Life, health, happiness, yoga, style, travel, sunshine and endless possibilities…
As an advocate of good living, happiness and wellbeing, I could not have been more excited when I was invited by the beautiful and inspirational Vidya Heisel to a corner of the world which encapsulates wellness like no other: the Suryalila Retreat Centre.
The yoga and wellness retreat is located in Villamartin, Spain, it is a little piece of heaven on earth and is situated a one-hour drive from Seville amongst the rolling hills of Andalucia.
The Retreat Centre
On arrival at Suryalila, with fellow lifestyle guru Inna, I was completely blown away by how stunning and peaceful it is. Suryalila is a renovated olive farm consisting of eight houses that form a cortijo. In typical Spanish style there are two inner courtyards, one of which blooms with orange and lemon trees.
The retreat sits on 45 acres of land and is still a working olive farm with 350 olive trees. It is nestled serenely in a large open valley in the foothills of the Sierra de Grazelema. This majestic mountain range can be seen looming large on the horizon behind Suryalila. A striking part of the natural beauty of the retreat is the breath-taking vista extending in all directions of rolling hills, fields of sunflowers and lakes. The sense of vastness and expansiveness is unbelievably uplifting.
Suryalila is a permanent yoga centre, which means that guests can come and go as they wish, either as part of yoga programmes / retreats or as independent travellers. You can do as much or as little yoga as you choose.
Suryalila has over 80 chickens, geese and turkeys living in their fruit orchard, as well as a few peacocks, which wander freely around the grounds. The peacocks are friendly and curious, and sometimes a little startling with their strange honking! There are eight part-Andalusian horses living on the grounds (you can take them horse-riding if you choose). There are also two super adorable cats; Lily, a four month old kitten, who is both naughty and adorable at the same time; and Malu, the other cat, who is probably the laziest cat I’ve ever come across, she pretty much lives on one chair and loves being stroked.
Organic Vegetarian Food
The food at Suryalila is what vegetarians dream of. Suryalila grows as much of their food as possible, including organic vegetables and fruit (no chemicals or fertilisers are used), and keep their own happy chickens who provide fresh eggs.
The retreat offers sumptuous breakfast spreads of fruit, muesli, seeds, porridge, yoghurts, ham and cheese, breads and spreads. Lunches and dinners are made up of soups, salads, vegetable bakes, roasted vegetables, vegetable casseroles and grains. For dessert, there is a selection of fruit, cake and tempting organic ice-creams. Every meal is big and hearty, and best of all, it is all incredibly delicious and nutritious!
I must also add that the organic wines are sensational, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of them!
Yoga at Suryalila
Suryalila has two yoga spaces. The first is the Ganesha Yoga Shala, which has a gorgeous wooden ceiling and floor, is filled with light from windows on both sides as well as a skylight and has a lovely balcony with views across the hills.
The second is the Om Dome, which has been dubbed the most magnificent Yoga Hall in Europe. It is absolutely spectacular with a massive bay window that overlooks beautiful rolling hills, olive groves and a ruined convent. The dome is by far the most awe-inspiring and unique space I have ever practiced yoga in, with a soothing atmosphere which is both energising and relaxing.
I was lucky enough to have a yoga class led by Vidya and it was wonderful! Vidya is intuitive, fun and inspiring. Her class consisted of breathing exercises, back bending, forward bending and inversions. She has been teaching for almost 40 years and her experience is evident in every asana which she executes flawlessly. Vidya is an excellent teacher, adapting her class for all levels, with smooth sequences that flow naturally.
Accommodation and Facilities
Suryalila provides a lovely range of accommodation, from glamping in the olive grove to relaxing in the luxury of the deluxe doubles – every room is distinctively beautiful with impeccable Feng Shui. In addition to that, all of the furniture in the rooms is beautiful and imported from Bali, India and Morocco.
There is a (chlorine-free) natural salt water swimming pool, which is good for your skin and perfect for floating on your back as the clouds drift by… I was at Suryalila in the last week of October and the weather was 33 degrees Celsius and sunny – it could not have been better, and I spent a good amount of time unwinding by the pool.
There is also a massage centre, which offers Swedish, Deep Tissue, Thai Yoga and Ayurvedic massage treatments if you choose.
From day one, I was ready to call UPS in London and ask them to fly over my belongings! As soon as I arrived, I felt at home at Suryalila, from the warm welcome by Vidya and her team including Harry, Mirella, Lidiya, Paddy, Manuel, Beverly and Tim, to the jaw-dropping location, the warm sunshine enveloping the retreat and all of the cute animals roaming around. I absolutely loved the chilled-out vibe of the retreat, restorative yoga on offer and exceptional food.
The team at Suryalila take relaxing to an art form, and I wasn’t going to challenge that! The whole Suryalila experience is magical, like being in a blissful bubble without a care in the world and I cannot wait to return!
Click here for information on upcoming retreats at Suryalila.