Yoga Your Heart in Barcelona

Top 5 moments of our Yoga Your Heart retreat in Barcelona

Oh wow. It was only a couple of weeks ago, and it already seems like an eternity… This is what happens right after a retreat –you just wish it lasted forever, that that was your regular day to day, that you got to spend your days chilling, travelling, practising yoga, and spending your time with positive and fun people… but I’ll write about that some other day.

Today I want to remember the top 5 moments of our Yoga your Heart retreat in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago!

1. These yogis playing around at Barceloneta beach

Yoga your heart

Photos by ©rdvyoga.com.

Well, this is what happens when you mix Spain and yogis coming from mostly northern latitudes…! 😉

Anna, our yoga teacher, invited us to play around with some postures and flows, and the group responded just taking off their shoes and socks and jumping right in!

 

2. A visit to the biggest Modernist site in the world

Yoga Your Heart Sant Pau visit

While many who have been in Barcelona before might have visited world-renowned sites like the Sagrada Familia or Park Güell, Sant Pau Modernist Site only opened its doors a few months ago, so I was sure none of the yogis in the group had had yet the chance to see it.

They were all utterly amazed at the typically Catalan architecture, the magnificence of the site, and the history of the buildings and the old hospital.

 

3. A yogi levitating down the stairs

Yoga your heart moments

This is just how yogis like to travel, you know. 😉

 

4. Magic and food

Yoga your heart best moments

Well, this is the beauty of yoga retreats: you never know what talents the other people in your group may have. And as it turns out, they are usually very interesting and mostly entertaining! On this occasion, we had our own private magician!!! He left us all wondering and wow-ing with all his tricks!

Every time we sat down to eat some delicious croquetas and other tapas, Guillaume took out his pack of cards!

 

5. That moment when you complete a challenging sequence!

Yoga Your Heart challenging sequence

Photos by ©rdvyoga.com.

Being it Valentine’s Day weekend, the focus of the retreat was on heart-opening postures and vinyasa sequences. Anna made us practise the following sequence: downward dog – leg up – bend and flip the leg to the floor to Camatkarasana – hand to the floor to Urdhva Dhanurasana.

That last step, placing your hand on the floor to full wheel, involves a major change in the position of the body. It may only look like a small shift in posture, but you have to be willing to open your chest and your heart without fear, and you have to trust yourself enough to know your hand will support you when you will be completely upside down.

On the first and second days of practise, I could not get myself to do it. I did not think my back, my wrists, my arms, my shoulders or my chest could support me. I thought I would break. Something changed on the third day of practise –my body, and my heart, had opened. I completed the sequence.

I was free, and I was happy.

 

Namasté, Anna. And namasté, to the wonderful yogis who joined us in Barcelona.

 

Header photo by ©rdvyoga.com.

 

How to stay grounded while traveling

5 tips to stay grounded while traveling

Building some sort of routine is quite easy when you’re at home, where you are in control of your calendar and can fit in an agreeable schedule. However, when you travel, that rhythm is altered, and it can catch you off-guard. To set yourself out for an awesome trip, learn how to keep yourself grounded with the following techniques:

Staying grounded far away from home truly comes down to being mindful and focused even when changing landscapes, time zones and your meal time schedules (quite evident in Spain, right?!). Staying grounded means being able to stay present at all times during your trip, being able to breathe without effort and feeling no anxiety for the changes applied to your body and brain.

When you can do that, you appreciate your every minute away to the fullest. Don’t try to stick to your regular schedule. Instead, try these techniques while on the road:

Create a peaceful space for yourself

Cluttered environments can make you feel restless and maybe even anxious. Unpack your bags upon arrival, and take some time to arrange your new room so it feels more homey and cozy for you. Maybe you even have personal items like family photos or a little Ganesha figure that always travel with you. Take your time to familiarize with your new and temporary home before setting out to explore more.

Energize with oils

Like candles, essential oils stimulate your smell, which undoubtedly impacts how you feel. Ayurveda recommends lavender scents for vata imbalances, jasmine or sandalwood for pitta, and eucalyptus for kapha. Bring some of these always with you together with your other personal items, and add a few drops to your bath or massage them into your skin while setting down.

Light a candle

For me, candles do the trick even better than the oils. There’s a calm warmth to the flame, and this is especially true when the candle is scented with familiar fragrances, like lavender, lemongrass or musk. These will help you refresh and quiet your nerves.

