|Circle on the Sand|
I have just returned from a yoga retreat in Crete. I went with my daughter, K, and it was absolutely fabulous.
I loved Crete, which I have never visited before -- the beautiful rugged island, the generous people, the turquoise water, and the delicious food. I loved the retreat, which included daily yoga practice in the morning, brunch, excursions to beaches and historical sites, daily meditation, and dinners featuring excellent local food.
Nura (our yogi) and Theo (a psychotherapist from Greece) were our fearless leaders, instructors, and tour guides. The seven participants travelled from Canada and Switzerland to take part, and they were a warm, wonderful, fun bunch of people to spend a week with. And, best of all, I got to go to Crete with my daughter!
|In Crete with my Daughter|
The first thing that happened is that our luggage did not arrive on Crete. Apparently, there was a baggage handling problem at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and 60% of the people on our flight arrived at Heraklion in Crete without their luggage. We were among them.
We arrived at 8:30 in the evening after 24 hours without sleep, to discover that our bags were not on the carousel. Theo and Nura were at the airport to pick us up, but we couldn't leave because we had to stand in a lineup for two hours to file a lost luggage report.
The next day, the luggage did not arrive either, and our yoga retreat group was leaving to drive across Crete to a remote village on the south side of the island to our retreat location. We were wearing jeans, T-shirts, socks, and running shoes from our flight the previous day that were none too fresh. Although we'd each had the foresight to put a couple of spare clothing items in our carry-on backpacks, we did not have hats, sunscreen, sandals, or light summer clothes, and it was hot there! We also didn't have our yoga clothes, yoga mats, toiletries, or bathing suits.
So, we tore around Heraklion to try to buy a few essentials, as the area where we would be staying for a week did not have stores. But it was Sunday, and everything was closed, except for a few tourist stalls. Nevertheless, we managed to find some light clothes, and, amazingly, the last store we looked in also sold bathing suits and underwear.
I had just finished publishing a blog post in which I announced that I was imposing a clothes shopping moratorium on myself. I think the universe was laughing at my good intentions!
The wonderful people at our yoga retreat were so kind, lending us yoga pants, other clothing, sunscreen, and yoga mats. I accepted that I would never see my suitcase again. I was managing to get by just fine with the little I had, and I wondered why I had thought I had needed all that stuff I'd packed in my suitcase.
And then, four days later, our suitcases showed up, having been delivered by taxi from Heraklion. A surfeit of clothing!
A Beautiful Place To Be
We stayed in a family-run inn in a tiny hamlet. It was situated across the street from the Mediterranean Sea.
|Water Tap in the Stairwell|
|Inside our Room, and my Feet|
|Breakfast on the Terrace|
I attend a weekly yoga session with Nura Madjzoub (and I also go to a yoga studio in my neighbourhood once a week). Nura takes a holistic approach, which really resonates with me. I am still a beginner, and I find that yoga has added an important dimension to my life.
Several times a year, Nura offers yoga retreats in international locations. I was thrilled when my daughter and I committed to attend. I have never done anything like this before.
|Theo Making a Funny Face|
Nura collaborated with Theo Kyriakos to offer the retreat. Theo is presently based in Greece, and he was our cultural guide as well as our meditation instructor.
|Nura in Front of the Temple of Apollo|
Nura and Theo organized the retreat around the theme of harmony, specifically the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether.
They were also great fun to be with, as you can see from this photo of Nura hamming it up in front of the Temple of Apollo, and Theo making a funny face for the camera.
|That's Me Doing a Headstand!|
Most evenings, we ate a late dinner at Taverna Kriti, a local family run restaurant, where we sat at a covered patio beside the Mediterranean. The food was fabulous. The last night, George made us a longtime family recipe: goat with wild artichokes, simmered all day in an egg yolk and lemon sauce. He raised the goats. He picked the artichokes himself up in the mountains. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of it.
I leave you with one final image that says it all: eating watermelon in the sea.
|Watermelon in the Sea|