ashtanga retreat in malaga at santillan


Ashtanga & Buddhism Retreat

Santillan Retreat Centre, Malaga, Spain


Adam will be joined by Ellen Johannesen for this retreat for a mix of Ashtanga yoga and some Buddhist based meditations.

The venue is in hills just outside of the city of Malaga with two cozy shalas and views of the Mediterranean Sea.

On this retreat, you can expect:

  • A welcoming and inclusive group of practitioners with a range of ages and abilities.
  • To make new discoveries in your practice.
  • To make new friends and engage with a support group and have laughs.
  • To enjoy delicious and nutritious meals.
  • Time to yourself, to unwind and digest the year or explore this stunning region.
  • To return feeling grounded with renewed enthusiasm and energy for your practice.


Expand the section below to see a sample daily and weekly schedule.

Yoga and Buddhism: Philosophy and Meditation with Ellen Johannesen

In our sessions with Ellen, we will explore how the Buddhist worldview is practiced and implemented in everyday life through study, contemplation, and meditation. We will see how these practices align with findings in psychology, evolutionary theory, and cognitive science concerning what contributes to a happier life!

Buddhism, like yoga and other philosophical traditions, seeks to answer the question, “Who am I?” However, unlike other Indian schools that posit the existence of an individual soul, the Buddha in his awakening experienced his inseparability from every living being: through an infinite number of relationships, causes, and conditions, we are all connected through time and space, and we all share the same enlightened potential.

This radical notion of a relational self caused Buddhism to develop practices centered around compassion and altruism. These practices are not there just to make us “better people”; they help us see through the illusory nature of individuality and realize that there can be no individual liberation or happiness—only liberation for all!

About Ellen Johannesen

Ellen is deeply engaged in Eastern philosophy and has earned an MA degree in Buddhist studies and Himalayan languages. She is well versed in the practices of the Himalayan yogis, speaks fluent Tibetan and works as both an oral interpreter and textual translator of Buddhism. She is a practitioner of the Vajrayana path of Buddhism and also pursues an interest in the scientific research into the benefits of contemplative practices. She has undergone extensive courses in Sadhana tantric rituals, positive psychology and neuroscience and sustainable compassion.

Ellen is one of Norway´s most experienced and much loved Ashtanga Yoga teachers and is level 2 authorized by KPJAYI.

“ I think it is important to bring into the yoga world the Buddhist notion of our interdependent nature”  | @ashtanganepal



Our host for this retreat is the incredible Santillan Retreat, an incredible Andalucian cortijo with gardens located at the top of a countryside valley with views onto the Mediterranean Sea 5 km away and it’s only 35 minutes from Malaga airport.

Santillan offers a wide range of therapies, walking, swimming & paddle tennis, with many beaches, tennis clubs & stables close by as well as a golf course 5 minutes away.  There are numerous paths for hiking around the centre for all levels and durations.

Places to visit and activities near Santillan


We will have the use of two incredible yoga shalas at Santillan. The Golden Aura is one of the most outstanding yoga studios in Europe. It is a spacious state-of-the-art yoga shala with huge south-facing windows and sea views that allow you to fully appreciate the natural beauty of Santillan’s valley location.

The thermally insulated sprung wooden floor and biomass heating make it ideal for cosy winter practices. All the essential yoga props of the highest quality are for our use.

Studio Andaluz overlooking the pine garden and onto the sea is a very peaceful space that has been used for meditation retreats for many years. It is a large traditional Andalucian salon with a gabled roof, wooden floor, traditional walls and beams and its two wood-burning fireplaces make it toasty warm in winter.


There are some very nice towns nearby, Rincon de la Victoria, Nerja and Frigliana and Malaga centre is great to visit for shopping and soaking in the local culture.  Christmas is an ideal time to visit Malaga city, there are spectacular light and music shows and markets offering lots of ideas for gifts from Andalusian foods and handmade items, arts and crafts and accessories.


The bedrooms at Santillan all have an ensuite bathroom and have heating and air-conditioning to keep you comfortable whatever your needs.

They all have either a balcony or terrace with views down the valley to the sea or the tropical gardens. Each room is individually furnished with a desk, ample cupboard space, a hair dryer, bidet and some rooms have four-poster beds.


The cooks at Santillan Retreat enjoy sharing their popular Spanish-influenced healthy Mediterranean cuisine. Their produce is grown in their own organic vegetable gardens or sourced from local farmers. Their avocado, orange, lemon, mango, apple, mandarin, and tropical fruit trees offer their gifts for much of the year, and they keep free-range chickens for fresh eggs daily.

You can pick your own oranges for your morning juice or explore their farm and horticulture anytime. All food waste is processed in their wormery, providing natural fertilizer for the gardens. Lower food miles, organic produce, and minimal waste help to keep our carbon footprint and waste low.

Unlimited coffee, tea and water will be available throughout the day. If you have very specific dietary requirements or food allergies you must let us know upon booking.


Single Room:  €1,695 (approx. £1,465 or US$1,850)

Shared Room: €1,250 (approx. £1,080 or US$1,370)

Single rooms are always the most popular, so we recommend booking early if that is your preference. A non-refundable deposit of €400 will secure your place, the balance will be due 8 weeks before the start of the retreat.

A €400 non-refundable deposit will secure your space, and the balance will be due 8 weeks before the retreat starts.  Click here for full Terms and Conditions.

Check-in Friday the 20th, group meeting at 6.30 pm, first practice Saturday morning, last practice Thursday morning, check out Friday morning, 10.00 am


Adam has been practising yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2004. He is one of only a few students to have completed the Advanced A series in Mysore with Sharathji and received Level 2 Authorisation in 2012.

Equally at home teaching all levels, he gives all students attention and interest. He is democratic in his approach and kind and believes that the practice should not feel like a test. Coming from an academic background in philosophy and a professional one as a chef, he is knowledgeable, practical, and relatable in his approach. Many consider him humorous too.

Adam and his wife Theresa run the online yoga platform Keen on Yoga and he hosts the Keen on Yoga Podcast & YouTube channel, interviewing many of the world’s most renowned Ashtanga teachers and philosophical academics.

Instagram: @adam_keen_ashtanga & @keen_on_yoga


Dec 20 - 27 2024



More Info



Santillan Retreat Centre
Near Rincón de la Victoria, Málaga Spain


Keen on Yoga