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In the Classic Ocean & Yoga Retreats, you will be practicing Hatha Yoga, Somatics and Free Movement.
Hatha Yoga means "physical yoga", using techniques from asana (postures) and pranayama (breath work). In order to understand your individual physical shape and needs and to move accordingly, Jana mostly teaches the alignment of Anusara Yoga (a modern form of Iyengar alignment integrating contemporary physiology into traditional practice).
Since 2018 we have been integrating Somatics and Free Movement into our retreats. These practices support body awareness, mobility, range of motion, for a physical sensation of joy and ease. Some of the movement practices come from somatic schools such as Feldenkrais and Body Mind Centering. You are beig guided through movement journeys exploring how your body relates to itself and surroundings. You will feel way more connected and rooted in your body and overall presence. These practices also open the door to a deep comprehension of the laws of nature.
To give you some orientation if you have no experience with these practices yet: Some of the practices feel like a grounding yin yoga class while others are more playful and you might feel as if you are studying Contemporary Dance and find yourself exploring movement patterns of the body. The insights that you discover here can be integrated into and deepen your yoga practice. We also create that bridge in our retreats and weave the somatics and free movement with traditional Hatha Yoga.
Yes, all levels are welcome. The yoga and movement classes are accessible and adequate for any level. We make sure to give adjustments for beginners or practicioners with injuries - just as much as she will offer variations for the more experienced yogis, movers & dancers.
Yes, of course. In fact, our Classic Yoga and Surf Retreats are perfect to take the first steps into meditation and to start a meditation practice that you can bring home. Some of the special retreats may go deeper into the joyous world of meditation. If a certain experience level is required, this will be listed in the respective retreat description.
We provide a general orientation in the vast world of meditation and mostly introduce meditation techniques from Tantric scriptures such as the Vijnana Bhairava. In this lineage, you don't have to try to control or get rid of your mind and thoughts: Tantra allows anything that comes up to be there. So it's basically a devotion to your own experience that allows you to be OK with what is. Without struggle, reaction, nor judgement. And very individual. Find a meditation technique that suits you and your life.
SURF & OCEAN EXCURSIONS
Yes, of course. All of our Ocean & Yoga Retreats offer various forms of experiencing the ocean. You can find a way that feels most joyful to you. Maybe it's surfing on a surfboard, maybe other forms of gliding on and through water: swimming, diving, floating, body surfing,... Let's play! No previous experience needed.
Yes, this is also possible. If the surf isn't calling at this moment in time, or if injuries prevent you from surfing & water activities, you can still come to the beach with everyone and read a book, go for a walk, or whatever you feel like doing!
...Or book one of our retreats that focus on other subjects such as our Mountain Retreats!
Yes, there are usually a couple of other people on the retreat who also know how to surf a little bit already, and we can give you contacts where to rent boards if you feel like going on your own additional surf adventure. If you've surfed for longer already and are bringing your own board, we can also go for some waves together during breaks!
Yes, this is no problem. We have a lot of experience with all types of complicated and quite restricted diets. Don't be shy to ask what we can do to cater to your individual needs & please let us know when you sign up.
We try to source most of the ingredients from the land of the farm. Of course, it depends on the season what's available. If we don't have certain things growing at the moment, we first try to source from local farmers and producers. However, there are usually some ingredients that come from the store. But even here, we will always make sure to go for bio/organic and local first!
LOCATION (OLHO BRANCO)
The closest beach is Vale Figueiras. The linear distance is only about 3.5km, however, taking the curvy roads, it ends up being an approx. 8km drive, so it is not really within walking distance! That's why we recommend to rent a car for the duration of the retreat (or to share a rental car with other participants) so that you are flexible to visit all the beautiful beaches nearby: Praia da Arrifana (12km), Praia do Monte Clerigo (11km), Praia da Amoreira (12km), Praia da Bordeira (15km).
LOCATION (BALSA MAE D'AGUA)
The closest beach is Praia Rocha on the South coast in Portimao (25km). To get to Arrifana, you have to drive 40km.
Olho Branco: While the farm owners have tried to make early arrivals or longer stays possible in the last years, they unfortunately can't provide this option to reserve extra nights any longer. You can still check with us last minute (about a week prior to arrival for early arrival - or ask on site if you can stay a night or two longer) to see if this option becomes spontaneously available.
