After a two-year hiatus, we’re excited to share that Mend Away retreats are back! We launched Mend Away experiences with Menders needs top of mind, and as an IRL extension of the support the Mend app and online programs provide on your mending journey.
The past few years presented many challenges for our global community. We’ve had to confront illness, grief, job loss, heartbreak, and a general sense of instability–sometimes all of these at once. Some of you may have slowed down the pace of life during this time, and others might have kicked it into overdrive. Regardless of how you navigated the pandemic, we could all use a chance to reset. That’s why the intention we’ve set for this next Mend Away is: Slowing down to come home to self.
Slowing down to come home to self
So if you’re ready to start off 2023 with an intentional trip that’s equal parts yoga/mindfulness retreat and solo trip you've been needing, here’s the guide to Mend Away Portugal 2023.
Where will we be staying?
Cocoon is a 275 acre farm and yoga retreat situated on the breathtaking Atlantic coast of Portugal’s Alentejo region, and a two hour drive south of Lisbon. Also known as The Costa Vicentina, much of the Southwest coast of Portugal is protected by a natural reserve. This means that development stays constrained, with traditional architecture + small farms dotting the land. The nearest town to us is the charming Vila Nova de Milfontes.
The Vicentine Coast Natural Park runs about 100 km down the coast. The preserved nature has a strong + wild character here, creating landscapes of breathtaking majesty. The coast is ideal for swimming, surfing, and world-class hiking along the gorgeous sandstone bluffs.
On the property there’s a pristine freshwater lake, a teepee, two yoga shalas (indoor and outdoor) and the kind of hammocks you dream of on a winter’s day. This is a working farm with sheep, goats, peacocks and chickens, so bring a pair of shoes that you can stomp around in without worrying about!
What’s on the menu?
We believe in mending from the inside out, which is why we love Cocoon’s food philosophy. Three meals a day are included in your retreat, and all meals are incredible. Food is farm-to-table, either from the garden or neighboring farms. From a sustainability standpoint, Cocoon chooses not to serve red meat, pork, or poultry. They do serve eggs from their chickens, locals cheeses, and occasionally wild-caught Atlantic fish.
A typical breakfast includes eggs, local fruit, Greek yogurt, homemade granola, local honey, homemade jam, slow-rise bread, and a daily tonic. Lunch is often a bowl; a base of ancient grains like farro, topped with avocado, roasted veggies, nori, or mixed greens. For dinner, expect Indian + Japanese curries, Mediterranean stews, legumes, rice, and salad. Dessert is served twice a week. They also have an outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven.
How will the weather be in Portugal in March?
We’ll be headed to the Alentejo region of Portugal from March 11-18, 2023. The weather is mild around that time of year, which means we’ll get to enjoy some of the yoga practices at Cocoon’s outdoor yoga shala and get to take full advantage of the coastal perks, like hiking, swimming, or sunbathing at the fabulous Praia do Malhão, a sandy beach that’s a 10-minute drive away. Menders who join us will receive a welcome packet with suggestions for what to pack.
Who are the retreat hosts?
This retreat will be hosted by Kat Torres, CEO of Mend, and Martyna Szymkowiak, yoga and mindfulness teacher. You can learn more about your retreat hosts here.
Do I have to be an experienced yoga practitioner?
Not at all! Martyna, who will be instructing the daily yoga practice and meditation sessions, considers every Mender’s experience level and provides modifications so everyone can move through the flows in a way that feels good for their body. We welcome beginners to advanced practitioners!
What can I expect my days to look like on the retreat?
We’ll start each day with coffee and tea followed by a yoga and mindfulness practice then breakfast. In the evening you’ll have another meditation sit or group coaching followed by dinner. On most days, you’ll have free time before and after lunch. You can use your free time however feels good for you, whether it’s laying on a hammock with a good book, reconnecting with nature on a mindful walk, going for a swim in the lake, or booking surf lessons or horseback riding.
What are the rooms like?
You can choose whether you’d like to stay in a single or double room, but either way, they’re light-filled airy rooms.
How do I sign up?
To join us in Portugal, send us an email expressing your interest and we’ll send over a questionnaire for you to fill out. This helps us be sure that this Mend Away experience is a good fit for what you’re looking for. To begin the application process, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to read through the full Info Guide for Mend Away Portugal 2023. We’ve included lots of details in there and answers to FAQs. Still have questions? Send us an email and someone from Team Mend will be happy to assist you.
Your hosts look forward to meeting some of you in Portugal very soon!