Island Flow Retreat
We disconnected from the world and realigned with ourself, our bodies, and our surroundings through this week long retreat of 6 nights, 7 days. At the end of one week we felt strong and streamlined, centered and relaxed, fortified with energy. We were ready to go back to our daily live's feeling more connected to ourselves and the environment around us. A better version of ourselves.
Daily Creative Vinyasa Yoga class
Each day opened with a morning Vinyasa yoga class that started gently with breathing exercises and build up to a dynamic, creative flow. The focus throughout the week was on quality of movement and the pairing of breath to movement but also play and exploration. The theme of the practice changed depending on the day whereas Yin yoga sessions were kept for our evenings and passive poses were held for longer periods of time with the ultimate goal being relaxation & restoration.
Yoga can be easy, yet hard. One pose seems straightforward and then the next requires a joint effort – both mind and body need to be alert. Our instructor, Wen was making everything look effortless and at the same time making sure to break everything down and give us tricks and tips on how to go into the harder yoga poses, supported us through this journey of connection. The sound of the wind. The sound of running water. Birds and cicadas singing. Domestic animals calling each other. That was our daily soundtrack. Relaxing and real. Calling us outside, to sit back and immerse in nature.
Zakynthos island is the Southernmost island of the Greek Ionian Sea. It is known for its stunning cliff views, crystal clean water, sandy beaches and endangered species caretta caretta sea turtles that come to nest their eggs every summer in the South of the island. Its most famous beach is the Shipwreck beach which we got to discover from above in a one life-time hiking breath taking excursion, while the crystal clear blue-turquoise sea was there for us to explore and make us feel fully alive and connected to stunning island nature. We felt as if we almost had the island to ourselves.
Visiting Zakynthos off-season gives you 100% satisfaction. By picking low-season months, our retreat would be exactly what a retreat is supposed to be: the communion of kind and curious minds, the yoga practice, the island sounds and smells, home-cooked recipes with Mediterranean flavours and our much-needed dose of a luxury setup. Not because luxury is a must in itself, but it can help our minds and heart unravel and relax better. Because beauty and minimalism are two of the things that can give a busy mind some rest.
A retreat is meant to provide a safe place for inner work. A retreat must be food for the soul. But there was also food, mind me, food by the fast-forward vegan chef Andreas Tzouanopoulos, and his vegan food is anything but plain. Fresh produce, legumes, nut spreads, extra virgin olive oil, dried fruit and nuts from all over the world coupled with freshly-baked sourdough bread, local pastries and cookies and juices was on the daily meal plan. There have been some complains that the food was too good and too abundant, especially from those on special diets!
Nestled in nature with no distractions, our villa was located in the Northern part of Zakynthos island and offered a unique, becalming environment of evergreen olive trees in combination with mountain views. The luxury earthy tone villa has rooms with a minimal design and simple lines, natural material, the perfect setting for 'switching off'. The swimming pool with its integrated hydromassage option was another perfect spot were everyone connect to relax and soak in some vitamin D. Our luxury accommodation, was an excuse for us to dive deeper inside our souls and nourish our bodies with silence, eclectic company, meaningful conversation and wholesome food.
Working with discarded materials to give them new life is another sustainable practice, which is quite creative and mind soothing, too! Upcycling is a trendy technique in fashion lately; it’s repurposing, in essence. Re-using old denims, t-shirts, towels, curtains or any discarded textile in a creative way is what it is. And by creative we mean cutting and sewing and using our imagination to create little miracles! That’s why incorporating a fun activity such an upcycling workshop seemed relevant for a retreat that aims to put nature on the forefront. We all have so many yoga leggings that might not fit any more, or that might have usual tear and wear signs on them. What if we turned them into something useful instead of tossing them away? What if we turned them into voluminous scrunchies inspired by the 90s? Everyone knows scrunchies are back, after all. The workshop was animated by Stylianee, President and Country Coordinator of Fashion Revolution Luxembourg and founder of What.Eve.Wears, a conscious communications and fashion consultancy and sparked our group conversations about life, sustainability on an individual and collective level and just brought us all together to have fun whilst learning something new.
Did you know that there are mountains in Zakynthos Island? Some of our guests didn’t, but they were over the moon when they found out. Hiking with Spyros of Fora Excursions was an enriching experience. It was not only walking in nature, it was also listening to stories about the flora and fauna of the island, the villages, the saints and the myths that go with them. We walked along rural and mountainous paths and enjoyed the fine perfume of thyme, anise, peppercorn and other indigenous plants. We got the chance to taste the vivid red strawberry tree berry (Arbutus Unedo) while walking to the top – that was the best energy bite! A great view from the top – the fresh breeze and rays of sun pampered us and eased our way – not far from the island Peloponnesus was clearly visible. Plenty of photo opportunities and a way for the group to get to know each other better.
Take a step closer to your wellbeing and make an enquiry today for one of our immersive 2024 wellness retreats.