible food that was offered for both body and soul. The transformation and revitalization were profound and long lasting. Built on love, respect and ultimately trust, this was truly a life-changing experience. Much gratefulness to you both for your work!.” Georg, Saudia Arabia
What to pack
Pack Light. Remember that whatever you bring down the mountainside to Vale de Moses, you’ll have to take up again at the end of your stay. We live on the side of a very steep, deep and pretty valley. We recommend the following:
– A good pair of walking shoes or trainers
– Swimming costume
– Water bottle to rehydrate regularly
– Warm jumper
– A raincoat in Spring and Autumn
– A good torch, as the paths at night, unless moonlit, are dark!
– For your yoga practice comfortable, soft stretchy clothing is all you need. We provide yoga mats and cotton towels, although you are welcome to bring your own
– In summer sun tan lotion, and mosquito repellent in the Autumn. Please use the simplest, most natural version you can find of these and other washing products. You’ll be in and out of the rivers, and the water from your showers goes directly to irrigate orchard trees and shrubs. We have a range of natural soaps, shampoos and toothpaste to buy
How to get here
Arrive: Fly into Lisbon or Porto in time to take the Sunday afternoon coach from Lisbon (1.30pm) or Porto (4.30pm), to our local town of Oleiros, where we will pick everyone up by car on arrival. Fly in early if you can and enjoy a night or 2 in either of those charming cities before heading up to see us on Sunday. Have a read of the Soul Seed Travel guide to Portugal for recommendations.
Coach timetable, prices and tickets on the Rede Expressos website. We’ll email all guests the week before arrival so if you’d like, you can contact each other to meet in Lisbon or Porto before travelling up to the forest together.
The trip from Porto has 2 changes, Coimbra and Sertã, with a chance at each for a tea and loo break. The coach from Lisbon has one short loo break half way at Tomar.
Depart: Return coach is either 8am or 3pm to Lisbon or 8am to Porto the following Saturday. Again, stay another night in Portugal if you can before flying home Sunday. You can buy your coach tickets in advance online or 15 minutes before you board.
Driving: Check in from 5pm Sunday afternoon. From Lisbon – A1 north to A23 turn off. A23 to Abrantes, Villa de Rei turnoff. N2 to Sertã. Sertã to Oleiros. Oleiros to village of Amieira. From Porto – A1 south to Coimbra, A13 to Tomar, IC8 to Serta, Serta to Oleiros to Amieira. Good signposting throughout, but a SatNav with latest Portuguese new road map will help. The drive from both Lisbon and Porto with breaks is about 2.5 hours. Google map coordinates 39.98336, -7.917524. Check out by 2pm the following Saturday.
Retreat Price in Euros
800€ in a private Soulpad belle tent in the valley or in the tiny stone private Ninja Suite next to the Adega.
900€ in either the Moses or Monastic Adega stone cottages, or for couples sharing a private double bedroom.
1000€ single occupancy of a double. 10% discount for returning guests, groups or a 2 week stay.
* All food, accommodation and facilities at Vale de Moses
* Transport to and from Oleiros to Vale do Moses
* Guided silent morning walks in the forest
* 6 Morning Yoga and Pranayama Classes
* 3 Afternoon Sessions exploring the Bandhas and Meditation, guided Shavasana and Partner Yoga
* Half hour private health consultation with Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis
* One hour Body Harmonising massage – Thai, Tui Na, Indonesian, Ayurvedic and/or Acupuncture
* A mid week trip to the Rio Zêzere for a mud bath and swim (weather permitting).
* Additional treatments available from our therapists for 75€ per 90 minutes
Does not include
* Coach to and from Lisbon or Porto (25€)
* Daily walking, hiking and cycling routes through surrounding hills and forests
* Swimming in natural pools in the two rivers that run through the valley
* Climbing trips (additional cost with a Swiss climber living in the village above)
Fill in the form to make an enquiry or booking at Vale de Moses and receive a complimentary massage when you book through Soul Seed Travel. You can also contact the team direct on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.