Suryalila Yoga Retreat Centre

Meet the Suryalila Team!

Vidya Jacqueline Heisel – Director & Founding Partner

Vidya Jacqueline Heisel, E-RYT 500, SYT, is the Director of Suryalila Retreat Centre and the Director of Frog Lotus Yoga International Yoga Teacher Training Programmes.

Vidya grew up in England, and lived in India, Bali and the USA, before arriving in southern Spain in 2011. Yoga has been Vidya’s life-long passion. She started studying, practicing and teaching yoga in 1975 and since then has taught yoga extensively worldwide. After founding Frog Lotus Yoga Studio in Massachusetts in 2002, Vidya created a comprehensive Yoga Teacher Training programme, which she has taught at retreat centres around the world. Vidya currently runs most of her Yoga Teacher Training Programmes, retreats and holidays at Suryalila, where she resides. Vidya’s other interests include nutrition, gourmet vegetarian cooking and interior design, all of which she joyfully expresses at Suryalila. Vidya was one of the founding partners of Suryalila. She oversees the running of Suryalila and upholds and manifests the vision.


Harry Dijkshoorn – Centre Manager

Harry, who is Dutch by birth, has eleven years experience managing spiritual centres around the world. He has practiced meditation for thirty-six years and has led meditation and spiritual discussion groups globally. He is also a trained trauma psychotherapist and body-worker. Harry is multilingual, speaking Dutch, English, Spanish, French and German. He lives at Suryalila with his wife Mirella and his lovely free-spirited daughter, Leela. Harry takes care of the running of the property and guest services.

Lisa Dunn - Assistant Centre Manager

Lisa is right hand woman to Harry, our centre Manager.  She hails from London where she worked for many years as a TV producer for the BBC making factual and documentary programmes.  She is one of our film makers here when she isn’t running around shooing escaped goats back to their paddock and other such tasks to ensure the smooth running of the centre!  She is also a yoga teacher - trained by Vidya’s Frog Lotus Yoga and she regularly teaches our morning classes.

Tanea Garcia - Assistant Manager/ Accountant

Staff members suryalila

The lovely Tanea is a local from Prado del Rey. She is very spirited and fun and is helping many of us to learn Spanish. She studied book keeping in Cadiz. She takes care of our accounts and is our indispensible liaison with Spanish bureaucracy.

Alice Winborn - Office Manager

Alice is from  Somerset, England. She first moved to Seville in 2008 to study Spanish and has been back and forth ever since! She has previously taught English in Spain and has also worked in the publishing industry in London. She is now overseeing bookings and guest admin at Suryalila. She loves the beautiful countryside surrounding Suryalila and is looking forward to exploring more of Andalucia!

Lidiya Petkova - PA to our CEO Vidya & Marketing

Lidiya - Marketing & PA

She is the personal assistant of our CEO Vidya. Lidiya has a background in International Tourism Management and is very excited to be at Suryalila contributing with her marketing & product development skills. She has beed trained with Frog Lotus Yoga and  is one of our on site Vinyasa Flow Yoga teachers. She organises the Adventure and Yoga Retreats here at Suryaila. Her classes are vigorous and energising, and at the same time balanced with more gentle and calming sequences, making them accessible to everyone. She is also our onsite photographer and will be glad to capture beautiful memories of your group.

Gemma Russell - Head Chef

Gemma Russel - Head Chef

Gemma is from Brighton in England. She is a classically trained chef with seemingly no end to her creative talents. She has worked in kitchens all over the world and brings this knowledge of ethnic cuisines into the Suryalila kitchen. Gemma is passionate about whole foods and ensuring that her meals both look and taste amazing!

Caroline Hiller - Chef

Caroline Hiller - Chef

Originally from Germany, Caroline first moved to Spain in 2010 to work as a raw food chef in an organic vegetarian hotel. She later moved to Langkawi, Malaysia, where she ran a healthy food cafe and her own catering service for raw and vegetarian food called Balini. She is a very talented and creative chef and we are very lucky to have her on our team.

