Team

Vonetta Winter

Owner, Yoga Teacher and Therapist

Vonetta's 2018 Retreats: April 8, 15, May 20, 27, June 10 and Oct 21

Growing up in the West Indies I became acutely aware of the natural and joyful ways people healed themselves and each other through touch, dance, storytelling, simple local food and a slow soul bolstering approach to life. This initial grounded upbringing was enhanced by the study of Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, with a particular interest in shamanistic healing. Subsequent study of Community and Youth Work at Goldsmiths and several years working with homeless people, those with mental health difficulties, unemployed and vulnerable young people further fueled my compassion for human life and the desire to assist in a more pragmatic and direct approach.

It was around this period in my life that I became a Mum and suffered greatly with severe back pain and several years of allergic responses to various forms of pain relief. Walking one day with my son Joshua through the local library I found a rather dull looking little book with an unusually skinny big bearded Asian man performing various postures. For over one year this little book of yoga saved both my back and my sanity and therein began the long and as yet unfinished journey into the enquiry on the nature of healing.

With the birth of our youngest Eloise in 1999 I continued for another two years the practice of Astanga yoga and Iyengar before completing teacher training in the Dynamic Yoga Method with Godfrey Devereux in Tuscany, Italy. This method is a complete accessible system for the recovery of disturbed muscle tissue which is immediately accessible requiring no profound flexibility, stability or strength and yet I found that the leaps I made both physically, emotionally and spiritually to be both profound and unsurpassed.

After training for 3 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine at the renowned BodyHarmonics Centre in Cheltenham, I opened a yoga and massage clinic from our London home in 2004. Then in 2007, with the desire to find pastures greener, I closed the clinic, spent time in India and on return went with my family on an adventure around southern Europe in a motorhome to magically find an abandoned farm in the Portuguese mountains that happened to have the same name as my dog, Moses. So we stayed to live in the rhythm of remote country life. It has been a joy to teach yoga and provide massage and acupuncture treatments from such a place as this.

Andrew Winter

Owner

I first developed my love affair with food and cooking as a youngster in my family home in London. Even my first job while still at school, was as a chef in a Mexican restaurant for 2 years. After graduating from Leeds University in Sport and Business, I worked a few years in recruitment advertising, after which I set up a small design and advertising agency for charities called Source Communications in 1999. When we decided to leave London for a trip round Europe with Moses and the kids, I gladly took up the role of tour chef and regularly cooked up a storm in the motorhome as we literally tasted our way through France, Italy, Spain and finally Portugal.

A few years ago I discovered the therapeutic approach to food found in Ayurveda philosophy, thanks particularly to a fabulous Ayurveda teacher Liese van Dam. For years great meals were simply about the taste, the texture and the presentation. It was a real eye opener to understand that for a lot of people, food is also about digestion. And how the 6 tastes - sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent - can help us all more easily digest the essential minerals and nutrients our bodies need.

Over the years of running retreats from our home alongside the chefs who have worked with us, we have developed a delicious and balanced Ayurvedic menu that compliments our yoga practice and is very much an integral part of the restorative nourishing process you will experience on retreat.

It's my absolute pleasure to welcome people to our home, and also to walk with them (and our dogs and piglet) through the surrounding forest paths, sharing some of the insights that living in a wilderness environment like this can reveal about our bodies and ourselves. 

 

Tashi Dawa

Dynamic, Ashtanga Yoga and Dance Teacher

Retreat dates 2018: March 18, 25, April 1

Tashidawa practices yoga with complete dedication, she was introduced to Ashtanga yoga in Bali in 1996 and has integrated the methods of Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar and Dynamic yoga into her workshops and retreats around the world. Born on the east coast of Australia, Tashi lives for adventure, love & bliss in equal measures. She travels regularly to Australia, Asia and Europe involved in yoga and creative arts and her interest in dance, arts and theatre have been easily supported by her daily practice of yoga. She firmly believes that a balanced and joyful life is achievable through the effortless effort afforded by a regular yoga practice; peace and happiness arise naturally by living creatively with a willingness to explore and witness the body/mind in the present moment.

