Irina Oshchepkova tells us why she was drawn to The Azores to run her yoga retreats
Jaw-dropping hikes, stunning waterfalls, hot springs, sustainable accommodation, daily yoga and meditation, delicious organic treats, sound journeys, the company of like-minded people. All of this you can experience at the retreats in the Azores!
The best kept secret of the Atlantic
When I first heard of the Azores, I had to google them. What, where? Is it part of Portugal?
And when I saw their incredible pictures, I booked my flights immediately, with the intention of staying for two weeks. I ended up living there for 6 months – it was love at first sight.
The Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal. It is made up of nine islands in the middle of the Atlantic. And the good news is, they are not as far as it seems: there are several direct flights to Ponta Delgada, the main city of the biggest island, São Miguel.
“volcanic landscapes, lush forests, the greenest fields, spectacular waterfalls aND beautiful rainbows”
Dazzling nature unknown to regular tourists
Dramatic volcanic landscapes, lush forests, the greenest fields, spectacular waterfalls, beautiful rainbows. Breathe in the pure fresh air and the smell of the ocean, admire gorgeous sunsets with a splendour of rich colours, fill your soul with luxurious scenery and breath-taking views.
Sounds enticing and somewhat romantic, doesn’t it?
The Azores are included in the Global Top 100 Sustainable Destinations list. And yet, you will not see flocks of tourists as it is not a typical tourist destination.
Wellness activities inspired by the energy of five elements
The variety of Azorean landscapes inspired me to organise retreats following the cycle of five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each day of the retreat is themed around one element, so each hike, yoga routine, meditation and wellness activity respects this element. There is a sense of integration and living each day with a well-thought-through intention.
For example, on the water day, we go whale and dolphin watching, and relax in the hot springs after a beautiful hike. Top it up with a dedicated yoga session and meditation watching a gorgeous waterfall. Extra joy for those who swim in it!
“Hiking in the Azores is a perfect opportunity to reconnect to nature and your body”
Hiking in the Azores is a perfect opportunity to reconnect to nature and your body. Walk along the fairytale-like paths, marveling at the fascinating vegetation, stopping to take in the breathtaking views, soaking in the beauty and wisdom of nature.
Geothermal hot springs
After hiking, it is an absolute delight to soak in the hot springs letting go of any tension, letting in peace and relaxation.
Whale and dolphin watching
Embark on an amazing marine wildlife eco-expedition trip to see and learn more about whales, dolphins, and marine biodiversity of the Azores. Admire spotting beautiful and gentle creatures that call these islands of unspoiled beauty their home.
“Experience a fascinating combination of meditative healing sounds created by our private sound journey guide”
Experience a fascinating combination of meditative healing sounds created by our private sound journey guide. Allow to energetically cleanse your physical and subtle body and harmonize your energy centres.
Daily yoga and meditation practice
We practice yoga and meditation twice a day: energizing yoga flow in the morning and restorative yoga flow in the evening. Classes are adjusted right on the spot to fit your body needs and movement experience. We meditate and practice mindfulness during yoga sessions surrounded by nature.
Sustainable accommodation with a hectare of gardens
Our home for the retreats is the spacious historical lodge owned by the local family. It is surrounded by one hectare of gardens with organic vegetable and orchard areas. In addition, it has a natural swimming pool which doesn’t make use of chemicals.
“Your dietary requirements will be thoughtfully taken care of throughout the retreat”
Delicious organic treats
Guests are served three delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals every day made of regional and seasonal produce. Your dietary requirements will be thoughtfully taken care of throughout the retreat. Vegan and gluten/lactose-free options are available. But all dairy products are from happy Azorean cows!
Open your heart to the Azores
Come to the Azores to centre yourself and find inner peace. Experience freedom and the great outdoors, feel rested, nourished, and energized by yoga and nature.
Irina Oshchepkova is a certified yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance (RYT 500, E-RYT 200) with 1000+ hours of teaching experience, and a well-being guide specialized in employee wellness and stress management.
More information on: www.yogashape.online/retreats
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