Winter isn’t just coming, it has well and truly come. Summer seems impossibly far away, the vanishing point on the train tracks that stretches to oblivion both in memory and the future - not even visible in your mind’s eye except as a bloody optical illusion.
Whatcha gonna do? Hand wringing has never been your strong suit, your digits are better put to dexterously fluttering over a keyboard in search of an escape from Narnia. Except our Narnia has Christmas, which is maybe even worse (for your health anyway).
December is practically over, January is for hibernating and cleaning kale out of your rusty old blender, February is so short it doesn't count, March is… - actually March could be an option couldn’t it? A quick check on the phone calendar reveals March is not an RSI inducing scroll away , and can even be measured in weeks. WEEKS!
Where to go though? Needs to be a short flight, would be nice to get rid of those euros you’ve still got/earn, and provide you with some much needed vitamin D.
And, (ruminatively popping a Christmas chocolate in mouth) you want to do something active and help you get in shape. But without being terrifying…
What about Surfing? In Portugal? Ooh with yoga? For people who aren’t contortionists?
Your friend tried surfing last year and really enjoyed it, and you did say 2017 was the year you were going to try new things. And you have a niggling feeling that your yoga pants were made for more than watching Netflix in.
But isn't that just a summer holiday activity? Well, Summer might be the season everyone goes to Surf Camps and package holidays, but Spring is actually the best time to visit Portugal, and not just for surfing.
Here are 5 great reasons why a surf and yoga holiday in the Algarve, Portugal, is best in Spring.
1: Better waves
So you've Google Image'd surfing in Spring in Portugal and were greeted by a wall of water with a dot in the middle, that apparently is a surfer. The spirit might be willing, but the body isn't quite up to world-famous big waves (yet!). However, in the Algarve on the south coast, the swell wraps around the westerly point and bring perfect small to mid-size waves for beginners and intermediates.
Magic Seaweed, the biggest surfing app in the world, also rates The Algarve for Spring time surfing. "Spring is really the peak period because the summer can be stinking hot and with long flat spells...and the water is the warmest in Portugal". If Magic Seaweed says that, it must be true!
2: No people in the line up!
Do not underestimate the importance of this one. In the summer Portugal is plagued by hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers who all enter the ocean seemingly simultaneously, making riding waves akin to a game of dodgeball. And you hated dodgeball at school! Everyone gets frustrated at the lack of etiquette, your inability to control your board, and you catch far, far fewer waves when it's busy.
By contrast, only have a few people in the water really brings a sense of camaraderie. All surfers cheer each other on, you have the space to catch as many waves as you'd like, and you can really get what surfing is about, without being afraid that you're going to get run over or shouted at.
3: Portuguese Portugal
Summer in the Algarve brings a lot of people, but not many of them are Portuguese. English, German, Dutch are the languages you're more likely to hear. Spring is the time to uncover the real Portugal.
Rub shoulders with locals as you sit at the cafe (outdoors in a t-shirt because it's so warm!), discover hidden gems when they're still hidden, and embrace the proper Portuguese way of life.
Green waves, green landscape - Spring brings forth a kaleidoscope of different greens, leaving you feeling as fresh as the proverbial daisy. You'll witness a side to Portugal most don’t get to see, and makes for killer photos.
4: The water is colder in Spring - which is much better for you!
The point of going on an active, healthy holiday is to look and feel a million dollars afterwards, whilst having a great time on it. This is where surfing in colder (not ice-cream headache cold, this is Portugal, not the North Sea) comes into play. Get ready for the science!
It's all to do with your body's physiology - Czech scientists found their subject's white blood cell count was up (and several other factors relating to the immune system, and your libido!) after being immersed in cold water 3 times a week for an hour each time. Why? Because cold water is a mild stressor and gives the system some practice.
It also triggers endorphins and your parasympathetic system, which is your rest and repair system (similar to the 5:2 diet, but more fun!). These goodies give you a natural high as they release dopamine and serotonin; your happiness hormones.
That first refreshing immersion gets your blood pumping - the temperature difference sends blood rushing from your body to the organs to keep them warm. This is great for circulation (hello clear skin) and you burn heaps of calories without even realising!
5: You're not sliding around on your yoga mat
Spring in Portugal is a perfect temperature. It's warm enough to not worry about being cold in the day, without you breaking into a sweat every 2 steps. The evenings are still cool enough to hang out round the fire with a good local wine and reminisce about the day's activities.
Doing yoga outdoors really connects you to the universe - it's hard not to feel something as you drink in the view and focus and calm your mind and body. In Spring it's the ideal ambient temperature to practice on the roof terrace, without getting too hot!
So what are you waiting for - book yourself your Christmas present and get healthy and happy before Summer even begins!
We are Anna and Jodie, surf and soul sisters who met in Bali and decided to bring some Bali magic to Portugal. We put on intimate, supportive and fun surf & yoga retreats for people from all walks of life. Find out more about us here