Lifestyle Spa Special - Style 39

Best for Yoga

Moinhos Velhos, the Algarve, Portugal


yoga by pool

All I knew before I set off for the Algarve was that, at the place I had chosen to spend the next two weeks, you eat very little and get up at dawn to do yoga. For some inexplicable, self-flagellating reasons, I wanted to go.

Yoga and fasting go hand in hand. Fasting brings increased flexibility, and, in turn, yoga aids the elimination of stagnant toxins.

A bell at 6.45 am heralds the start of each day at Moinhos Velhos, a converted mill in a remote Portuguese valley. A wander through misty gardens to the kitchen for lemon tea is followed by two hours of guided meditation and Sivananda yoga in a glass-enclosed temple, with views of the forests around. Beginners are as welcome as old hands.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are of the liquid variety, ranging from fruit juices to miso soup, taken with coloured pills and a revolting clay-and-husk mix that aids cleansing. The day ends with evening meditation under a starlit sky.

Other therapies, including Thai yoga massage, acupuncture and reiki, all work together to help rebalance a body that either just needs fine-tuning or (in my case) a complete overhaul. Thanks to wonderfully attentive, caring staff, my trip was an epiphany. But be warned: leave the maharishis at home, a hair shirt is what you'll be needing here.

Victoria Greenhalgh.


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