8 Days Iyengar Yoga Retreat Greece with Constantinos

Iyengar Yoga Retreat Crete

Expert tip: This is one of the most popular yoga retreats offered in Greece.

Join YogaOnCrete and experience lightness of body and spirit and the joy of honouring and nurturing your needs through the practice of Iyengar yoga and meditation, daily encounters with the cool, turquoise Mediterranean waters at quiet beaches, idyllic unspoilt surroundings, and wholesome, vegetarian, local food, excursions, a warm and welcoming group of people and much more! No previous experience in yoga is required for participation in the course while more experienced students will discover tools for deepening their practice.

Retreat highlights

  • Twice daily Iyengar yoga classes
  • Professional and experienced yoga instructor
  • 7 nights' accommodation in traditional guesthouse located near beach
  • A round trip to the beautiful Sweet Water beach
  • 7 breakfasts and 5 dinners included
  • Linen and towels provided

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate

Yoga styles


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: French, Greek, English
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Accommodation

Accommodation is offered in a lovely traditional stone house. Rooms are designed in a natural combination of old and new and are spacious and comfortable.

Rooms are allocated on a first come first served basis (there is a limited availability of rooms and single rooms in particular). The house is a 5-minute walking distance to the village centre and beach, but also pleasantly secluded. The garden at the front and the private olive grove at the back blend in with the landscape and offer options for places to rest.

YogaOnCrete Greece Yoga Retreat Program

During this week, the importance of external alignment as a prerequisite for students to develop awareness of internal space will be emphasized. Precise energetic techniques as they apply to the practice of asana and pranayama will be provided, while students will have the opportunity to understand external and internal rooting in different series of asana, relax in action, focusing on the internal dynamics of the body, and open the back body and diaphragm, in order to put the energy of the spine in movement. The workshops aim is to encourage students to become more receptive and independent, and able to develop their own personal practice.

Course program

The week begins with an introductory yoga session at 18:00 on the day of arrival, followed by dinner. Thereafter, there will be a morning (08:30 - 10:30) and afternoon (18:00 - 19:30) Iyengar yoga class. In between classes, there will be enough time for guests to relax and enjoy the beach and sunshine, receive a massage treatment, or explore the village and region.

The fourth day of the week is a rest day from classes. An optional excursion can be arranged, including a hike through the magnificent Aradaina gorge (approximately 25 EUR depending on number of participants going). Individual excursions (e.g., hikes, boat trips) can also be arranged during the week. On the last day of each week, departure can be arranged after morning class and breakfast.

Iyengar yoga

The classes comprise of a series of asanas (physical postures), usually sustained for some time so that the body and its necessary actions can be observed within the posture, pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditative techniques (sitting in silence, concentration techniques), through which the development of awareness of the body and mind in the present moment and deep relaxation are practiced.

Iyengar yoga was developed through the pioneering work of B.K.S. Iyengar, who freed the classical yoga postures (asanas) from their Indian mystique and with the use of props made them suitable for Westerners, who want to have a clear understanding of what happens in a yoga posture. A typical Iyengar yoga class focuses on precision of movement, correct alignment, and the study of the muscle and mind actions and resistance necessary to enter a state of concentration. Breathing awareness is emphasized in every asana in order to deepen the experience. Through consistent practice, the student overcomes physical and mental / emotional limits and develops a deep awareness of the body, power, control, patience and physical and mental harmony.

Included excursions

A round trip to the beautiful Sweet Water beach is included in the price.

Instructors

Constantinos Giannetakis
Constantinos is an enthusiastic and dedicated practitioner of Iyengar yoga since 1992. In 1996, he moved to France where he also obtained his certification as a clinical psychologist from the University of Picardie. During that time, he studied extensively psychoanalysis both in the Freudian and the Lacanian vein and became particularly interested in the possible role of the immune system as an interface between body and mind.

Retreat location

Chora (pronounced "Hora") Sfakion or Sfakia, the capital of the municipality of Sfakia, is located on the south-west coast of Crete. The landscape of the region is particularly dramatic. The mountains in this part of Crete meet the sea, with steep slopes towering over the beaches. The road from the north of the island threads through breathtaking mountains and small villages to reach the port village of Sfakia. A sense of peacefulness radiates from the dry mountains and the sunset skies.

