Beyond the Mat

Beyond the Mat is the Azulfit commitment to living our mission – to realise and enable positive change in the world outside the yoga studio – where it counts most. We believe that each movement, however small, made with purpose and positive intent can ripple outwards, and that they have the potential to make a big change within our networks, our communities and for our planet.

What are we doing?

This year we are focusing our energies into our local community, and into supporting four partner charities that are particularly close to our heart. We also are continually working to make our retreats and operations more sustainable and have made this our pledge for 2018. We also think it’s important to help our team, our guests and the wider yoga and Pilates community to get involved.

Our Partner Charities

We have selected charities that are really important to us, that we know are making a difference through sustainable initiatives. We work closely with each charity, to ensure transparency and accountability for all donations. In sharing these charities with you, we hope that we can together build a connected global community, united under common goals.

Scroll down to read more and to donate.

Pay It Forward: Vrinda Foundation

  1. Pay It Forward: Vrinda Foundation

    Azulfit and their recurring Pay it Forward Monday charity meal campaign supports the Vrinda Foundation. Every week our retreat kitchen offers healthy vegetarian evening meal to our guests on a donation basis, and our amazing guests week in week out dig deep and give back. The initiative is the brain child of chef Erika Franciosi, who is our link to the foundation, and their team in India. Year to date we have raised €1637 for the charity.
    €0.00 donated of €463.00 goal

Khusi Hona

Yoga Beats Conflict

  1. Yoga Beats Conflict

    Yoga Beats Conflict is set up to fund teacher trainings and buy supplies for yoga teachers teaching in conflict areas. The charity also pays for travel for yoga elders and teacher trainers to visit these conflict areas and provide workshops. We have raised €783 euros this fall (2017) to contribute to the travel costs of David Sye and his team through sales of our Enlightened Threads Peaceful Warrior clothing line, where all proceeds go to Yoga Beats conflict.
    €0.00 donated of €217.00 goal

Give Back Yoga Foundation

  1. Give Back Yoga Foundation

    Each November we host a donation class and charity meal for the Give Back Yoga Foundation who provide yoga for cancer, yoga for veterans and yoga for prisoners amongst other amazing projects. Their teacher training programs allow yoga teachers and practitioners to bring yoga to underserved communities. Funds raised are put to good use: expanding our mission in the world to boldly bring yoga to unserved populations. We have raised €225 euros to date.
    €0.00 donated of €300.00 goal

Animal Welfare and Animal Rescue

  1. Animal Rescue & Animal Welfare

    Azulfit support island charities including Fuerteventura dog rescue and private citizens rescuing animals, getting them vaccinated, spayed, neutered and adopted at home and abroad. To date we have re-housed 3 animals this year ourselves and raised 900 euros for animal welfare, veterinary bills and charity work and support. Our kitchen also supports sustainable farming practices to contribute to healthy animal welfare in our village. The local goats and donkeys love our Truly Healthy vegetables and fruits!
    €0.00 donated of €200.00 goal

Thank you for helping us and also allowing us to be the highest versions of ourselves through yoga service to others

I wanted to start the work day by taking time out to thank you and your participants in the Yoga Makes Change donation class. Your photo brightened up all of us with a huge smile. Thank you. Your funds raised are put to good use: expanding our mission in the world to boldly bring yoga to unserved populations. Please stay in touch with us, and, again, thank you so very much. This is a personal thank you for helping us and also allowing us to be the highest versions of ourselves through yoga service to others.

Rob Schware, PhD – Executive Director

Just wanted to drop a note to say thanks for a great week last week. Atmosphere at the Villa is great, classes were outstanding. Have been inundated by questions from friends and family in the 24 hours I have been back – I have a feeling you will be seeing some of them later in the year… Thanks again and well done for a professional and friendly experience!

My week at Azulfit was everything I had hoped it would be and then so much more. The whole team are so warm and welcoming, from the instructors, to the chef and on to the masseuse, I felt so well taken care of I couldn’t help but entirely relax. Jamie’s pilates teaching was some of the best I have experienced. His passion and knowledge were infectious and I came away from the week full of new learnings which have helped in my practice since then. I am already planning my next Azulfit retreat and look forward to coming back as soon as I can. Thank you so much to all the team there.

