Yoga Retreat for Beginners – First Time Retreat
So I started to organise my dream yoga retreats for beginners (I mean beginner in going to a retreat): set in a beautiful and relaxing place, with a balance of physically challenging and rather relaxing activities, immersion into local culture and nature. Including meditation which is accessible to everyone, it is an all-round experience. Because I believe that everyone can go for a yoga retreat and enjoy it, also yoga beginners.
La Pared, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
I wrote about the preparations during Covid-19 times in March 2021. Things were very uncertain during that time, a third wave and more lockdown came up in the news, it was maybe pure illusion to make people travel. We expected cancellations, but finally we had one more last-minute-booking. An excitement spread all over the persons around the project, everyone was keen to contribute to this new edition of a yoga retreat organised at the Eco Retreat Finca Artis Tirma, where all infrastructure for yoga and meditation was in place.
The result was a journey full of discoveries and emotions. I let you make your pick(s) in this article and decide if you had liked it.
View towards Ajuy caves, Fuerteventura
First challenge: one of the participants had very little yoga background, the second one was working on her yoga teacher training!
The willpower of the novice to progress combined with the yogic wisdom of the experienced participant made adapting to both levels an easy go. I guided the dynamic morning classes, while Vicky took over the cooling down evening sessions.
Also, a yoga retreat is an opportunity for a more playful format like partner yoga, beach yoga or… skipping yoga class.
We started the days with yoga 8.30 am (which was 9.30 am back home), early enough to embrace the day whilst still enjoying a sense of holiday.
Chi Now and Meditation
Sunrise is a strong motivator to get out of bed early – and so it was also for Chi Now practised with Elvira, our landlord. Gentle and ample body movements are performed standing on the beach. They follow a routine set of patterns that are related to a symbolic taken from daily life.
Elvira also enchanted us with a dance harmonizing energy, all we had to do was to watch, the meditative state arose naturally. Another evening ended with the ancestral tradition Agnihotra, a fire accompanied by mantras. Listening or chanting, you decide, in any case you’re in the present moment.
We practised other dynamic meditations like chakra, heart or candlelight meditation. Their aim is always to take you into the present moment and calming the mind, effortless and removing the pressure to deliver.
Nature and Mindfulness
It was easy to get lost in paths and learn mindful walking on Cofete beach. We connected to the 5 senses, one by one, walking silently on this endless and secluded beach taking us out of any other known space.
The sunset picnic on a small and non-populated beach close to La Pared (famous for its sunsets) was again supposed to focus our minds on our senses. It had a rather festive touch and nobody will harm us, it was the last-but-one-evening.
Discovering the Island
Sotavento – under the wind. Charming name for one of the longest beaches to start the week. Indeed, it wasn’t too windy, lunch didn’t get too sandy-crispy.
Water is life – with our local friend David we followed the water course (well, an area where used to be a lot of water in the past) to the oasis Betancuria and we walked down to the tiny white chapel of Our Lady of the Rock, where the wishes you write down have good chances to come true.
Bernardo, a licenced guide, took us to the landscapes of the wild west coast, driving through volcanoes and explaining their origins and stunning formations. We walked over the top of cliffs to Ajuy (whilst the majority of tourists drive to a busy car park and take stairs).
We went for a walk in the Dunes of Corralejo in the north, climbed on a volcano, and swam in the volcanic lagoons on the north-west coast at El Cotillo, which were in a complete contrast to what we experienced before.
In only one week, the participants had an in depth and fulfilling experience of the island, including places where the majority of tourists rarely go to. Of course participants were free to skip an excursion and take time “off”, following their own rhythm, which is completely fine.
Yoga Retreat for Beginners is also Holiday All Inclusive
We picked our guests up at the airport and took them to their accommodation in Eco Retreat Finca Artis Tirma.
Our private cook Maike brought the meals to the Finca. Her house being an oasis particularly idyllic in the golden light of sunset, we often had dinner at her place. She has lived on the island of Fuerteventura for 15 years and used to run a tapas-restaurant. Everything was home-made with local products and simply delicious. Her cheerful laughter was the icing on the cake. Not to forget the wine.
She prepared the lunch boxes with fresh and healthy products.
Maike was one of the corner stones of the retreat. Tasty, fresh and healthy food is important, sure. In addition, she spread good mood and has the underlying desire to make her guests happy.
A very special touch was given by Katharina’s Ayurvedic massage: no pictures were taken, privacy time, I was told different levels of tissues in the body were activated.
Yoga Retreat in Covid-19 times
Retreat participants were arriving at Fuerteventura by airplane and tested PCR negative. Maike, the cook, and me also had a test on the day the retreat started. This allowed us a kind of “normal” life together, sharing food, time, histories and laughter.
Mask wearing was mandatory in the car and also in any public places where crossing people was likely.
Restaurants and shops were open, however we barely used them for anything other than having a coffee on a terrace.
With a curfew at 22h, the evenings were wrapped up early. There was always someone who had to drive home. And we were left with the ocean of stars in the night sky over Fuerteventura.
We finished the last yoga session with the visualization of a tropical waterfall and bathing in the warm water at its base, ending: “Leave this healing sanctuary knowing that you may return there whenever you want.”
Our life is guided by our mind. The mindfulness practice over the week allowed the participants to be connected to their senses, experience the here and now at its fullest. Even rational and scientific spirits had a way towards calm and serenity, letting go and enjoying life.
Because that’s what it finally is about:
Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.
As I write, mid-April 2021, the upcoming yoga retreat for beginners in Slovenia’s mountains is on schedule for the end May. A big breath of fresh air, panoramas, yoga (beginners and advanced), walks, local insights and a great cook again.
I made my request to the universe: So, if you like to join us, be sure that you are part of a small group (6 participants) enjoying mountains and fun!