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8 Days Ultimate Mindfulness Yoga Retreat in Greece

  • Urania Villas, Vassiliki, Lefkada, Greece


Greece Mindfulness Yoga Retreat

Join our intimate group and experience limitless blue sky and sea on the verdant island of Lefkada, Greece. You will be introduced to finding the extraordinary in everyday life through the practice of meditation and yoga. Your 7 night stay will be in one of four architecturally designed villas made of local sandstone. Each has a private pool, large deck, sun loungers and umbrellas. Nestled high on a hilltop surrounded by nothing but lush greenery and birdsong, you will at all times have vast views of Ionian Seas and majestic Greek islands. You will be expertly guided by Brian Hilliard in the practice of meditation, and hosted by Shannon van Staden, who will take care of all the details to ensure your stay is relaxing, and that you leave rejuvenated and refreshed. Your one week retreat holiday will give you deep relaxation, a new outlook on life, and profound tools to take home with you.


  • Silence for inner reflection sessions
  • Daily Yoga and Mindfulness sessions
  • Talks and discussions on meditation practice
  • Delicious Mediterranean brunch and dinner from local produce
  • A nature reserve for dolphins and seals area
  • 7 nights accommodation in a luxurious villa
  • Exquisite scenery of unique private beach

Good to know

  • All ages are welcome as participants.

  • 6 days with instruction
  • English, Italian
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You will share a stylishly decorated, spacious, double storey villa comprised of three ensuite luxury rooms with jacuzzi baths or walk-in showers, as well as an open plan living room and fully equipped kitchen. Each villa has full length terraces, endless breathtaking sea views, and a private pool with loungers and an outdoor shower. All villas are air-conditioned.

Daily schedule

Awake to a gorgeous sunrise over crystal waters. For runners (optional) start with a morning run with Brian enjoying gorgeous sea views. After a light breakfast, meet up with Karen for yoga.

Then you will enjoy a fresh, balanced brunch with your retreat companions on the pool deck.

The afternoons are at your leisure. Rest, read, write or nap at your private pool. Maybe you’d like to hike down to the private beach and enjoy a skinny dip, take walks along the country road on this beautiful hilltop or languish on one of the world famous beaches nearby?

In late afternoons you gather at the meditation shala of uninterrupted views, where you will be guided through the form and practice of meditation with talks, discussions and periods of silence for inner reflection. This is suitable for beginners or experienced meditators.

The day will be concluded with a delicious sunset dinner on one of the decks or terraces with exquisite views. Some evenings there will be movies or special events after dinner to deepen your understanding and practice of meditation and yoga, or explore the philosophy and practice of Macrobiotics.

Mindfulness Meditation

Your day includes mindfulness meditation sessions guided by Brian Hilliard. You will learn the techniques and practice of sitting and walking meditation in a beautiful meditation shala with incredible views of Ionian Seas and majestic Greek Islands. There will be talks, discussions, private interviews on request, and some silence for inner reflection.

The ability to perceive and enjoy an amazing display of sea and sky resonates deeply with the experience of meditation. Senses are sharpened and clarified, felt newly in an expansive awareness which goes beyond our usual preoccupations. Deep personal experience is adorned with the beauty of sense perceptions. With deep relaxation you will experience the sense of letting go. You will learn and understand incredible tools to take home with you. Our meditation holiday is suitable for beginners and advanced practitioners. See our Free Meditation for more on mindfulness meditation.

Hatha Flow Yoga with Karen Bennett

Karen will be teaching a Hatha Flow style class. This can be either dynamic or slower paced, depending on the group needs. This style of yoga often incorporates longer holds than Vinyassa practice, and focuses on building the connection of body and mind through awareness of breath. Her flow classes include teachings from the 8 limbs of yoga, being mindful of the yamas and niyamas (naturally wholesome ethics) both on and off the mat, alignment focused asana (yoga posture), and hands on adjustments as necessary and as welcomed by the student.

