My first time teaching abroad
“Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind.” Roy T Bennett
This year I was fortunate to be invited to guest teach over in Portugal at the beautiful Yoga Evolution retreats near Oleiros. I have visited this retreat twice as a guest myself and so was super pleased to be asked to lead the classes this year!
I was teaching out here for the last two weeks of August in which i had two different groups of students who stayed for a week at a time. I have taught in the UK on retreats before but this was the first time teaching in a place where the participants stayed longer than a few days. I was quite nervous to begin with, jumping into something slightly more unknown and intense felt a little daunting.
But it's hard to feel stressed when you're in the beautiful surroundings of the Portuguese mountains.
The days were divided into morning yoga, breakfast, free time/workshops, lunch, free time, evening practice, dinner. Both classes were 2 hours long which was also something new for me and a lot of the guests as most of the classes that I teach here in the UK are just 1 hour long!
Morning classes were meditation/pranayama techniques and vinyasa flow and evening practice was Yin yoga. I really enjoyed planning and delivering the classes as it felt as if I could naturally progress the sessions as the week unfolded. Working with individual needs and perhaps adapting things as we went along. Having 2 hour sessions allowed the movement to build gently, there was no rushing to fit in any content which was great.
Both groups that I taught were fantastic and such a varied bunch of humans, all in the same place through their love and curiosity of yoga and movement. We spent our days socialising together, chatting and being present with one another.
Even though I was teaching I still felt I was able to switch off and take in my surroundings and a lot of this was due to the amazing support of Peter and Sue who own the retreat and spend most of the year running it. A lot of passion has gone into creating this incredible space and they are always making new additions with each year that passes.
This place offers a very relaxed mentality, it is honest, open and full of spirit.
The retreat resides in a fairly cut-off setting with a small hamlet of houses at the top of the hill but for the most part it feels as if you are alone in the mountains. The perfect opportunity to let go of any ties to the internet and the draws of social media and get lost in your immediate environment.
It's amazing how fast a day goes when things are planned out for you and the only thing you have to think about is what book to read next!
I should also mention the food here as it's incredible! Selina and Amy create amazing vegan and vegetarian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week. They use such great flavours in their food and there is always a huge variety of dishes to choose from.
So basically your day consists of yoga, eat, pool, repeat.
There are also lots of animal friends which is always a bonus if you love animals like I do.
The new addition to the family this year was a naughty kitten named Bertie. Very cute at first but packs a pretty hefty scratch and nibble!
And this is Willow the donkey and morning alarm just in case the cockerel hasn't already woken you up :)
This is truly a magical place and somewhere that you can instantly feel at home. I was lucky enough to stay here for a third week after I had finished teaching and become part of the class along with another group of guests. We spent this week practicing Ashtanga and Yin yoga with lots of meditation sessions too. I made new friends and saw some familiar faces too across my three weeks here which I am very grateful for.
I feel super privileged that this is my job! I get to meet so many fun and down to earth people who are keen to learn about their bodies and minds in an effort to make this planet a simpler place to exist.
So the plan is next year I will be teaching here again! I will be leading a vinyasa flow and yin yoga themed retreat during the last week of August 2019.
Check out the Yoga Evolution website for some more information about the location and facilities :)