Ashtanga Yoga Tree was founded by Gonçalo Alcântara in 2010.
The passion for nature was decisive while choosing this place. The green color is dominant in the surroundings because of Monsanto forest and it’s round shape pine trees. The nature’s five elements seem to be better balanced: the heat (agni=fire) generated by the yoga practice, the leading breath (vayu=air), being closer to the river/ ocean (jala=water), as well as to the forest (prithvi=earth), under an infinite and open sky (akasha=ether).The natural connection to the Tree of Yoga also influenced our choice. There are eight limbs (disciplines) that give name to the this system (in Sanskrit ashta = eight; anga = limbs; yoga = union).
Gonçalo was born on April 1976 in Lisbon. He found yoga at the age of 27, while recovering from a shoulder injury that result from a wipeout when surfing.
It was through a friend, with whom he practiced for a few months, that he got to know about Tarik Van Prehn. This was the year when Tarik had received his blessing to teach from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (Guruji).
It was with Tarik, that in January 2004, Gonçalo really starts his Ashtanga Yoga journey.
After two and a half years of practicing intensively (also studying more than once with Rolf Naujokat and Matthew Sweeney), Gonçalo is asked to assist his teacher. It is by the end of 2006 that he travels to the (at that time called) Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, in Mysore, Índia, where he stays for three months to learn with Guruji, assisted by his daughter Saraswati and his grandson R. Sharath.
Since that time that Gonçalo travels very often to Mysore, to maintain his learning process. At the same time Gonçalo studies with Mark Darby and Chuck Miller with the purpose of deepening his knowledge in yoga techniques, and this two masters are the ones who mostly influence the way he teaches today.
In 2007 he launches the first daily Mysore Yoga program in the center of Lisbon.
In 2010, as a result of a continuous search for a place closer to nature, founds Ashtanga Yoga Tree (Monsanto, Lisboa).
After many years of dedicated practice and trips to Mysore, in 2011 he earned a Level 2 Authorisation from the source of Ashtanga Yoga, allowing him to officially teach the traditional Ashtanga method.
In 2016 Gonçalo attends the “Special Course for Teachers” in Mysore. Since then he is introduced by his teacher Sharath Jois to Advanced A series, and starts to learn the advanced pranayama techniques.
With over 16 years maintaining a daily practice Gonçalo tries to always keep a beginner’s mind on his approach to the yoga mat.
Diana was born on August 1983 in Cascais. Since her childhood until today she has taken her taste for sports and Body Movement. She practiced sports activities like Gymnastics, Swimming, Volleyball and Surfing.
She found Yoga at the age of 21, searching for a physical and emotional balance after she passed a hard and fragile health period, where she faced a surgery at the age of 19. This step represents a definite milestone that will change her forever, her lifestyle and also her food habits.
Yoga has proved to be a practice tool for her life, a way to stay whole, keep focused and aware of her body, mind and spirituality.
Between 2005 and 2013 she practiced Hatha Yoga in some places in Lisbon, therefore she had some contact with other Yoga systems before deciding her Ashtanga Yoga path.
In 2012 she completed the 1st year of a Yoga Teachers Course (which would lead her to a full 4 years program) conducted by Federação Portuguesa de Yoga in a partnership with FMH (Faculdade de Motricidade Humana) but she decided to give up because of her permanent displeasure and search for a method which would fulfil her completely.
It was in 2013, still attending the Yoga Teachers Course that Diana found the Ashtanga Yoga method in Ashtanga Yoga Tree. It was there that she had learned full Primary Series and continues learning nowadays (now Intermediate Series) by traditional way with Gonçalo Alcântara, Authorised Teacher Level 2 by KPJAYI, Mysore, Índia. She also had the opportunity to study with Certified Teachers, such as Peter Sanson, Chuck Miller, Lúcia Andrade and Mark Darby.
In 2015 she travels to Mysore for the first time and studies under Sharath Jois’s guidance at the KPJAYI. After returning from Mysore she was invited to be Gonçalo Alcântara’s assistant at Ashtanga Yoga Tree, observing daily his students and learning how to adjust and teach following the Parampara method of Ashtanga Yoga.
In 2016 Diana traveled once more to study two more months with Sharath Jois in KPJAYI.
When she is teaching beginners or assisting at the shala she always like to believe that she is sharing with others what had been taught to her, keeping always present the same surrender and devotion for this loving way of practicing Yoga.