Retreat Highlights from Spain

Posted by Christine moghadam

Earlier this month, I was fortunate to be invited to the EVOLUTION Yoga Summit founded by one of our ambassadors, Mat Turner. It was held in rural Spain in the city of Orpi at a 300-year-old renovated Catalonian farmhouse called Can Morei, which faces the Monserrat mountains. Can you imagine a more perfect location?


This was their first retreat, and yet Can Morei treated us like royalty. The rooms were cozy and warm. Each meal was cooked by a local vegan chef, who cooked the most delicious meals. It was just like home cooking – you could taste the love in every dish. Pau, the son of Can Morei’s owner, was the most hospitable host. He went above and beyond to make sure everything ran smoothly and that we were comfortable every minute of our stay.

 


Upon arrival, my colleague and I stepped out of the car and were greeted with a massive hug from Mat. The two of us had never met, but there was an instant connection. Upon his search for a sustainable, biodegradable yoga mat, he stumbled upon Corc Yoga, and the rest, as they say, is history. When we finally met, he was filled with joy and excitement. His warmth and love for people radiated off of him.

 

This meeting with Mat really sums up my feelings towards this retreat as a whole. As dreamy as Can Morei was, as stunning as our surroundings were, the thing I took away the most from this retreat was the people, the beautiful souls I met and learned from.


Classes began at 7:30 every morning. We all rolled out of bed and began our morning routine. Calling it heavenly would be an understatement. Tracy Jane Sullivan-Harp, a harpist and yogi originally from Scotland, shared her incredible talent while instructors taught the class. It was an experience unlike any I’d had before. The combination of live harp playing and yoga was the perfect duo. After the first class, Tracy and I struck up conversation, and as the retreat continued, we found ourselves talking about everything. Tracy’s warmth and kindness leads me to believe our friendship will continue far beyond the retreat.


I was also deeply touched by Lorna Garcia, a yoga instructor from France. She shared her tremendous knowledge by coaching us through extended five-second counts between poses. I thought the slowest time could move was when you’re on the treadmill, but I was wrong. Somehow, those five seconds seemed like forever. But Lorna’s energy and sense of humor gave us beginners confidence that we could do it. She really helped me to feel comfortable during my first class. I never once felt self-conscious, nor did I even try comparing myself to others. We laughed together, and she assured me that my practice was my own and not anyone else’s.

After all, that’s what yoga is -- not a competition of who can do the best headstands and splits, but the cultivation of a practice of our own, allowing our time on the mat to be what we want it to be. If I could distill this entire retreat into one lesson, this would be it.


Outside of classes, we did a ton of other fun things as well, including several photo shoots! A professional drone photographer even filmed one of our outdoor class, and we can’t wait to share it with you all.

At 9 p.m. each evening, we had an hour of meditation where we spent most of our time in my favorite pose, savasanna.


This experience was magical for so many reasons. It was also a new experience for most of us there. Each one of us contributed to the success of the retreat, and I am so grateful for the new friendships that formed through this intimate setting.

I was especially happy to finally meet Mat in person, hear about his journey again, and see his impact on the yoga community first-hand. A Corc Yoga ambassador, he embodies much of what we believe in. Mat is a mental illness survivor, and yoga had a powerful impact on his life – he ultimately attributes it to saving him from depression. Because of this, Mat works with teachers who focus on yoga as a healing tool to help others through yoga retreats and various other events. His goal is to encourage others to look into yoga as an alternative to medications and other methods that can often be counter-productive. Like us, he believes that yoga promotes a lifestyle that benefits not only the body but also the mind.

During the retreat, we had a chance to sit down with Mat to film a video interview detailing more about himself and what he does. We look forward to sharing it with you in the coming months.