Mountain Yoga and Permaculture Experience

5-Day Mountain Yoga and Permaculture Experience with Inner Smile Yoga


Where: La Alpujarra, Spain

Dates: Friday 4th October – Wednesday 9th October 2019


Come and stay for 5 days on our land –  we’ll make daily yoga practise, and help regenerate ancient land, working with simple but powerful principles of permaculture to restore irrigation channels, plant crops which help bring life to the soil, and rebuild terraces first dug into the land over 500 years ago. Taking a break from the hectic pace of modern life to remind what is really important and essential, breath clean air and drink fresh mountain waters.


This year we will make our first planting of heritage wheat, which will be ground for flour in a recently restored stone mill just down the road from our land.


Food: We’ll eat and cook together, healthy vegetarian food, much of which is grown in our organic permaculture garden.


Accommodation: Sleeping underneath the stars, bring your own lightweight mobile shelter!


Cost: 250€ (transport costs not included approx. 60€ from airport to our village)





Booking:  contact to book a place, only 5 spaces available book quickly to avoid disappointment



Where we are

La Alpujarra, a mountain valley of the Sierra Nevada, in a small village called Yegen


A beautiful mountain region, fed by mountain waters, underneath a large natural park in an area renowned for its nature diversity and clean air


Our land

– 2 hectares of terraced land, with water rights to a spring, and to the town irrigation water

– 70 olive trees, 14 almond trees, lots of fig trees, and a variety of fruit trees, more every year as we plant new ones in every winter

– a small kitchen garden or ‘juerta’, and a herb ‘medicine garden’ in process around the house


What are we doing here?

– land stewardship

– maintaining irrigation channels to prevent erosion, fill aquifers (underground water stores), fill reservoirs, and keep water flowing across the whole piece of land

– it is essential for us to maintain fire breaks, so that in the event of fire, which is a real risk here, its growth can be contained until it can be put out

– we create fire breaks at the minute by the rather brute method of using a strimmer, there used to be a few shepherds working in the village but now there is only one, whose large flock is unable to make it down our track, so until we have some sheep of our own we’re stuck with the strimmer (and some scything!)


The trees

–   we have approximately 80 trees here, a mix of olives, almonds, fruit trees and native elms, hackberries and poplars

–   each year around January we make an olive harvest, yielding somewhere between 500-1000kilos of olives, depending on the quality of the harvest that year and how much time and how many hands we have to do the harvest

–   each year around September we make an almond harvest which yields somewhere around 50 kilos of almonds

–   fruit trees are harvested little by little during the late summer months, we are learning slowly about preserving fruits, including making jams, and drying fruits in the sun

–   depending on the maturity of the trees they need pruning on different time cycles, young ones more often, older ones every few years

–   the prunings from the trees are used either for fire wood, or smaller branches can be turned into mulch which can be used around the trees to help them keep water, or in the garden to help grow vegetables


Learning and preserving the art of small scale sustainable organic agriculture

–  Round the house we are establishing a medicine herb and flower garden

–  Above the house we have established a small ‘juerta’ or kitchen garden, already we are growing more than we need there

–  At the bottom of the land there is a semi-wild area which we want to start cultivating as an edible, more or less self-sustaining forest garden


Soil regeneration and irrigation

–  We are in the process of restoring and expanding a network of irrigation systems across the land, we have 3 water sources here, a spring which runs all year round, a stream which runs most of the year except for the hottest summer months, and irrigation water from the town reservoir a few hours a week.  Drawing on these 3 sources we hope in time provide a steady flow of water to the whole land, creating a humid life filled soil on which plants can thrive

–   Some of these irrigation channels are probably hundreds of years old and were likely first made here by the Moorish population who terraced and practised agriculture here some 500 years ago

–   We plan to begin planting in crops around the olive trees, we intend to rotate between grain crops, wheat, barley etc, and nitrogen fixing crops such as broad beans, clover etc, which help bring life to the soil



–  At present we have one dog, and three cats, there is a fairly large population of cats that need homes locally, so in time we may take on more

–  In the future we hope to have chickens, possibly a donkey and some sheep, all forming part of an integrated permaculture system, creating manure for the land, and keeping the grasses under control by eating them


Learning and experimenting, making mistakes, steady anti-fragile growth

–  We knew next to nothing when we arrived here, our process involves staying fresh and open and making mistakes, in this way each year we develop an anti-fragile non-dogmatic knowledge base and approach


Permaculture and yoga retreats

–   It’s been our dream since we arrived 4 years ago to host yoga and permaculture retreats here on the land, we have limited infrastructure at present so are starting very small with groups of just 5 people, though imagine at some point being able to host between 10 to 15 people here

–   We will make yoga practises in the early morning and early evening, about 4 hours work a day, either in the gardens, digging or clearing irrigation channels, planting crops for soil regeneration and so forth, and maybe some short mindfulness practises before lunch and after the evening meal.

–  People would make food together and clean up after food together

–  Ideally we imagine people giving us their phones at the beginning of the week, so that they can experience a real break from the modern world!  We know this might be tough for some people, but its really worth it


Establishing a play and education centre for the long-term future

–  It is our dream that in the long-term future the land can be a dedicated space for the practise of yoga, meditation, and permaculture, including play and learning spaces for children and adults

–   We are both yoga teachers and one of the first goals is to build a covered platform for practise so that we can share our practise with others, and have people come here to do the same

–   We also love music and dancing, and a couple of times a year want to hold small events here, where we can simple relax and enjoy with others the beautiful space we are creating


Building infrastructure to support this

–  as finance and time allows we will build more infrastructure on the site to support the retreats and ongoing work here

–  at present we have a 6m diameter yurt, and have nearly finished building an outdoor compost loo

–  we want to create some shaded areas so that people can rest outside during the days

–  we next want to build an outdoor shower and kitchen

–  after this we would build a yoga platform

–  and beyond this cabins

–  and one day, an adventure playground!


Broader local context

–  the Alpujarra used to be a thriving agricultural region, now however many of the youth have left for the cities, abandoning traditional ways of life

–  abandonment of land, modern methods of agriculture, in combination with the effects of climate change, mean the soil quality of the region is steadily being degraded and water is becoming more scarce

–  there is a great deal of land here which is abandoned, and which could be bought back to life fairly quickly and relatively inexpensively using organic and permaculture methods

–  while much local economy here is generated by modern monoculture/chemical farming methods there are a number of groups who both support the growth of sustainable organic farming here, and hope to bring more people to live in the region, these include the Ji Koan Buddhist centre; Semilla Consciente, a group dedicated to the protection of the Alpujarras natural heritage, and to reforestation of the Alpujarra; Izquierda Unida, the local branch of Podemos who want to create sustainable economy here; Red Agroecológica Alpujarra, who are a self-regulating organisation of organic farmers; Grupo de Agua Retención, a group who work together to restore irrigation channels.  The core priority of the main local political party, the PSOE, along with improving public services, is to bring new people to the region


Broader global context

–  General crisis, ecological collapse, economic and political instability, way too much information, and a general seeking after meaning, direction and stability in a rapidly changing world

–  We are seeking to establish a living model of what a long term anti-fragile future might look like, that provides some clarity, direction and meaningful activity


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