Let go of expectations

It is normal to have expectations when we travel. We look for the perfect trip because we’ve invested time and money into it. But when an unforeseen accident happens, like a delayed plane, getting sick, or a minor car breakdown, it is helpful to remember some little yoga philosophy: what would Patanjali do?

He would probably apply two of the observances (niyamas) of the eight limbs of classical yoga: Ishvara pranidhana (practise of surrender) and santosha (contentment). This can help you remember that pleasure must be found in the journey, whatever unexpected turns it may take.

Modify your yoga routine

If you go on a yoga holiday or retreat, expect to have a detailed yoga schedule that may alter your usual routine. However, if you travel for any other reason, you might not have room schedule-wise, or the right space, or even the energy for your full yoga practise. Do try to stick to some sort of yoga practise –you will undoubtedly notice some improvement. Attempt to meditate a few minutes a day and practise a few standing yoga asanas: by grounding your feet, you will immediately feel steadier.

Yoga Retreat or Yoga holiday

Are you ready to attend a yoga retreat… or a yoga vacation?

So you’ve decided you want to follow your favourite yoga teacher on her latest retreat. Or perhaps you have seen a beautiful ad online with yoga by the Mediterranean Sea, and you can already picture yourself drinking sangria in between chaturangas.

Oh, boy, don’t fool yourself! A yoga retreat might have less of those sangrias by the ocean and more 6am-wake-up-calls-to-meditation than you can imagine! On the other hand, if you are really committed to a very enlightening and demanding yoga practise and you find yourself in the middle of a Spanish fiesta, you might think you have not made a very wise choice.

So how to tell a yoga retreat apart from a yoga vacation before it’s too late? We’ll help you out here:

What is a yoga vacation?

Usually, a yoga vacation features a fun and gentle schedule. The location is generally close to main attractions, and the focus is on having a good time. You will be offered excursions (horse-back riding, snorkeling…) and other sports to complement your yoga (kayaking, surfing…). Food costs may or may not be covered, and there will be at least one yoga (asana) session per day.

It is for you if: A yoga vacation is for you if you expect a restful week and want to indulge in some good fun while doing some yoga as well. Because this combination just feels so good!!

 

What is a yoga retreat?

A yoga retreat often requires much more discipline. Retreats take place in quite austere locations, namely ashrams, retreat centers or educational centers. Food is generally vegetarian, and daily schedule tends to begin at 6am (or earlier!), with not only asana, but also lots of meditation, chanting, and educational talks. Participants are expected to attend all elements of the retreat.

It is for you if: A yoga retreat is for you if you want real and strict immersion, and your aim is to grow personally through your yoga practise instead of enjoying a chill-out holiday.

 

What will you find at Surya Retreats?

At Surya Retreats, we usually offer yoga vacations, and only a few strictly-speaking yoga retreats. However, our yoga retreats always take place in stunning locations and there is usually enough free time to unwind and discover Spain during your trip. We want you to enjoy your yoga while you discover this beautiful country!

Do not hesitate asking us questions –it’s your money, your time, and we know how you value them!  We always provide a sample schedule for you to get an idea, but please make sure you are ok with things like what time you have to wake up in the morning, what style of yoga is taught, the sleeping and bathroom arrangements, the type of food provided and the amount of free time.

We will always tell you everything which we think you might need to know, but please, talk to us! Let us know anything you feel that might influence your experience – it can be anything from your need of free time to your being a vegetarian and wanting to stick to that during your vacation.

And once you have made your decision, book the trip and let it flow! We will make sure you enjoy every second of it, whether you have chosen a quiet and reflective retreat, or a wild, adventurous ride!

Enjoying yoga retreat

How to truly enjoy your yoga retreat

Whether you have decided to go on a yoga retreat because you want to escape your daily routine, because you want to meet new friends, discover a new country, or really deepen your yoga practise, remember that a yoga retreat is only for you, and your personal growth. A retreat is the place where to reconnect with your true self and look inside to find what you might be seeking.

No two experiences are the same, so open your heart to healing, peace, strength, love and joy. We have prepared some tips to help you enhance your yoga retreat experience! Read more

Live to walk

Why traveling makes us better yogis

Traveling is more than just stepping on new lands and trying new foods. It’s about meeting a new you, it’s a personal transformation, it’s a learning experience that propels us out of our comfort zone.

Why do I travel? Well, I am in love with culture and languages. When I travel, I want to gain some understanding of the place I visit, and I want to connect with the local people –I want them to show me a culture different from my own. Read more