Running with Meditation

Our retreats include optional running training. Running with meditation is an introduction to meditation in movement. Reach the zone easily with practical instructions for combining mindfulness and movement.

Brian Hilliard

Brian Hilliard has been practicing and teaching mindfulness / awareness meditation for over 35 years. Under the guidance of Tibetan Buddhist masters, he studied the ancient Tibetan wisdom traditions of the Mahayana and Vajrayana. In the 1970's and 1980's, he studied under Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who was instrumental in transplanting authentic meditation practices to the west.

In the 1990's, Brian completed a traditional three-year retreat under the guidance of one of Tibet's great teachers, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. In the late 1990's and 2000's, he studied and practiced the scholastic / yogic tradition of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. Brian is presently exploring the vision of good human society with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and has been appointed Shastri, senior teacher, in the Shambhala tradition. In that role he teaches widely and is also a guest speaker for events and organizations.

Brian's teachings will guide and support you personally in the development of mindfulness in daily life. His teachings are spontaneous, responding to the unique talents or challenges of the participants. He brings a warm, gentle and humorous style to the instructions, conveying the subtlety and depth of these very practical instructions on how to fully live manifesting your best human qualities. He facilitates the process of self-learning and understanding through special physical exercises, group discussion and the practice of mindfulness itself.

The teachings that Brian presents are completely secular and do not require any affiliation anywhere. They are practical, functional, and work directly with the many kinds of difficult experiences we encounter, including stress, anxiety, dissatisfaction, physical pain, and painful emotions. We enable ourselves to meet and overcome these challenges and as well continue the celebration of our lives. Above all you gain confidence that you have the tools you need to meet the challenges of daily life.

Originally from Vermont, Brian has lived in Switzerland, Italy and France for the last 14 years. He speaks Italian and English. He enjoys running marathons and teaching running with the mind of meditation, cooking Italian and playing the accordion with panache.

Karen Bennett

Karen has been practicing yoga since 1996. With over ten years of teaching experience, Karen appreciates the need for the practice of yoga to evolve and change as we move through life. She offers a practice that supports body and mind as it is now, with modifications and progressions as necessary. She loves all things health and well-being, and is also a fully qualified massage therapist with ten years experience.

Shannon van Staden

Born and raised in South Africa, Shannon lived in London and New York, and worked in the worlds of fashion styling, interiors and luxury hospitality. Shannon has been breathing style and travel for most of her life and has seen many incredible places. Something was missing and in 2008 Shannon discovered meditation. This led her to finding secret spaces and places that bring together nature and well being – that have a spirit and wholeness and a place where it is possible to come and connect with yourself. Hosting and taking care of the little details for guests is what Shannon loves to do. Shannon is a Meditation Instructor and trained in the Shambhala Lineage.

This mindfulness retreat will take place at the Urania Villas, Lefkada, Greece.

Our chef Kostas Tzallilas will be presenting a range of delicious, healthy, organic macrobiotic meals. The essence of Macrobiotic diet is balance and adaptation to the environment and to the needs of each individual. During the retreat the nutrition is designed in such a way to maximize the cleansing, strengthening and centering effects of the yoga practice and the meditation. Each meal is prepared with a variety of ingredients such as grains, vegetables, beans and bean products, seaweed, fermented products, nuts, seeds and fruits; mostly organic. All the meals are 100% vegan and sugar free.

Take some time to swim, lounge, nap or read at your private pool deck, or take a 45 minute hike to our private pebbled beach with crystal clear waters. You may even spot dolphins and seals in this protected natural habitat.

A 15-minute drive brings you to one of three world class beaches of breathtaking beauty. Majestic sheer cliffs meet sand, pebbles and turquoise waters. Porto Katsiki is an easy walk, while Egremnoi beach has some 300 access steps - the spectacular part nudist beach is well worth the hike.