Tashidawa is passionate to share her knowledge of yoga and her students agree that it comes as naturally and easily as the river to an ocean. Her classes are creative, sensitive and enjoyable as she invites students to practice a gentle yet invigorating vinyasa flow guided by the dynamic yoga training method. She is an experienced and professional yoga instructor with over 10 years of teaching experience, qualified in Thai Yoga and Ayurvedic massage as well as having a Masters in Community Cultural Development.

Tashidawa means ’happy moon’, this is the name given to her by her parents, it's a common Tibetan name which she finds a great pleasure to wear.

For more info on Tashi visit tashidawa.com

Fleur van Hille

Yoga Teacher

Fleur's 2018 Retreats: April 29 - May 5, May 6-12, July 29 - Aug 4, Aug 5-11, 12-18, 26 - Sep 1

Since childhood music and movement have been Fleur's major passions. It wasn’t a surprise when she became a professional dancer. Throughout her studies she became drawn to Eastern philosophy and way of life, leading her to India where she followed a yoga teacher training course in 2009.

This yoga experience greatly affected her being and mind, helping her to focus and find inner peace, realizing it was a great way to counterbalance her hectic lifestyle as a dancer. As she returned to Amsterdam she followed a one-year course of Ayurvedic Nutrition while at the same time taking classes at Svaha Yoga Shala where yoga is being done to music. The adding of a musical layer to the practice offered her a more intense experience, a sense of wholeness. She continued to deepen her knowledge via a one-year yoga teacher training course at this shala, where she also currently teaches.

Fleur keeps developing and exploring different aspects of yoga. She plays the harmonium (portable Indian organ) and composes her own melodies for mantras. Her passion for travel and idea exchange brings her to participate in various workshops and retreats worldwide both as a teacher and student.

In her classes Fleur emphasizes on flow – how not to get stuck, proposing a way to overpass energetic and physical obstacles. Focusing on the smooth transition from asana to asana, breathing on the rhythm of the music and allowing it to touch the soul, the heart. So let the heart be your guide instead of the chattering mind and come flow with Fleur!

cosmicflow.nl

Nerina Ramlakhan

Sleep and Stress Management Expert

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan is a physiologist, sleep and stress management expert who helps everyone from stressed-out mums to Premiership footballers and MPs improve the quality of their sleep and energy levels. Nerina’s work has been featured in The Times, The Independent, The Sunday Express, The Guardian, New Scientist, The Evening Standard, The London Paper, Woman and Home, Healthy Living, Red and Psychologies Magazines. Most recently she has talked about power napping on the Radio 2 Chris Evans show and has appeared on GMTV and CNN talking about technology addiction. Nerina is also the sleep advisor to the Silent Night bed company.

Nerina has a strong belief that everyone can live a healthy and more fulfilling life by tapping into and nurturing their deepest inner resources – even in these hectic times that we live in. She is also a mother, wife, climber, meditator and compulsive bookworm. Nerina runs sleep and wellness programmes at The Nightingale Hospital and is the author of Tired but Wired (Souvenir Press Ltd, June 2010). She is currently working on her second book Fast Asleep Wide Awake.

Dr Nerina will be running afternoon workshops our Slumber and Restore 2017 retreat, May 14-20.

Elsa Silva

Ayurvedic Massage Therapist

Elsa comes from a background in Martial Arts, having recently attained her Black Belt in Karate. Elsa’s recent yoga training has been under the tutelage of Usha Devi, LotharHofler and Dr. AbhayKesti.

Elsa’s yoga practice is informed by her Karate experience, the most notable similarities being the use of the Bandahs, the points of the body used to retain and distribute prana in Yoga and used for self-defense in Karate, these disciplines working simultaneously through body, mind and soul.

