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Yoga and walking are a wonderful combination and complement each other perfectly. This is a chance to combine daily yoga classes with exploration of a rarely visited area of the Balkans, and also experience Bulgarian hospitality and delicious Bulgarian cuisine. The holiday consists of two yoga classes per day, morning and afternoon, combined with a variety of daily walks in the locale that include local sites of interest as well as stunning nature.
Guesthouse Kadishevi is located in the village of Banite, deep within the Rhodope Mountains. Comfortable single rooms are provided, with two rooms sharing a bathroom. All rooms are non-smoking. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the building.
Although not a retreat in the traditional sense, the idea is that by blending yogic practice with walks in nature people will be given the real opportunity to de-stress and recharge. To this end Yoga Nidra or deep relaxation will always be a component of the afternoon sessions. The style of yoga is Satyananda Yoga, a style that consists of not only postures (asana) but also includes other aspects such as breathing practices (pranayama) and simple relaxation/meditation techniques.
Day 1: Transfer from Sofia / Plovdiv to Banite village, short afternoon walk. After the short meet and greet session and lunch, you will enjoy a mild walk introducing you to the village of Banite and its surroundings. This will be followed by a followed by short yoga class, dinner and early night.
*Day 2: Eco Trail Vishevo - Galabovo - Devil’s bridge. You will visit one of the most impressive architectural masterpieces from the Middle Ages in the Rhodopes: the Devil's Bridge. Built between 1515 - 1518 upon the remains of an ancient Roman bridge on the road linking the Aegean region with Northern Thracian valley through the Makaza pass. The bridge is situated 420 meters above sea level and is surrounded on both sides by steep slopes. The bridge is 56 m\meters long with its highest point being 12 m. We will reach this landmark via the Eco Trail Vishevo - Galabovo - Devil’s bridge.
*Day 3: Soskovcheto Reserve / Eco Trail Waterfall Canyon. You will travel to Soskovcheto Reserve, known more as the Waterfall Canyon, situated just outside the town of Smolyan. Here we will follow an Eco Trail up the Elenska River. The highest point of the trail is at about 1,800 m above sea level. The area is enchanting with a great number of water cascades forming into systems of various waterfalls, the highest of them at 68 m is called "Orpheus". Along the trail we cross several beautiful wooden bridges. Our picnic lunch will be at one of the many places for rest around the canyon.
*Day 4: Zagrazhden Eco Trail. Today, you will visit Zаgrаzhdеn vіllаgе, ѕіtuаtеd 1300m аbоvе ѕеа lеvеl оn thе bоrdеr bеtwееn the Wеѕtеrn аnd Еаѕtеrn Rhоdореѕ. Тhе есо trаіl іѕ vеrу bеаutіful wіth mаnу impressive wooden bridges, and rocky paths оvеr thе Zаgrаzhdеn rіvеr. Тhеrе аrе numеrоuѕ wаtеrfalls, thе bіggеѕt of which are the "Сhіѕtіlіѕhtеtо" (Рurgаtоrу) аnd "Коzаrnіkа". The trail climbs high and allows a beautiful view of the mountains and the forest around.
*Day 5: Monyak Medieval fortress. Today you will take a trip to the village of Shiroko Pole. From here, take a walk to Monyak fortress (586m above sea level) via a not very steep road. The fortress played an important historical role due to its strategic location and is one of the highest and largest Medieval fortresses in the Rhodopes, with a protected walled area of 50 hectares. The ruins are impressive but even more amazing is the gorgeous view of the dam below, as well as the view of local towns and villages. We then head down towards the longest cable bridge in Bulgaria (260 m), connecting the village Lisitsite (the Foxes) with the rest of the world.
*Day 6: Yeni Khan Baba Sanctuary - Peak Freedom. Yeni Khan Baba Teke (tomb) is located at the very top of Momchil summit, over Davidkovo village, where, according to myths, is the tomb of Enihan Baba or Jenny Khan (from Turkish "new master-father") - a legendary Turkish hero. To reach the stone sarcophagus is a climb of 609 steps. At the top are stunning views over all of the Rhodope mountains, up to the border with Greece.
*Day 7: Banite / Wonderful bridges / Plovdiv / Sofia. On the last day, you will explore one of the most spectacular natural rock phenomena - the Wonderful Bridges (1.5 hours). It is assumed that the formation was once a cave which probably collapsed as a result of an earthquake. The river affected the fallen rocks, and formed the two beautiful marble bridges. This brings an end to the time together and will be followed by the return journeys to Plovdiv/Sofia.
The classes will be led by Achyutananda (from the UK) who is an official emissary of the Bihar School of Yoga, India. With more than 25 years experience teaching and conducting courses and seminars around the world for a diversified audience, he conveys a depth and understanding of yoga that is both practical and accessible to all.
Banite (literal translation ‘the baths’) is a small village, located in the heart of the Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria. Rarely visited by Western Europeans, the Rhodope Mountains are the greenest and most picturesque of the Bulgarian mountain ranges. Being the oldest mountains in the Balkans Peninsula, the Rhodope Mountains combine physical beauty with pure spirit and soul and so act as the perfect location for a yoga and walking retreat holiday.
Traditional Bulgarian vegetarian meals will be provided and you will have the chance to experience regional specialties made using fresh, and mainly organic, local produce.
Located close to the guesthouse is a hot mineral spring which, according to legend, dates back to Roman times. This natural spring's unique healing capabilities define it as one of its kind in Bulgaria. The local bath center, which is the largest one on the Balkan Peninsula, offers different spa treatments ranging from bathing to full massage. Appointments can be arranged at additional cost.
You can arrive in either Sofia or Plovdiv. You should plan to arrive at least the day before the holiday begins (a list of suitable hoteks/hostels can be provided if required). You will be picked up on the first day of the holiday as per the schedule below from a pre-arranged location and then taken to Banite village. The exact location for the pick-up will be provided once reservation is confirmed. For the return journey, you will be dropped off at the same location.