Santillan Yoga and Wellness Centre is a world-class yoga centre in Andalucia, initiated by Simon Low of The Yoga Academy

Santillan Centre                 Santillan Centre

This is a retreat for all levels, beginners are welcome, experienced yogis will be able to take advantage of the well-appointed studio with yoga wall,  props and restorative equipment. Chris and I are happy to offer some extra instruction with these.

Santillan has a salt water pool, two studios and yoga wall, paddle tennis, spa and overlooks the sea. 

Temperatures in May are perfect. It is near Seville, Alhambra, Granada and Málaga.

Up to 3 yoga classes each day taught by Chris Leuenberger and Stella Shakerchi, both 500hr RYT Yoga Alliance.

View of the Mediterranean from Santillan

Please join us on this yoga intensive retreat, relaxed and focused, this will be an incredible journey. Stroll to the sea by day, maybe join in with the mantras after dinner and feel amazing as spring turns to summer in the wonderful Andalusian hills.


See Yoga Retreat in Spain, 7th – 14th May for booking and travel info

Yoga is technical know-how to bring equilibrium to the body and enable you to experience your Infinite Self.

The word yoga means union or to yoke, as in the union to Infinite Consciousness, or the awareness that you are Infinite Consciousness.

Its benefits are that by working with the body you can keep your mind on a level of consciousness that you choose; you can change the outlook of your mind; you can have the inner experience of Source; it gives your body flexibility and your mind neutrality.

Kundalini Yoga is the technology of awareness. The Kundalini Energy is life energy latent at the base of the spine, which when moved up the spine towards the brain can bring total consciousness; the whole energy of the cosmos; the energy of consciousness; the creative potential of a human.

Kundalini Yoga compares to other forms of yoga in that they are all ways to unify the Self. 

Of the 22 forms of yoga, Jappa, Shakti, Laya, Bhakti, Raja, Hatha and Mantra go to form Kundalini. This combination and their arrangement in each kriya (a set of precise actions that have specific effects) means that kundalini works faster than other yoga. Yogi Bhajan says twelve years of Hatha, plus six years of Raja, plus three years of Mantra, plus one year of Laya is equal to the effects of just one complete year of Kundalini.

The main difference between kundalini and other yoga is that in one kriya you can reach complete physical, mental and spiritual balance. It is practical enough that householders who lead busy lives can practice it and achieve results immediately. 

Kundalini Yoga requires the spark of awareness passed on through the Golden Link to transfer consciousness from person to person.

Also in Kundalini Yoga the teacher does not initiate, it is the yogi’s responsibility to initiate themselves.

The concept of the Golden Link is that the wisdom is being transmitted directly with no interference. Kundalini Yoga requires a teacher in that it is the psyche of the teacher who teaches it. The Golden Chain is the chain of teachers forming a channel where the energy, wisdom and protection of the tradition flow through to students.

Chanting “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” links all the teachers by consciousness. The chanting of this mantra at the start of each class protects students and surroundings.

Ong Namo means I call on the creative consciousness

Guru means from dark to light or infinite teacher, the agent of change or catalyst of transformation that awakens spiritual knowledge.

Dev Namo means I call on the subtle wisdom.unknown-20

The Adi Mantra is an ancient yogic mantra which instantly relates the yogi to the divine teacher within, and was used by Guru Ram Das and Yogi Bhajan. Bhajan said the guardian of the Aquarian Age was Ram Das. The Adi Mantra was how Yogi Bhajan stayed connected with his teacher Guru Ram Das, because Adi Mantra is a call that can penetrate through maya and essentially manifest the presence of Guru Ram Das. That way he could stay humble but strong in the knowledge that he was passing on pure Kundalini Yoga.


I understand Dhyana to be meditation. I see asana practice as a form of meditation, also I see dance as meditation.

The Yoga Sutras define Dhyana as “absorption in meditation:”
“the repeated continuation, or uninterrupted stream of that one point of focus” [dharana]

There are many ways to meditate. Mantra, walking, creative flow, focus on another being or sun-gazing. Sun-gazing can also improve your eye-sight, as many people have attested. When I first started to meditate I would sit cross-legged on the floor with a straight spine and let my thoughts pass. Still acknowledge the thoughts, but then let them float away “like clouds in the sky”. Then I practiced walking meditation; stillness; and mantras. Then I studied Transcendental Meditation and continue a 20 minutes a.m. /20 minutes p.m. practice. It is effective in that there is less of a sense of being Time’s slave and more of a sense of calm through the day.


I see Dharana as single pointed concentration. I can see how this overlaps with Saucha and Dhyana as they are all aspects of techniques for self realisation.

The Yoga Sutras define Dharana as concentration: “the process of holding or fixing the attention of mind onto one object or place, and is the sixth of the eight rungs.”

When I was young I used to moon gaze and candle gaze until my eyes watered; I later learnt this was called Trataka. Also being in the flow of art and music feel like dharana to me. When you listen to people talk, or theatre, or poetry, if you can stay completely focused on the words, you are practicing dharana. When I teach – whether it is yoga to adults or creative writing to teenagers – I try to practice dharana, to concentrate fully on the students’ needs at that moment. When I was seriously ill I concentrated my attention on ways to get well efficiently. Probably in all aspects of life we have the opportunity to practice dharana.



Saucha is purity, or cleansing. I understand it to be something that will help you to be open to universal consciousness. If we can cultivate purity then we have less obstacles to being in tune with the Truth of ourselves and the Infinite.

The Yoga Sutras define Saucha as “cleanliness and purity of body and mind” and this brings ” a purification of the subtle mental essence, a pleasantness, goodness and gladness of feeling, a one-pointedness with intentness, the conquest or mastery over the senses, and a fitness, qualification, or capability for self-realisation.”

Techniques and practices that support and cultivate Saucha are a clean diet, conscious nutrition; morning Sadhana; meditation to cleanse the mind of junk; pranayama especially good for cleansing the energetic body; and kriyas.

For my Saucha I try seasonal fasts; cleanses; a forty day green diet; I eat a vegan diet (my main motivation for this is Ahimsa); and practice TM almost every day. I love pranayama and practice most days, though sometimes only 5 minutes. I also integrate pranayama to my Sadhana, as I have a cherished personal practice in kundalini yoga.

Have a play with Dhyana, Dharana and Saucha and see what comes about for you!