Elsa has found her vocation in helping others through therapeutic massage, practicing year round in Portugal and India. Her Aryurvedic-based treatments are sought out by a wide range of people and for many different reasons. It is the variety of interactions and approaches required by her practice that Elsa enjoys so much about giving massage as an occupation.

Elsa will be joining our therapy team this summer in August.

Raul Garcia

Retreat Chef

Raul grew up surrounded by the Mediterranean cuisine of Southern Andalusia; fresh vegetables daily from his family farm, fish from the local sea, the dining table was always bursting with colour, passion and diversity.

Since completing his MA in Political Anthropology at the University of Granada, Raul has traveled filled with a desire to learn the culture and food of the world.  Combining his love of humanity, health and nourishment, he creates multi-lingual dishes that fuse a melting pot of international flavours.

In India, Raul trained in Ayurvedic cooking. He integrates his knowledge of the mental and physical benefits of spices and herbs into all his dishes as well as brining the fresh vivid sharpness of the Vietnamese kitchens he has worked in and the Gastronomic picante fire from the Mexican oven.

Raul is always expanding his interest in the traditional and established culinary methods, yet exploring new dimensions, creating fusions and adding his own big hearted Spanish dynamism to every menu he creates.

Let Raul know when you arrive about any dietary requirements you may have, and he'll do his best to provide tasty alternatives wherever possible. 

 

Ali Burrell

Yoga and Pilates Teacher

2019 retreat date: June 2 to 8.

Ali’s passion for movement and mystery began at a young age with ambitions to run away and join the circus as a trapeze artist and become a UFO researcher! Fuelled by a love of learning Ali followed her passions in a more conventional way by going to university to study Psychology and Anthropology whilst teaching aerobics to fellow students. It was here that she discovered her love of teaching and in 2002 went on to become a personal trainer & massage therapist. Loving this, but wanting to understand the body more, to really help her students with pain find relief and get stronger from the inside, Ali decided to learn Pilates and qualified as a Matwork & Equipment teacher through the Pilates Foundation in 2007.

A lifelong curiosity with yoga led Ali to attend regular classes where she was seduced by the physical benefits of the practice.  Whilst she found yoga philosophy, pranayama & meditation interesting, it was Vinyasa Flow and Anusara classes that rocked her world and allowed her to discover new strength, power, flexibility and a playfulness on the mat which felt so liberating and uplifting. It wasn’t long before she wanted to learn more and infect her own students with the same enthusiasm and joy of movement that she found on the yoga mat. So, in 2009 she begun her 200hr yoga training, and did just that, teach power packed Pilates classes infused with yoga asana.

A further evolution took place in 2014 during Ali’s 500hr teacher training with Jivani Yoga in Thailand. It was here, under the tutelage of her wonderful teacher Emma Warmington that Ali discovered the beauty that lies in a slow mindful breath initiated practice. Yoga took on a whole new meaning, one that provided her entry into a far deeper and calmer place within herself, and set her on a new path of discovery and teaching.

The most unique quality of Ali’s teaching comes from the influence of Somatics. A thread that runs throughout her classes, enabling her students to experience yoga and Pilates on a completely new level. One that allows them to feel more in control of their bodies and achieve more with greater ease.  Ali’s intention is to help her students to build a positive relationship with their body whilst inviting an exploration of the subtler aspects of being.

When not teaching, Ali enjoys dancing salsa, being outdoors, learning to play the harmonium, guitar and ukelele and use her newly discovered singing voice. 

Ali Burrell FB page

Miguel Veiga

Retreat Chef

Miguel Veiga has been a vegetarian since 1996, for ethical reasons, and vegan for long periods. He decided to turn his know how on cooking into something more professional, so in 2008 went to London to work in different vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the capital including Tibits, Planet Organic, Torrington place and Rootmaster, a Bustaurant in Brick Lane.

