Surfers and wine-lovers have long flocked to Portugal for summer holidays. Not only is it beautiful, it’s the cheapest place to travel in Western Europe, and the locals are known for their charming hospitality.
Lately it has become increasingly popular with the spiritual bohemian crowd and a whole bunch of ashrams, intentional communities and retreat centres have set up shop there. While some are serious places meant for deep introspection and renunciation, the vast majority are focused on balancing self-exploration with laid-back seaside living.
More and more international teachers have started hosting their getaway teacher trainings here rather then opting for the slightly more ambitious Southeast Asia, especially if they’re already based in Europe and cater to working professionals. Portugal boasts all of the paradise and none of the hassle.
Combination surf and yoga retreats have become standard fare in the Algarve, on the Mediterranean Sea, and in the coastal areas around Lisbon. The majority of Yoga Teacher Trainings in Portugal happen in one of these two places. However, since there generally isn’t much free time to hit the waves on a 200 hour teacher training course, many have chosen to locate themselves in the sleepier areas on the Atlantic coast or further inland for a serene environment more conducive to immersive study.
It should also be mentioned that Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a modern, cosmopolitan city with a thriving local yoga community and a number of popular studios, some of which also offer teacher trainings, though you may need to brush up on your Portuguese.
Most of the Yoga Teacher Trainings we list here are registered with Yoga Alliance, though we have included some advanced or specialized trainings that are not. Remember, it always pays to research the teaching style, experience and accreditation of any teacher you plan to study with before you make a commitment.
Here are our picks for the top ten Yoga Teacher Trainings in Portugal for the remainder of 2019:
The Sacred Fig is a popular retreat company that runs teacher trainings in Bali, Pantelleria, an island off the coats of Sicily, and of course, in Portugal.
Run by the charismatic yoga entrepreneur Anton Brandt, The Sacred Fig’s mission is to integrate the ancient teachings of India, with the current findings of modern science and help people to break the cycle of negative thoughts and patterns that keep them from enjoying life.
Their Portugal retreats are held at Cocoon, Anton’s 275 acre farm in the fishing village of Vila Nova de Milfontes on a sleepy stretch of the Atlantic Coast. It features 2 dedicated yoga shalas, one indoor and one outside, in a pine forest filled teeming with wildlife. They fly in a dedicated chef for every retreat so expect 3 meals a day of spectacular healthy food.
Dates: Aug. 31St – Sept. 7th
Program: Their 75 hr Advanced Yoga Teacher Training is designed for currently active yoga teachers who have already completed a 200 Hr TTC. It is a collaboration with the Kula Yoga Project in New York City and can be used in conjunction with 3 other 75 hr modules to complete a 300 RYT certification with the Yoga Alliance.
What We Like: The Guardian recently rated Cocoon as one the top 20 yoga retreat centres in the world.
Lien Mei is a yoga teacher, originally from Portugal, who has been travelling the world for 13 years leaning yoga, meditation and reiki from masters around the world. She maintains a relationship with the Yoga Vidya Gurukul in India and every year she returns to Portugal to lead a 21 day teacher training course in collaboration with the Indian yoga school.
The course is held outside of Lisbon in the seaside resort town of Sesimbra.
Dates: Sept. 8Th – 29th
Program: The course integrates many different types of yoga, both postural styles and internal practices, including Hatha Yoga, traditional Ashtanga Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Yogi philosophy is covered extensively and participants are taught the principles of the yogic lifestyle and encouraged to commit to them while participating in the course.
What We Like: Yoga Vidya Gurukul is associated with the Bihar School Of Yoga and the teachings of the Satyananda Saraswati lineage so the yoga being taught here is very traditional which will attract some and deter others. However the gurukul has a proven track record of high quality yoga education and completing a TTC here will connect you to a leading institution in the yoga world.
Cost: $2559 for shared triple room with private bathroom
Madeira is a small island in the North Atlantic Ocean, far off the coast of Southern Portugal, once known for it’s fortified wine and it’s important role in the Age Of Discovery, it has now become a year-round tourist destination, attracting 1.4 million tourists a year, 5 times it’s population.
Sundari Yoga offers a 21 day teacher training in Madeira that’s sure to appeal to anyone looking for a strong educational opportunity in a unique and exciting location.
All of the material covered is grounded in the study of the 5 main texts of Hatha Yoga: The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali, The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, The Bhagavad Gita, The Gherandha Samhita and The Shiva Samhita.
Dates: Nov. 1St – 21st
Program: Sundari is a yoga school that teaches a style of yoga known as Integral Yoga. Rather then emphasizing a single yogic path, Integral Yoga aims to unite them all, emphasizing not only the exercise and breath oriented practices, but also the meditation practices, devotional practices and philosophical systems that are all part of the mandala of yoga.
What We Like: A TTC with Sundari focuses on covering a system of 88 yogic techniques which include postures, concentration techniques, breathing exercises and kriyas. There is also a strong focus on the theoretical and philosophical foundations of yoga.
Cost: $1335 (Accommodations and food not included)
True North is a yoga school that offers trainings at boutique locations in Europe. Their Portugal retreat is located at the Buddha Retreat Center in the town of Columbeira, in Central Portugal.
