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Yoga Retreat Algarve Iris Reyes

Yoga and Mindfulness Retreat

Off the automatic pilot
Reading Time: 5 minutes

No matter how you are in life or what kind of problems you may have. Problems are part of life, just like the carefree moments. But, you are more than just your problems, and problems are something you can work with.

Critical AlignmentYoga and Mindfulness Retreat at Casa Cales/Algarve is an opportunity to do this. To begin cultivating an attentive life and live life more balanced. We are used to judging almost continuously: something is right or wrong, we succeed, or we fail. It can get quite a grip on us. 

We are then “on autopilot.”

We usually spend a lot of our time thinking about the past and planning or fantasising about the future. In situations of stress or illness, the tendency to do so is usually even more significant. As a result, we tend to spend much of the day on autopilot. However, especially in stressful situations, it is essential that you do not sail on automatic pilot but make choices and act with an attentive mind.

In this retreat, you learn to let go of these automatic pilot judgments. Mindful living means observing in the here and now, moment by moment, without having to judge. Only then can we see how best to deal with difficult things in life. By practising with that attention daily, you build a solid foundation for handling complex or stressful situations. So let’s open ourselves to what presents itself in life and look at this with attention. We gradually become aware of the different (stress) patterns and automatic pilots that we operate on in our lives. Recognising this gives space to make (other) choices.

Attentive Living

Attentive living is not something we can do. It requires an effort to reflect on ourselves day after day. Attentiveness is not developed by reading about it or by hearing about it from others. Attention is developed by practising it, every day, every moment. Why?

First of all, by practising, you break through your daily routine. You break through those tension, stress and automatic pilot responses. Lying on the yoga mat with the strip between your shoulder blades and observing how you are now. Attention is nourishing, and you develop this more and more in yoga classes. You begin to distinguish two fields of awareness:
•the body as a whole and specific sensations in the body
•thoughts and emotions or states of mind

By bringing your attention to this moment more and more, you gain insight into how you usually go through life and react to things that come along. Attention training is an intensive exercise in learning to live in the present moment. A clear presence in the here and now is the basis for dealing with stress and discomfort.

Downward Dog Iris Reyes Yoga

Downward Dog

Critical Alignment Yoga

Critical Alignment Yoga (CAY) is Mindfulness in action. During performances of the asanas, we develop total attention. Breathing makes it possible to view stiffness in the movement objectively for what it is. Tension resulting from psychological and social pressures leads to a stagnation of energy and limits free movement. Observing ourselves with mildness and non-judgement allows us to release stress and restore free, open feelings and effortless movements.

Eight supportive aspects of mindfulness

Not having to strive
No need to judge
Acknowledging what arises
Letting go (in the form of being allowed to be)
A fresh, open look…..Always starting anew

The CAY practice serves a therapeutic purpose, and it builds balance in the body. The body becomes open and subtle, and free energy can circulate. We experience a total awareness during asana performances that carry us to being in the here and now. As practitioners, we try to perceive uncoloured and unfiltered what presents itself to or within us. We consciously decide to pay attention for an extended period to whatever arises in the body and mind. That decision will have to be made again and again. This process of paying attention does not happen automatically. But the more often you practise, the more often it occurs automatically during your daily activities.

A Fresh, Open Mind!

We need a certain curiosity to keep discovering how the physical and mental changes are now. In addition, a beginner’s level mind is beneficial for starting an exercise from scratch every time. With this attitude, you open yourself to new experiences. No two moments are the same; every moment is unique. When you practice this mindset, you move outside your comfort zone. Your mind and body are open to the ‘New’. You will stand the same way off the mat and encounter other aspects of a familiar situation in daily life. This creates new possibilities and different ways of moving and operating.

Casa Cales

The Yoga Retreat

During this week, you will develop the ability to be directly aware without clinging to, criticising or over-thinking—a silent observation of the coming and going of mental and physical processes. The constantly changing phenomena of existence bring liberating insight.

You do not have to believe all this, but you can test it by trying it out.
In the end, you can observe from your own experience what changes by following this retreat. Therefore, this week means giving yourself a chance to observe yourself: when the sensations are pleasant or unpleasant, when nothing seems to happen or when you are confronted by strength or stiffness. The exercises are opportunities for you to become aware of your negative thoughts and feelings. By paying attention to your breathing you remain open so you can observe movements. This makes the experience of being in the here and now possible. You are present in the moment in a positive way. Then you can answer stress instead of reacting to it automatically. Your response is based on feelings of relaxation and space produced by developing your breath.


It takes practice and repetition to learn to live and move mindfully. This week in the Algarve, you will practice approximately four hours a day. This is certainly more than you can generally practice because it is not always easy to find the time to practice daily. You can expect to go through different stages during this week, these different stages lead to transformation. Whenever we feel disturbed during the physical transformation during practice, we have the opportunity to analyze our automatic (negative) thinking patterns and body reactions cognitively.

When all forms of awareness come together our activities are not dominated by tense behaviour but by totally open concentration based on an intense appreciation for change. We enter a new state of consciousness that can not be forced in any way. Through this intense, involved positive attitude, our mind and body can start to take over and make the right decisions on their own, and new steps in our development come from our relaxed, easy and sharp awareness.

Relaxation leads to JOY!

If we maintain this awareness, our body will keep seeking correct alignment. All we practice will dissolve into a wholeness where we can constantly experience the consciousness of being “here and now”.

Ready to embark on a transformation path and dive into all the possibilities that come with it?

Looking for a venue where to hold your retreat? https://www.yenyoga.eu

Learn more about mindfulness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_If4a-gHg_I&t=1651s


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