In 2010 he returned to Portugal and added to his chef training in 2011 with a course in ESTH Cooking school in Seia. When not cooking at Vale de Moses, Miguel runs a supper club in Guarda, high up in the mountains of Serra da Estrela, an hour and half drive up the road. 

Considerable expertise in wild mushrooms, a passion for Asian food, mainly Thai, and always ready to prepare food with the main ingredient all plates need, "love". In the last years Miguel has also became a farmer, because the best way to provide the most energetic and nutritous food is to know where your ingredients come from, how they've been grown and where possible to grow them yourself.

Miguel is looking forward to use the herbs, salads and fresh greens grown in the Vale de Moses kitchen gardens this year in June when he arrives and also for the autumn and winter retreats.  If you have any dietary requirements, do let Miguel know on your arrival and he'll do his best to arrange alternatives where possible. 

Vitor Gomes

Manager

Vítor grew up in Oleiros in the nearby village of Casal Novo. A man of many trades, he spent several years living and working in the Algarve and abroad before tiring of the stress of an urban lifestyle. He recently returned to his home village to start his life afresh and have a more direct relationship with nature and his roots.

Vitor will be working with us this season as our manager and groundsman, using his experience, skill and knowledge of the local region to make sure your retreat runs smoothly and that you feel comfortable in every space. He will also be helping us plant more fruit trees and help us cultivate more of the land to grow herbs, salads and fresh vegetables. 

Satu Tuomela

Yoga Teacher

Satu Tuomela (ERYT500, Reiki master, Embodied Flow™ Teacher/Mentor) is one of the most influential and respected teachers in Scandinavia and has a big and loving Kula (community) around the world.

Satu has been teaching for over 15 years and is known for her unique and authentic style. Her Embodied Flow™ yoga and Embodied Yin yoga classes are usually fully booked. She charms with her intuitive instructions, goddess vibe, humor, loving adjustments, Reiki and clear understanding of human body and how everybody is unique. Every class is different with purpose and will energize you with amazing music, laughs and freedom! She loves singing, surfing, nature and being with her family in her free time.

In 2013 Satu founded Pranama, a collective of yoga teachers dedicated to giving back and to offering Yoga for all! Now the Helsinki Studio is one of the most popular yoga studios in Finland. Its the first ever, and only, donation based studio, where people pay directly to the teacher teaching the class, not the studio. At least in Finland. (www.pranama.yoga)

Satu and her Authentic Flow Tribe run 50h, 100h and 200h-teacher trainings and advanced teacher trainings (we are a Yoga Alliance RYS200 & RYS300 school ) all over the world and have hosted people from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, USA, Tunisia, Mexico, Canada, China, Germany,Australia etc. You can stay updated on her webpage and Facebook: Satu Tuomela+ Instagram Satuyoga.

Satu is currently studying devotional contemplative tantra with Sally Kempton and She will also become a movement therapist in 2018. Satu is a Kali devotee and honors her daily sadhana with passion (even with a one year old baby <3 )

www.satu.yoga
www.authentic-flow.com
 

Mars Gossi

Yoga Teacher and Therapist

2018 Retreat Dates: April 22, Sep 2

Mars is a travelling yogini, originally from Australia, now based in Portugal and loves all things good for you… yoga, massage, nature, food and travel. As a yoga teacher and massage therapist her intention is to create a space allowing safe, honest, joyful self-enquiry and transformation. Mars went to her first yoga class in 2008, and it was love at first sun salutation. Since 2014 she has dedicated herself to the yogic path, trading a demanding corporate job for a journey that has taken her around the world to deepen her practice and teaching. Yoga has invited great transformation in Mars’ life and she is honoured to share the practice and its transformational power.

Yoga with Mars is an invitation to be curious, to pause, to check in, to breath with awareness, to move with awareness, to lead with the heart, to let go of expectation and feel what is at that very moment. She believes yoga is about community and bringing people together. So it doesn’t matter if you are a 'first time', 'some of the time' or 'all the time’ yogi, there’s room for you. Her intuitive classes draw from ashtanga vinyasa, hatha and yin yoga. She tries to show a path towards inner and outer stability, strength and flexibility in an ego-free and loving environment. Mars is playful, energetic, compassionate and grounded. She combines dynamic and gentle movements with meditation, breathing, sound and massage to reach deep relaxation and a space for transformation. Mars also shares her interpretations of the teachings to inspire positive change.

