“The cows are in the yard!”
What’s life like at the Anima Mundi yoga retreat center in Spain? Well, we’re an hour outside Barcelona in a very nice restored castle that most recently was a winery. It’s quiet. The only sounds are birds chirping, the soft tinkling of cow’s bells and occasionally the wind in the trees. A couple of days ago the cowbells got a bit louder as the cattle were allowed to graze right out the door of our castle. I saw them happily rush over once the fence gate opened. It was at if our lawn was an all you can eat cow dream buffet and they finally got access to it.
Inside Anima Mundi we hold yoga retreats, but also host B&B guests. The people here for yoga come from all over the world. The guests wanting just a room and breakfast have all been from other parts of Spain since I’ve been here. All have been tremendously nice people, visiting to enjoy the peace, relaxation and natural serenity.
Somebody did a lot of work recently on this castle! Outside and inside, the place is extremely nice.
Here’s the schedule we usually follow for yoga retreats:
Yes, that’s my hand writing…unfortunately. Olga, an artist from Moscow who works here with us provided the nice drawings. I hope my yoga instruction is better than my penmanship, but you get the idea of how a day flows.
Food plays a major role here! Depending on the dietary preferences of our guests, we’re vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten free. Anima Mundi has a garden in the courtyard and every few days we also receive a very nice, quite amazing shipment of organic fruits and vegetables. I mean, it has been really quality produce deliveries that would be the star of any farmer’s market, anywhere. So far – knock on wood – the meals have received wonderful reviews from our guests. Louise, from Amsterdam, and I share the cooking. She whips up magnificent meals, following splendid recipes and putting a good deal of planning and preparation into her efforts. Louise even brought several large cookbooks here from Holland. I, on the other hand, take a different approach. It involves usually staring at what produce we have, thinking it about it for a few minutes – preferably during a hike, yoga or nap – and then go from there. As reported, both styles seem to work as breakfast, lunch and dinner have evolved into highlights of each day when our guests seem very happy…which is what it’s all about.
The above photo shows a vegetable lasagna I created/made up. Layers include a base of potatoes, then chopped mushrooms sauteed with leeks, onions, garlic and tomatoes spread on top, covered by strips of eggplant, and on that a covering of thinly sliced zucchini topped by roasted red peppers. Good Spanish olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and spices make each level happily taste good. De nada!
During the three weeks I’ve been at Anima Mundi our wonderful guests around the dining room table have come from Spain, England, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Holland and the U.S. And not one bad comment on the food! Of course, everyone has been so nice, they could be fibbing 🙂
Confession: On my days off when we do not have guests I am not vegan, vegetarian and/or gluten free. The town of Manresa is a 20 minute, three Euro bus ride away. We like to go there to shop for supplies, and quite honestly eat whatever we want.
I like Manresa in part because it is not a tourist town. It has all the shops and services you need, but unlike, say, Barcelona or other cities where foreigners visit, I rarely find a person who speaks other than Spanish. It’s a regular place where the fine people of Manresa go about their everyday lives. All ages strolling easily in the fine spring weather, greeting each other and enjoying the day. Lots of cafes. Sit, chat, no rush. I love that! I am grateful to observe and be allowed in this wonderful world. As Louise said the other day in a Manresa cafe, “The problems of the world don’t seem so big here.”
Back at Anima Mundi I see the cattle still enjoy munching around the castle walls. Tomorrow I have a day off and plan to visit another town, a new place in marvelous Spain. I’ll blog here about it. Then it’s back for more yoga retreats. Not a bad plan at all! I hope you can join us!!
Love and Peace,