Yoga Retreats in Brazil
With the demanding routines and daily stresses of modern day living, not to mention the temptations to indulge, it’s become more and more difficult to stick to New Year’s resolutions like healthy eating and regular exercise.
For those who want to break the cycle, a trip away from the dreary winter weather to Brazil’s warm tropical climate could be just the antidote.
But rather than just spending the time lying on a beach or catching up on your binge drinking, why not use the time away trying to keep those promises you made to yourself? Yoga retreats are the perfect answer, allowing you to combine nutrition, exercise and meditation in as little as a week.
From the North to the South, Brazil offers different Yoga retreat options for all tastes, ranging from inquisitive beginners right through to professionals in the field. Situated in tropical, isolated locations, surrounded by nature, the retreats offer organic food – often vegetarian – as well as walks along glorious beaches and various types of yoga practices.
Yoga Retreat Brazil is a small chain found throughout Brasil in the states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina, offering a diverse array of services. According to owner Donna-Tienne Sternfeld, the aim is to help guests to disconnect from their daily routine and to reconnect to their inner selves.
Yoga Retreat Brazil offer guests organic, vegetarian meals and holistic treatments. The Bahia retreat is situated inside an ecological reserve within the Monte Pascoal National Park, with the main town located at the mouth of the River Caraíva, far away from the distractions of the big city, and with the sea, river and park as its boundaries. Energy used within the resort is solar- or generator-driven and the only means of transport are via the river or sea. Caraíva, originally inhabited by the Pataxó indigenous tribe, has no electricity supply or road access, which has helped to preserve its natural beauty and make it even more alluring.
Within the state of Rio de Janeiro alone, the Yoga Retreat Brazil has locations in Búzios, Visconde de Mauá and Ilha Grande. In Santa Catarina it’s situated on Praia Mole beach, Florianópolis, and as the beach is famous for its surf, the resort offers a special programme based around both activities.
The most basic accommodation is offered at the Santa Catarina resort, with prices starting at £723 a week, and includes Hatha, Ashtanga and Integrative yoga therapies as well as Ayurvedic treatments.
For those not in the yoga know, Hatha is a less vigorous style of yoga; ‘ha’ means sun, and ‘tha’ means moon, representing the union of opposites. The intention of Hatha yoga is to harmonise the body, soul and spirit, with stamina.
Ashtanga, on the other hand, is more dynamic and physically demanding. All Ayurvedic treatments are non-invasive, using plants and herbs to prevent and cure ailments entirely via natural resources.
Femke De Groot, from Amsterdam, is full of praise for the Yoga Retreat Brazil. “When we think about Brasil we think Amazon and Carnival, but I never imagined it would be so fantastic! Yoga Retreat Brazil is idyllic for any yoga fans who love diversity and nature. It’s a great cultural mix of pleasure, beach life, health and relaxation.”
Santa Catarina does seem to be the perfect location to practise yoga – many other companies have yoga retreats located within the state. The Montanha Encantada Yoga Centre is located within a reserve in Garopaba, surrounded by Atlantic Rainforest.
The city is made up of beautiful beaches, tranquil bays, sand dunes and rugged coastal dirt tracks. Another unique reason to visit is the presence of Right Whales in Garopaba, every year from June to November, which come to this region in search of warmer waters to reproduce and feed their young.
Montanha Encantada is situated in an area of abundant natural splendour, offering ecological paths with views overlooking the beaches and mountains, as well as natural pools, a private fountain and earthy suites created out of wood. The centre offers three vegetarian meals a day made from organic produce and prepared on site at the resort.
In addition, the Dhanvantari Therapy Centre offers Chakra-balancing massages which stimulate the energy points in the body, and Thai Yoga massages, which combine applied pressure and relaxation techniques with gentle stretching and yoga. Solange Barden, Ayurvedic Massage Therapist at the Montanha Encantada, explains that the programmes are created to bring physical and mental well-being to participants. “Clients who undertake the courses or treatments on offer leave feeling rejuvenated and revitalised both in body and spirit, and ready to face the world once again.”
A one week package costs £357 per person. “We offer a wide variety of courses for all levels of yoga students. We receive all types of people on a daily basis – beginners right through to professionals in the area”, explains Felipe Buzzi, Marketing Manager at Montanha Encantada.
The Pousada do Ceo is also located in the region of Santa Catarina, which combines native architecture with traditional, handmade decorations, with views overlooking the Praia do Rosa valley, the Lagoa de Ibiraquera lake and the Siriú sand dunes. It offers personalised suites, a pool with a waterfall and a viewing deck with panoramic views surrounded by exuberant natural landscapes. Some of the other amenities they offer include afternoon
According to general manager Natalie Nardi, rates throughout July, September and November are as follows:
7 days, including breakfast, dinner, yoga and dance classes as well as a guided tour of the region and other activities is around £980 per person.
Lisa Durant, Beauty Editor of InStyle magazine, is an avid yoga devout and has been to various yoga retreats across Europe, but none of them compare to her stay at the Pousada do Ceo. “The place is extraordinary and the views are incredible. I didn’t know healthy food could taste so good! I took Capoeira classes and would love to try surfing next time around. The people, food, hospitality and Praia do Rosa beach all made my stay unforgettable”.
The Island Experience in Ilha Grande is located 100 miles south of Rio de Janeiro in an area famous for its 106 beaches and 55 waterfalls, caves and rivers, and protected Atlantic Rainforest reserve. The retreat offers a 7-day detox programme for body and mind, which consists of walks, yoga classes, meditation and kayaking, topped by healthy menus developed by a nutritionist. There are also dance, capoeira and painting classes.
Recently, the island received an A-list celebrity in the shape of American actor Chris Noth, who undertook a gruelling nine-day programme to help prepare him for his role in the upcoming movie Sex and the City II, in which he plays “Mr Big”, Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) love interest.
A 7-day programme with a sea-view room, full board, two daily yoga classes and tours around the island and Rio starts from £1,200 per person – and they only take a maximum of 12 people per week, so as to give each guest the attention they deserve. With so many options, there’s never been more reason to de-stress!
Yoga: The union of body, mind and spirit
“Yoga is an all-consuming practice. It is a complete union of mind, body, spirit and the universe as one big interconnecting energy source. Yoga brings with it a lightness and heightened awareness to the here and now, calming our inner voice and creating a peaceful silence within,” says yoga teacher Fernanda Giongo, who has practised yoga for 12 years.
According to Yoga Master Pedro Kupfer, the meaning of the word yoga in Sanskrit is union, but yoga also signifies work and dedication. Yoga also means freedom, and to be free of pre-conditioning and preconceptions is an ideal which has its origins in the traditional physical and mental disciplines of India; the word yoga is associated with the meditative practices of both Buddhism and Hinduism.
Find your Zen Spot
Yoga Retreat Brazil
Centro de Yoga Montanha Encantada
Pousada Casa do Ceo
The Island Experience