Mars’ massage treatments help you to tune into your body’s innate wisdom to heal. With compassion and love, she offers treatments in Thai yoga and oil to recharge and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. Her touch generates immediate trust to surrender and let go.

Mars has taught classes, privates, workshops and retreats in Australia, Asia and Europe. She is a dedicated ashtanga vinyasa practitioner, and has spent extensive time in Mysore, India. She has completed 200hr TTCs in hatha/vinyasa flow as well as ashtanga vinyasa, and is a certified massage therapist. She has also completed a 10-day vipassana in the buddhist tradition. Mars is grateful to all her teachers, including you.

Find Mars on Facebook and Instagram.

Alicia Ruiz Bustos

Yoga Teacher and Massage Therapist

2018 Retreat Dates: September 23 & 30

Alicia has a passion for the combination of yoga and holistic therapies.  She is an experienced and sensitive teacher and body work therapist with Ayurvedic & Swedish massage, Deep tissue and Reiki techniques.  She is also an eager Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism student and practitioner, spending long part of her time in Asia each winter deepening her studies in Yoga, Meditation and Buddhism.

Alicia practiced artistic gymnastics while young, and trained to be a coach and judge. She coached young girls in a public school in her home town while studying Chemistry at the University of Murcia in Spain. Her dreams of travelling and learning english led her to London in her early twenties to read Environmental Management at London Metropolitan University.

Post studies, she travelled the world with her sister Maisa and a small backpack, becoming increasingly curious about holistic therapies and the yogic path. On her return to London, she practiced for a year with Hamish at the Ashtanga Yoga Shala, while doing her sixteen months 200 hours Hatha YTT with Yoga Campus in London. Over the last few years, Alicia has studied and practiced with a variety of renowned teachers, completing a 500 hrs advance yoga teacher training with Doug Swanson in Lake Tahoe, California. Alicia also studied & taught yoga to children for three years in public and private schools across London.

Together with her partner Didier, they left London in 2014 to dedicate more of their lives to hosting yoga holistic retreats around the world including teaching and treating at Vale de Moses in Portugal.

Yoga with Alicia

Didier Fernandes

Massage Therapist

Didier offers holistic therapy treatments at Vale de Moses which fuse the multidiscplinary approaches of bodywork, thai massage, myofascial release with energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual healing through Shamanic processing.

In seeking ways to better understand life, and to heal himself, Didier first became a Nurse & Holistic therapist in France. His constant hunger for learning took him on an amazing journey of discovery through the apprenticeship of many forms of healing therapies and environments: nursing in an oncological hospital, Zen Shiatsu & Ayurvedic massage, meditation & yoga, Therapeutic & Thai massage, Zen Thai, Trigger point therapy, Reiki, Magnified Healing, Shamanic healing, culminating more recently in becoming a Gerson Practitioner and Health consultant. 

Didier's expertise allows him to create a sacred space where healing, trust, surrender and reconnection with the inner self can happen. Through active listening he uses a variety of techniques to release blockages, pain and fears, helping us reconnect with our bodies, our hearts and a healthier, more fulfilled life.

Didier on Facebook

Oliver Pell

Retreat Host

Oliver has a decade of experience in hospitality and events including directing a boutique tipi camping company in the UK. In 2008, he fell in love with the beauty, peace and tranquillity of rural Portugal and has returned yearly since. He first worked at Vale de Moses back in 2013, helping manage the first full season and also run weekly Laughter Yoga Workshops. 

He enjoys looking after the people (and more recently the animals!) around him, being attentive and sensitve to their needs. His laugh is infectious and his sprit warm and welcoming. We're delighted to have Olly return to the team to help host our yoga retreats this season. 

