At Akashavana the facilities are simple, in keeping with the practice of ‘going forth’. You will be staying in a remote place, with spring water for drinking, rainwater for washing and solar generated electricity to rely on, which means you will be able to live a more simple and undemanding way of life. You will be living close to the elements in rugged and beautiful mountains – a wonderful context in which to be on retreat.
If you think you may have difficulties with the facilities or the environment, please get in touch. We have experience of those who have, and can send you some helpful tips to make your stay a positive one.
Please read this information well in advance to help you fully prepare for your retreat.
What to bring
In general we ask you to think carefully and bring all that you anticipate needing for the entire retreat. We will provide some bulky items like a shampoo and body-wash which is eco-friendly and other toiletries, such as soap, insect repellant and sunscreen lotion so you do not need to bring these bulky items. This can be another practice of simplicity, going forth from your favourite toiletries! There will be a small ‘tienda’ (shop) where you can buy basic stationery, deodorants, toothpaste, tampons etc. by dana contributions. We prefer that you do not make requests for shopping while on retreat, except in cases of need eg. unforeseen medication.
What NOT to bring
A lot of effort has gone into creating this place far away from the worldly dynamics of having to be in touch with everyone and everything. Such places are scarce and we’d like to protect this one, so we ask you not to use mobile devices once you are on the mountain. If you like to take photos, please bring a separate camera – not one which is part of a mobile device. Please be sensitive if you do take photos. Others on retreat will be having their own experience and may find being photographed invasive so please don’t photograph other retreatants without their permission. We also have a policy of not circulating publicly any photos of Akashavana that show the shrine room, or the path to the shrine room, or other special places, please check with the retreat team what is appropriate.
Please turn off all mobile phones, iPads, tablets etc before you arrive at the retreat. We have notebooks and pens available for taking notes. Let go into the spacious realm of Akashavana away from the world and all that it brings with it. The team will be happy to look after your mobile technology for you throughout the retreat and they will make sure that everything is charged up ready for your homeward journey.
Make sure that someone who might want to be in touch with you (in case of emergencies at home) has the community contact details:
mobile phone: 0034 610 655 449, satellite phone 0034 978090263, community[@]akashavana.org The community will check phone and email for messages every day.
The Guardia Civil asks us to register our guests like in every hotel. For this reason but also because we need to keep those details for the duration of your stay, we ask you to fill in the form (two pages!) which you can download here Guardia Civil It’s a word document which you have to save on your desk top and when filled in save it again. Then attach it to an email and send to us: community[@]akashavana.org. If for medical reasons you have a restricted diet please include that on the form.
In April be prepared for the weather to be chilly when it can go down to about 5C (it can snow!), then warming up to hot in July/August when it can get up to 35C-40C. Then it very gradually cools down again over the months to November. Washing will all be by hand and we need to be economical with water, so it is best to bring clothes that are easy to wash and dry. In autumn it is a good idea to bring layers including some warm clothes for evenings and night time.
For walking we recommend comfortable clothing and a waterproof coat. Walking boots are recommended for walking further than around the immediate environs of the house, where sandals or light shoes are OK. Bring indoor shoes or slippers, the floors are tiled so cool underfoot.
The shrine room has mats, blankets, and cushions (both foam and buckwheat). There are also chairs and stools.
We provide duvets, blankets, pillows, bed linen and hot water bottles.
There are two types of mattresses, some firm ones and the rest less firm. If you have back problems you may need to try both.
We can provide one towel for each retreatant. Bring a couple of facecloths, these enable you to wash with less water.
Windows are fitted with insect screens, but inevitably some insects do get inside. We can provide insect repellent.
We need to be economical with electricity, so please only bring electrical equipment that can be powered by battery. Don’t bring your hairdryer, electric toothbrush, laptops/ tablets etc. as they are very heavy on power.
Head torches are essential. We provide battery chargers if you want to bring rechargeable batteries. The path to the shrine room is dark early mornings and late at night and a head torch is much safer than a carried one. Also if you like to read in bed then you’ll need your head torch then too as the solar power cannot support bedside lamps.
Please bring your own stationery. However, there will be notepads, pens and envelopes available in our little shop/tienda.
You may wish to bring your own art supplies.
You can borrow walking poles, we’ve accumulated about 10.
Generally the yoga mats are only for use in the shrine room. However we have some mats for outdoor use.
Please bring your own medicines, sufficient for the length of the retreat, whatever you would normally need. If you are at all prone to hay fever please do bring antihistamines. We can shop for any unanticipated medications.
Post / courier
If you would like to send a tent or other things in advance by post/courier this is possible.
Please address to:
Akashavana, Mas de Lluc, Penaroya de Tastavins, 44586, Teruel, SPAIN.