I had an amazing week. Thanks so much to Frauke, Valentina and Alex for teaching their brilliant classes. I really enjoyed staying in Casa Pedro where I had my own space but was only a few minutes away from the villa. Being in a village location helped me to relax more without the distractions of being in a resort. I went home energised and sleeping much better after several years of problems.
I was already practicing yoga before I came over but the week away helped me connect more deeply with all the different aspect of yoga, particularly the Kundalini and the chants and meditations. I got a lot out of that and have brought it home with me. I’m also working even harder on maintaining a healthy diet, soaking my porridge oats and seeds and thinking back to Jo’s course and the food we were given at meal times.

Many, many thanks for a wonderful week of yoga and pilates. We have returned refreshed and revitalised and it feels great! It was such a relief to find accommodation in Casa Pedro that is free from wi-fi – please, please, please can it stay this way. Federico’s yoga instruction was very enjoyable, as was pilates with Jo; the standard of teaching is excellent for both instructors. The food was WONDERFUL – thank you Jo, such variety and interesting flavours, very inspiring, can’t wait for the book to arrive. Thank you also to Frauke for the lovely meditations.

Ciao to you all at Azul team! First of all, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FROM MY HEART! for a truly wonderful wonderful week! In life things that are supposed to happen when you walk your path sometimes comes together in an extraordinary way.
 This is the case for me. This week at Azul confirmed so much within me that I already knew, but needed to see more clearly.
 This has been life changing. My life won’t be the same. In the future, changes are needed and will be done:)

Dear Frauke and Lisa, I just want to let you know that attending the week with you in Fuerteventura has been life changing! Since returning to Lanzarote I have found an amazing teacher in Costa Teguise and I go twice a week and one is two hours and is ashtanga yoga (killer yoga!) I’m really enjoying it and I can feel my body changing already. I’ve been very brave as the class is all in Spanish so although I can’t understand it all, i am doing well because you and your instructors explained everything so well I know why we are doing certain things and have explained this to the teacher. (Also my Spanish will improve!) My many thanks to you and your team and especially Valentina who was so helpful and inspirational. Love Lucy x

My tai chi lessons with Paco exceeded my expectations.  He is a wonderful teacher and  a wonderful person. And his sense of humour was an unexpected bonus. I never thought I would spend so much time laughing in a tai chi class! Yet, at the same time,  working hard, taking the lesson very seriously and making progress in my practice.  All in all a very positive experience.

YOU ROCKED THE MAT! Thanks for making this Jivamukti experience in Fuerteventura a fabulous one and for the relaxed and at the same time challenging Yoga experience you create. Can’t wait to see you and your bunch of Manchester Yogis again!

A full week and a half after returning from Azul: I am amazed that I still feel really refreshed and full of energy, still!! I have, since I’ve been back been to A’s new Pilates class and also ones at the University Sports centre… so I’m keeping up the good work that we started.

You are all fantastic, you made me feel incredibly welcome and I had a great week. Great food, classes and I feel very much refreshed. I would love to come back …

Dear Azul Fit team, This is a long overdue email to thank you all for making my Mum’s and my own stay so enjoyable! We very much enjoyed the island and the house, the warmth of your welcome and of course the quality of the teaching and of the food! As I said before I left, I’m confident that I’ll come back in a not-too-distant future 😉 In the meantime, be well and keep up the great work! Warm regards to the entire team.

From the moment we entered Azul Villa we instantly felt calmer. The retreat has a wonderful energy and ambiance, amazing views that stretch out to sea and each room has an individual theme incorporating amazing colours and textures. Once you step foot inside you never want to leave the peaceful sanctuary they have created. And in fact we only left the villa once a day to walk two minutes into the local village to pick up lunch from the bakery!