To connect with Olly, visit his Facebook page. 

Tom Barber

Yoga Teacher

2018 Big Joy Retreat date: Sep 16 to 22.  2019 dates coming soon.

I walked into my very first Yoga class on a weekend trip to Amsterdam 10 years ago. Since then I have explored different styles including Bikram, Ashtanga, Power Vinyasa Yoga and now I teach the intensely physical and healing Forrest Yoga, a modern, dynamic practice carefully crafted by Ana Forrest over the past 40 years.

Forrest Yoga ignites every cell in my body. I love the intensity and the emphasis on personal freedom, intuition, and connection to spirit and the authentic self. Yoga has brought wonderful healing to my life. 10 years ago I was in a very different place. I struggled with addiction, depression and social anxiety. I felt lost and disconnected from myself and the world around me.

Through regular Yoga practice I started to heal, nourish and respect my body and bring joy and presence into my life. Yoga for me is an exhilarating, joyful and at times painful journey of growth and self discovery - I love every second.

I completed my 200hr teacher training in 2014 in London at Hot Power Yoga with world-class instructors Dylan Ayaloo and Craig Norris. I then trained with modern Yoga pioneer Ana Forrest in the UK and completed the Level 1 Foundation Training, and in Spring 2017 I completed the Forrest Yoga Advanced Training with Ana in Calgary.

I love to dance! I was one of the founders of the pre-work sober rave experience - Morning Gloryville Berlin. As well as Yoga learning how to dance sober has had a profound impact on my life. Through Yoga, dance and healthy living I bring power and presence to my life and to yours. I regularly take part in workshops with Authentic Eros and Gay Love Spirit, I've trained with Body Electric in California and at Burning Man.

I've been fortunate to travel all over the world, from filming sled dog racing in Alaska to climbing mountains in Kenya and Patagonia and the Himalayas. I'm very happy to call Berlin home now. I'm massively excited about the future of the Yoga Boys Berlin community - join us!

Follow Tom @tombarberyoga

Chloe and Dan

Yoga teachers

Yoga has been a medicine and an awakening, and remains a constant exploration for Dan and Chloe. It was the power of temporary crisis and chaos that first brought both Dan and Chloe to the yoga mat. Here, they encountered the power of the practice to transform, heal and enlighten, as well as to bring a lightness and joy to the journey of life.

Dan Catt
In 2012, life as Dan knew it crumbled as a severe spinal injury caused a 90% compression of his nerves from his waist down. Unable to walk, feel, work, and play with his son, Dan found himself trapped in a body that no longer moved as he was accustomed, trapped in pain, trapped in a room, and completely reliant upon family for his basic needs. Misdiagnosed for months, he finally received emergency surgery, leaving him with severe nerve damage for a further year. Dan brought courage to the fore and with an S-shaped spine, a drop foot and a whole lot of bravery, took himself to a yoga studio in 2013 where his physical practice began. Through a series of difficult decisions, relentless determination, and ongoing meditative practice, Dan healed his physical disability and delved deep into The Practice. Here, yoga became more than physical movement, but a way of breathing, being, and seeing as he developed a spiritual practice and lifestyle. Healing more than ‘just’ his physical injury, Dan consciously rebuilt his body and his life, and set sail on the journey toward yoga teaching, qualifying in 2015. Having encountered the healing and transformational power of the practice so vividly, Dan is passionate about yoga as medicine. He is now on his way to qualifying as a Thai Yoga masseuse to further enable his healing hands. His hands know bodies, his heart is open and his passion is healing.

