The Ochre Hideaway
by Michelle Walder
(Oleiros, Castelo Branco, Portugal)
Nestled in the forested hills
Oleiros, Castelo Branco, Portugal
Open year round.
Fully-Inclusive Retreat prices from £450 per person.
The Ochre Hideaway is a semi-private yoga, meditation and well-being retreat in the forested hills of central Portugal. We are delighted to invite you to retreat to the tranquility of nature to be nourished by a comfortable home-from-home environment, healthy wholesome food, deep restful sleep, space to reflect, and meaningful connection.
Semi-private retreats are for those travelling solo, with friends or as a couple and have a maximum of 5 guests. We also offer private retreats for individuals, couples, and families, both large (up to 8 people) and small. Currently child-minding is not available per sé but non-Yoga partners are welcome and we can do our best to organise classes and massage around your family's needs during private retreats.
We are opening in June 2014.
Michelle is the owner of The Ochre Hideaway as well as the resident yoga teacher and massage therapist. She is passionate about life, yoga, juicing, giving massage and living a life as close to nature as possible. Michelle has been a yoga practitioner since 1997 and has been working as a yoga teacher and massage therapist since 2002.
A retreat is the perfect opportunity to restore balance, harmony and clarity to your life.
Classes are based upon the Dynamic Yoga Method which is a rhythmic and meditative practice accessible to all, whether you are a beginner or seasoned practitioner. During the week you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of this method which, when applied, respect the inherent intelligence and integrity of your body thus inviting the process of reintegration to begin so that your practice may nourish you rather than deplete you. What you do on your mat should make you feel good, inside and out.
You will be challenged to explore your capacity moment by moment and to become intimate with the flow of sensations arising within you. In shifting your focus to feeling rather than thinking, the mind quietens and becomes absorbed into the whole, and that is why an authentic yoga practice, based on sensitivity to what is actually happening, is so deeply relaxing and restorative.
The semi-private class sizes ensure that you will receive lots of individual attention to maximise the benefits of your practice and classes can be tailored to meet the needs of individuals within the group as a whole.
Each week will include 5 morning classes and 3 additional workshops. The morning classes will be a minimum of 2 hours each, and include asana, pranayama, relaxation and meditation. Workshops will explore bandhas, spirals, and pranayama practices to free your breath from any habituated patterns of tension and intention. Workshops will take place either before lunch or late afternoon depending on how hot it is and how you want to spend your day.
In addition to the morning classes and afternoon workshops there is an evening meditation session every night to leave you perfectly relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. All meditation practice will be based upon simply being aware of sensations arising in the body and thoughts passing through the mind so everyone can enjoy it as a practice.
A good massage is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. I massage mainly with my forearms which readily mould themselves around the body encouraging tense knotted tissues to release effortlessly. Through the release of tension and stress, the bodymind is invited to recover its natural state of innate balance and is thus fortified and rejuvenated. Supporting and harmonising both body and mind, massage therapy can be of benefit to everyone – whether your health is good or has room for improvement.
Therapeutic Massage is very often used to support other healing modalities. This is a thorough massage combining techniques from Swedish-, Deep-Tissue-, and No-Hands Massage to effortlessly soothe away muscular aches and pains. Treatment can be either localised or full-body. Guaranteed to leave you feeling lighter and brighter.
Relaxation Massage is a soft flowing full-body treatment for those who don’t have any specific aches or pains or who just want to be pampered into total relaxation.
Facial Massage, with pure Monoi oil, includes acupressure points and massage to the neck to rejuvenate, refresh and revive. As a result of the increased blood circulation and stimulation, the temperature of the skin increases, opening the pores and cleansing the skin from deep within. In addition to improving skin and muscle tone, the skin is hydrated and rejuvenated, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Rediscover a more radiant youthful-looking skin, naturally!
Holistic Clinical Aromatherapy involves the application of essential oils to improve physical and emotional well-being. Although the massage may be offered without the addition of essential oils, my experience is that the benefits are enhanced when the oils are used
due to their inherent therapeutic properties.
