The Making of a Yoga Retreat in Spain – Out of Our Depth

Making the Pool at Our Yoga Retreat in Spain

Making the Pool at Our Yoga Retreat in Spain

Many of our guests are curious about the evolution of Casa de Carrasco from olive farm to Yoga retreat. I like to dispel any ideas that we had swanned into a turnkey business because this couldn´t be further from the truth!

The site today boasts a large swimming pool, shower block, shop and Casita (cottage for communal cooking and dining) yet only one of these existed when the land and crumbling farmhouse were purchased.

The construction of the swimming pool was the biggest and most scary building project either myself or Martin (my partner) had ever undertaken. We invited Jose the digger man (one of the original owners of the farm) to Carrasco and confidently instructed him and his JCB to dig a hole precisely two meters deep, eight meters long, and six meters wide. Much huffing and puffing ensued along with an agitated discussion of impenetrable bedrock and shallow graves (mules, not human). The JCB finally swung into action in heavy November rain and astonishingly the large hole only took 10 hrs to complete. Fantastic! We had an enormous muddy hole in the middle of the garden! I don´t think we were prepared for the amount of soil which would come out of this hole, which now sat in great oozing, lazy heaps around our ´pool´. What on earth (no pun intended) had we gotten ourselves into?

During the short Spanish winter, for an entire two months, myself and Martin busied ourselves with other building projects (anything seemed preferable to ¨THE POOL´) and we very successfully ceased to notice the crater in the garden. We grew accomplished at ignoring the ´elephant under the rug´, the issue that we didn´t want to deal with because deep down I think it scared us, and we new there would be much work involved……..

Early February in Spain brings sunshine and warmth, arms and legs can be reintroduced to the sun and thoughts turn to Springtime pursuits. A pool in the garden would have been perfect as we encountered a week of unseasonally high temperatures. To our shame we were receiving deposits for Easter time yoga retreats where guests were looking forward to sunning themselves by a pool, not taking a mud bath. Nothing like a bit of pressure to get ´creative´ juices rolling. It was time to sit each other down and make plans for our, as yet imaginary pool. We talked to our neighbours who´d been through the pool self- build process, we spent evenings trawling the Internet for pool building advice, we read DIY books. We finally came to the very simple conclusion that it would be for the best if we stopped talking and reading about it and actually made a start by throwing ourselves into the experience. Today.

Me sanding down the walls with a very heavy grinder

Me sanding down the walls with a very heavy grinder

And that´s just what we did, for the next eight weeks we ferried building materials up our bumpy dirt track, we mixed concrete, layed metal reinforcing mesh, build up the walls with concrete blocks and rendered the walls. Before we knew it we were leaping out of bed each morning to continue the project that we had now come to enjoy. We painted and tiled the walls, and with days to spare before our expectant guests arrived, filled the pool with water.

As we bound into the water for the first time our joy, and relief, were beyond words. Without wishing to sound overly emotional it still brings a tear of happiness to my eye. Martin and myself had achieved something quite extraordinary, finally meeting our ´demon´head on and enjoying the process.

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