The mountain air rouses me from sleep, tickling the tip of my nose, as I breath deep. It’s not quite dawn and in the darkness the expectant moon shines through my window before it disappears behind the swaying tree line.
I rise in the stillness, to the sound of silence. I shower swiftly and pick my way across the olive terraces to the yoga retreat below. A quick coffee, a reflective moment and I am ready for the day, which always began with practice then teaching.
Stretching, sweating, laughing and sometimes even swearing before giving in to Savasana is how I remember mornings at Vale de Moses.
It is the place I called home for two years before moving to Amsterdam and where I’ll be leading yoga retreats this May, August and October.
Vale de Moses is a small old valley farm nestled in the remote and picturesque foothills of the Serra de Estrela mountain range, Central Portugal. Here you can retreat for a week on the edge of wilderness, in the beautifully restored home of the Winter family, who will enchant you.
From mud-baths and forest walks to healing hands and floating yoga spaces there are almost too many reasons to go to retreat to Vale de Moses. It is full of magic and might just be the very escape your soul has been searching for.
Here are 10 reasons to go on yoga retreat at Vale de Moses.
1. Healing hands
With one treatment included in every yoga retreat no-one misses out on benefiting from an incredible massage and/or acupuncture session with Von, Marco or Pete.
2. The floating yoga shala
The yoga shala is perched above the vegetable patch and fragrant herb garden, providing stunning panoramic views of the surrounding forest and mountains, which burst into full bloom in May. Yoga classes are offered every morning and afternoon in this serene spot.
3. Hidden spaces & secluded spots
If you get tired relaxing by the natural plunge pools, lounging on the sun-terraces or feasting in the sunken courtyard there are plenty of secret spots to discover where you can enjoy time alone, in close proximity to nature, beneath the Portuguese sun.
4. High vibes, mountain climbing and hikes
If yoga isn’t enough and you still have energy to burn, you can take off on the multitude of hiking trails through the mountains, visit local villages for a cheeky coffee or go climbing with an experienced guide.
5. Morning walks in the woods
Let Andy lead you through the forest on one of his infamous morning walks that never fail to inspire. It is the perfect way to wake up your body for the yoga class that will follow.
6. Furry friends
The dogs at Moses are very much part of the yoga family and love cuddles.
7. The food
Vale de Moses believes in abundance and feeding guests well. You will be served nourishing, homely meals rich in pulses, grains and fresh vegetables that are intended to be gentle on the digestion.
8. The wilderness
Magic happens when you immerse yourself in nature. Research has shown that spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on your health and happiness. Here you can bath in the natural pools, the forest, the mud or just the sun.
9. Getting here won’t break the bank
Flights to Lisbon or Porto are usually inexpensive, from within the rest of Europe, if you time it booking them right. According to Skyscanner 7 weeks ahead of your trip is the best time to book affordable flights.
It is hard not to fall in love with Lisbon. Its sunny colours, corner cafes and arty ambience provide the perfect stop off on route to Vale de Moses. There are plenty of beautiful Air bnb properties at reasonable prices, not to mention an incredible range of hostels offering rooms for as little at €15 per night. Be sure not to miss the Pastel De Nata in Belem!
And if you’re still not convinced. Watch this video.