I just want to say how consistent the whole operation is, from the delicious food to the excellent Yoga and Pilates lessons. World class is an understatement. I always leave there totally inspired and determined to continue my practice at home every day (which I do).:):):)
I highly recommend Azul if you are looking for relaxation, great Yoga and Pilates and delicious healthy food. You will come away feeling like a new person and ready to face all that is thrown at you once you get back to the rat race…. Namast

What a fantastic holiday! Never having done any yoga before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It has to be said that yoga on the beach has spoilt me a little, but it was honestly the perfect introduction. Liz and Julie were wonderful hosts and provided fabulous breakfasts every day. I’m sure I’ll be back.

Hi all at Azul, Been back a few days now and just wanted to send a message of thanks to everyone for an amazing week! I knew I needed this break, but I don’t think I realised how much until being able to reflect on how much better I feel having returned. I was tired, stressed, stiff and injured … I now feel refreshed, relaxed, supple and healed :). Azul is a little bit of paradise… I loved the classes and the food was incredible!

It just gets better and better! Our fourth visit and the fifth booked already. What I appreciated more than ever this time is the amount of sheer love that goes into Azul. They are such a dedicated team who really think about what they are offering at the deepest level.

Jo, Frauke, Valentina, Luisa, Erika & H. Thank you does not cover the gratitude I have for all of your hard work and true loving kindness that you put into Azul. I came as a solo traveller – my first retreat! – full of the usual trepidation of not knowing what to expect, but these worries were diminished as soon as I met the team and walked into the lush oasis that is Azul. Everything here has been crafted with complete love, from the décor, the food (imagine all of the photos from healthy cook books you’ve lusted over being placed in front of you every night! Jo is a magician with her creative dishes and they are completely accommodating to any intolerance so you never feel strange or different) and the atmosphere they create. Every instructor and employee of Azul has left an irreplaceable imprint (Pilates imprint!) on my heart. I didn’t realise you could feel such love and honest care from strangers and they helped me fully realise the person I’ve always wanted to be. At Azul you can take it as relaxed or energetic as you like. I can guarantee you will never feel sensory numbness, I was constantly learning. The nutritional seminars with Jo are highly recommended and I was introduced to the realm of Ayurveda in a practical every day way which I have now incorporated into my life. Every yoga or meditation session went way beyond my expectations and became such a beautiful experience, if I tried to explain the feeling it would sound like a cliché but through both Valentina and Frauke’s enchanting ways they teach you how to reconnect with the world and yourself and the beauty of simplicity. Valentina is the most special yoga teacher and makes you feel like you are the only one in the room no matter your level. By the end of the week I was doing things I could never imagine! Both pilates and yoga are taught with such knowledge but mostly the time zooms by and you feel uplifted by every session. All classes are suited to beginner to advanced as the teachers home in on everyone as an individual and ensure you get the most of your class. Before I’d even walked out the door to go home Id booked to come back! Azul and my Azul family are so special to me. You will find yourself … and your pelvic floor.

These recipes are so easy and tasty that they immediately built my confidence in my ability to start healing myself through my kitchen. I felt amazing after I finished this detox and I will not be adding any anti-nutrients back into my cupboards or more importantly my body!

I felt so energised after completing this detox that I continued with the recipes for another two days, and I have not gone back to drinking coffee by eating this way my body is naturally light and energetic, I don’t need to add stimulants. When I want to reach for a warm mug, I choose tea or lemon water instead, and I feel so good. My skin is clearer, and I feel happier and more confident at work as well I didn’t expect that the detox benefits would carry over to my job.

I’m fussy – and this was fabulous. Clean, fresh, nutritious… Please can we have it every day?!? Organic homemade bread, delicious dips. All food lovingly prepared by our beautiful gentle hostess. Well done Jo!

If you are looking for an holistic retreat where you can be nourished physically, emotionally and spiritually, this is the place for you. The meals are locally and ethically sourced and prepared by Jo and her dedicated team. Meals are vegetarian and on our retreat, because lots of us were vegan, the centre catered for this with great ease. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff and the whole retreat is ably run by Lisa and Frauke.

The food was simply amazing and prepared with so much love and attention to detail. I’ll miss being so well fed.

Always fresh, always delicious, always healthy! Thank you for making my week a culinary joy as well!

