Join us in Portugal at our yoga retreat centre to learn about Evolutionary Yoga. EY is a comprehensive yoga immersion course that explores all of the dimensions of body mind and spiritual practices.
Evolutionary Yoga, has been developed by founders Sue Billington and Peter Askew after many years of practice and study on their own healing and evolutionary journey through life, with all of its ups and downs. They have trained in many different approaches to promoting health and wellbeing and share some of the most simple but profound teachings on their yoga retreats. Having both attended teacher training courses over the years in a number of disciplines they realised that bringing the teachings together provides a practitioner with an abundance of self knowledge, which can be used to positively change their lives.
Learn to still the mind with meditation
Meditation is a wonderful approach to teach us how to be with our thoughts, emotions, feelings and physical sensations being experienced in the moment. The meditation method that is taught by me (Peter) on retreat has been transformative for lots of people who have been on retreat with us over the years. This non invasive and gentle approach simply allows us to look at our experience just as it is, in a non judgemental way. At the same time we learn to look at thoughts and allow them to be here with an attitude that is helpful. Meditation teaches us to turn towards our experience and when we do that, we will get to see the changes we might need to make. It is only by allowing ourselves to feel that we find true happiness and contentment.
Learn different sequences of postures that express the elements of nature.
Every person on the planet has a different body and may not have the physical structure to access some of the postures. Our bones and connective tissue are all different. One person may have really deep backbends but cannot get into a forward bend and vice versa. One might have internally rotating hips and the other externally rotating hips. We have trained extensively over the years and seen thousands of bodies on our retreats. On our retreat you will learn how to align your body to create a steady and comfortable expression of your inner feeling.
On our Evolutionary Yoga retreat weeks we teach sequences (Vinyasa) of postures that enhance the elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth. In the Earth element we select postures that are both grounding and build strength. Within the Air element we emphasize the breath and will select a sequence of postures to open the lungs. We also select postures to work on balances as the mind is also strongly connected to the Air element, which is taught in the ancient medicine wheel teachings around the world. The Water element is related to the fluidity of movement as we move from posture to posture. We also add what we call waves to the postures which allow the Water inside the body to move freely. This also helps in getting inside the body to remove built up tension in the tissue. Our Fire Element sequence builds heat and focuses on the development of a strong central axis. This is a vinyasa core strength sequence that will transform your personal practice by building all of the postures from the core of the body.
All of the elements are present in yoga practices but some emphasize a more yang form. This is great but if we are only practicing yang as in ashtanga vinyasa yoga then eventually yang will become yin and adrenal burnout can occur. If our yoga practice is not balanced through the elements then we might also end up with an over active nervous system.
Learn Qigong Practices
Qigong translates into energy effort and has many different forms that can be used to focus on a particular organ or meridian. On our retreats we use 5 animal forms to enhance organ and emotional health and wellbeing. The forms are dynamic movements synchronized with the breath to stimulate the Kideneys, Liver, Spleen, Heart and Lungs. As we move through the sequence we also feel where in the body the meridian runs that is associated with the organ we are working with. Organ has an emotional quality associated with it and we use specific meditation practices to allow the negative qualities to be moved out. This created space for the positive emotions to flow freely by removing stagnant Qi from the body and energy channels. We will be sharing many different qigong techniques during the week depending on the season we are currently in.
Learn Shamanic Practices
Shamanic practices have been around for many years with some of the first records going back as long as 100,000 years. All spiritual paths actually stem from this ancient and time tested approach to personal and spiritual development. On our retreat we explore the powerful teachings of the medicine wheels 8 directions. The medicine wheel has been used all over the world and is still being used today to help people see a map of their own personal consciousness. As we move through our journey of life we pick up all kinds of baggage that is no longer serving us today. Within each direction of the medicine wheel we find a part of our lives that we can look at more closely and then we might find another part of the wheel that gives us information as to what we can do about it.
During the retreat we use the drum as a method to move into other dimension that are not available to us until we deeply relax and set an intention to open our minds to exploring. The journeys are guided by Peter who is a shamanic practitioner and very experienced in journeying himself. This is a fully guided practice lying down using different drum speeds to help move us into a meditative state of being.
“We do not use any plant medicines on our retreats”
Learn all about Yin Yoga
In our evening classes we take a more yin approach by holding postures for longer periods of time. The dynamic movements of the yoga and qigong sequences are predominantly yang, active where as holding postures in sequences at floor level are more yin and passive. Yin Yoga creates a space for us to explore the world of sensation created by each posture and allows us to surrender to sensation in the moment. We will be practicing a number of sequences in the yin classes to stimulate the meridian channels of the body and also to enhance our organs vitality. Yin yoga works by creating a fine balance between tension within the connective tissue and compression within the joints of the body.
Learn the fascia meridian lines of the body
The facia meridian lines of the body are what we can call trains of muscle and connective tissue that run in only one direction per line. When we learn how these lines affect our posture our practice can be transformed as we realign the musculoskeletal structure. There are quite a number of continues muscles and connective tissues that create the lines that can start in the feet and end on the top of the head. If we have collapsed arches or a neck that tilts forward or back or even find ourselves unable to stand straight, then this can be due to a shortening or over compensation throughout the fascial line. On retreat we explore the lines within the sequences of postures and take a closer look at the model of tensegrity. The model of tensegrity allows us to see how the body is distributing and sometimes over compensating while in postures. All of our bodies are very different so gaining knowledge of the fascia lines allows us to build postures that are structurally strong.
Learn about the birth chart, the real astrology
Astrology over the years has gotten somewhat of a bad reputation with the over populated publication of just sun signs which have led us into a place of fortune telling and phrase book astrology. While these do have a place in astrology, it is only a small part of a wonderful tapestry of our own universal self. Peter is an evolutionary astrologer and works with the birth chart exploring the elements, the modes, signs, houses and planets. Although he will not be giving personal readings, you will have the opportunity to learn more about what the chart can tell you personally.
This will be delivered during a workshop which is optional during the week where you will learn all about the charts layout and what it represents.
When you book a yoga retreat with us we ask that you send your date of birth, time of birth (time of birth has to be exact for the houses) your city and country of birth. This is only if you would like to attend the workshop which lasts about an hour or two and costs 15 Euros per person.
Balance your body and mind using our diet
We provide a diet on retreat that allows for your body to begin a complete detox. We have had a wonderful nutritional therapist Selina working alongside us for many years. We provide vegan/vegetarian food that is nutritious and free from dairy. We also cater for food intolerances as well as provide extra protein, such as eggs and tuna for those who might need a supplement.
On retreat you will have the opportunity to create a new pattern of eating a well balanced and thought out diet of grains and vegetable all flavoured with herbs and some spices to give our bodies all the fuel it will need to dive deeper into our yoga course.