With its quiet, picturesque alleys, the beaches just walking distance away, and a few restaurants and cafes with tasty local dishes on offer lining the old harbor, Sfakia can become the little haven for anyone who wants to step out of the modern city fast-paced lifestyle for a while. If you are up for a short hike after the sun has gone down, just above the last house of the village is the little church of Agios Georgios, hidden away in a cave. Previously a neighborhood of the village, but nowadays abandoned, Georgitsi is also a ten minute hike up the mountain.

Nearby places

  • Amoudi (Sandy Beach), 1.5 kilometers
  • Filaki (Prison) beach, 2 kilometers
  • Frangokastelo (Frankish fort), 15 kilometers
  • Georgitsi - 10 minutes hike
  • Glika Nera (Sweet Water) - 30 minutes walk
  • lligas (Vertigo) beach, 1.5 kilometers
  • Orthi Ammos (Vertical Sand, literally), 15 kilometers
  • Vrisi (Spring) village beach - 10 minutes walk

Features

Activities

  • Boating nearby
  • Hiking nearby
  • Massage
  • Scuba diving nearby

General

  • Bar nearby
  • Beach nearby
  • Caf nearby
  • Restaurant nearby
  • Special menu request

Services

  • Beauty salon nearby
  • Convenience / grocery store nearby
  • Hair salon nearby
  • Medical assistance
  • Tour assistance nearby

This Yoga Retreat is vegetarian-friendly

Click to see more vegetarian-friendly Yoga Retreats

Food

All breakfasts and 5 dinners are offered at the house, while on two of the nights guests are free to dine out in the village restaurants (not included in the course cost; approximately 15 EUR for a full meal including drinks).

Cretan food

The Cretan diet is renowned for its macrobiotic qualities, but also for its great variety of delicious flavors. More than the pure, fresh ingredients themselves, it is the fact that cooking is traditionally performed almost like a ritual, with love, and always in the prospect of offering the food to others, that makes the Cretan cuisine so special.

YogaOnCretes cook embodies this spirit, preparing two nutritious lacto-vegetarian meals a day, using local, and wherever possible, organic products (grown in their own garden!). The village restaurants, only a short walk away, offer a wide range of local dishes, including fresh fish and game.

Things to do (optional)

The fourth day of each week-long course is a rest day from the classes. Guests can join an optional excursion, including a guided hike through the stunning Aradaina Gorge on this day, at an extra cost (25 EUR). Individual excursions can also be arranged to numerous gorges, along the coastal trail, as well as boat trips to neighbouring seaside villages and beaches, in addition to scuba diving lessons.

Area attractions

Most beaches of the region are pebbly, the white of the beach and the turquoise of the water creating a beautiful scene for relaxed swimming and sunbathing. The waters in most beaches actually come from springs high up in the White Mountains, so they are literally crystal clear. The village beach, Vrisi (Spring), is just 10 minutes walk away from the house.

lligas (Vertigo), 1.5 kilometers out of the village has been awarded a Blue Beach Award for its pristine waters. Filaki (Prison), approximately 2 kilometers away offers a nudist choice. Amoudi (Sandy Beach), 1.5 kilometers away is the quietest beach around. Glika Nera (Sweet Water) is the favorite pick. Its name refers to the fresh water springs that are found under the sand and that give the sea its magical clear color. It can be accessed on foot (30 minutes walk along the coastal path) or by kaiki (small boat, 10 minutes from Sfakia).

Frangokastelo (Frankish fort) and Orthi Ammos (Vertical Sand, literally), are two adjacent sandy beaches 15 kilometers away from Sfakia. Frangokastelo takes its name from the very well preserved Frankish (Venetian) castle built by the shore. There is actually a legend that just as dawn is breaking in late May-early June, the image of men on horseback, exiting the castle and riding into the sea, can be witnessed in the early morning mist - these are the mysterious Drosoulites (mist-men).

Spa treatments

Choose from Holistic massage, Thai massage, Cranio-sacral treatment, and Reflexology with our on-site or visiting therapist at 40 EUR per hour.

