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Located in a semi-wild parkland in the Valley of Oranges, Riverheart Retreats is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and with your family. Run by Samm and Mike Helmle, the retreat center is also a family home for them and their two children, Alba and Jesse. On this retreat, Robbie Cully joins as the kids' activity leader, a fellow yogi and children's teacher who is passionate about the benefits of yoga for all ages.
Cabana 1 is a cozy wooden cabana in the Riverheart gardens with ensuite shower room and toilet in which all hand-painted with mandala designs and a river stone floor in the shower. Mosquito screen, fan, and plenty of blankets for the cooler months are available.
Cabana 2 is a gorgeous wooden cabana with a terrace, overlooking the Riverheart gardens. There are an ensuite shower room and toilet creatively decorated with paint and jewelry. A small bookcase with a good range of novels and non-fiction as well as a fan and plenty of blankets for the cooler months are available.
Cabana 3 is a gorgeous wooden cabana with two single beds in, looking out onto a mosaic piazza area. The shower room and toilet are a short walk up the garden or enjoy the outdoor shower and bathtub.
Glamp in style in this beautiful bell tent with space for four people in two single mattresses and a double bed. Fairy lights and a fan is available. It is also a short walk from the shower room and toilet.
A handmade wooden dome with stunning kaleidoscope wall hangings lining the inside. Two single beds with mosquito nets and a fan, a short walk from the shower room and toilet.
One of the greatest joys of this retreat is observing the connection when parents and children combine on the mat, with yoga and mindfulness activities that encourage trust, communication, and a lot of laughter! With Robbie and his assistant on hand to keep the younger members of the team busy, parents will have the opportunity to practice adult-only yoga and meditation each day, with plenty of time to enjoy a massage or relax by the pool.
Combined with daily family bonding activities, this creates the perfect balance where parents can have time to themselves as well as time with their mini yogis.
Riverheart Retreats starts and ends each day together with a short meditation and sharing circle, which provides a chance to reconnect with one another, to set any intentions and to offer thanks. Mealtimes are also spent together and are a wonderful opportunity to share stories about your activities in the day so far.
Around these communal times, the wonderful children’s team will care for the younger members of the family, leading sessions in yoga, nature exploring, singing, art, and storytelling. All of the children’s team is experienced in working with children in ways that allow each child to shine as an individual while practicing working together as a team.
As well as being yoga teachers, many of the team have backgrounds in children’s social work, neuro-linguistics, outdoor activity leading, and special needs education, so you can be sure your children are in safe hands.
For the adults, Riverheart Retreats offers a daily yoga and meditation session and then plenty of free time for relaxation or a taster session. This is the perfect time and place to explore something new, so you can book in for a poetry workshop, a painting session, or a private yoga class. One to one sessions are available or book in with your partner for a shared experience that provides a new and joyful way of engaging together.
Massage therapies will also be available. These and the taster sessions can be arranged at the time of booking, though Riverheart Retreats will keep a few spots free just in case you want to go back for more.
Every other day, they’ll arrange a families’ yoga session, these are great fun and suited to all ages and abilities. Together, you’ll learn simple routines, games, and partner poses that the whole family can use together or individually. Stretch together, get creative with animals and shapes, and enjoy a calm time to bond and relax with your children. You’ll also look at some simple family massage techniques in these sessions, a beautiful practice to help bond and reconnect.
The Riverheart book collection has a range of novels, modern fiction, children’s books, and teen literature, as well as books on spirituality from Buddhism to shamanism, natural healing, and creative wellbeing. Take advantage of a glass of organic wine or beer or a pot of fresh tea, and lounge by the pool to soak up the sun and some time to yourself. Meditation spaces are dotted throughout the gardens and with hammocks, swinging chairs, poolside loungers, and shady trees, you’ll have plenty of time to carve out your very own piece of Riverheart’s peace and quiet.
On some retreats, Riverheart has Karma yoga places available for guests wanting to offer a few hours of their time each day in return for a reduced fee. Roles typically include social media and blog writing but please inquire for full details of what’s available.
There will be a day trip out to the local swimming hole in a stunning natural river with mini waterfalls.
Samm Short is one of Riverheart's creators and owners and also a fellow painter and long-time student of Ian's. Fearless love and courageous expression are the two guiding principles that she tries to work from each day and that Riverheart has been founded on. For her, the practices of writing, painting, yoga, and meditation all seek to discover and express the same truth that love and joy are at the root of all things.
Mike Helmle is the resident meditation instructor at Riverheart Retreats, sharing his passion and knowledge about the practice of meditation by leading our nine-day Vipassana retreats. Together with his wife, Samm Helmle, Mike co-founded the Riverheart Retreats center in 2017 in order to create a space for people to come and develop their spiritual practice; a space where people could find the peace needed to ground themselves and listen to their inner voice. A previous graphic designer, Mike spent seven years studying and practicing meditation in Thailand and Peru before moving to Spain.
My first experience of yoga came when I worked with an NGO in central India that taught and nourished underprivileged children through yogic techniques. The compassion, tranquillity, maturity, and integrity that shone through each individual child was unlike anything I would ever observe before. This, combined with my own self-practice shows me that yoga is a tool to create a better world and this is where my passion lies. As a teacher of classical Hatha yoga, I focus on body, breath, mind alignment. I also teach yoga and mindfulness to adolescents and children.
Set in the Valley of Oranges in the rolling Sierra de las Nieves, Riverheart has the perfect balance between countryside living and the ease of access of being on the edge of a town. Easy to get to, yet feels a million miles from anywhere once you're inside the stunning gardens. Plenty of day trips nearby for those wanting to extend their holiday after the retreat, from the old port of Malaga to the stunning city of Ronda, plus numerous whitewashed villages and spots for hiking and wild swimming.
This package includes breakfast, lunch, and supper. The food is vegetarian and sugar-free with vegan options for each meal, cooked with love, and using only organic and locally produced ingredients wherever possible. Tea, herbal infusions, fresh coffee, and organic wines and beers are all self-service and are included in the cost of the retreat.
Allergies and intolerances can be catered for. Please inform Riverheart Retreats in advance so Riverheart Retreats can best prepare to care for your needs. All food is organic and local wherever possible, made with lots of love!
Some massage therapies available at additional costs are:
Transfer available for additional US$55 per person
Please book your flight to arrive at Malaga Airport (AGP), bearing mind that checks in time is 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. on the retreat start day, and check out is 12 noon on the retreat end day. The retreat center doesn't open before 2 pm on the arrival day, however, there are cafes at Malaga airport if your flight arrives earlier, or you can explore the beautiful city of Malaga while waiting for your transfer. Riverheart Retreats arranges transfers from the airport for 45 EUR each way - or less if arrival times are coordinated for a group transfer.
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