Responsible Travel Policy
Our commitment to your sustainable travel:
To provide travellers with a yoga retreat that teaches them about the true meaning of yoga, ahimsa -or non-violence- and peace.
To provide food in such a way that the environment is respected.
To provide energy and to recycle in a way that the environment is respected.
To ensure that our staff are valued.
To maintain the retreat centre in such a way that the Valencian house which is used is kept in Valencian style.
To make sure that the environment is kept as chemical free as possible in terms of cleaning products, organic food and so forth.
To use local suppliers wherever possible.
To respect others and one’s own self in accordance with the yama and niyama of yoga. (These are rules of social and moral conduct).
To bring not just the students to their own natural state of peace but everyone who comes into contact with the shala.
Our promise to support our community:
- We work hard to maintain two of the foundations of yoga practice - yama and niyama which are rules for social and moral conduct. It is therefore very important for us to have a positive connection with the local people in our community.
- Our permanent staff are local: Our chefs (Fernanda and the team) cook the most amazing healthy and delicious food that you can imagine and live in local villages. Our housekeepers are local too. Our handyman and gardeners are also from Benissiva village. Our drivers live in the Valencian Community.
- All of our fruits and vegetables are organic and sourced from local farmers in the Community of Valencia. Many of our fruits and vegetables come from organic farmers in neighbouring villages.
We also have organic Valencian oranges growing here at the retreat centre and they are the most delicious oranges we have tasted!
Using these local farmers for fresh produce reduces the impact on the environment in terms of transport and emissions. It also means that our food is much fresher and hence more healthy and that we provide money to the local community which is very important to us.
Our dry foods also come locally from Spain as well - some even from nearby villages too.
- All of our staff are invited to the yoga, meditation and other classes and some of our chefs are really developing as yoga students as a result.
Our promise to sustain the environment:
- We actively recycle and Benissiva village has recycle bins which we use regularly to recycle plastics, glass, paper & cardboard.
We provide bins for recycling paper, plastics and glass in the kitchen for guests to use here.
- We do not print brochures - instead we provide all of our information electronically via the internet.
- Any information we do print - whether about ourselves or the charities we support, is printed on paper from sustainable forestry.
- All of the cleaning products we use here are environmentally friendly. We use products from Ecover or local companies such as Ecotech and Ahimsa.
- All washing is done at low temperatures.
- We actively ask guests not to waste water.
- Nearly everything here is locally sourced so as to use very little transport and so minimise effects on the environment.
- Most of our paper hygiene products - napkins, kitchen towels, toilet paper and so forth come from European companies which are committed to the environment, sustainable forestry and to recycling. Many of the products we use carry the FSC logo (Forest Stewardship Council, an international non-profit organisation established in 1993 that promotes responsible management of the world's forests, i.e. sustainable forestry) or the EU Ecolabel. The EU Ecolabel helps identify products and services that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle, from the extraction of raw material through to production, use and disposal.
- Where we cannot get recycled paper hygiene products, we make sure that the alternative products we keep have FSC certification to ensure that they come from responsible forestry sources.
- Nearly all of our lighting is with energy saving light bulbs again to reduce the impact on the environment.
- Our yoga products are friendly to the environment. Our yoga straps are made from organic cotton so that pesticides and other chemicals have not been put into the earth where the cotton was grown. The yoga mats that we use are made from non-harmful plastics as well.
- We are very much involved in a charity in India called People For Animals. They have around 36 animal hospitals all over India including one in Mysore, India where we sometimes spend winter ourselves.
We talk to students/guests who come here about the nature of ahimsa or non-violence and tell them about the charity. We also donate a small part of our profits to People for Animals too. Our work with this charity conveys very well the nature of yoga and the underlying philosophy of yoga as well as being local to our winter home.
- We provide information on local walking routes here in the Valencian countryside to guests who come here.
- All of our food as well as our yoga straps are organic. These means that the cotton and the food are grown in an environment that is free from pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other products that are harmful to the environment, to the soil and to the consumer. Organically grown food is also higher in vitamins, bioflavinoids and other nutrients that are anit-oxidant. Our aim is to truly create a healthy environment where our guests and the soil can thrive.
'As you make the effort to let go of your worries and anxieties, please smile.
It may be just the beginning of a smile, but keep it on your lips. It is very much like the Buddha's half-smile.
As you learn to walk as the Buddha walked, you can smile as he smiled.
Why wait until you are completely transformed, completely awakened?
You can start by being a part-time Buddha right now!'
Thich Nhat Hanh
The Story Behind Yoga Sutra Shala
Namit has 2 clinical degrees - one from King’s College London and one from Queen’s University Belfast. He also holds a management degree from De Montfort University, Leicester. After spending many years rising up the NHS and working in various specialities as a clinical pharmacist he became the first Pharmacist Advisor to NHS Direct.
His intention from undergraduate days till his time at NHS direct was to educate people on health and give them all the advice possible on how to eat healthy, exercise healthy, to think healthy and to live healthy.
He reached a point where he realised that the only way to do this would be to move away from the world where medicines are used to combat symptoms and to take people back to nature, organic food and to his own roots of yoga and meditation.
This was his inspiration for setting up Yoga Sutra Shala, and the Valencian mountains provided the perfect backdrop for this. The combination of the fresh mountain air, the amazing views, the peace and quiet, the wonderful sunshine and local supply of fresh and delicious organic food were all that he needed to create the perfect place for meditating and for practising yoga.
His family background from the Himalayas of India gave him the knowledge that solutions to people’s stress and imbalances in health lay in the practice of yoga and meditation in mountains. This would always provide peace and would allow people to be in touch with nature.
A while ago on a trip to Mysore, south India, Namit met Maru whilst studying yoga there and the two decided to move to Spain to set up their dream and allow people to feel connected back to themselves, to nature and to being physically and mentally healthy.
Maru has been interested in Buddhism since she was a young girl. Later in her life her interests broadened to include yoga and nutrition, which she continues to enjoy. When she met Namit, the idea of developing Yoga Sutra Shala and teaching people to be healthy and peaceful, was a dream come true.