The weekly price includes the following:
Transfers to and from Oleiros
6 nights accommodation
3 meals a day and 1 juice or 4 juices a day if you are opting for the Juice Cleanse
Herbal tea and fruit
5 morning yoga classes
3 additional yoga workshops
1½ hour full-body therapeutic massage
Afternoon trips to the river for swimming in the summer months
What's not included:
Flights and travel to/from Oleiros
Additional massage treatments are charged at €50 per hour or part thereof
All food is included in the weekly price. Food will be hearty, wholesome, vegetarian or vegan and will be prepared from scratch wherever possible to retain the maximum vitality and nutritional value. A wholefoods-based diet is perfect for yoga practice as it softens the tissues, supports clear thinking, promotes healing and gently cleanses the body.
Juicing will also be included as part of the retreat as an extra boost to your health and well-being. There is also the option of combining your retreat stay with a 3-day or 5-day Juice Cleanse whereby some or all of your meals are replaced by satisfying raw food juices. Aside from revitalising and recharging your body, the cleanse will also support you in releasing unhealthy dietary habits in order to reclaim your health.
All fresh produce is locally sourced to support the local community and will be lovingly prepared by Alex or Lynn, both of whom have years of experience in cooking tasty wholefoods.
Alcohol is not included, nor recommended, during the retreat.
The Ochre Hideaway is situated in the previously-abandoned old part of the hamlet of Braçal, Oleiros, in an area recognized for its natural beauty as part of the UNESCO Geopark Naturtejo. We are blessed with amazing fresh air, spring water and wild nature all around. The nearest town of Oleiros is 5km away and has all amenities, as well as an outdoor swimming pool if you prefer that to the local river beach.
The house was built from the local stone and clay sometime well before 1748 which is when the family built the second house in the hamlet. In the past it was very much a working house as well as living space and was the centre of village life where linens were spun, chestnuts roasted and skinned, and all the bread for the village baked in the stone oven. The house has been lovingly restored into a space that honours the traditional character and innate beauty of its past but with all the comforts of modern living. It is furnished simply yet tastefully and has been restored using natural materials wherever possible, including limewashed walls coloured from Ochre pigments, hence The Ochre Hideaway.
There is a spacious twin-share room within the house with 2 double beds which can be used as a private double if you are coming as a couple or as single occupancy. This option is available year-round. From June to September there is also the option of glamping (glamorous camping) in a large triple-share bell tent with 3 single beds located on a terrace just a few metres from the house. The bell tent can also be booked as a private twin share or double. All bedding will be provided for both options. Towels will be provided for showering, however please bring your own towel for swimming.
Both Lisbon and Porto have onward connections to Oleiros via coach www.rede-expressos.pt. Arrival in Oleiros is on Sunday, leaving Lisbon at 1.30pm arriving 5pm or leaving 6pm arriving 9.30pm both of which are direct. Coaches leave Porto at 4.30pm, arriving in Oleiros at 9.30pm with changes at Coimbra and Sertã. Departure is on Saturday at 8am arriving in Lisbon at midday and Porto at 12.30pm.
There are regular trains from Lisbon and the nearest train station is in Castelo Branco or Vila Velha de Rodão depending whether you get an Intercity train or a Regional train. We can organise for a taxi to collect you at an approximate cost of €50.
Alternatively if you wish to hire a car the journey time is just over 2 hours from Lisbon and 2.5 hours from Porto. If you would like to share car hire please let me know when booking and I will put you in touch with the other guests on your retreat week.
This may vary slightly depending on the group. For example, the afternoon workshops can be held before lunch if you want to spend the whole afternoon swimming at the river.
9am Yoga, Pranayama, Relaxtion and Meditation
11.30am Massage treatment or free time´
2-5pm Massage treatments or free time including daily trip to the river for swimming
5pm 3 afternoon workshops
9.30pm Evening Meditation