The project Suryalila was born just two years ago when international yoga teacher Vidya Jacqueline Heisel and her friend Peter Simmons began looking for a place to call home after many years leading retreats around the world. After exploring glorious and crumbling haciendas throughout Andalucía looking for the right place to open a retreat centre for six months, they finally found La Fabrica, and were immediately impressed by the quality of the building work and how little conversion work was required to turn the property into a retreat centre. Since moving there in October 2011 the experience has been immensely rewarding as well as immensely challenging, but ultimately, as Peter says, “it has also been a beautiful experience to be part of the unfolding of this vision. We are a small team of five or six friends who have come together to make this happen, and yet we have been supported since day one by an ever growing group of friends, supporters, and volunteers who have given so generously and so wholeheartedly to realise this vision.” One special visitor, Krishana, who turned up out of the blue, helped them to realise a vague notion they had to grow their own organic produce, and transformed a barren piece of uncultivated land into a beautiful vegetable garden, which provides food for the kitchen every day and has become a real focus of daily life at the centre.
Having both lived in Bali, Peter and Vidya wanted to use Indonesian furniture and artwork and quickly sourced a container of furniture which works so well with the rural Andalucian architecture, it has generated some very positive comments. There is accommodation for up to 35 guests, in a series of self contained houses, and several rooms in the main house and there are two beautiful yoga halls, one for up to 15 people, and the other larger hall can take up to 30 or even 35 yogis. Air-conditioning, wifi, audio visual equipment and all the props needed for yoga teachers make the centre fully modern and well equipped and there is even a shop selling yoga clothes, materials, props, books and local organic products. The centre caters both for independent guests, who come under their own steam for a few days away from the rat race, small groups for yoga vacations, and larger groups for Yoga Teacher Trainings, as well as their own Suryalila vacations including super healthy and rejuvenating detox retreats. And it is not just yoga – a modern dance group from Holland have recently left who made a film about their creative process.
Vidya’s many years experience leading retreats all over the world has given them a great understanding of what a yoga teacher or group leader needs to run a successful retreat, and the kitchen is fast getting a reputation for turning out the best organic vegetarian food in Andalucía! Nourishing, delicious, and very healthy, they have an experienced team to make eating there a fantastic experience. Although focusing on getting the basics right, the team are also trying to create a space where guests can relax and allow themselves to go deeper into their own practice.
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