Balsa Mae d'Agua: It is possible to stay longer after the May 2022 and the August 2022 retreat!
If you like road trips, if you don't get stressed on unknown roads and if you can afford, we recommend that you rent a car to drive from the airport (Faro: 1hr or Lisbon: 3hrs) to Olho Branco or to Balsa Mae d'Agua.
This is the easiest way to get to both locations and you are flexible to explore the area and nearby beaches in the free time. During the off-season, you can find quite inexpensive deals (check how to get here page for details) but in the summer, prices can go up. That's why we'll put you in touch with other attendees prior to the retreat so that you can possiby arrange car-pooling and sharing costs.
However, it is absolutely possible to come by public transport and we'll pick you up in Aljezur (for retreats at Olho Branco) or Monchique (for retreats at Balsa Mae d'Agua) (check how to get here page for details) and to chill out at the farm and go for walks in the beautiful nature around there during the free time - and/or spontaneously arrange with other attendees to join for beach excursions. The transport to the beach for surfing lessons is provided by the surf school.
At Olho Branco, renting a bicycle can be a nice idea (the surf school also rents bikes), but in our experience, the program is so full that most people are happy for some relaxing time between yoga and surf!
Yes, most attendees are solo travelers interested in taking some time for themselves away from their normal surroundings, and connect with nature, dive deeper into a yoga practice and meet like-minded people. However, we sometimes have a couple of friends coming together, or couples or mother and daughter, or father and son.. (and all other possible combinations ;-))
Yes, if you are coming by yourself, you don't have to necessarily pay more for a single room: you can still sign up for a regular double room - and you will share a room with another solo traveler (same gender normally).
We have single rooms, double rooms, the shared mezzanine and the shared cabin. Please check the about our retreats page for pictures and the respective retreat description for availability on certain retreats and possible price differences.
Yes, there is free WiFi at Olho Branco. We recommend that you keep work at a minimum during your retreat, but if you need to be reachable and have some online tasks every now and then, the signal is good enough for phone calls/skype calls, emailing etc. If your work requires a super speedy connection (uploading and downloading large files) please check with us - and we can recommend places with faster connections close by.
No, there is no WiFi at Balsa Mae d'Agua. However, reception is good so you can use your data volume - or ask Jana to share her Wifi if you really need.
PROGRAM & PEOPLE
Yes, even though we try to pack the retreats with as many wonderful tools, practices and family style meals, you are absolutely free to go your own way whenever you need it! And we also make sure that there is a bit of free daily time for personal contemplation, walks, naps or whatever you need.
In the spring and fall, our maximum group size is around 9 people (some special yoga retreats allow for 12), and in the summer time the maximum group size is around 12-15 people (depending on the amount of campers). The average age is end-twenties to mid-forty on the Classic Yoga and Surf Retreats and mid-thirties to mid-fifties on the special/deeper study retreats.
UPDATE 2020: Group sizes reduced to the current advised group size.
You will receive an email with all info needed prior to the retreat. But in general, it is good to pack for various weather scenarios. Daytime temperatures are mostly summery, but the winds can be cool at certain times a year, even in the summer, and evenings also tend to be way cooler than the days since we are very close to the ocean. You will receive an email closer to the start of the retreat with latest weather information. Mosquito repellent is always a good idea, and sun protection is important at all times of the year.
If you want to go hiking, bring a wind jacket and appropriate shoes. Otherwise you’ll mostly be wearing flip-flops. Towels, bedding and linen are all provided for. Please bring your own toiletries and a beach sarong/towel if you have.
Yoga gear: bring your own mat only if you want to. Mats, meditation cushions and blankets are available here. Your normal yoga clothing will also work here. Temperatures on the yoga deck may be slightly colder than what you are used to from a city yoga studio. An extra sweater will be good to have, just in case.
Applies for certain retreats only: If you are camping, please bring a sleeping bag & torch – we can provide tents and air mattresses.
No, this isn't possible. Please see general business terms for further clarification. The deposit payment goes to Ocean & Yoga and the remainder of the calculated retreat price needs to be paid as a second wire to the farm owners (or via paypal adding a 5% fee), respectively in cash on arrival. If you prefer not to travel with that amount of cash, there are local ATM machines in Aljezur.
if you can't find answers to your questions here, feel free to send us an email!