What a joy to be served with the tastiest freshest food every time – a real revelation in terms of vegetarian meals.

It was wonderful to have such well-made, healthy meals to complement the Azul classes and lifestyle. Every meal was energizing, satisfying and made with love.

Amazing food, healthy and nutritious. And it has inspired me to be more creative at home.

Thank you so much for the absolutely wonderful food, amazing tastes and flavours. I feel quite cleansed and healthy and will endeavor to continue this regimen when I return home.

To all lovely people at Azul,

This is my 3rd year with Azulfit and I never usually come to the same place twice, so it speaks for itself.

We all had an amazing week – the group, the staff, the classes, were absolutely superb!!  Not forgetting the amazing food.

Emma and Sara are such talented instructors, I’ve learnt a lot from them. Thank you Sara for such a powerful practice – a great way to start the new year. I feel recharged to face the world again.

Here’s to new friendships, new dreams and a new year. Namaste.

Dear Liz, Claire, Valeria, Andrea, Sara, Adele and Emma,

Thank you all so much for making my time at Azul so special, healthy, happy, healing and complete!!!

Liz – you are so great at what you do. You immediately made me feel welcome and relaxed! Your unique mixture of fun, easy-going and confident is truly special! Don’t ever change!

Valeria – your food was to die for! But made me never want to die so I could keep eating it forever! Thank you for the blanket – you are such a sweet caring person, but also so strong!

Claire – you’re a wonderwoman! Best, best, best of luck with the Saharan race and with Prince Harry! Your food was also dreamy and divine!

Andrea – thank you for breakfast and all your help!

To the teachers – you guys were an amazing balance! Some of the best teachers I’ve ever had! Keep on keeping on!

Lots of love

Thank you all very much – what a wonderful week of sunny vibes and relaxation – an inspiring start to 2016! Loved the classes, the food, the beautiful home and the people.


Thank you all very much for helping me in the best way possible; to change my habits and really want to take care of my health again. See you! 

Dear Team Azul!

Thank you for such an amazing week full of brilliant, yoga, Pilates and relaxation, laughter … and AMAZING food!

We’ve had a brilliant time – you all do a brilliant job – thank you!

This is a professional outfit. The yoga and meditation instruction was first class with a range of approaches and styles. The teaching was demanding yet tailored to individual need and the group sizes enabled the teachers to give some help. The kundalini teacher is out of this world.
The (Lotus Retreat) is new and whilst I didn’t stay there, I ate breakfast every morning there and dinner (twice)… Unbelievably gorgeous home made vegan food, sumptuous breakfasts and dinners, beautifully and loving prepared and presented. The staff are all really right on and helpful.
The massage therapist deserves a Nobel prize.
This was my first yoga retreat, it won’t be my last and Azulfit will be top of my search list.
Om mani padme hum.

Dear Azul Team,

In 2014 I was really sick – and I had to make big decisions – and I went to spend one week with you guys in Fuerteventura and this week has helped me so much – you would not believe. I absolutely recommend AzulFit to everybody in my life because I just loved it.

Everything is fine now and I have completely changed my life. I became a Yoga Teacher myself, finally opened up my own Nutrition Business which I had planned for over 10 year and live a happy and positive life with my husband and little daughter.

Last time I went to AzulFit was 2011, and I loved it so much I knew I’d go back! This is the perfect getaway for a solo traveller who is feeling a little frazzled and needs a week of rest and relaxation. The truly amazing thing for me is the other guests. They are always the most awesome people, and if you have any concerns about travelling alone and what type of people will be there then don’t. Even in just a week you’ll make the kind of friends that will last a lifetime.
Also, if you’re not sure you are “yoga” enough, don’t worry. There are people at all levels including complete beginners and I think I may have actually flunked the meditation session (how did that make you feel? well my legs were sore and I opened my eyes and wondered if anyone else needed to pee or if it was just me).
All in all Azul Fit is the perfect place to relax, unwind, sunbathe, kick start a healthier diet or yoga practice, inspire you to living a healthier life back home, make friends… if you’re not sure…just book! You won’t regret it 🙂

I really can’t think of anything to say about Azul – except how wonderful it was.

