oh portugal, you so lovely

Heads up to any superstitious, woo-woo, hippie-type people who decide to tuck a moonstone in their pocket for good luck while traveling: you’re gonna beep when you go through the airport security scanner. And the security girl is gonna look at you reeeeally weirdly when you’re like “oh, no worries, it’s just my moonstone healing crystal.”

Lesson learned.

Not that it did bring me any good luck. Somewhere along my three-flight, twenty-odd-hour journey, Air Canada lost my suitcase. (Not even nine months ago I vowed to boycott AC for life – WHY did I renege on that?!) So, my lovely relaxing yoga retreat holiday began with me, crying like a ridiculous baby, alone in the Lisbon airport with my phone and my toothbrush and that’s just about it.

SO that’s the complain-y part of my trip, over with. Aside from that – fabulous.

If there’s ever a good place to wind up without any worldly possessions (there’s not, really), it’s a place like Omassim, where I stayed. As soon as I got there, Lia, the owner, wrapped me in a welcome hug, and it was the nice kind of mom-hug where you kinda just know stuff’s gonna be alright. Right after giving me a tour of the place, she fetched me a little bag of her own clothes for me to borrow until my things arrived.

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After a few hours to (try to) relax by the pool, have a little snack, and meet a few more friendly faces, it was yoga time. I should have known – as soon as I rolled out a yoga mat I felt a little better. The classes at Omassim were taught by two visiting traveling yoga teachers, Alex and Charlotte, and I instantly loved them both.

Fortunately, my luggage turned up fairly quickly. The next afternoon I was sitting on the front porch of the guesthouse, enjoying a book and a cup of tea, when a car pulled up to the curb and an official-looking airport guy hefted my little purple suitcase out of the back trunk. I almost felt bad for springing towards him like I did, cheering “I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU!!”….a) this guy didn’t know English, and b) he definitely didn’t know I was actually talking to all my lululemon clothes inside that suitcase.

After that I could breathe easier. You can say “it’s just stuff” as much as you want, but not having any stuff – especially in a foreign country – sucks.

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Like I said, the rest of the week was wonderful. The people, the food, the yoga classes – everything. I couldn’t ask for better.

We had yoga twice a day; a more active class in the morning, and a yin class in the evening before dinner. I found it interesting and really enjoyed how much yoga teacher styles, and the way they set out a class, can vary. Alex’s and Charlotte’s classes felt different from each other, and different from the sequences that have become second nature to me in the class I take every Wednesday. I guess it’s like most things – you find a routine and you stick to it, so it was nice to be surprised by a different teacher’s flow.

Along with that, it was nice to try out a completely different style of yoga. My own practice is probably more what you’d consider power vinyasa – a lot of flowing, and a lot of strength-based sequences. Yin is something I tend to avoid (tend to avoid/I’ve done one class, ever). On my own, I just don’t have the self-discipline to sit still in a pose for any length of time. The first evening’s yin class I caught myself kinda feeling “yech – yin, what a waste of a class”, but as the week went on I began to really enjoy it. Calming my mind without movement and poses to really focus on during class is still a challenge to me, but after a yin class I just feel so goooood and stretched out.

Same goes for meditation, but in a different type of way. Buuut, this post is getting kind of long, so I’ll leave that for now. I could go on and on – meditation, vegetarian deliciousness, thai massages, how absolutely BEAUTIFUL Portugal is – but I’ll make it a part 2 on Portugal later on. I’m surprised how much I’ve missed blogging this past week! It’s not normal to be away on vacay and think – goddamn, I wish I had my laptop right now!

Anywho, as wonderful as my week was, it’s good to be home. I’m a creature of habit, for sure. Off to do oodles of laundry and find some warmer clothes (Newfoundland is not quite the same kinda climate as Portugal…), and I’ll get back to you later with some more stories.

Namaste!

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