Some of our first stories.
Our first retreat ever.
10 years ago, on August 22nd of 2018, we began the first retreat in the history of Casa Cuadrau.
Friends came to give a hand. Among them were Anna Carboneras, Chin Chin, Xavier Bobés and Elian Peña.
The day began with a meditation and yoga session in a field, early with the dawn. After breakfast, that we all made together, we used to remove weeds and move stones. Lots of stones. That was an archaeological exploration. Under the stones, we were finding farming tools, kitchen utensils, espadrilles, horseshoes, and many other treasures that told us about the past of Casa Cuadrau.
I will never forget that first 3 day trekking, that for all the participants it was the first time they had entered in the immensity of the mountains. I think those exhausting and endless walks will remain in the memory of everyone, especially my dear friend Chin Chin.
We lived an authentic experience of sharing in community. We cooked together with a simple camping gas, we showered with a hose in the patio space and to we were going out in nature to hide for our physiological needs. We slept on camping mats and sleeping bags, on the boards that we had recently replaced in the old barn.
My gratitude is immense, especially to those who believed in this craziness from the beginning.
Our little barn.
In 2008, Dani bought the ruins of Casa Cuadrau. First thing to do was to rehabilitate a small barn to be able to live in. It was rustic, VERY rustic, but very cosy. In this little barn we were sharing life, meditation, practice, meals, stories, and many nights of snores 😴🤣
I remember that on cold days, when we were not able to practice yoga outside, because of the rain, we would do some sun salutations, headstands and shoulderstands all together. We where practicing in the little space of the “dinning area”.
Oh, our little barn was gone by the end of 2014 😞, when we started the second stage of the rehabilitation of the house. Eventhough we know that it was going to be a great renovation of the space, it was sad to see, in about a day or two, that its roof was removed to conitue the construction works. What was the barn at that time is our actual little apartment, where Dani, Uma and I live.
The secrets behind the Yoga Shala.
The yoga room (shala) is our treasure, our most precious and sacred place in the house.
It has taken a lot of effort to do it and it is hard for us to summarize all the work done in a few lines.
We had to remove part of the roof that was made in phase 1 of the construction, in order to make the extension. Try to imagine how was the environment when we started the construction works in the winter of 2014-2015. We were already somehow tired after the yoga & hiking retreat season. But it was the only time that the house was closed. Fortunately that winter was not as hard as others.
We remember very well sleeping some nights in the attic (Dani and Katya), with half the house without a roof ❄️ ... We were very cold.
Curious details of the bio-construction of the shala:
The floor slab of the yoga room was built with a bamboo framework and lime mortar, to avoid iron armor that can be as an antenna. This way we avoid electromagnetic radiation.
We had to unload a trailer with all the wooden beams for the roof at the intersection of Vio with the road to Buerba, because the trailer didn’t fit the narrow road leading to Vio. So we had to bring another truck full of other material, at the same time, unload the truck and transfer all the beams of the big trailer to the small truck... in many trips.
The beam of the ridge is 11 meters long, and we had to juggle to get it to the house.
The walls insulation are made with 22 cm of stone, 8 cm of cork boards - 24 cm of thermo clay - and 4 cm of mud mortar with straw.
The roof is a ventilated roof with 22 cm of recycled cotton insulation, ventilation chamber, and on top the traditional limestone slab with mud.
Look at the the photos to imagine all the work required to finish it.
We remember, with laughter, how we were cleaning the shala and removing the scaffolding just the day we started the 2015 Easter Retreat. 😅😅 Uff, what a move!
Thank you to all who made it possible!!
The reason of the shared dormitories.
The dormitories at Casa Cuadrau are very comfortable (as many of you already experienced it). Some people don’t like the idea of sharing the bedroom, but the original idea was to create a very simple house as a mountain refuge. In our previous retreat/ yoga training experiences, we really loved the idea of sharing the dormitories with other participants we don’t know, as a way of practicing respect and tolerance among all.
As you know, we love silence and the important key for creating harmony is in the “Joyful Silence” practice during our retreats, which help us to be more aware of our actions and aware of others.
*The dormitories all made by wood, with wool isolation. The floor and walls were all made with lots of dedication and love by our friend Luis 😁
We also have few double/single rooms for those who prefer more privacy or those who snore really loud 😜
The Casa Cuadrau retreat house of yoga, art and nature in Vio, is a project that has been created with the purpose of recovering an abandoned house, in order to make it an ecologic space of local and sustainable development. Its intention is to be of service to physical and spiritual health, the arts and nature.
The valley of Vio, is one of the wildest and most remote in all of the Aragonese Pyrenees. This valley has been through significant and profound changes, as have other Pyrenean areas in the last fifty years.
In Casa Cuadrau we recognize the efforts of the residents and local entities that have survived the dramatic depopulation of the valley. In this way, the Rescue Project was born. Casa Cuadrau is one of the oldest buildings in the village and is a superb example of integration into the landscape.
Restoration of a stone house
The restoration of Casa Cuadrau has been overseen by adhering to a meticulous respect for the traditional architecture and materials of the area, as well as the ecological sustainability criteria. Beyond the restoration of an architectural heritage site, there also exists an initiative to establish a sustainable and permanent activity in Vio based on:
- The recovery of traditional activities (organic horticulture, herb garden, oven-baked bread etc)
- The practice of yoga, meditation, hiking and other practices that help to live in harmony with nature
- Promotion of arts and crafts
- Organization of ecology and reforestation programmes
As for the restoration of the building, it was decided to divide the project into two stages.
The house was purchased in ruins in 2007.
Reconstruction and refurbishment of the south wing that houses the dining /living room, kitchen, dormitories, washrooms and a small multipurpose hall (yoga, meditation, workshops).
Rehabilitation of the north wing of the house, the main hall for dance, theatre, yoga and related activities, as well as a small library and the reception for the retreat house.
Thank you to all of you who have helped and still are doing it!