I travelled alone and was slightly apprehensive at how the week would be, but it completely exceeded my expectations. The staff are wonderfully helpful and friendly, my room was great and I made some great friends over the week.

Our group ranged in yogic abilities, but the teachers catered to all levels and felt really stretched over the course of the week.

I miss my beach yoga – I’ll definitely be back. Thank you so much.

My time at Azul was perfect and I can’t wait to go back again. I attended the Pilates week. From the twice daily Pilates classes with Jamie, to the villa (inside and out), delicious food and amazing staff, I can’t say more great things! From the moment I walked in the door the staff made me feel like I was at home- a very beautiful, relaxing, energizing and comfy home.  Highly recommend. There was plenty of time during the day in between classes with Jamie to enjoy the island of Fuerteventura. Staff organized transfers to local beaches and a walk/hike around a volcano. Lisa and Karissa were also so great in helping to set me up with a snorkeling trip one afternoon (the ocean is beautiful there so make sure to get in it!). Food prepared by Jo was healthy, vegetarian and yummy! I still miss the daily homemade bread but bought a copy of Jo’s cookbook so have been working on attempting to replicate some of the dishes. Lastly, the Pilates. Jamie is a terrific knowledgeable instructor and I can’t wait to learn from him again somewhere in the world. I’ve been keeping up with his DVD and youtube videos. We had a fairly large group of 16 and Jamie was able to get to know everyone’s skills and areas to work on very quickly in order to provide us with individualized attention, even in a class of 8 or 16. I came home feeling stronger and fitter.

Overall, the trip was an absolutely amazing experience for me. Traveling as single woman from New York, I was hesitant as to what the to expect and how it would be, but honestly the week at Azul exceeded my expectations. I met amazing people from all over Europe and came home feeling relaxed and content (and yes, I was the only American and would very much recommend for more to make the journey over! Over night flight to Madrid and then transfer flight to Fuerteventura- very doable.)

If you need some time without distractions…
if you fancy a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere…
If you’re in need nourishment, both inside and out…
then Villa Azul has the perfect balance…be refreshed, be renewed!

To the Azul team

You put so much love into what you do, and that’s what makes it such a special experience.  The Venue is beautiful, so many careful and pretty details.  The teaching is passionate and attentive, the food is divine so colorful and so many flavors, nourishing and as a vegan I felt catered for and will recommend to many of my vegan friends and family, we will definitely want to return.


A limerick

Pilates and yoga are splendid,

They leave your arms and legs and mind all extended

So come to Azul

Where the staff are so cool

And leave tended, and mended and bended.

To the Azul team, a huge thank you for the wonderful teaching and delicious food and the company of such a lovely group of likeminded people   (from Mr and Mrs Morocco)




Letting Go




A place to breathe, the time to pause, a healing hug, a community of love, the wisdom of teachers, the courage of students, the joyous vibe, I feel alive.

Turning back the pages and looking back at who I was when I last came here for the first time, I am surprised at how much I’ve grown again , on how many things have changed,  how my attitude has changed, how I have grown.  True for each New Year, true for each year spent at Azul, every time I am learning more how to let go, how to be grateful for the little things in life… how to take care of myself a little better. I truly enjoyed every minute in this special place, soaked in positive energy, thank you to each and every one of the team for giving their best to make our stay as memorable as possible, i can’t wait to come back…

To come full of promise and to find a way to live well and leave feeling confident and happy to make a new life of wellbeing, surpassed my optimism for what would I would get out of the week at Azul. There is something very special about this place and most of all the people. Amazing practices while full of humor and being down to earth,  Thank you so much to everyone who makes the Azul team and to the other participants who created such wonderful memories.

Thank you for providing a place to just “Be” a time for reflection, for growth, for self care, loving each moment and healing every moment. Thank you to Valentina for sincerity and passion for yoga and for sharing this with us this week, a living expression of kindness what a wonderful group of people. So happy to have met you all.

Thank you for an amazing week, time has definitely slowed down and every moment has been a delight. From the warm hug on arrival we have been made very welcome by every member of the team, I feel so well rested.

