Ashtanga practice, embodiment and Buddhist Philosophy

A retreat with Ellen Johannesen

15 April to 22 April 2023

Ellen Johannnesen Tenerife Retreat Purple Valley

"Re-thinking Yoga for the current time"

Join us for a week of transitions: from the intense forward bending of Ashtanga Primary series into the deep frontal openings of intermediate series, embodying the heart, lungs and breath as part of the journey. We will study yoga philosophy from the Buddhist perspective, integrating the transpersonal heart centered awareness that is compassion.

This retreat is open for all levels of practitioners – from beginners to advanced.

Ellen Johannesen Tenerife retreat Purple Valley
Ellen Johannesen Tenerife retreat Purple Valley

Retreat schedule

You will have daily morning meditation and either Mysore style morning classes or lead (half- half Primary/intermediate) classes. We will transition smoothly into the back bends allowing the body time to breathe. Students will be given modifications if necessary so that they can safely progress in their practice.

Four afternoon workshops: Yoga philosophy from the Buddhist perspective and Ashtanga technique.

Buddhism has, besides containing it own yogic tradition, had a great impact on Patanjali's "classic" Yoga.  Although Buddhism and Classical Yoga developed within the same cultural context, the Buddhist view differs with regards to its altruistic intent to liberate all beings from suffering.

This perspective is much needed in the world today - both within and outside yoga communities - as many of the problems we are facing globally are the results of an egotistically driven society in which personal or national gain leaves little regard for others. Philosophically this has to do with identity, with whether we see ourselves as isolated entities or as extended selves that are connected to all living beings. In the latter case, the pursuit of true happiness, peace or liberation is only possible when undertaken on behalf of everyone else!

«As the self is allowed to dissolve as an egoic structure the spiritual reality emerges»

Ian Baker

Ashtanga Technique

We tend to think of technique in terms of certain ways of directing muscles and bones. The key to embodiment, however, is to receive information from the body, before we tell it what to do. We do this through visualization and physical feedback; tapping into the body´s innate intelligent patterns. This lays the ground for a more sustainable practice, a practice in which we will experience real change, physically and mentally.

This retreat is suitable for all practitioners, beginners, those practicing the primary Ashtanga series, and those who are either practicing intermediate or wishing to look at what lies ahead further down the road. If you have some previous exposure to yoga philosophy, great - but this is not a prerequisite - just come with an open mind!

Ellen Johannesen retreat Tenerife Purple Valley


Ellen Johannesen

Your instructor on this course is Ellen Johannesen; level 2 authorized by KPJAYI and one of Norway´s most experienced Ashtanga Yoga teachers. With more than 25 years of experience, Ellen teaches yoga based on her extensive background in movement, first as contemporary dancer and later as an advanced level Ashtanga practitioner. Ellen is deeply engaged in Eastern philosophy, holding an MA degree in Buddhist studies and Himalayan languages. She is well versed in the practices of the Himalayan yogis, speaks fluent Tibetan and works as both an oral interpreter and textual translator of Buddhism. She is a practitioner of the Vajrayana path of Buddhism and also pursues an interest in the scientific research into the benefits of contemplative practices. In this context she has undergone extensive courses in Sadhana rituals, positive psychology, neuroscience and sustainable compassion. Ellen is a much -loved teacher of asana as well as philosophy and meditation. She runs Mysore classes, pilgrimages and retreats in Nepal and teaches regularly throughout Norway and internationally.

Practical details about the retreat center

Currently the internet at the retreat is not reliable. If you are dependent on internet for work, we ask you to bring your own data on your phone, to which you can connect your laptop, if needed. Phones work very well. There is also a cafe 10 minutes from the retreat with good internet, however, it is a busy cafe and not very suitable for work. 

Cristoforo, our retreat centre is a very simple yet beautiful place, built by an architect named Denis Devaris, who had an intention to create a meeting point for Spiritual seekers. Built slowly over 30 years using volcanic rocks from the island, the rooms are all unique with their own distinct personalities featuring beautiful details and personal touches. Given the nature of these types of buildings, imperfection is to be expected with a plumbing system not quite up to modern standards! However, set right into the land with a wonderfully lush garden, Cristoforo really is an oasis in South Tenerife. When packing for your retreat, make sure you add warmer clothes. From December till March the mornings and evenings can be quite chilly. The rooms are not heated, but are equipped with cozy duvets and hot water bottles for the beds. All rooms are equipped with a water kettle.

The closest beach is 20 min by walk from Cristoforo in Callo Salvaje. We now have a free shuttle bus service to the closest beaches.

The meals
The food served at the retreat will be mainly vegan and completely vegetarian, prepared freshly everyday by our wonderful retreat chefs. We try were possible to use local and organic products. We sometimes use eggs or dairy in the kitchen. If you have food allergies/sensitivities, please let us know. Gluten free options are available. We have a self service tea & coffee station for guest use and try to provide fruit for snacking during the day.
You have the option to enjoy your food either inside or outside in the beautiful garden.

The practice
Maximum number of students is 25.
Morning classes will be taught with maximum 16 students in each class.

Practice will take place inside the beautiful wooden garden Shala. Savasana is usually taken outside to make space in the Shala, especially during full retreats and occasionally afternoon workshops will take place outside. Make sure you pack warm practice clothes for Savasana.

Arrival day and check out. 
The rooms are available after 3pm. The retreat starts with an introduction meeting at 5pm, followed by dinner at 6.30pm. All students should aim to arrive for the introduction meeting. The first practice is on Sunday morning and the last practice is on Friday in the morning. The check out is on Saturday at 9am. 

Premium rooms
The premium rooms are the largest rooms at the retreat. These rooms have attached indoor bathrooms.
Shared: 1250 GBP
Single: 1550 GBP

The standard rooms are smaller than the premium rooms. These rooms have attached, indoor bathrooms.
Shared: 1050 GBP
Single: 1350 GBP

The budget rooms are the smallest rooms at the retreat. Some of the rooms share bathrooms, a few of them are outdoors bathrooms. In a few of the rooms there may have disturbance from the road.
Shared: 900 GBP
Single: 1200 GBP

Dormitory ( 3 persons sharing)
The dormitory is a spacious room for 3 persons. It has an attached bathroom. 
Shared 780 GBP

The accomodation price is all-inclusive (includes accommodation, all meals and yoga). There is an option to pay a deposit of 50% of the full amount to secure your place. The deposit is non-refundable and the balance must be paid at least 4 weeks prior to the start date.

Please note that we have a limited amount of single rooms for this retreat. Before booking a single room confirm availability with us on

To book this retreat, follow the link below and complete the form to make your payment. 

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