If sending anything by courier the following address and details MUST APPEAR ON THE PARCEL:
Entregar entre las 9h y las 15h a: Caja Rural (para Mas de Lluc), Calle Zaragoza 6, 44586 Penarroya de Tastavins, Teruel, SPAIN.
NB…Please email the community before you send it so they know to expect it and to collect it for you from the village.
Accommodation and facilities
The accommodation is in shared rooms, there are no single rooms. If you wish to camp, a bedspace will also be kept for you in the house.
If camping be aware that the weather (wind, sun, rain) at Akashavana is hard on tents that are up for several weeks. If you can’t bring or send a tent, some tents may be available but they may not be in perfect condition or completely waterproof in heavy rain. Camping mattresses are available for all campers. Let the community know if you want to borrow a tent.
Power is provided by solar panels with a back up generator and water comes from a spring plus a rainwater tank. We need to be economical in our use of both and we have found it is perfectly possible to wash in a few jugs of water.
There are some indoor toilets and showers, as well as outdoor composting toilets and washing facilities. In general, when the weather permits, it is great to use the outside facilities, using rainwater instead of spring water.
The communal rooms and shrine room will be heated by woodburning stoves if the weather turns cold and we will all need to collect the wood for these stoves. The bedrooms have heating.
The meals will be simple using fresh local produce giving a healthy and balanced diet. There is a rich abundance of fruit and vegetables here and the food served will be vegan, with cow’s milk available. Cheese and eggs can be provided if really necessary. Most bulk dry goods are organic where the budget allows. There are some foods that are considered retreat staples in the UK which are expensive and difficult to obtain or unavailable in rural Spain eg. oatcakes, rooibos tea, tahini, and marmite. If you can not live without any of these we ask you to bring your own. We can supply yeast flakes for B12.
If you require any special diet for medical reasons please contact the community at least one month in advance to check what is available and which special supplies you may need to bring yourself.
If there are particular texts to bring with you then the retreat leader will let you know.
Akashavana has a good library of Dharma books –the list can be emailed to you– and we appreciate all donations that help increase our collection of Dharma texts.
There is no smoking allowed anywhere on Akashavana land for reasons of fire hazard.
Health and Insurance
Akashavana is very beautiful. It is also very rugged and remote. The terrain is rocky and steep and the track up is also rugged. It is important that you understand and accept the implications of this should you need medical care either for a slip or strain or for an ongoing or acute condition. The local health care has been found to be good. The nearest doctor is at Penarroya 8km/25 mins away; Valderobbres at 45 mins has a health centre open 24 hours, and the nearest hospital is in Alcaniz which takes 1 hour 20 minutes by car.
The European Health Card [EHIC] is available from Post Offices in the UK: allow at least a month for your application to be processed. This card is sufficient for EU residents and can also be applied for online at http://www.dh.gov.uk
For nationals outside the EU you may want to investigate health insurance, or be prepared to pay for treatment. If you are from outside Europe, visa requirements will need checking. If you intend to travel within Europe make sure you have a visa that covers the whole time you will be away.
As for travel insurance, we STRONGLY recommend that you have some. We also suggest that you look specifically at whether the insurance covers walks below 2000 metres if you plan to be exploring the scenery here (some policies ask for this info specifically).
CHECKLIST FOR AKASHAVANA RETREAT
Before you go:
+Pay retreat fee
+ Inform family and friends you are out of contact and give them the
emergency number 0034 978 090 263 and email address of the community: community [at] akashavana [dot] org
+ Inform all relevant authorities and leave financial affairs in order
+ Email your data for the Guardia Civil to the support community
+ A visa if you are from outside the EU.
+ Train, coach or air ticket, including return
+ European Health Insurance Card, and/or medical insurance
+ Euros for journey, overnight stays, if any
+ Euros for expenses during retreat (there is a small shop for essentials)
+ Underwear including thermals and socks
+ T shirts
+ Warm jumper/fleece
+ Warm trousers/skirt
+ Light shorts/skirt/trousers
+ Long sleeved shirt for sun protection
+ Indoor shoes/slippers
+ Sandals (strong ones)
+ Strong walking boots
+ Waterproof coat and overtrousers
+ Sun hat and sunglasses ESSENTIAL
+ Nightwear -both warm and cool
+ Meditation stool –check first if you can borrow one!
+ Yoga equipment –check first if you can borrow one!
+ Toiletries, except bulky items -we will provide shampoo, shower gel, soap and sunscreen lotion
+ Towels and facecloths –remember: one big towel will be provided
+ Torch is essential -LED headlamp recommended
+ Stationery, art supplies –check first what art supply is available!
+ Walking poles –check first if you can borrow them!
+ Small rucksack is useful
+ Tent if you plan to camp