Chloe Skinner
Chloe first encountered yoga when she booked herself onto a retreat in 2013, and fell in love with the practice totally and completely after a retreat week later that year at Vale de Moses. After the sudden bereavement of her brother and associated trials, life had been tumultuous, and it was the need for reset and retreat that led her to yoga. After years of studying and working for peace, it was here she realised the need for balance, consciously cultivating inner peace alongside her ongoing activism. With her yoga mat on her back, and fire in her spirit, she finished her PhD exploring violence in Palestine and Israel in 2014, and moved to occupied Hebron, Palestine, where she worked as a human rights accompanier for two years. In these years, her yoga practice became integral to her everyday life. She learned the art of softening into struggle, embodying resistance, freedom and power, as well as the need for conscious self-care and soothing amidst stressful circumstances. In 2016, Chloe qualified as a yoga teacher having trained with Meghan Currie in Nicaragua, and moved to Brighton where she has since been spreading the art of flow, in collaboration with Dan Catt as ‘Ahimsa Yoga’. Chloe is passionate about yoga as teacher and healer through the journeys, joys and challenges that life offers to each of us. Having herself encountered the power of yoga practice through both trauma and triumph, Chloe’s teaching offers a unique blend of both strength and softness, enabling every student to greet their own challenges, and still into the calm that follows.
 

Maryrose Loxley

Yoga Teacher

Maryrose has been practising for over 40 years, completing her Yoga Teacher training in 2003, Meditation Teacher training 2004 and Sage Yoga training – specialising in balance and co-ordination for the over 60s - more recently in 2015. With over 15 years teaching experience, Maryrose brings a fine understanding of the power of yoga practise to bring harmony with a compassion for every body. 

She is a member of BWY, Traditional Yoga Association and Berkshire Yoga Teachers Circle, currently teaching 3 classes a week at a local community centre – 2 open to all, 1 for over 60s and 3 classes for Age Concern Basingstoke – 2 for over 50s and 1 for over 60s. She also teaches one monthly class for charity supporting people affected by HIV/AIDS.

Join Maryrose at Vale de Moses for a special retreat in November 2019.

Fiona Macleod

Yoga Teacher

Dates: Winter 2018 private classes & March 4 to 10 Nourish in Nature 

Fiona is a yoga teacher and practitioner, mother of three, living and working in Central Portugal. She has been teaching classes locally in Central Portugal since 2008, and on retreats since 2012. Growing up in Australia she was introduced to embodiment practices as a child through the typical path of ballet, tap dancing and jazz. She then found yoga as a secondary school sports option, an alternate to team sports. She was also introduced to the practice of Tai Chi through her mother from the age of 15 until she left home at 17.

Fiona has been teaching yoga to friends since 2007, and then completed a 500 hour formal training to teach in 2009 at Byron Yoga Centre in Australia. It was during these formative years of travel throughout Asia between 1998 – 2000 that her passion and personal practice developed. She has been fortunate to study with many teachers and methods, and truly embraces the wide variety of methods and techniques she has been exposed to. Her teaching style is a mix of alignment based slow vinyasa, pranayama and meditation, a variety of alternative movement practices and yoga nidra. She has become very interested in an intuitive somatic approach while still maintaining the integrity of the individual yoga postures. She also practices the more embodied meditative practices of Kashmir Shaivism.

She places great importance on slowing down, allowing time for the subtleties of the postures to be absorbed by our bodies, and for the magic of the practice to be discovered by individuals themselves, rather than overloading with instruction.
From 2012 until 2017, Fiona facilitated and taught on retreats at her own off-grid eco friendly yoga retreat. As well as teaching retreat weeks, she also prepared the majority of the food, and guided younger, newer teachers and a small team of volunteers. Unfortunately she lost her retreat centre in the October 2017 fires, and does not have any plans to rebuild the centre. In 2017 she founded www.nourishinnature.org retreats for women with her friend Sara. These retreats are integrated health retreats incorporating yoga, with workshops in herbs and nutrition specifically for women.

She continues her further education whenever she can;
• completing both pre and post- natal teacher training with Bliss Baby Yoga (through Byron Yoga Centre – Australia) in 2013
• a year long intensive yoga anatomy course with Leslie Kaminoff, Author of Yoga Anatomy in 2012
• a one to one series of teleconference classes with Liz Koch, author of Core Awareness in 2016
• she is currently studying a yoga for fertility course through the same Company, Bliss Baby Yoga.

