Hey, everyone! This week I am back with another blog post and it’s my final post featuring my Kaliyoga adventures in Spain. Hiking, feeling emotional in sound therapy, making my own healthy chocolate and experiencing my first deep tissue massage, let’s just say, every activity ticked the box! I am a foodie, fitness and spiritual lover, so this retreat was a combination of all the elements I adore.
If you have been reading my previous post (FIT, LEAN and CLEAN – My Kaliyoga Experience – Part 1) you will have delved deep into the Kaliyoga ethos, you will have read all about the vegetarian cuisine, and you will have seen my dreamy accommodation. On a retreat, there are optional activities you can participate in, this is your chance to learn, laugh, relax and have fun.
On this retreat, we had a variety of activities to choose from, all of which were diverse, creative and engaging. A retreat is catered to you and your choices, remember, it’s a chance for you to relax and switch off, whichever way works for you.
As well as this being a learning experience for myself, I also learnt some cooking skills which I will demonstrate to my family at home! From cooking chocolate with natural ingredients to creating my own sauerkraut, I have learnt some amazing foodie tips and tricks.
For the duration of our stay, we had the beautiful yoga teacher called Lelly. Strength, empowerment, kindness and passion shone from her as she guided us through a relaxing and mindful Vinasaya yoga class. We had morning practices and evening ones; all of which were adaptable depending on your ability and your experience with yoga.
I have experienced yoga a lot over the years and I have nothing but positive comments to say about the mindfulness gained from practising yoga. Yoga sometimes requires body strength, however, mental strength is the root of connecting and relaxing. Once you have mastered your mind, you can master the stretches, the movements and the breathing techniques. Sometimes, yoga can be difficult if you find it hard to switch off and relax, but remember, everything is an experience so don’t be so hard on yourself and just enjoy the process.
Lelly guided us through the stretches in an elegant and relaxing way. We breathed, we all tried to let go of our mental worries and we relaxed. Starting the day with yoga was refreshing whereas experiencing yoga before our evening meal, was relaxing for the mind and for the gut and the digestive system.
The yogashala, where the meditation classes and the yoga classes are held, is situated a short walk away from the accommodation. Shoes are removed before entering the yoga room and comfy clothes are always required; being comfy is a must to ensure you can benefit from the practice. Experiencing yoga is different for everyone, I learnt that being alone with your breath and your presence can be extremely healing internally and it can make you feel more rooted in your surroundings and your purpose.
The Kaliyoga approach to yoga is mindfully produced. Lelly focuses on stretching and creating shapes with the body, whilst building your strength physically and mentally. Rather than bending in lots of challenging shapes, Lelly brought it back to basics and used meditation and breathing to begin the yoga practice. At the end of our retreat, we experienced a fun practice session which involved participating in some couples yoga… This was challenging, light-hearted and fun!
I hope to continue my yoga practices at home and prioritise mindful breathing and meditation; my mind felt clearer and I left the retreat feeling pain-free – mentally and physically.
This therapy was held in the same room as the yoga and it was conducted by Kim. Usually, this practice is held off the premises of Kaliyoga, however, on this day we had the fortunate opportunity of experiencing the sound therapy in the yogashala.
Kim, the sound therapy teacher, has always had a strong connection with music and she has worked very hard throughout her life to become educated and passionate. Kim has always been a singer and a songwriter and through these roles, she discovered her love for the healing power of sound vibration. In 2006, Kim qualified as a Sound Practioner and since then, she has developed her knowledge in these areas to expand her practice and her amazing abilities. Kim has the most gorgeous aura, she shines with kindness, peacefulness and genuineness. Over the years, she has developed the ability to read peoples energies which further enhances her treatments which are available via Kaliyoga.
At the beginning of the class, we were all sat in a circle facing Kim and her stunning crystal bowls. I was excited about this class and I had positive expectations for the practice. Sometimes I do worry about unwinding and letting go because my emotions run wild and I can become emotional, especially in a yoga or meditation environment. When I become emotional during a class, I know the treatment is having a positive effect and it’s clearing my aura and my senses for a new stage in my journey.
Experiencing the beginning of her class was phenomenal! As we sat in a circle, Kim asked us what we may want help with… ‘Mentally, physically and emotionally’ and she tuned into our senses whilst we sat relaxed facing her. Kim said some relevant things to me that touched my heart. She told me ‘you are not alone‘, after experiencing the trauma of 2017 Self-Care Tool Kit Part 2 – My Depression Journey, Learn To Speak Out, I realised that she knew more about me internally. She also suggested to me that I was still bruised from my negative experiences in my relationship and my childhood. This confirmed a lot of things for me and it also made me aware of my emotions.
