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Mani is one of the most untouched and stunningly beautiful parts of the Greek Mainland. Enjoy a pristine natural environment of mountains, sea and blue skies in which you can relax and unwind as well as learn and practice yoga. You will be doing your yoga classes at the stunning The Spirit of Life Centre located on Southern Peloponnese among the natural beauty of the olive groves, mountains and sea. This traditional stone building has a stunning 360 view of these wonderful surroundings. There are many wonderful walks, a small town and several beaches nearby.
The accommodation is comprised especially selected apartments and shared villas within walking distance of the studio. The villas have a private swimming pool which are available to all retreatants. The accommodation is also minutes away from and an amazing sea pool known by the locals as Gnospi.
The course room is the entire upper floor of the centre building, with windows on every side providing wonderful views. A smooth wooden floor and many different lighting settings. It was purpose built for holding holistic holiday courses. A large balcony is attached to the course room and there is also a covered pergola that is sometimes used for outside sessions.
You will have an energizing Vinyasa flow class every morning and a restorative / relaxing class every evening, with some gentle pranayama (breath work) or yoga Nidra (deep relaxation). Two themed yoga workshops will also be held during the week, and you will have plenty of time for walks, trips to the beach and exploring the local surroundings.
This yoga retreat will take place in Mani, Peloponnese, Greece. Peloponnese is a magical land full of history: the ancient Amphitheatre of Epidavros, the home of the Olympic games at Olympia, the Byzantium capital Mystras, Spartae and Gythion where Helen left with Paris for Troy. Up to 40 years ago, the only method of travel and commerce into the Mani was by sailing boat. The Backbone of precipitous mountains that stretches the length of the peninsula protects the area like some impenetrable cloak and has kept the people of this region autonomous for over two thousand years.
The holistic holiday centre was built in the traditional Maniot style, using the stone crafted from the land itself. The Spirit of Life centre is located in the area that was ancient Lefkotron. Pausanias, the second century Greek travel writer, recorded that there was a temple dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing, in this area. It was at these healing temples that Therapeutes (the first therapists) used a mind, body and spirit approach to health and healing.
A lovely brunch will be provided every morning at the center after your yoga class. There will also be two complementary evening meals provided in the price. Other evening meals are not included in the price but can be taken at Agios Nikolaos (the local village), just a short walk away, which has some lovely traditional taverns where you can feast on amazing local food for a very good price. All accommodation is also self catering so the option to eat in is also available.
Stoupa, the largest village in the area has three beaches, all very different, Kalogria beach being very beautiful and popular with tourists. The main beach is much longer and has shops and taverns spread along its edge. Finally there is a small, usually quiet beach to the south and several pebbly bays with sandy stretches North of Stoupa.
Although a working port, Kalamata is an attractive town. It has a population of 57,000 and is the capital of the region. You cannot help but be impressed with it, as you sit along the seafront and watch the Taygetos mountains that surround it. The beaches have been awarded European awards for quality. Kalamata has a very relaxed atmosphere with a wonderful Plateia (central square) of cafs where people drink coffee and discuss politics and life.
On the approach south towards the Spirit of Life, the Viros Gorge makes a big cut through the Taygetos Mountains onto the fertile plain of Kardamyli. Home of the travel author Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor for over 50 years. Kardamyli is still a magnet for artists, writers and bohemians.
Summer tourism and harvesting olives in the winter are the main sources of income for the region. Stoupa is a popular but laid back resort. It has four beautiful sandy coves overlooked by the Taygetos Mountains. It was here on Kalogria beach, that the author Nikos Kazantsakis created his immortal character - Zorba the Greek. The resort has some good taverns and Stoupa Beach is an ideal place to stay if you decide to bring family or friends as well. Agios Nikolaos is the village nearest to the resort. It is small but thriving fishing village boasting a handful of harbor side restaurants and cafes and two small supermarkets for the essentials. Idyllic.
Transfer available for additional US$18 per person
You can book flights for Athens Airport (ATH), Patras Airport (GPA) or Kalamata Airport (KLX).
Flights are available from Easy Jet and British Airways directly to Kalamata from Saturdays to Saturday. There are also flights with Thomas Cook that arrive midday on Sunday, so you would miss the first morning session but be in time for the evening session. There are also flights from other UK based airports and Europen destinations.
There are regular daily flights from the UK and Europe to Athens El Venizelos Airport (ATH). There are many routes to Athens from Europe. Easyjet offers cheap flights to Athens from Gatwick if booked in advance. British Airways, Aegean Airlines, KLM airlines and Thomas Cook also have flights to Athens. Olympic airlines offer flights from Manchester and London. Again, book early to secure best prices.
Catch the X93 bus from the El Venizelos Airport (ATH) to Athens Kifissos coach station. There are coaches every hour from Kifissos coach station to Kalamata. The cost is 22 EUR. Coach Company: KTEL, www.ktelmessinias.gr for timetable and bookings.
Coaches from Athens Central Coach Station to Kalamata leave at 06:15, 07:30, 08:45, 10:30 (express) ,11:45, 13:00 (express), 14:15 (this is the coach that connects directly to our local village Agios Nikolaos), 15:30, 16:30 (express), 17:30 and 21:30
From Kalamata coach station to Agios Nikolaos (Spirit of Life), you have buses at 07:00, 13:15 and 18:15.
By sea, you can arrive from Italy and Crete.
There are two ferries per day from Ancona in Italy to Patras. www.superfast.com.
For ferry crossings to Crete from Kalamata or Gytheion to Crete (Kissamos harbour), see http://www.gtp.gr/.
Once in Kalamata, you can catch another bus that will bring you to the Spirit of Life Centre or catch a taxi. The taxi costs 70 EUR. If there are a few of you taking this route, the cost can be shared.