Montserrat – the spiritual heart of Catalonia

Yoga and Hiking Adventure Montserrat

Montserrat is an out-standing landmark that is considered to be a holy mountain since at least medieval times.

It lies 50 kilometres from Barcelona and is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The multi peaked mountain, some 10 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide, has a vast array of astonishing rock pinnacles. Its highest pinnacle, Sant Jeroni (1236 meters) holds the famous monastery Santa Maria de Montserrat, dedicated to the Holy Virgin and for almost 1,000 years has been at the service of pilgrims from all over the world who come to worship the Black Madonna. From this height, extraordinary views from the Pyrenees to the ocean can be seen.

 

Its name translates to ‘serrated mountain’ describing its peculiar appearance, which can be seen from all around Catalonia. Poets claim that little angels carved the mountain with golden saws.

Since the 12th century, pilgrims have been drawn to Montserrat to venerate the miraculous statue of the Black Madonna (La Moreneta). A fact that confirms the special energy these mountains radiate. According to Catholic tradition, the statue of the Black Virgin of Montserrat was carved by St. Luke around 50 AD and brought to Spain. It was later hidden from the Moors in a cave (Santa Cova, the Holy Grotto), where it was rediscovered in 880 AD.

The legend of its discovery says that shepherds discovered the statue. They saw a bright light and heard heavenly music that eventually led them to the grotto and the statue. Nowadays, the Basilica of the Monastery of Montserrat is home to the revered La Moreneta, or Black Virgin. The statue of the Virgin is a small Romanesque statue made of wood. It depicts a seated black Virgin with the child Jesus on her lap.

In 1902 a proposal was put forward by the forest engineer R. Puig I Valles that Montserrat be declared a National Park. He argued that this “jewel of nature” was “ideal for devout people, a natural wonder for naturalists and a prodigy for believers…”. Unfortunately it was not until after a devastating fire in 1987 the mountain was named a National Park.

Montserrat has been considered a sacred or holy mountain since written records have existed and is regarded by many as the spiritual heart of Catalonia. That´s why we have chosen this spot for our Hiking & Meditation Tour. On this tour through the park you will see that the mountains spirit pervades the plants and animals that you can sense around you. It invites you to pause, reflect and look inward. What insights, ideas and feelings will the spirit of the mountain evoke in you?

If you would like to experience this for yourself, try our Hiking and Meditation Tour at Montserrat and connect with the energies of the Mountains!

 

Yoga outdoor – why practising yoga in nature? Here are some of its great benefits… 

Yoga Outdoor - Tree Meditation

The word yoga means union, and when we practice yoga outdoor we are able to connect to our surroundings on another level. The nature inspires us to focus our awareness on our breathing, and practicing stillness, to feel of the ground beneath us and to fill our lungs with the fresh air. With each breath we inhale the energies and the oxygen provided to us by the trees and the plants who in turn absorb our carbon dioxide. In this we can see we are all connected: Yoga means union.

Like all things trees have an energy frequency or vibrations. With their roots reaching deep into the ground, they have a great grounding energy. When we practice yoga outdoor in their vicinity, we subconsciously pick up these vibrations, and resonate these energies leading us to feel more centred, and grounded.

Yoga Outdoor - Trees

Whilst moving through the yoga poses, the fresh oxygen also helps to clear the mind and improves concentration. Nature is fuel for the soul. And fresh air is known to not only to increase energy, but reduce stress and depression. As certain poses help with digestion the addition of doing yoga outdoor can also boost the immune system.

Certain poses will also alter our perception. Through each asana our awareness of the environment increases. We may begin to notice little things like the sound of a bird, or the rays of the sun filtering through the branches of a tree. How these branches divide into smaller branches and then end in leaves. How each leaf then begins with a single vein, that splits by two, into smaller and smaller veins, until they reach the individual cells that are exposed to the air. Similar to the lungs we use. From these realizations we can begin to see our connection with nature. Allowing a certain harmony and to recognize our role as part of the universe.

Meditation and Yoga at Montserrat

Whether you’ve never tried yoga before, or have been practicing for many years. We would like to invite you to practice yoga outdoor to experience these sensations for yourself. It will be a great gift for your wellbeing.

Om Yoga Nature offers outdoor activities in combination with yoga and meditation. Click here you to learn more about our activities…