Heida Reed Testimonial‘I went to Azulfit at a time in my life where I needed time to myself to reflect and heal. Their place was the perfect place to do that. It’s beautiful, peaceful and the combination of Yoga, Pilates, Reiki, massage, great company and delicious vegetarian food was just what I needed. I can’t wait to go back!’

– Heida Reed (Star of BBC’s Poldark)

It’s difficult to find a more mindful and relaxing place and in terms of the quality of the classes and the food at Azulfit Surya retreat it is right up there with other famous retreats. Everything and everyone at Surya will make you feel at ease, meaning you will have no stress unless you create it yourself! It’s just a lovely place, whether it’s your first yoga and Pilates retreat or you’re a seasoned yogi. You will meet lovely people and get a chance to spend your time with them or fly solo if you prefer.

Dear Azulfit Team,
Just a quick note, that I had a fab time on Santorini. Having the energetic trio of  Frauke, Jo and Valentina around with us filled with great laughter, fun and of course fantastic courses made this holiday very special.
Many thanks and I hope to return soon again.
best wishes

I spent a week at Azulfit’s Yoga and Pilates retreat in March. This is the first time I’ve ever been on a retreat and it was such a restorative experience I’m going to make it a regular part of my year.

I was interested mainly in the Pilates which was amazing. The instruction throughout the week was clear and informed and tailored perfectly to the very mixed ability within the group. I was amazed at the progression I made through the moves from beginner to intermediate in just a week, and can really feel and see the difference in my core strength.

This coupled with the varied range of yoga classes allowing me to experience different types of yoga and teaching and make a decision as to the type that suits me best, the teachers are so skilled and experienced you come away feeling a real benefit on so many levels.

The environment is calm and meditative with the most amazing food and staff, all combining to really set me up for a very busy year. I often refer my patients to Pilates and Yoga and Azulfit is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in both.
Teresa Harvey Bsc Hons (Ost) RGN Neuro

I wanted to start the work day by taking time out to thank you and your participants in the Yoga Makes Change donation class. Your photo brightened up all of us with a huge smile. Thank you. Your funds raised are put to good use: expanding our mission in the world to boldly bring yoga to unserved populations. Please stay in touch with us, and, again, thank you so very much. This is a personal thank you for helping us and also allowing us to be the highest versions of ourselves through yoga service to others.

Karissa and Jamie,
David and I feel totally overwhelmed by your continued support for our projects in the Middle East, your belief in us is humbling, we are so full of love for you guys…..

Your fund raising last year (2017) meant that we were able to return in November, and continue the teacher training program with the Palestinians. The money covered our airfares and our safe transport in and out of The West Bank. The last 2 years have been tough for the YOGA BEATS CONFLICT fund, leaving David and I to self finance the project so that it could continue. So as you can imagine the generosity of your recent donations have made an amazing difference to the project financially.

We are looking ahead to a very exciting 2018, hopefully culminating with our ultimate goal for the year, starting the final Step of teacher training, with an aim for graduation in 2019 for our group of Palestinians. Their 7 year YogaBeats journey and dream of teaching Yogabeats finally happening ……

With Love… David Sye & Sarah Stephen

Hello Karissa & Rachel,

First and foremost thank you so much for all you have done to help secure this women’s empowerment project in Goa. We simply could not have done it with out you two and all your love!

Right now, with all your donations we have covered:
2 – Sewing Machine with motors
1 – Serger with motor
6 – Girls Tailoring Sponsorship through December 2018

We have met our initial goal of setting this project up through the end of the year! WOO HOO! 🙂 It means so much to the girls. You have no idea!!! 🙂

Our goal now is to collect donations to go towards additional supplies, material, scissors, thread etc.

As the year goes by we will have reports on the progress of the girls. And research how we can expand on their trainings and education to secure their futures.  We are on the cusp on such amazing change and hope for these young women!

We are heading to North India in early March to set up a similar women’s empowerment project in Dehradun. So many wonderful things!

One community at a time.
All my love,

Beyond-the-mat blog

Find out more about our past beyond-the-mat projects on the blog