April 21 - 30, 2018
May 12 - 21, 2018
September 22 - October 1, 2018
Early Bird PRICE (Excluding Airfare):
€2200 - Shared Accommodation
€2700 - Private (Limited)
***Early Bird Discount expires 90 days before the start of each retreat.
(Space Limited to 8 Participants)
Most yoga retreats in Morocco are only in Marrakech, or surf and yoga deals at the beach cities of Agadir and Essouira. But these towns are very touristic, and barely scratch the surface of what Morocco has to offer. No one has taken people deep into the heart of the country, into the oases amidst the vast deserts and mountains of the south, into Imazighen lands, into the homes of the people.
Not only does Tinghir have stunning views of the desert, oasis (the largest in Morocco), and surrounding mountains, it is centrally located, right in between Ouarzazate and Errichidia on the main southern road, known for the infamous casbahs of Morocco. To get there from Marrakech, we will travel through the Tishka Pass with it's mind blowing views, snow capped peaks and rich red soil, tiny villages tucked along the riverside, almost blending into the rocks. Cutting through the High Atlas Mountains, we will descend into the deserts of the south, where one can marvel at the wide open expanse, once underwater, the evidence of ancient ocean lines in the sediment and sand.
Tinghir has grown a lot in recent years, yet retains it's village charm, with mud houses nestled along the oasis, small family run businesses, friends sharing mint tea in the local cafes, women washing laundry by the river, neighbors chatting on doorsteps, and stretches of green fields worked by hand. It is big enough to have all the modern conveniences, but small enough to where everyone still knows each other's families, like one big extended tribe. The silence of the night sky is still bursting with stars, pink and purple dawns rise with birdsong, and when the call to prayer echoes throughout the oasis at sunset, it is mesmerizing, haunting and soulful. One cannot help but feel completely in tune with nature, place, people, and self. The oasis of Tinghir has this space to breathe, has this peace to offer, has this power to connect you to your center.
Daily yoga and/or meditation sessions will be led by Stacey Hoshimiya RYT500and/or Inge Veldscholten RYT500.
Each of us has a different but very complementary style, which will ensure diversity in pace, theme, and expression. You will get the best of both of us! Inge leads these beautiful meditative flows that integrate yoga nidra, partner work and pranayama (breathing techniques). Stacey tends to focus mostly on alignment, holding poses longer, strengthening the core, and centering–while flowing with the breath. Teacher to student ratio is high, given there are limited spots for participants, and often we assist in each other’s sessions, so you will have our undivided attention.
We have custom designed a transformative 10-day yoga retreat program, using the ancient Pancha Kosha yogic philosophy as our guide. We invite you on a journey to your heart, to reconnect with your authenticity. Starting from the most tangible layers of our being, and getting more subtle as we progress into the retreat, we will slowly go deeper inside and get intimate with aspects of ourselves that are pristine & untouched. Each session will build upon the previous practice, leading you through all the layers of your complex and beautiful self.
Beginners will enjoy the breakdown of yoga into bite size pieces, easily digestible and easily understood, and advanced yogis will enjoy returning to the foundational philosophy of yoga, and the opportunity to go deeper into their personal practice.
We will be staying in the beautiful Riad Lyla, in the heart of the Marrakech Medina, for the first two nights, and then again at the end of the retreat, for one night. We will have the whole riad to ourselves, to relax and enjoy our yoga and meditation practice, as well as, recover from the exhilarating chaos and color of Marrakech. You can see photos of the gorgeous courtyard dipping pool, lush gardens, and charming rooms at http://riad-lyla-marrakech.com.
In Tinghir, we will be hosted by my dear friends, Fanny and Mustapha, at their enchanting guesthouse overlooking the oasis, La Maisonnette. (http://alamaisonnette.com) The Franco Moroccan couple have a true passion for Berber culture and architecture, and have lovingly restored their quaint 1920's rammed earth house using traditional methods and local materials. Fanny has documented the project online. https://www.facebook.com/LaMaisonnetteTinghir
We will have 6 nights in their charming family abode, enjoying the warm, comfortable atmosphere, simple but elegant decor, and homemade meals. Each room is unique and cozy, with bathrooms en suite, and boasting incredible views of the oasis. Our daily yoga and meditation practice will be held in their rooftop yoga shala, perfectly perched above the oasis, and surrounded by the High Atlas and Djebel Sagho mountain ranges.
While in Tinghir, we will also take an overnight trip to Merzouga for a Sunset Camel Trek and Bivouac in the Dunes. Accommodation will be in a Berber tent, staying one night under starry desert skies like true nomads.
All vegetarian meals are included in the retreat package price.
