Nourish body, heart and soul in Southern Morocco


Roots of JoyThe Roots of Joy, a magical 10-day eco holiday in southern Morocco from Saturday 10th – Tuesday 20th November 2018, offers a rich mix of rejuvenation, cultural immersion and spiritual adventure amid the spectacular landscapes of this warm land and people.

Led by natural happiness writer Alan Heeks, who specialises in helping people grow their wellbeing and resilience learning from nature, and Jilani Cordelia Prescott, a leader of Sufi wisdom workshops and sacred dance teacher, this journey of inner and outer adventure combines an enlivening holiday with a restorative retreat, complete with meditation, dance and inspiring Sufi practices.

The journey is orchestrated by the Green Key certified Holidays with Heart which supports a number of inspiring local community, crafts and conservation projects, all available for visiting. Run by an Englishwoman, Jane Bayley, who is passionate about sustainability and Moroccan culture, Holidays with Heart ticks all the green boxes, and is supported by friendly local staff throughout all trips.

Taking in three beautiful locations, The Roots of Joy journey comprises of six nights in the ancient market town of Taroudant, two nights in the Sahara desert and two nights in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. While in Taroudant, guests will stay at the award-winning La Maison Anglaise, an ethically run guest house with friendly local staff and nutritious, locally sourced food. Well away from the tourist crowds, this charming walled town with its beguiling souks, enjoys the best winter climate in Morocco due to its southerly setting in the fertile Souss Valley.

On the outer adventure of this journey you’ll be immersed in local Moroccan life and culture, with plenty of opportunities to share music and food with the local Berber people, to talk, sing and dance with them, and be inspired by their innate capacity for joy, and their connectedness to each other and the land they live on.

Inner adventures, offered optionally, include learning how to tend to your inner ecosystem drawing on parallels with nature (e.g. feeding your roots and composting stress) and accessible Sufi practices bringing nourishment and connection – from dynamic breath practices, sacred dance and chanting, to Kindness and Gratitude practice and Zikr (ritualised prayer recital).  There will also be space for solo time and reflection in the mountains and desert.

Alan Heeks says: “I’ve been fortunate to visit North Africa many times, and I’m always struck by the quality of real personal contact with the local people whose daily lives embody the roots of joy, through their connection to the Earth, the sacred and each other. It’s humbling to realise how badly we in the ‘developed’ West need reminding of these basic qualities.

“So much in modern UK life pulls us into technology, individual needs and materialism. A combination of holiday and retreat, this trip is a chance to see how to deepen your roots in nature, community, and your own joie de vivre, and to try various Sufi practices which Jilani Cordelia and I find helpful for navigating of our busy daily lives and work. And mid-November is an ideal time to escape the UK’s cold weather and get some winter sun!”

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