They focus on intelligently sequenced, artfully crafted, modern Vinyasa yoga classes, as well as educating teachers in the business, branding and finances of yoga. Their training is intensive but inspiring; an immersive experience in beautiful surroundings.
Dates: Nov. 4Th – 24th
Program: Their trainings are small and intimate. They never accept more then 6 students to any training, so with 2 teachers that means an 8 to 1 ratio of students to teachers. That’s remarkably low, so you can be assured of lots of one-on-one time with the teachers to focus on your own personal development and growth.
What We Like: After the training is complete, successful graduates gain to access to mentorship and support, including a peer support network of other graduates of the program from all over the world.
L. Farrah Furtado is a Portuguese-Canadian yoga teacher who has written 3 books, founded a yoga school in Taiwan as well as Bend It Like Buddha, which is located in Portugal.
She has studied extensively with BNS Iyengar, one of the only living students of Krishnamacharya, the father of modern yoga practice. In keeping with this tradition the practice she teaches in her popular teacher training is based on Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga but also feature gentler modalities like Yin, Pranayama and Yoga Nidra.
Dates: Oct. 11th – 25th
Program: There are extensive classes on sequencing and teaching methodology, as well as on the business of yoga and social media branding so students leave with the knowledge of how to position themselves as a modern international yoga teacher. Shamanic sound healing and Tibetan bowl meditations are featured in the evenings.
What We Like: The training is located in Portimao, a peaceful resort town outside of Faro, in the beautiful Algarve region of Southern Portugal. This area has become popular the spiritual community and several ashrams and sustainable eco-communities have set up shop nearby in recent years.
Cost: $2669 for shared accommodation
The International Yoga Satsanga Ashram is an eco-friendly yoga retreat centre and teacher training school in West Wales, UK. They also run a popular teacher training in Portugal in an area called Castelo Branco, near the border with Spain.
Dates: Oct. 8th – Nov. 6th
Program: Students stay in log cabins, and live a very simple, rustic, outdoor lifestyle while on the retreat, perfect for getting a taste of a traditional, monastic lifestyle. The secluded environment is conducive to introspection and self-realization and students will have no distraction from absorbing the teachings.
The YSA focuses on a style of Hatha Yoga taught by the popular Indian guru Swami Gitananda Giri.
What We Like: Their Portugal ashram is set on 21 acres of cork, olive and pine trees. On the ashram they grow their own food, use compost toilets and outdoor showers, and are completely off-grid, supplying their power needs via solar panels.
Naomi Prema Devi is a Tantra, intimacy and relationship specialist who leads a unique Tantra Yoga teacher training course in Monchique, a hilly region inland from the crowded beaches of the Algarve.
Dates: Sept. 15Th – Oct. 12th
Program: This training combines the posture and breath techniques common to modern yoga with the spiritual science of tantra. Students will not only learn how to sequence classes, adjust postures and guide students in their physical practice, they will also learn how to conduct rituals and hold a sacred space.
What We Like: This training is unique in that there is a strong focus on integrating sexuality with spirituality in a healthy way, a subject that can sometimes be taboo in yoga circles.
IndivYoga is a Switzerland based Yoga school that specializes in a therapeutic approach that emphasizes an accessible practice based on traditional philosophy and modern science.
Dates: Nov. 2Nd – Nov. 16th
Program: Her training is located in Lagos, one of the popular resort towns of the Algarve, and focuses on preparing students for teaching public and private classes in a variety of styles. It is intended to be comprehensive and focused on individual therapeutics.
What We Like: IndivYoga was founded by Charlie Stewart-Brown, a yoga teacher with over a decade of experience who has studied with many of the yoga worlds most respected masters, including David Swenson, Shiva Rea, Leslie Kaminoff and Sadhguru. She also happens to be the voice of British Airways’ onboard “Yoga and Mindfulness” program, currently available on long-haul flights.
Nina Vukas is a certified ERYT, who is also a certified Prenatal Yoga Teacher and holds a diploma in integrative body-oriented psychotherapy. With her 20 years of yoga experience she has developed her own method of Vinyasa sequencing based on Ashtanga, Hatha and Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow technique.
Dates: Sept. 28Th – Oct. 12th
Program: Her Portugal training is held in Ericeira, famous for it’s combination surf and yoga camps. Students will learn creative sequencing as well as a number of proprietary sequences based on the five elements, including modifications and adjustments for all of the poses.
What We Like: She considers Shiva Rea to be her primary Vinyasa teacher and has assisted her on Prana Flow teacher trainings in the past.
Cost: $2670 for triple dorm room
Though not technically a Yoga Teacher Training Program in and of itself, this special 50 hr Trauma Healing Training can be of great benefit to any yoga teacher looking to integrate the healing practices of tantra, intimacy and breathwork into their teaching practice.
Dates: Oct. 29th to Nov. 4th
Program: This training focuses a lot on what they call the “Wheel Of Consent,” a means of creating a safe space for touch-based therapeutic approaches. For any yoga teacher that uses manual adjustments in their classes, these techniques could be invaluable.
What We Like: Attention is also paid to polyvagal theory and the stimulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Students will learn a variety of trauma release exercises including various forms of breathwork. The training is held at Quinta Da Calma retreat center in the Algarve.
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Meditation coach by day and writer by night - Shirley has perfected the art of finding a healthy balance in life. She’s eager to spread calm energy and share her zen tips through conscious writing.