In Marrakech, a light Moroccan breakfast will be offered at Riad Tajpa, typically mint tea, coffee, juice, olives, fruit, breads with honey, butter, olive oil, and jam. Lunch and dinners will be eaten at local favorite restaurants.
In Tinghir, Mustafa and Fanny will prepare a variety of tasty dishes using only fresh, local, seasonal products. The menu will take you on a journey into Berber culinary tradition, with French and Italian touches, including homemade delicacies like alfalfa couscous, vegetable tagine, special side dishes and salads, wood fire oven bread, traditional Berber bread stuffed with vegetables and spices, Moroccan pancakes, omelets, yogurt, fresh fruit and juices (fruit and/or vegetable), warm and cool soups (according to the weather), and healthy snacks - dried fruit and nuts - almonds, peanuts, sultana, prunes, apricots, figs, olives, etc., all sourced from the bountiful oasis.
Coffee, tea, and water will be available at every meal, and throughout the day. Soda and alcohol will be provided at an additional cost to the participant. Meat available upon request, and also, at additional cost. Please contact us about any dietary restrictions, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Be prepared for anything. After all, you will be a riding a camel into the desert sunset! Don't worry. Private transport has been arranged for airport transfer, as well as, roundtrip to Tinghir, and Merzouga. However, it is possible that we will utilize local taxis and buses as the situation dictates. Walking is still the best way to get around in the Medina, and through the Oasis, so bring good walking shoes. All ground transportation is included in the retreat package price.
Overnight Trip to Merzouga - Sunset Camel Trek & Bivouac in the Dunes: Only 3hrs from Tinghir are the beautiful desert dunes of Merzouga, a small Berber village nestled in a sea of orange sand set against gigantic blue skies.
From La Maisonnette, we will travel southeast, stopping for lunch along the way, with the opportunity to visit the Oasis Museum in EL Khorbat which has a very interesting exhibition of Berber History and Culture displayed throughout several renovated clay houses:http://www.elkhorbat.com/en.museum.htm
Upon arriving in Merzouga, we will take an hour long camel trek to reach our bivouac at sunset, (a small camp of Berber tents in the middle of the dunes), in time to enjoy very special light on the sand. It will be a surreal, and perhaps mystical experience, practicing our yoga and meditation in this very auspicious place, where the mixing and strength of elements overwhelms.
Afterwards we will indulge in a tasty Moroccan feast, get cozy around the campfire, perhaps sing, chat, or just stare up at the immense star filled sky, spellbound by the rhythmic beating of drums. We will sleep in the tents and awake at sunrise to another impressive taste of the Sahara's grandeur, and begin the day in meditation, before returning to Merzouga for a hearty breakfast.
On our way back to Tinghir, we will travel a new road, allowing for a different, and equally beautiful view of the Djebel Sagho mountains, arriving back at La Maisonnette for a delicious lunch and a much needed hammam.
Day Trip to Todgha Gorges w/ Lunch in the Oasis: We will take a local taxi to see the infamous Todgha Gorges, the narrowest trench of an 40km canyon originating in the High Atlas. It is an arresting spectacle with it's beautifully wild cliffs shaped over thousands of years by rain, snow melt from the mountains, and flow of the Todgha River, creating the largest and most fertile oasis in Morocco. Your breath is taken at the shear size, and constantly changing colors of the sun cast on red rock walls. There are small stalls with local wares for sale, and those who dare, can plan to take a climbing class. (See Optional Activities) We will picnic nearby, along the river banks, and after lunch, we will stroll through the oasis, maybe have tea at a local cafe, and then return to La Maisonnette for our evening yoga session.
Traditional Moroccan Hammam Spa: Hammam (public steam bath) is an ancient and integral part of Moroccan culture and life. Locals go, at least once a week, to relax, cleanse themselves, socialize and laugh, often staying for 2-3 hours. It can be an eye opening experience for those who are a bit shy about being naked in public, but once you let go and allow yourself to be in it, you will experience a completely different relationship with your body, and truly enjoy the connection with the environment and this Moroccan cultural tradition.
The hammam is strictly segregated, so women will be with women, and men with men. The bathing ritual involves moving between 3 rooms, (warm, hot, cold) to acclimate to the heat, open up the pours, lather up and soak in sabon abeldi (local black soap made from olive oil), talk, relax, and then scrape away all the dead skin. You will be amazed at how much you will shed!! It is common for someone to offer to scrub your back, or to hire an attendant to help with the scrub down (gommage). Don't be surprised by the coarseness of the kiis (hammam glove) or the pressure applied to exfoliate. Afterwards your skin will be glowing! And you will feel your spirit and body renewed, completely relaxed, almost floating. Every pore of your skin breathes, and you are ready for sleep. Especially perfect for unwinding after big hard work or a long journey.