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts and 5 dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation in traditional guesthouse located near beach
  • A round trip to the beautiful Sweet Water beach
  • Linen and towels provided
  • Twice daily Iyengar yoga classes

What's not included

  • Additional excursions to beaches
  • All lunches and 2 dinners out per week
  • Flights to Crete
  • Insurance
  • Massage treatments
  • Transfers to Chora Sfakion

How to get there

Arrival by car

A car can be hired and picked up at either Chania or Heraklion airport upon arrival, or during your stay in the village. The windy mountain road down to the village has just undergone extensive work, with three tunnels replacing the sharp curves, making it much safer and easy to drive on! Alternative car hire companies YogaOnCrete recommends are Drive Kreta and the international Enterprise.

Arrival by airplane

In order to reach Chora Sfakion, you can fly directly to Crete, to the airports of Chania (CHQ - pronounced Chania, which is an hour's drive) or Heraklion (HER, which is 2.5 hours' drive). For flights from the UK, Easyjet, Ryanair and Monarch airlines have direct flights from several UK airports to Crete, both to Heraklion (HER) and to Chania (CHQ), during the tourist season. You can also use Thomas Cook, Just The Flight, Charter Flights, Cheap Flights, or Flight Line. From London Stansted, also check the daily flight of Aegean Airlines to Chania via Athens. For flights from other European countries try Ryanair, that now connects several European cities to Chania (CHQ). Also Easyjet, Transavia, Norwegian Airlines, Aer Lingus, German Wings, or Air Berlin. Be aware that on some occasions booking two single flights can be cheaper than a return flight!

You can also fly to Athens (ATH) (www.airtickets.gr or with Easyjet) and either get a transit flight or boat to Crete (Chania - CHQ).

Arrival by ferry from Piraeus (Athens)

There is an overnight ferry to Chania from Piraeus, the port of Athens, easily accessed by metro from Athens "E. Venizelos" airport. It departs at 21:00 and arrives at Souda, the port of Chania, which is a 10-minute bus journey away from the main bus station in Chania city centre, at 05:30 the next morning. The return journey with Anek lines starts from 63 EUR (deck price; there is a discount if the return journey is booked at the same time as the first part).

Arrival by ferry from Paleohora, Sougia or Aghia Roumeli

The south-west coast of Crete is fairly well served by daily ferry lines travelling from Paleohora to Chora Sfakion, which is a convenient option if you were thinking of spending some time on the south coast before arriving at YogaOnCrete. You can also reach them in this way after hiking the Samaria gorge (consider putting your luggage on a bus at Chania, to be picked up at Chora Sfakion, so you can hike light.

Arrival by bus

Alternatively, from Chania you can get a bus directly to Chora Sfakion, but confirm departures in advance because during high season (April-October), there are only four buses a day (at 08:30, 11:00, 14:00 and 16:00; 7.60 EUR; duration 2 hours).

From Heraklion you first need to get a bus to Rethymnon (approximately every hour; 7.60 EUR; duration 90 minutes) and then a bus to Chora Sfakion changing buses at Vrisses (at 08:00, and 13:00; 7.30 EUR; duration 2 hours). Vrisses does not have a bus station per se, rather, a coffee shop in which you can buy a ticket and in front of which the buses stop.

To get to the bus station in Chania from the airport, buses run at different times every day to correspond with the flights. This is also the case for the return journey. The bus station in the city has luggage storage, operating between 06:30 and 20:00, which can be useful if you have a long wait, as the beautiful old city is just a few minutes walk away. If you need to get a taxi the cost should be about 15-20 EUR.

To reach the Heraklion bus station from the airport, there is a bus service (bus No. 6) at regular intervals, but ask the driver to tell you where to get off for the bus station, because it is not obvious.

Arrival by taxi

Travelling by taxi is the most convenient way to reach the village. A taxi from Chania city centre or airport costs 85 EUR (1 hour) and from Heraklion 140 EUR (2.5 hours).

GPS

  • YogaOnCrete house - 35.20192, 24.13809
  • YogaOnCrete studio - 35.20184, 24.13936

Distances

  • Chania Airport - 1 hour
  • Heraklion Airport - 2.5 hours

Cancellation Policy

  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 35 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 14 days before arrival.
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8 days / 7 nights
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Availability

Arrival: Wednesday August 15, 2018
Departure: Wednesday August 22, 2018

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