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Kali Pose yoga flow, in the shade of the walnut tree, at Wild Yurt Holidays in the foothills of the Serra d’Estrella mountains, near Cabreira, Portugal.

Why Kali? to give us strength and power in the face of the life and home threatening forest fires that raged through Portugal this June…one of which made the international news, but over 60 other fires caused huge swathes of destruction, one of these coming uncomfortably close to our little yoga retreat! Isn’t it about time the mass scale planting of Eucalyptus as a cash crop was ditched…as a complete and utter environmental disaster waiting to happen every scorching Summer….!!

As the skies turned from a peerless blue, to an eery day time twilight, our peaceful forest meditations took on a more serious tone…watching bodily emotions such as deep visceral fear, linked to the feeling of our human fragility in the face of elemental catastrophe…Though we weren’t in immediate danger on our little patch of paradise, the monstrous fire that claimed over 100 lives was only 2 hours away, and it’s smoke changed the atmosphere within and without. More threatening were the closer fires, springing up willy nilly from the hot parched land, just beyond our horizon…sending gusts of hot ash to land all over our belongings….In the night, the sky was ominously red in the direction of the wind turbines across the valley…Was the closest fire under control yet? Which way was the wind blowing? Should we be more concerned?

My friends patch of tranquil, rugged wilderness, where I have now taught five Wild Yurt Yoga retreats, is a true patch of paradise…a land of ancient terraces intricately designed in centuries past, to capture and divert water through a myriad of channels and under ground tunnels and springs, the spring water flows through and around their land, and the wide horizons hold mountains and trees and sky. Each day we live simply, close to the earth, yoga on the grass looking up into the sky, chi kung and meditation in the forest over looking the mountains…and the quiet warm starry nights. The retreat is a time for peace and back to Nature immersion, for delicious healthy food, water and air, but also a journey into the unknown. Not a time to have everything organised and controlled and wrapped up in a security blanket of guaranteed luxury….no,  it really isn’t that kind of yoga holiday..

Instead, we have Beauty in Simplicity, and an invitation to delve deep – to really take a look inside…If there are no rough edges, there is no learning.

Nature has a way of teaching us to Surrender – as we realise that ultimately, we really have no choice. We can relax, knowing that nothing is under our control!!

My current favourite poet, William Stafford, tells us we must be “willingly fallible to deserve a place in the realm where miracles happen”….

Yes to the Mystery.