Tamzin Canniffe - Chef & Yoga Teacher

Tamzin was born in Australia but grew up in Co. Cork. She's worked as a chef for 20 years in a wide variety of restaurants and cafes around the world is such places as Vancouver, San Francisco, Sydney, Perth but mostly at home in Ireland. She especially loves to cook with fresh organic and seasonal produce so abundantly available here in Andulusia. Luckily for Suryalila, her love of food, travel, yoga and sunshine brought her to Suryalila in May 2015 and she's been here ever since.
Tamzin is also a talented yoga teacher. She trained with Frog Lotus Yoga here and teaches regular morning classes.

Kate Cambell – Chef

Kate is the newest member of the team at suryilila. Before coming to Spain she worked as a chef at a macrobiotic yoga retreat in central Portugal.  She has a passion for healthy eating and creating delicious vegan /vegetarian food.

Mirella Staveren- Manager of Suryalila’s Shakti Boutique

Shakti Boutique at Suryalila

Mirella, also Dutch, is our vivacious shopkeeper and her natural zest for adventure is reflected in the many unique and charming gifts that you’ll find for sale in our wonderful Shakti boutique. Before coming to live in  southern Spain, Mirella pioneered a wonderful alternative spiritual centre in the midst of orthodox Jerusalem, which served as an oasis for many. She is married to our Centre Manager Harry. They live at Suryalila with their beautiful and mischievous daughter, Leela.

Thai Massage Therapist

Thai Massage Suryalila

When you are in Suryalila, don't miss to experience the heavenly Thai Massage treatment with our talented Rosa!

''My massage style is deeply relaxing, a kind of mindful meditation where you breathe and unwind.

You simply focus on letting go and surrendering to your own body’s needs. I tune into and follow your body’s natural flow and where there is a blockage I aim to release it gently. Thai massage can be likened to a meditative dance or a river meandering down a valley.''

Rosa has been offering massage since 2011, starting with a Spanish “quiromasaje” technique, based in biomechanics. In 2016 she discovered and studied Traditional Thai Massage which added another dimension to her touch.

Deep Tissue Massage Therapist

Massage Therapy at Suryalila

One of our massage therapists on site, Jayne Doyle is the creator of The Quiet Way, a therapeutic approach to bodywork, specialising in trauma release. her massage therapy pays attention to the unspoken words within our bodies and to that place where we have become stuck or frozen in our primitive responses to painful life events, or those we have inherited.

Jayne offers Craniosacral Bodywork, Deep Tissue Massage
Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and Reiki.

Manuel - Beloved Gardener & Handyman

Suryalila Retreat Centre Organic Garden

Manuel is from the local town of Prado del Rey has been at Suryalila, since the beginning, having worked at La Fabrica before staying on to help out at Suryalila. He has loved the project from the beginning and takes great care of our gardens as well as doing painting and any other odd job we need a handy guy for. Manuel is one of the few Spanish staff at Suryalila who loves the food we serve here and enjoys eating with us.

Jacob – Head of Permaculture Project

Jacob is our hardworking permaculture wizard. After having worked with permaculture extensively in South America he settled at Suryalila. he is currently growing a food forest. Meanwhile, he is busy creating a nursery, a bigger composting project and working on landscaping.

Encarni - Our Amazing Head Housekeeper

Encarni manages the housekeeping at Suryalila. She is from Prado del Rey and has been at Suryalila since the beginning. She was our first local employee. You will see her busy around the property keeping everything beautiful and clean. She always has a smile for you, even though she has one of the hardest jobs at Suryalila

Thea Telford - Mural Designer of the OM Dome

Thea Telford at Suryalila Yoga Retreat

Thea is the creative heart of Suryalila.  She created the design for the murals of the inner walls of the OM Dome.
Much of the inspiration for the current mural project is taken from Theas long time interest in Eastern culture. This includes elements of the Tibetan Buddhist Art Form ''Tangoka'' which she studied on her last visit to India.

Experience the Magic of Suryalila!
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