In her class, I realised I was taken to a place of mental healing and she transported my mental worries elsewhere for the duration of the class. She is an incredible human being and I feel blessed to have crossed paths with her. I highly recommend her work and her healing methods, she’s a very special lady. All of the therapies can be organised by the staff at Kaliyoga.
Deep Tissue Massage
This is exactly what my body needed after travelling and the chaos of the new year. Massages are my priority when it comes to self-care because they make me feel energised and prepared for my fitness. At Kaliyoga, they offer an array of different holistic therapies; Reflexology, Thai Yoga Massages, Nutritional therapy and much more. All of which are carried out by passionate and trained practitioners.
I had my massage done by Patricia, a lady with the passion for her art and a lady with a wealth of knowledge. Not only did she remove some muscle pain and tension, she also recommended various supplements to me regarding my muscle recovery.
With 25 years’ experience in therapeutic massage, she incorporated a range of techniques to remove stress from my muscles and relieve tension. Incorporating deep tissue massages into my routine will prevent me from injury and it will also help my body recover from my fitness regime. I train 5-6 times a week and my sessions are intense and challenging, so fuelling and healing my body is essential to ensure I work and train at my optimal level.
Thank you, Patricia, for making me feel relieved of stress. Again, another wonderful person I met at Kaliyoga. A lady bursting with personality!
In the first food workshop, we got to meet Amanda, who is a passionate chef at the Kaliyoga retreat and she also has a true passion for fermentation. I am a lover of sauerkraut and fermented foods, so learning her skills and recipes was fun, insightful and educational.
Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients and break the food down to a more digestible form. Fermentation is extremely easy and it only requires two ingredients – the product you want to ferment (cabbage) and some pink Himalayan salt – simple! Throughout the workshop, Amanda told us various methods we could use to ferment our cabbage and how we can add different dimensions to our fermented foods by experimenting with ingredients.
During the fermentation process of making sauerkraut, beneficial probiotics, or ‘live bacteria’, are produced, and these probiotics are what give sauerkraut most of its health benefits and DELICIOUS flavour. Sauerkraut is a good form of dietary fibre and contains vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. I love sauerkraut on salad, in a sandwich or mixed into a soup or stew, it’s a staple for me now!
After experiencing this workshop, I am going to work my magic in the kitchen and create a super simple fermented cabbage recipe. If you’re interested, please let me know! Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your knowledge, passion and foodie goodness. I can’t wait to re-create my own now! You’re a credit to Kaliyoga.
Chocolate Making – aka HEAVEN
At Kaliyoga, they take pride in producing food that’s homemade, delicious and rich in nutrients and vitamins. Throughout our stay, we experienced sweet treats which were free from preservatives and were packed full of goodness and minerals.
Sam, another passionate foodie from the retreat, conducted a chocolate making workshop. A workshop of chocolate dreams… We got to make the prettiest chocolates with the yummiest toppings and then we got to eat the final outcome! Honestly, it was awesome and I loved every minute of it. As well as making chocolate and eating lots of it, we learnt about the benefits of raw chocolate and the many important vitamins and minerals it contains, including magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, manganese and many more.
We made the chocolates, sprinkled with a variety of treats; (chopped nuts, goji berries and cacao nibs) and then we popped the chocolates in the fridge.
Thank you, Sam, for inspiring my chocolate choices. Sam is a true chocoholic, just like me! Also, something I learnt, frozen goji berries are dreamy! They taste just like caramel, give them a go!
The Hike Through The Alpujarra Mountains
When I received the itinerary for the retreat, I was so excited about the hike, it was something I had high hopes for and something I was totally prepared for. I couldn’t wait to explore more of our destination and see some breathtaking views. I am an avid explorer and I always enjoy being active on holiday and I also love exploring a destination from a different perspective.
Hiking is a wonderful way to exercise, it’s a wonderful way of being mindful of your surroundings and it’s a wonderful way to switch-off and be alone with your thoughts.
Our hike primarily began in the car, the sun glistened through the car window as we turned every corner up the mountain to our starting point. When we stepped out, on the Alpujarra mountains, the history, the beauty and the nature beamed across the region. The Alpujarra is a natural and authentic region in Andalusia, Spain, on the Southern slopes of the stunning Sierra Nevada. The average elevation is 4,000 ft above sea level! How impressive! At some points, we were even higher than Ben Nevis (a pinch-me moment for sure!).
Situated overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it certainly has some of the best views. Not forgetting, it is the second highest mountain range in Europe! We were stood in the warm sunshine, breathing the fresh air and we were so close to the natural beauty that surrounded us. For a sudden a moment, gratitude filled me, I felt so blessed.
