With winter approaching confidently also on Crete, it is time to look back and reflect on the wonderful experiences, people, and memories gained from this summer at YogaOnCrete!
Unfortunately, our Sound and Voice Therapy and Movement Medicine workshop with Laura did not take place in June, but the summer was nevertheless complete with expressive, artistic, as well as other soul-nourishing, and in this sense, therapeutic experiences.
Our new outdoor yoga deck is itself a real gift and wonderful addition to the ambience of YogaOnCrete. The first time I saw it filled with people I was really moved and excited about what our future guests would have the opportunity to experience here. Yes, there are ants and the odd olives dropping from the trees (!!), but the three strong olive tree trunks, interspersed in the space, are themselves teachers of rooting, trusting the earth, and drawing from it as a base to reach up to the sky, with soft, supple, graceful branches.
Federica and I taught independently for most of the summer, until the very last week, when we joined our forces once again for a Yoga and Body Soul Movement course. During all these weeks there was much alignment (of both bodies in order to ease physical discomfort, as well as life-aspirations with our realities); breathing (taking in of fresh oxygenated air, as well as the ability to trust oneself, another, life as a whole, and letting go of used air, no longer valuable habits, mental and physical, in order to relax); developing awareness by being attentive and listening - the essence of what a loving approach is - to our bodies, our needs, each other; and developing compassion for oneself and the other members of the group, with whom we often spent intimate and tender moments, during which we could let down our guard and just be.
Vaggelis was once again a fantastic, fun guide on all our hikes, mostly down the Aradaina gorge to the now renowned "tavern-without-a-name" at Marmara (although I now know it does have a name, the alternative name for Marmara, which is "Dialeskari"!). A swim in its pristine waters after the hike is always so very gratifying!
At the beginning of July, and for three days, although life continued as normal at YogaOnCrete, an advertisement filming crew "behind the scenes", gave a different, exciting feel to the place. One of the highlights of their visit was a 5.30 am boat-trip to Sweet Water beach for an early morning shooting, following the commands of the director, a now new yoga enthusiast! I had the pleasure of showing them my favourite diving spot, from the Three Rocks outside the village harbour, and once their work was done, they had a taste of some much needed (it seemed!) yoga.
Antonella was back at YogaOnCrete after several years of absense at the end of July, for a wonderful Yoga and Drawing course. The group enthusiastically dived into the yoga, meditation and drawing, but were also on a mission to make their holiday week a celebration, so were even equiped with a portable partyset (disco-ball and all!!).
Constantinos once again inspired and shared with us his expertise on fine-tuning the practice of asana. In the evenings, he introduced participants to the fascinating, subtler aspects of the "breathing body" through pranayama and concentration techniques.
And then as the end of September was drawing close, there was Dion and Paulinha and their crazy, dedicated Capoeira Angola group, who brought lively music and dance to the village. A roda, an afro-brazilian exhibition of acrobatic skill, playfulness, non-verbal communication, and personal groove in the port of Sfakia, will be one of the most memorable experiences of the tourists who were lucky enough to be among the spectators!
After the first autumn rains, during a sunny summery week midway through October, Ali and Allison from the US opened a window into how myths can be used as tools to analyze and inform our lives, in their Yoga and Creativity retreat. They raised subjects such as our connection to the feminine aspects of our psyche and how we deal with our own personal "Minotaurs", culminating with an atmospheric candle-lit maze, in our front yard.
And after the season was well over,
at the start of November, some enthusiastic summer guests gave us the pleasure of arranging a workshop with Constantinos in Athens, in order to refresh and further the work that they did with him in the summer. I am sure that all of us who joined the YogaOnCrete goes to Athens workshop are very grateful to Viviana for organizing it (and of course also to Dimitris, for being an excellent tourist guide, during the weekend :-) )
A big thank you goes to all the wonderful teachers and guests, that gave this summer its special colour, as well as to Joshua, for another season of culinary delights, Federica, for nurturing and taking care of guests with her skillful hands and warm heart, Maya, for being the joy of life that she is, Leta, for being one of a kind, Herbert, for posing an example of how one can turn their life on its head and choose what makes them happy, Shauna, for her profoundly touching music and voice, Anita, for her hard work and joyful spirit, Ashhen, for being behind the lens to produce such magic-filled photographs, and of course Dion, Victoria and Mihalis for their wonderful support and firendship,
And the journey continues until we meet again, Free Spirits :-)