Yoga retreat in Crete 2019 The Alchemy of Yoga
by Sylvia Ismail, student in Crete
Crete, early September: Eight of us, almost all from the UK, are together exploring yoga under the sensitive and expert guidance of Rosie. Sessions are outdoors, against a backdrop of majestic hills, and shafts of luminous sunlight filter through olive trees, breezes rustlie leaves, cicadas and birds are all around.
It’s an idyllic setting to take time out to work on core strength, balancing our energy, stepping further and deeper along the path of yoga. And maybe such extended moments are ever more necessary in these uncertain times: How else are we going to face the world?
We pay special attention to grounding ourselves, feeling our connection with the Earth, exploring the three arches of the feet as our base; and to standing tall, extending upwards towards Heaven, sensing our connection through the crown of the head, Sahasrara Chakra.
Inner strength is developed by working on the bandhas –especially mula and uddiyana - and tending the inner fire (agni), bringing all together in agni sara, or essence of fire.
Morning exercises are on a paved terrace by the pool, afternoon sessions in a clearing among olive trees above the villa. Here, connection with the earth takes on a new meaning as we absorb the warmth held by the ground beneath us, the sun and breezes touching our skin.
New postures are added to the sun salutation, surya namaskar, stretching some of us beyond the normal routine. We work on a second sequence, saluting the earth, changing direction on the mat, facing the points of the compass, extending ourselves further.
The upper studio has a labyrinth nearby, designed by Rosie and her team, and traced in stones on the ground. Referencing Crete’s ancient story of Theseus and the Minotaur, it is there for us to explore the inner self and our relation to the external world, and to continue our individual path to personal transformation.
Villa Talos is an ideal setting for our journey, surrounded by nature on a steep hillside near the southern seaside town of Paleochora. It is tranquil and lovely. Meals beneath the vines shading the terrace are wonderfully catered by Roger, working with the team at a local restaurant. It’s a chance to try Cretan home cooking, rich with fresh vegetables and fruit, olive oil and cheeses. There are local specialities: Honey from the hillsides, bergamot preserve, for example.
And there’s ample time to chill by the pool; or to discover beaches nearby, at Paleochora and – further afield – Elafonisi, with its pink sands and turquoise waters, for a blissful day out.
We set off through the countryside one afternoon, coming across the village of Azogires where a delightful waterfall and pool offer cool refreshment in the midday heat, and going on to visit a medieval Byzantine church, its walls covered with frescoes. Another afternoon is spent botanizing on the hillside, where wildflowers abound – from borage to myrtle, dittany to verveine. A visit in springtime would seem promising….
And the yoga journey? We have taken more steps along the path with a wonderful teacher and guide. Not yet a sense of completion for most of us, but we know we are on the way.
UPCOMING YOGA HOLIDAY IN CRETE (see Sylvia's article above)
With BWY Tutor Rosie Wright
A fabulous opportunity to enjoy yoga and sun on the historic island of Crete
Villa Talos, Nr Palaiochora, Southern Crete
We can design a tailor-made workshop or retreat for your needs, either at
Red House Studio or on your site.
“Rosie’s way of communicating complex new ideas with clarity and detail is fantastic.”
Graduate BWYQ Diploma 2015
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