As if the Alpujarra couldn’t be any more magnificent, the Sierra Nevada decorates the surroundings with snow-capped peaks. Experiencing all types of nature and weathers in one location. Throughout our hike, we took moments to embrace the views and appreciate the surroundings, moments of silence helped the process of this and allowed us to truly take a mental image of the surroundings. With various hiking trails, you’ll be sure to enjoy this location if you love being active on holiday.
Also! Those who are knowledgeable in alternative medicine will notice a number of beneficial herbs and grasses growing by the side of the road and throughout the trails. Nature is diverse and totally exciting and educational. Throughout the hike, there are some wonderful pit-stop points for you to grab a rest and eat some snacks, pack some nuts and some fresh nectarines, both of which can be sourced in the local villages (before starting your hike). Rental cars are extremely handy here, they allow you to see more of the villages at your own pace and they certainly help with the energy stores too.
After hiking for a few hours, we set off onto the next location, the O Sel Ling Buddhist retreat centre for meditation. As well as enjoying hiking and being active, I adore meditation and I love exploring Buddhist specific locations on my travels. O Sel Ling is situated in the Alpujarra mountains near Granada. The purpose of this place is to facilitate and support intense meditation practices and spread the beautiful teachings of the Buddha in the Mahayana tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
I find it touching that so many places around the globe offer a space for people to be able to look inside and discover the nature of their own mind and be completely ‘at one’ with themselves. Not only was this the most perfect way to experience an unwinding retreat, it also became an educational experience.
O Sel Ling “place of light” in Tibetan, is more than 25 years old and it was opened by the incredible Dalai Lama in 1982. Knowing this made me feel very emotional, I have always looked up to Dalai Lama and his teachings, and his wisdom has helped me overcome many challenges. And since the opening, people from all parts of the globe have come to explore the area to have healing and time-out. Whilst exploring this area, there has to be silence and the religious beliefs of the monks there must be respected.
Green Tara Mantra: “Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha”
One of the main highlights from this hike was viewing the beautiful Green Tara and reading and learning about her and her mantra. Green Tara is a female Bodhisattva* in Mahayana Buddhism. She is also known as the “mother of liberation”, and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements.
Viewing Tara in her show-stopping size, was stunning and totally surreal. Tara (Sanskrit “star”) is the most beautiful Buddhist goddess I have seen in such a size, she is characterised by her compassion and is especially popular in Tibet and many other places. As we admired the beautiful Buddha, we also repeated the mantra of Tara (om tare tuttare ture svaha), this mantra is the second most common mantra heard in Tibet.
As we repeated the mantra – (I prostrate to the Liberator, Mother of all the Victorious One), the surrounding areas brought an incredible sense of peace and tranquillity, it wasn’t something I could possibly explain, it’s something everyone should experience. When we chanted the Green Tara mantra, we did not ask for Tara’s blessings and help, we were asking to be liberated from misery and from the darker side of life. When we repeated the mantra, we did this for our own benefit to feel free but for the benefit of other sentient beings too.
Tara also represents virtuous and enlightened action and it has been said, that her compassion for living beings is stronger than a mother’s love for her children. She also brings about longevity, protects earthly travel, and guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment.
After I did some research on Tara, I realised that she has 21 major forms, each of which has a different colour and spiritual attribute. For an example, White Tara is associated with compassion and long life, and Green Tara is associated with enlightened activity and abundance.
*In Buddhism, Bodhisattva is the Sanskrit term for anyone who is motivated by great compassion and has generated Bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish and a compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.
After exploring the mountains and feeling blessed by Green Tara, we strolled back to our cars and enjoyed the final few moments in the mountains. Enjoying activities, learning new skills and embracing the surroundings was surreal, exciting and really eye-opening.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Kaliyoga retreat and it will be something I will never forget. I met new people, I learnt a lot about myself and I made some unforgettable memories. This trip away has inspired my life goals and it’s the motivational push and boost I needed for 2018.
I would like to thank Kaliyoga deeply for welcoming me onto their retreat and for looking after me with such love and kindness, I am totally ready to smash 2018!
If you’re wanting to escape reality for a little while and submerge yourself in relaxation, take my word for it and book yourself onto a retreat. Alternatively, a retreat would make a wonderful gift for someone so you could purchase a voucher for them here – Kaliyoga Retreats.
Want to stay up to date with the Kaliyoga adventures or book a retreat? Use the following links below for more information…
Check out part 1 of the retreat here – FIT, LEAN and CLEAN – My Kaliyoga Experience – Part 1
Where should I travel to next? Explore more of my travel adventures using the following link here – Travel
All of my love and best wishes,