Bring: buckets, mat or stool, sabon beldi, kiis, flip flops, razor, shampoo, rhassoul, extra underwear (one to wear and one to change into after), towel, comb, argan oil … the basic items are usually available for purchase at the hammam.
Guided City Tours in Marrakech & Tinghir: In Marrakech, we will enjoy a half day city tour through the medina with an English speaking guide. He will navigate the narrow bends and alleys of the markets, winding us through the myriad stalls and madness. We will visit the Ben Yousef Medersa and Museum of Marrakech, an herbalist, and a cooperative/artisana with the option of carpet shopping afterwards, for those who are interested.
In Tinghir, Fanny and Mustapha will lead us on a city tour from their house, through the oasis, to the center of town. We will visit the ancient Ikelane mosque and Koranic school in Afanour, the Jewish district and historical center of Tinghir (which has just recently been renovated), and the local artisan souk where you can find carpenters, blacksmiths, dressmakers, jewelers, and other craftsman. We will make our way through both the women's and men's souk, stroll through the daily produce market, and arrive in the center where we will have couscous lunch with Mustapha's family, and later, you will be able to find all necessary amenities, like the ATM, post office, internet cafes, little shops, restaurants, etc. Fanny and Mustapha will happily share useful advice and information about the town to help you feel comfortable and independent in finding whatever you need during your stay in Tinghir. After the tour, you will feel right at home.
Full Body Massage: Book an unforgettable massage with Inge. She has magical touch and sensitivity, incorporating a mixture of styles including thai stretching, lomi lomi, reiki, etc., but mostly she just lets her intuition guide her. She feels her way through the body and responds to the tension she finds there, giving equal attention to all parts - both right and left sides. One feels great tenderness and care at her fingertips, and it is impossible to escape the relaxation and rejuvenation the body feels after a session with Inge. One literally melts into a full body peace that is delicious to savor. (TBD)
Cooking Class:Mustapha, our talented chef and warm host, offers personal cooking classes. Formerly trained in many different cuisines, you will learn original recipes directly from a life long local, and genuine descendent of the oldest tribe in Tinghir. You will accompany him to the market, meet his favorite local vendors, and learn the fresh seasonal ingredients used in authentic Moroccan dishes. Recipes will range from alfalfa couscous, tagine, to Berber breads. Given the season and availability of products, you can request a specific dish that you would like to learn. The meal will be prepared and cooked together with Mustapha in the La Maisonnette kitchen, and when it is ready, students and teacher will feast together, savoring the fruits of your labor. (€20/each)
Local Excursions: In the Todgha Gorges, and surrounding areas, it is possible to take many different treks, to discover wide open skies and never-ending stretches of desert landscape bisected by the green flowing oases. Fanny and Mustapha can suggest local villages to visit, walking or driving tours, and even arrange a visit with the nomads for a glimpse of traditional life in their caves and tents. http://alamaisonnette.com/balades-et-excursions/Prices range given the destination and number of participants.
Climbing Class: The Todgha Gorges is a premier destination among avid rock climbing enthusiasts. It's 300m limestone walls offer hundreds of routes for both sport and multi-pitch climbing, covering a wide range of difficulty. Whether you are a regular climber or a beginner, you will find a professional instructor and all the gear needed to take on this majesty. (€30/each. Includes instructor, gear, and insurance.)
Henna: An ancient tradition of bodily adornment, Henna is applied to be beautiful, to bring luck, to protect skin, and to celebrate special occasions like weddings, Ramadan, the birth of a child, or meeting new friends at a yoga retreat! There are many reasons for women to embellish their hands and feet with this natural artwork, but Henna transcends the role of mere beauty, and becomes a medium of self expression, inspiration, blessings and well-being.
In Tinghir, the local Henna artists make their paste using powdered Henna leaves, and sweet green tea to fix the floral and geometric designs to your skin. The application takes about a hour, more or less, given the complexity of the design and if you want both your hands and feet done. Each design will be a unique, ephemeral adornment that honors the present moment, and reminds you of all that you have to be grateful for, long after the moment has passed. (€25/each)
Visit an Artisana: Tinghir is rich with local art ranging from pottery to jewelry to carpet weaving and much more. Just outside Tinghir is the second largest silver mine in all of Africa! So you are sure to find authentic sterling for a fair price in town. Or a tazarbit (carpet) hand woven by the local women of Tinghir. If interested, it is possible to visit a variety of workshops and artisanas to meet the artisans, see their work, and fatten your suitcases with gifts for loved ones back home, or treat yourself to something special. Add to that peace of mind, as any purchase goes directly to the actual artisans, and not into the hands of middle men. Curiosity is (Free.)
