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Come join YogaonCrete for a week of deep relaxation, self discovery and joy! Eugenia and Julie will be sharing their love for women’s work and knowledge of women’s cyclical nature through women’s circles and Iyengar women’s yoga. They started collaborating at YogaOnCrete in 2015 and have since supported each other in their journeys as women, participating in each other's work, sharing and holding space for each other as friends, and celebrating the smaller and larger joys of life as sisters.
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.
Every day at the retreat includes a morning meditation & women’s yoga practice based on the Iyengar yoga tradition, and a late afternoon women’s circle, both designed to explore the energy of each phase of your feminine cycle.
You will have the chance to swim daily in the cool, turquoise Mediterranean waters at quiet beaches, explore the idyllic unspoilt surroundings of Chora Sfakion, and be nourished by wholesome local food cooked with love by our wonderful cook Maria!
The retreat will awaken your deep knowing and intuition, so that you will find your path and walk it, supported by like-minded women from across the world. You'll experience a deep sense of relaxation and alignment with your body, your womb, your calling, your past, your future, your lineage, your pleasure.
This powerful retreat will give you:
Each week begins with an opening circle and introductory Women's Circle at 6.00 p.m. on the day of arrival, followed by dinner. All other days will begin at 8 a.m. with a 30 minute meditation, followed by the 1.5 hour Iyengar yoga class focusing on women's needs. After breakfast guests are free to relax and enjoy the beach and sunshine, receive a massage treatment or private session with Julie, or explore the village and region. In the late afternoon is the two hour Women's Circle, and the day's programme closes with dinner.
The fourth day of the week is a rest day from classes; guests can join in an optional excursion, including a guided hike through the magnificent Aradaina gorge (approximately 25 EUR depending on number of participants).
All breakasts 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). Individual excursions (e.g., hikes, boat trips) can also be arranged at an extra cost.
On the last day, departure can be arranged after morning class and breakfast.
The number of women participating is limited to 10, to create a warm and friendly atmosphere, to ascertain that individual attention is given in the sessions and to create a safe and supportive group dynamic.
The morning practice with Eugenia, Iyengar Yoga teacher and YogaOnCrete hostess and owner, will start with a 20-30 minute meditation and end with a long relaxation. We will use the precious elements of alignment and focus on detail of the Iyengar yoga style to approach asana practice, and will look at how the body can feel free and open, when allowed to experiment, flow, and be breathed into.
Through the practice we create a more bright, centred, spacious awareness of our being so we enter everyday life more confident, true to oneself, and happy. We will uncover the vitality and joy that is present in the body when we slow down, listen to its needs and make space to receive its wisdom, while we will also look at the body's natural potential for physical and emotional healing.
For women in particular leg-work is important to ground and connect to mother earth, and set the base for a dynamic pelvic floor, which is an essential condition for the spine to unfold, extend and grow, symbolically also creating the ground for this unfolding and growth to happen in less tangible parts of our lives. Another area we will be focusing on is the wonderful potential of an alive belly (the centre of our womb, our life-force and energy), where the forces of earth and sky meet and can be balanced. Eugenia will also offer particular practices for the four phases of the hormonal and/or moon cycle (follicular/waxing moon; ovulation/full moon; luteal/waning moon; menstruation/new moon), for menstruation and menopause to balance and contain hormonal and emotional fluctuations.
Each afternoon we will gather for a women’s circle (2hrs) exploring deep connection to yourself, other women and our cyclical nature.
Julie, life coach, menstrual and creative movement therapist, as well as Awakening Women Circle facilitator, will hold space for us to dive deep into exploring the feminine cycle through movement, art and rituals. The sessions will start with a womb relaxation, then enter into a healing journey and we will complete with more relaxation and sharing.
In each circle, we'll experience initiation into another phase of womanhood, another way of entering pleasure and creating oxytocin (the love hormone!), another phase of our cycle, of the moon, of the sun:
Whether you have a menstrual cycle, are going through or have passed menopause, these phases apply to the subtle energies that affect a woman and her creative potential throughout life. If you're experiencing (pre-)menstrual pain, menopausal, fertility or sexuality issues, you're likely to find release, opening and a way forward.
Women's circles are a beautiful safe and supportive space to share, practice listening with compassion, allow yourself to follow your heart and be held by a group of like-minded women.
On some afternoons before the Women’s Circle you can join authentic Greek cuisine cooking classes with our excellent, intuitive and super creative cook Maria, another powerful woman of the YogaOnCrete team. Her warm nature and dedication to her spiritual practice, shines through her wonderful dishes (every week there is at least one guest who wants to take Maria back home with them!!). In combination with fresh, pure ingredients (many from organic local farms), her food is happy food, even for people who are not accustomed to a vegetarian cuisine. During the cooking classes, which will be a practice of awareness, rather than learning recipes, you will have the opportunity to practice sourcing cooking wonders from your own intuition and creativity.
The classes will depend on participation, so if interested please ask for details!
A round trip to the beautiful Sweet Water beach is included in the price.
Eugenia studied psychology in Athens and went on to receive an MSc in sports psychology in Wales. She then began practicing yoga in 2004, while studying contemporary dance in Scotland. She gained a yoga teacher qualification from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres in 2005 and in 2012, she received her Iyengar yoga teaching certification. Her classes strive to create a safe and nurturing environment. The focus on the breath, as a powerful tool for developing awareness of the body and quieting the mind, is integral in her teaching, also incorporating elements of her Vipassana meditation.
Julie combines her management consulting background with a thorough understanding of personal growth and coaching. She has a keen interest in dance, nutrition and eastern spirituality, which has led her to spend most of the last five years in India practicing yoga and meditation. After quitting her strategy consulting career with Deloitte London, she retrained as a Certified Professional Co-active Coach with the acclaimed Coaching Training Institute, London. Also a certified Dance and Movement Therapist with the International Dance Council, Julie coaches a broad client base.
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.
Click to see more vegetarian-friendly Yoga Retreats
You will be served with seven breakfast and five dinners 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).
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.
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.
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).
Choose from Holistic massage, Thai massage, Cranio-sacral treatment, and Reflexology with our on-site or visiting therapist at 40 EUR per hour.
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 hires companies YogaOnCrete recommends are Drive Kreta and the international Enterprise.
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).
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 center, 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).
The south-west coast of Crete is fairly well served by daily ferry lines traveling 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.
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.
Traveling by taxi is the most convenient way to reach the village. A taxi from Chania city center or airport costs 85 EUR (1 hour) and from Heraklion 140 EUR (2.5 hours).
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