so there is always a first and this is my first time on a yoga retreat; i partly was persuaded by the location (a short drive from my spanish house), but also because of the teacher, Erika Tourrell whose class i have started to attend on a sunday morning at triyoga; her yoga is part movement, stretch and waking up the body, but also includes meditation, relaxation and words of joy that seem to transmit a poignant message. as i have got older, i have realised that yoga is not just about getting fit and supple, but its also a mental strength, a tool to help to relax and ease tension, especially in this fast moving world. suryalila is a yoga centre and retreat based in the heart of the andalucian countryside – it truly is a beautiful location, surrounded by green fields, hills and with a spectacular sunset, its a perfect location. its about an hours drive from seville, half an hour from arcos de la fronterra and an hour and half from the sea. fortunately i have added a couple of days on my trip to visit my house to sort out the new room at the top. what makes suryalila the perfect yoga place is the amazing food – all vegetarian, each meal is carefully planned to suit all food allergies, but is not only healthy, but tasty and plentiful. most of the vegetables and herbs are grown in their own garden, and you really can taste the difference; even the olive oil is self produced. there are lots of accommodation choices, from tents, to yurts, little houses, shared rooms and individual rooms, so its entirely up to your budget and whether you want to be with nature – the yurts look pretty fun, almost like sleeping under an oriental parasol. my friend debra is sharing a room with me, but actually you could easily come by yourself and you will soon make lovely friends, as you will discover so many interesting and like minded women from all ages and all walks of life – its definitely an experience i would recommend.
on easter sunday debra and i managed to visit the local town, Prado del Rey – all the locals were gathered in the town square, all dressed up, lining the streets to watch the local parade and listen to the local brass band. spain is such a colourful country to see at times of festivals. yesterday, we visited the lovely town of Arcos de la Fronterra – a larger winding and steeper town than Vejer, and at the very top is the Parador hotel with amazing views of the surrounding countryside. you definitely must see inside the church of santa Maria at the top, makes you wonder how they ever carried all the stone up those steep winding streets in the 16th century. churches are one of the wonders of the world.