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dawn is mine

The first thing I notice when getting out of my car in front of Dawn Collective Shala is the wind rustling through the big palm tree in front of the entrance. At times there is also a bunch of birds singing along and you can get a glimpse of the Atlantic right behind the building. I always stop and take it in for a second when I arrive, especially if it is the first time after having visited for a while.

Ever since attending the first Ashtanga Yoga Retreat of Yoga Bija a few years ago the region around Aljezur has been one of my favourite places to visit when I need to reconnect with myself. When Anette & Daniel opened the Shala, it became an even more permanent fixture in my holiday planner and I have attended a few Mysore Intensives and a workshop with the lovely Mei Lai Swan there last summer.

"a place to breathe sense & simply be"

The main feature inside the Shala is the big Indian door which actually used to belong to the house that the retreats were held in originally. I've had an image of the door as my background image on my computer for years and kept staring at it during online chores, zoom meetings and emails, so I was really happy when I heard that it was going to be a permanent fixture in the new space.

(The door is something I need to touch as a secret ritual when I come in for practice.)

There are other little details that I really love about the place and that sneak into my memory when I think about practicing there. Some of them are the simple lightbulbs that reflect my bright pink yoga mat which I always fix my eye on during the back bends, the tiny little digital watch that I try not to check, but which makes sure I get a proper Savasana after practice (at least 10 minutes !) and the play of the morning sun light on the walls, floors and windows. These are impressions that I notice when we start to sit down for meditation, during practice or when I come out of Savasana and the room is (almost) empty.

" 1. We are in space 2. No one knows what's going on 3. I love you "

My other favorite gem is the drawing of a male mermaid wearing a "I heart Hasselhoff" tank top in the bathroom. As an East German I really appreciate "The Hoff" wherever I go and this one definitely makes me smile every time.

The Shala, just like Aljezur, has given me the feeling of coming home since I first came there and the work with Anette has taught me so much about my body and mind that I keep being drawn back to it all.

Next to yoga classes and workshops the Shala also offers yummy massage treatments with a number of very talented and experienced people (my personal recommendations would be Daniel's deep tissue work and the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy with Regina - absolute heaven!).

Workshops with other renowned teachers from across the globe are offered on a regular basis and every now and then pop up classes can be joined by donation.

All of them can be found on the website and their Instagram account.

I have also put up some images I captured on film on one of the mornings when the light hit beautifully.

See you on the mat.



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