Why you should experience a yoga holiday in Portugal
Cathy O'Connor | 22 November 2022
Yoga is over 5,000 years old and the word itself comes from the Sanskrit language and it means ‘union’. There are so many physical and mental benefits of yoga; it’s even better when practising whilst on holiday! Fashion stylist Cathy O'Connor recently experienced our Algarve Yoga Holiday with Moons Yoga Loft and certainly felt rejuvenated afterwards!
“On any given day of any given month, I do a remarkably good impression of a hamster on a wheel. Round and round I go on the treadmill of a busy life and a busy mind. Of course, it's not that I would wish it so, but I rarely find a compelling excuse to stop and get off that blooming thing. And then I did. An invite. Not just any aul invite but an invite from TD active Holidays to participate in their popular four day yoga retreat in the Algarve, Portugal all in association with Moons Yoga Loft. These are the things my dreams are made of, so needless to say, I had my yoga mat dusted down before you could say 'hamster on a wheel". As the weather was turning in Ireland, the prospect of four indulgent days of sunshine, yoga and fun was delicious. I've really come to appreciate the value of a TD active group holiday. All of the pleasure and none of the stress. I'm talking about the pleasure of not having to figure out the logistics of transport, hotel or indeed, anything else and the pleasure of knowing that I simply had to get myself to the airport and they would look after everything else.
Travelling To The Algarve
Despite the early start, the gathering of twenty women was lively when we met at Faro airport. We were as diverse a group as you could imagine; a mother and teenage daughter looking for a getaway that would suit them both, women who had been on the TD active yoga holiday in Croatia and now firm friends, along with solo travellers and yoga enthusiasts. We boarded the bus and headed for Sagres, a small fishing port and surf haven about an hour and a half from Faro. The sun was glorious and as we sped through the countryside, I could feel myself letting go of my busy life at home.
Accommodation In The Algarve
We arrived at our luxurious four star hotel, the Memmo Baleeira*, which has created the perfect environment for a truly relaxing break. We were like a television game show audience with our oohs and aahs as we explored the luxurious interior, the expansive pool area, the private lounges and the beach, directly below. One of the wonderful aspects of this type of holiday is that there's a real sense of inclusivity. You're free to join any table, the conversation flows and there's a lovely feeling of being with kindred spirits. The food, the service, the atmosphere all contributed to the perfect end to a long day. It was early to bed that night as we were up at the crack of dawn the next morning to greet the sunrise with a yoga session.
Our charming and vibrant yoga teacher from Moons Yoga Loft, Babs Chaney, had transformed our beautiful yoga room. Fairy lights illuminated the darkness, a scented candle infused the room with a rich scent, a tranquil atmosphere pervaded as our sleepy bodies took to our mats. Babs was the ideal teacher as, without needing to ask directly, could perfectly assess the levels of each individual. She guided us through a flowing Hatha routine to slowly wake up the body and as the sun rose in all its spectacular glory, there we were doing invigorating sun salutations. It was a magical and special experience and what a way to start the day! The sleepiness had left us all, now we were buzzing as we headed down to breakfast. Despite our best intentions not to over eat and to get going, the buffet breakfast offered so many delicious dishes that we lingered over a long and leisurely breakfast on the sunny terrace. We were free for the rest of the day, until our yoga session that evening at 5.30pm.
Free time to explore the Algarve
Sagres is a compact and friendly town offering plenty to do. Some opted for a paddle boarding lesson, some hired bicycles and explored the area, some walked along the dramatic cliffs and then there were those of us who sank into those sun loungers and savoured the pleasure of having nothing to do. The sensation of having no demands other than to lie on that bed was so glorious. I could feel my mind calming down and my body relaxing into an easy flow. Heaven! Our yoga room, which was on the top floor of the hotel, had a magnificent view of the sea and cliffs so it felt different from any other area in the hotel. It was the perfect environment for our sessions. Because Babs is such an experienced yoga teacher (and a dancer before that), she offered an interesting mix of yoga styles. Babs has a gift for creating sessions that suited everyone, no matter what their level. The feeling of well being and having done something good for my body was a delight. That was our happy rhythm for the next few days. Early morning yoga, carefree sunny days, evening yoga and fun nights out. It's what holidays are all about! One of the values of such an experience is rejuvenation. That feeling of being recharged, reinvigorated and ready for life. For me, it was perfectly timed, the winter was on the way and with it, a change of gear. Priceless. (Hamster wheel not included!).”
Has this inspired you to visit the Algarve? We also offer a Madeira Yoga Holiday, where you can also immerse yourself in sunshine and serenity, discover the joy of mindful movement and mediation. All this and so much more awaits you on one of our Yoga Holidays with MoonsYoga Loft and their amazing teachers.
*Cathy O’Connor went on our Algarve Yoga Holiday in October 2022, where she was based in Sagres. This Portugal holiday will now be based in the town of Cabanas de Tavira; a tranquil village, off the beaten track of the busier Algarve resorts and located on the edge of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve, an ideal base for our relaxing yoga escape. Immerse yourself in nature at the nearby beaches or visit the unspoiled historic town of Tavira located 9km away and press reset as you escape from the stresses of everyday life.
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