Guided walking excursion

With a local Greek guide, explore beautiful island flora and medicinal herbs unique to Lefkada Island. Enjoy lunch at a local Greek Taverna with ocean views.

Boat and snorkeling trip to coves

Take a boat trip to small coves where you can snorkel and explore the sea life of crystal clean waters. Enjoy lunch at a local Greek Taverna.


Vassiliki is famous for holding windsurfing championships book a lesson in kite surfing, kite boarding or wind surfing. Or take a surf lesson and ride the beautiful waves of the breathtaking local beaches. Enjoy lunch at a Greek taverna.

  • 7 nights luxury en-suite accommodation
  • 6 meditation talks, discussions and practice time with Brian
  • 6 Yoga sessions (once daily) with Katerina
  • Daily light breakfast, brunch and dinner prepared by our private chefs
  • Evening movies or specials events to deepen understanding and practice
  • Farewell dinner
  • Optional meditation running with Brian
  • Personal private meditation instruction exchanges with Brian or Shannon
  • Teas, coffees and healthy snacks at any time
  • Car hire or transfers
  • Cove and snorkeling excursion
  • Flights
  • Massage treatments
  • Walking excursion
  • Water sports

Arrival by airplane

Flights are not included, however, we will suggest suitable flights. The best airport is Preveza, Lefkada (PVK), and there are great flights direct from London Gatwick on arrival and departure days. Our second choice is Kefalonia, then taxi to Fiscardo Marina to take West Ferry boat to Vassiliki Bay, and a 10-minute taxi ride to the villas. If you need to fly from a different destination we recommend

Transfer by car from Preveza on the winding roads of Lefkada Island enjoying spectacular views and little Greek villages on your 1.2 hour ride. Arrive at the villas by 17.00 latest. Meet us, enjoy a welcome drink, unpack, unwind, and enjoy our introductory talk before dinner.

For information about the booking conditions, please send Retreats - Mindfulness and Yoga an inquiry.
  • Review by Sara from London, UK
    10 out of 10

    "The retreat was incredible. I was held by both of you from the moment of my first email, through to meeting up with you at the airport, to that first session on the first day. I am ever so grateful. Grateful for your love and your care, your teachings and your taste. Grateful for the conditions you created for me to be held. And you should be really proud. Thank you so very much. What an incredible experience. This trip was precisely what I needed and will likely need again in May or September in Greece."

    Mindfulness Journeys website, edited

  • Review by Jane
    10 out of 10

    "It was unbelievable! In 25 years of travel writing Ive never experienced anything like it. Thank you."

    Mindfulness Journeys website, edited

  • Review by Ralph from Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    10 out of 10

    "During my one month retreat Brian patiently watched me drop the mental baggage that I brought in from my wordly life. As my sensitivity increased while opening up, he kindly and skillfully led me to a more confident attitude towards my being."

    Mindfulness Journeys website, edited

  • Review by Olga from Barcelona, Spain
    10 out of 10

    "Brian Hilliard as a teacher is fully present and creates an open space that allowed me to cultivate mindfulness and awareness. He has a kind, clear and precise way of communicating. His powerful and accurate questioning aroused my curiosity and made me explore deeply. His listening nourished me in my personal process of integration. I really appreciate Brians generosity, wisdom, skill and creative approach to interaction. I highly recommend him for one-to-one and group teachings."

    Mindfulness Journeys website, edited

  • Review by Mimi from Ireland
    10 out of 10

    "Brian Hilliards teachings are infused with his decades of practice and study of meditation. He is the real deal. Insightful, wise, funny, he shows us how the profound teachings are helpful in navigating our everyday lives. Brian is also a gracious host, providing good food and conversation. Taking a Mindfulness Journey with him is magical."

    Mindfulness Journeys website, edited

Brussels, Belgium

Mindfulness retreat holidays with a love for simple elegance, travel, culture, food and nature activities.

from US$1,468

8 days / 7 nights


Arrival: Sunday June 11, 2017
Departure: Sunday June 18, 2017

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