Imagine a world where you are completely self-sufficient in terms of your food, water, shelter, energy and waste. For the average city folk, such life is a far-fetched fantasy – you and I live off the grid, where our daily means are supported by a complex web of invisible logistics that work day and night in order to keep us alive & going. Think about what’s involved here. It’s incredible and has an enormous impact upon the environment.
For others, removing themselves from ‘the grid’ and striving to becoming self-sustainable in everything they do is a reality. Welcome to ‘Vida Pura‘, one of the new breed of bio-dynamic ecologically self-sustainable retreat centres, located in the beautiful region of Southern Portugal in the Algarve region.
‘Vida Pura’ literally means ‘pure life’ in Portuguese and the philosophy behind the project is to create an environment where being self-sufficient in the 5 elements of living (water, food, shelter, energy, waste management) is the aim of the game.
We had the pleasure of spending time with Robin, Bella & Ole ‘Vida Pura’ and a few other participants over the recent Easter long weekend on a yoga retreat – along with 3 dogs, 12 cats, numerous geese, ducks, chickens and of course their 3 lovely donkeys…Oh boy, did they really make the place special.
On the face of it, this was a “yoga retreat”. Deep down though, this was an experience like no other…
Our day started around 8AM with some fresh fruit and tea/coffee before our morning yoga practice. I have never tasted oranges so fresh and crisp. No transportation. No packaging. Just pure food energy. It didn’t get much better than this to taste fruit so delicious.
At 8.30AM, our one and half hour dynamic vinyasa yoga practice began, skilfully led by Caterina Ferreira in one of the living spaces, turned ‘shala’. Each session focussed around a different element (i.e. Earth, water, fire and air). So much so, after our ‘Air’ session, I literally took my yoga practice to a whole new level 🙂
After yoga, it was breakfast time which was definitely one of the highlights of the retreat: ‘Buddha porridge bowls’, with freshly baked home-made bread and delightful hummus with a twist. OMG. This was so good, I just couldn’t get enough of it. On our final day, we were even treated with some home-made croissants and horse-radish dip. Incredible!
The evening practice consisted of a yin yoga practice, which I must admit after one deep hip opening session, a new sense of freedom prevailed. They say that you hold all your emotions in your hips, it’s a little wonder why.
Dinner was a true organic feast of beautifully prepared soups of local home-grown produce and a lovely selection of grain and vegetable based dishes. Each dish had so much flavour and of course lots of love from the kitchen. Vida Pura really take a mindful approach to their cooking and you could really taste the difference.
During the retreat, we also experienced a session of mindfulness – a practice I always like to get reacquainted with from time to time, as well as an incredible massage with a local massage therapist “Michael” that was a truly spiritual experience for both patient and practitioner.
Between classes, some participants chose to go surfing. We however chose to spend quality time in the sun at the beach. That’s what I love about going on retreat, it’s the downtime in between that makes just chilling out so special.
Our accommodation was also unique. We stayed in the ‘Recycle Art’ room, where everything in the apartment was well, ‘recycled’. Check out the ‘upholstery’ in the living room!
Overall, our experience at Vida Pura was remarkable. In fact I would have to say it was one of our best. We were quite sad to leave, however we know one day we will return to this incredible place. When you meet people whose life’s mission is to live in synchronicity with the land and their animals, then you know you are somewhere very special and very unique.
For anyone feeling also inspired and keen to experience a piece of self-sustainable living, there are two up coming retreats at Vida Pura led by Cat at the end of April and September, 2018. More details here.
For more information about self-sustainable living and the ‘Vida Pura’ approach, watch this inspirational video. It is truly mind-blowing to appreciate what is possible if you put your mind to it.