This week we are featuring an interview with Althea, a yoga-tantra teacher and a Gestalt therapist who moved recently to Madeira Island.
Madeiraful: Althea, thank you for the opportunity in allowing us a ‘peek’ into your relationship with the Green Pearl of the Atlantic, better known as Madeira Island. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your profession?
Althea: Hi and thank you for inviting me for this interview. About me, I am like everyone else in this beautiful journey of life, trying to learn from everything and everyone. I was fortunate to meet yoga at a very early age and my life took let’s say a very healthy direction. Now I teach yoga and tantra, and I am a Gestalt therapist.
Madeiraful: Can you explain to us in just a couple sentences what is Gestalt therapy?
Althea: Gestalt therapy is a form of therapy that helps the client to become more aware of the connection between body, emotions and mind and it encourages him to take responsibility for whatever aspect of life that needs improvement. It also puts light on different patterns of thinking and behaviour that do not serve him but rather limits his development. It is a very efficient form of therapy because the results can be immediate, the client having spontaneous insights, the so called “Aha” moments.
Madeiraful: Okay … thank you. Now lets get back to Madeira. How long are you living on Madeira Island? And do you consider it now as your home?
Althea: I moved here in the end of March 2017 and I definitely consider it my home. I love Madeira so much.
Madeiraful: Why Madeira? What made you choose this place?
Althea: I love sunshine and the green nature, but apart this reason, I feel I have some kind of deep connections with the people here, something I cannot explain. I simply feel home in Madeira.
Madeiraful: What do you think of the Madeiran people (Madeirenses)? What qualities did you noticed in them?
Althea: From the beginning I felt very welcome and so many people helped me to get settled here. I did not know anyone when I moved and still things went so smoothly for me. To me, Madeira seems somehow as a big family, almost everybody knows everybody … and in some ways this is a positive thing but in another way people are afraid to express themselves, to explore new things, to get out of their comfort zone and to be more free. What I appreciate the most is their warm hearts and love for nature.
Madeiraful: How do the locals treat (see) you here on Madeira Island? Do they see you as one of them or as a foreigner?
Althea: Well, until my Portuguese will be fluent I will be seen as a foreigner, I guess. But apart the language issue I feel accepted and appreciated for who I am and my activity here.
Madeiraful: Professionally what is your experience in Madeira? Was it difficult to set up your business?
Althea: It was not easy but it was not difficult either. For long time I am inspired by this quotation “Find a job that you love and you will never work in your life again.” With this attitude I have learned to go through obstacles, to be patient and to do my homework, sort of speaking, and not wait passively for things to work out. It becomes more and more obvious to me that our mind set, our openness to see the bright side of an experience shapes the outcome. So, to answer more direct your question, it´s not so much the exterior conditions that influence your success but rather your determination to bring your service to the world. And on this aspect we all need to improve.
Madeiraful: Madeira is becoming more and more a popular holiday destination. What do you think are the best reasons for someone to include Madeira on their travel list?
Althea: Madeira Island is a treasure. Really. I experienced so many breathtaking moments when going in the nature. And it is so much abundance here, so much generosity: the green, the ocean, the sun, the people, even the rain these days, it is so abundant … honestly it fills me with joy and gratitude every single day to wake up and breathe this air and see the ocean and the mountains at the first step out of my door.
Madeiraful: Althea, tell us about your most favorite and also your least favorite things about Madeira.
Althea: I think I said above already: the abundance, the generosity and the feeling of spatiality, you have great views everywhere you go. The least favorite things … are too insignificant … they do not bother me.
Madeiraful: What is the first thing you would recommend travelers to do when they arrive on Madeira?
Althea: Definitely the mountains and the Levada walks.
Madeiraful: Where do you recommend going for a day trip on Madeira Island?
Althea: Pico do Ruivo it is my favorite, also Ribeiro Frio with the two levada walks Balcoes and Portela, Levada de Moinho, Caldeirao Verde. Or a bath in the natural swimming pools in Porto Moniz. As you can see … you need at least 5-6 days to explore just a bit of what this island has to offer.
Madeiraful: Do you have a place on the island where you feel most comfortable, relaxed or had the most fun? Where is your ‘secret’ place on Madeira?
Althea: hahaha … that is definitely my terrace. I was blessed to find a house with a big terrace, amazing view over the ocean and the city, full exposure to the sun… there I practice yoga and meditation, I have all my meals, I read books or learn Portuguese, sun bath, gardening and there I do my artistic project.
Madeiraful: Lets talk about food: what is your favorite Madeiran food and what you would suggest everyone should try?
Althea: I am vegetarian so if we talk about food, we talk about the amazing fruits Madeira has in abundance: mango grown here is by far my favorite, it is pure heaven, maracuja (passion fruit) and the grapes. I also love all the vegetables, as they are so full of taste here. And going back to the idea of abundance, I never experienced before such variety of ice-creams … it is addictive.
Madeiraful: Any other thing(s) about Madeira that the island visitors should know?
Althea: Yes. They will fall in love with this place and never want to leave. It happened to so many of us.
Madeiraful: Where can our readers find you on the web?
Althea: Well, they just need to google yoga, tantra, gestalt therapy, wellness or massage in Madeira and they will find me. I have a center called The Universe of Inner Alchemy where I offer different services that can help people to relax, to connect more with their body and emotions, to find inner balance and inspire them to search for more clarity and meaning in their lives. I have a website www.madeira-inner-alchemy.com where they can read more about my activity here in Madeira.
Madeiraful: Thanks for sharing your impressions and experiences in Madeira. It is always interesting to find out what people appreciate about this beautiful island.
Althea: It´s true, we all have different lenses through which we see the world and we also have different needs to fulfil. For me Madeira it´s that kind of magic place that has it ALL. Thanks for the opportunity to send out this message.