In our hectic world it can often be difficult to disconnect and take time for yourself. The stunning scenery of the Canary Islands are the perfect place for reflection. The beauty of its landscapes, its volcanos, beaches, cliffs and forests, allow tourists to relax and be present.
The Canary Islands has become one of the world’s leading destinations for mindfulness – the practice of living in the moment. The atmosphere of calm which stretches all the way around the islands has led to the establishment of groups and associations with specially designed wellness facilities.
There are teachers on hand to enable guests to enjoy the pleasure of the ‘here and now’ amongst the island’s extraordinary natural beauty. Yoga classes and meditation are offered all over the islands. However, mindfulness isn’t only about slow, gentle movements, it can also mean strenuous activity. So, the Canary Islands mindfulness network offers guests the option of sports such as surfing, diving and trekking as well.
Home to Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain and the third tallest volcano on earth, Tenerife sits close to the top of the world. Many visitors choose to climb Mount Teide and meditate during the early hours of the morning when the sun rises up from the ocean. Others choose to stay on the foothills, a unique landscape which has been described by many as resembling the moon. The 4,000-metre-tall peak seen from below gives a calming influence on the human mind.
Antequera beach is sandwiched between the ocean and a vertical cliff. Between two such powerful natural features, the benefits of practicing yoga and meditation on the sand here has long been proclaimed by locals. The beach is an off-the-beaten-track spot which, although there is a walking path open, is best accessed by boat from Santa Cruz or San Andrés.
One particular retreat, Estilo Verde in Güímar, deserves a mention for its yoga, mindfulness and meditation expertise. Located amongst volcanoes, avocado farms and the Atlantic Ocean, this centre offers accommodation, experienced teachers and a calm atmosphere.
Gran Canaria Famed for its varied landscape, Gran Canaria has been described as the world in a miniature form. The north of the island is green and lush while the scenery on the south coast is arid. There are mountains reaching almost 2,000 metres in height, such as the Morro de la Agujereada, with envious views. Some beaches have crystal clear waters, startling rock faces and yellow sand-like Guayedra, while others have black volcanic sand and spectacular glimpses of mountains in the distance, like Güi Güi which overlooks Mount Teide.
Recommended retreats on this island include the Mahalo Healthy House, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. A typical eight-day stay would involve 19 hours of yoga classes, mindfulness and holistic workshops as well as four excursions to notable locations on the island.
Lanzarote’s antidote to your worries is its unsurpassed natural beauty – home to hundreds of volcanos, lava fields, palm-lined valleys, dreamy beaches with turquoise water and charming towns with white houses. A 10km leisurely walk around the Caldera Blanca crater is a great way to absorb this wonder of the world. To the south of the island, five minutes by car from Playa Blanca, the isolated natural pools of Los Charcones are a brilliant place to take a dip, plunge under the water and remember the pleasures of life. Afterwards, take some time for meditation whilst cooling off on the rocks around the pool.
Further inland, surrounded by vineyards, Shama Retreats have a reputation for exceptional accommodation and healing activities. Their double cabins and vegan and vegetarian menus has made this a very popular retreat.
In the more than 150 kilometres of shoreline, no two beaches on the island of Fuerteventura are the same. Those that practise yoga, meditation and other mindfulness activities on the pristine sands and pebbly shores understand that each beach has its own personality. La Concha is a beach where sea lions used to live and is part of the natural park on Lobos Island known for pure tranquility. It can be reached in just 15 minutes by boat from Corralejo in the north of Fuerteventura.
Casa de La Pared is a retreat which offers an 11-day course of Mindful Surf and Yoga. In a package which combines the thrills of the waves and the serenity of contemplation, the schedule includes daily yoga and meditation sessions as well as six surfing lessons. A vegan menu is provided along with surfing and yoga equipment.
From the very early days of human existence, the night sky has been a source of tremendous exhilaration and the island of La Palma is famous for its clear skies. It is for this reason that an astronomical observatory was built on top of Roque de los Muchachos, a rock formation some 2,420 metres above sea level.
Visitors to La Palma can join scientists in staring at the celestial phenomenon in the night’s sky. This is the perfect opportunity to let go, gaze up at the stars and imagine the origins of the earth and the universe.
Laurel forests are a type of subtropical forest which date back millions of years. La Gomera is one of the few places in the world in which they still survive. On top of this, the island is renowned for its dizzying gorges, valleys coloured by green palm trees, black sand beaches, crystal clear waters and lush forests with springs. Along any stretch of the 650 kilometres of walking paths, ramblers discover the calmness of being removed from the commotion of civilisation. The Parador de le Gomera offers retreats for tired minds with yoga, detoxes, meditation, massages, mindfulness talks and excursions. Peaceful rooms allow for deep sleep, along with food developed specially to purify the body.
Amongst the marine eco-system, in a spectacular volcanic landscape, El Hierro is a great place to experience the new craze of underwater meditation. The waters around the island are part of La Mar de las Calmas which is one of the three marine reserves in the Canary Islands.
Freediving El Hierro specialises in freediving and underwater meditation classes taught by professional scuba diver Francisco del Rosario. He explains, “the course isn’t about acrobatics. It’s about profound relaxation and getting to know ourselves on a deeper level than before”.
Surrounded by miles and miles of turquoise sea, La Graciosa is the ideal place for silence. The smallest of the Canary Islands has around 700 inhabitants and is the perfect setting for those seeking a holiday away from the world. Organised out of his little paradise hideaway, the retreats of Yogi José Antonio Machado (connected to Mundo Armonía Lanzarote) are a great place to discover this tiny island for the first time