Fiona teaches a whole and safe practice and imparts to her students the same depth of profound experience and magic that she experiences in her own practice. She shares her passion for the practice with love and care, and always creates a trusting space for yoga to happen.

Find out more about Fiona on her Facebook page. And Nourish in Nature retreat site. Instagram @nourishinnature and @heartcentre.yoga

Sara Rooney

Medical Herbalist

Dates: Throughout the season and her own Nourish in Nature retreat March 4 -10

Sara is a firm advocate of integrated health and the benefits of taking a holistic approach. Medical herbalists try to find the root cause of a person’s illness rather than just purely addressing their symptoms. Sara believes in finding health solutions unique to the individual, and working in partnership with the patient to make nutritional and lifestyle changes to improve their health in the long term.

Herbal medicine involves using plant based medicines to address illnesses and help restore health. It has been used successfully for centuries and this knowledge has been refined through generations. Modern herbal medicine involves utilizing traditional knowledge and combining this with a modern scientific approach to provide integrated healthcare.

Sara is an experienced retreat manager, having worked on numerous juice, detox and yoga retreats in the UK and also in Spain and Portugal. She really believes and has witnessed the benefits of taking an integrated approach to natural health and finds that some people really need to take time out of their lives in order to address lifestyle and nutritional issues and make changes that will last.

Sara’s interest in medicinal plants stems from working on an Amazonian rainforest reserve in Ecuador after completing a degree in Anthropology and Spanish at Sussex University, Brighton. In Ecuador, she assisted the local Shaman in the propagation of medicinal plants from the rainforest and observed the medicinal qualities of plants used in a community with little access to Western drugs. Sara was so impressed in the therapeutic qualities plants could have that she decided to learn more about their diverse properties and how they could be used therapeutically as a natural form of medicine.

Subsequently, she returned to the UK and completed her BSc (Hons) in Herbal Medicine at the University of East London. The course consists of modules including anatomy and physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology, differential diagnosis and herbal therapeutics. It places emphasis on possible herb/drug interactions and which plant medicines may be used safely with conventional medications.

She is an contributing author for the Herbarium, the online herbal resource from the Herbal Academy of New England and has recently published an article on ‘Two Herbal adaptogens for Adrenal health’. http://herbarium.herbalacademyofne.com/ She has been commissioned to write a three part series on ‘Natural solution to the menopause’. Sara has also contributed to Om Yoga and lifestyle magazine.

Sara's Website Instagram @nourishinnature @sararooneyherbalist and @heartcentre.yoga

Matthias Wittfoth

Wim Hoff Method Instructor

2019 Retreat Dates: February 4-10, 11-18

For almost 20 years, I have been working as a brain researcher and investigate the brains of various people with functional MRI. I have published in many international journals including topics such as cognitive control, emotion regulation and music perception.

At some point, it was no longer enough for me to just sit at the computer; I wanted to learn practical methods to help people. That's why I became an additional psychotherapist and coach and since then - with different techniques such as hypnosis and PEP - support many in becoming more balanced, stress-free and healthier.

Getting to know the Wim-Hof method was a milestone for me and for the people I teach. The results that are now achievable can be traced back to the super-effective combination of mental and physical techniques. Psychological methods such as self-esteem training and breathing changes help overcome the supposed hurdles that almost everyone has at the thought of cold water.

In my workshops the basic Wim-Hof-Basics will be learned. There is also an in-depth understanding of why this is so effective. In doing so, I convey the knowledge from the neuroscience and the coaching, so that it often comes to profound life changes.

The focus is on special workshops to increase the excellence of athletes and musicians, as well as tailor-made workshops for people suffering from neurological disorders or autoimmune diseases.

Find out more about Matthias via the official Wim Hof site