Quiz Night at Cafe du Livres: We will return to Marrakech on a Monday, the night of the infamous weekly English expat quiz at Cafe du Livres. The cafe/ restaurant/ bar/ bookstore is in the heart of the old French Quarter in the Gueliz, and a popular hangout for expats and locals alike - a great mix of people, and a great way to meet and share stories with new and old friends. It is always a lively atmosphere as teams make their way through 100 questions - questions that are bound to surprise and stump even the cleverest of minds! In the end, the winners receive two bottles of wine, and the losing team gets a piece of humble pie. If your team is the only one to get the snowball question correct, you win the kitty - usually enough money to cover the cost of dinner and drinks!! I've known the owners for years, and have spent many a quiz night with Liz and Youness laughing until my belly hurt. So many wonderful memories! We will try our hands at trivia, feast from their delicious continental menu, perhaps indulge in some wine, and celebrate our time in Morocco together, and the new memories we share. (Free.)
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TERMS & CONDITIONS:
It is home to the Amazigh tradition and values, being close to family and the land, yet embraces a progressive spirit. Here, Islam has bonded communities and is practiced with reverence, not radicalism. I have never witnessed such a genuine fraternity between people anywhere else in my travels. It is not uncommon to be invited into someone's home by simply crossing paths on the street. The curiosity and openness of the people is unparalleled. And the land is hypnotic, immense, and inspiring.
I fell in love with Morocco while living there for two years, when I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2010-12. I found it to be a deeply spiritual place, full of opportunity to grow and discover one's authentic self, especially when such a different mirror is held up by the mere experience of being there. I found serenity in my Tinghir home, incredible views and new perspectives, real connection with others, and a life changing trajectory. It is this magic, this love, that I want to share with others.
How was your overall experience?
"Morocco held a lot of "Magic" for me. Of course, I was blessed that my children were with me. This is one of the greatest gifts of my life, and it was magic for them too. You created a great journey, a stylized yoga program for our group, combined with an enchanted journey into Morocco. We experienced the exotic, the oasis, camels and the stars, the desert, the magic of Morocco, along with yoga!! The yoga off the mat was also huge, and you, definitely delivered. I loved the experience … traveling cross country to see the landscape and take it into our hearts. At La Maisonnette, Fanny and Mustapha created a breath of fresh air and deep caring as we immersed ourselves into their Oasis Guest House in Tinghir. We were welcomed with their charming hospitality, which is gracious and big hearted, and with a wonderful bounty of delicious meals. We left Morocco refreshed, enriched and full of gratitude!!" - Isabella Mary Kons (March 2017)
Did you enjoy the yoga program?
"Nothing was missed for me. Quite the opposite - I feel very grateful and happy about it. It was a great program. I loved and appreciated Stacey’s teaching style - well grounded, focused, disciplined but also light, loving with a nice sense of humor. I liked the flow of asanas - going from one to the next very smoothly and elegantly :) I liked the level of challenge, even if there were moments where it was too high for me, it was still ok. I LOVED her adjustments and messaging - it felt amazingly relaxing (I feel very grateful for that). Inge has great integrity, and is enlightened and mature. I felt deeply connected to her teaching. It was perfect - creative, wise, deep and joyful. I loved the breathing exercises and heart meditation. I LOVED her adjustments and messaging - they were amazing! It was a very personal, deep, beautiful, amazing experience for me. It was the best formula for visiting a new country or spending vacation time." - Kristina Lukawska (March 2017)
Daily Yoga & Meditation Sessions w/ Stacey Hoshimiya RYT500 & Inge Veldscholten RYT500
3 Nights Accommodation in Private Riad in Marrakech Medina
6 Nights Accommodation at La Maisonnette - Traditionally Restored Guesthouse in Tinghir
Delicious Vegetarian Meals - 3x Daily
All Ground Transportation
Overnight Trip to Merzouga - Sunset Camel Trek & Bivouac in the Dunes
Traditional Moroccan Hammam Spa
This yoga retreat is for everyone, floating gurus, and fledging explorers, alike. All are welcome, as each of us is a teacher, as well as, a life long student. Our intention is to be learning and growing together, with open hearts, with great respect for the wisdom of others, and gratitude for the opportunity to share and connect with each other in a beautiful place.
On this journey, you will have the opportunity to deepen and renew your yoga practice in the heart of Morocco. You will feel the vibrant intoxicating energies of Marrakech shift into calming ethereal energies of the desert oasis in Tinghir. Our yoga program will lead you through all the layers of yourself, guiding you back to your center, your peace, and your heartfelt intentions, so you can move forward in your life with a clear vision of self, and direction.
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