Join me on a remarkable retreat to Ithaca, Greece. Ithaca is one of the smallest of the Ionian islands known for its serene natural beauty and ancient mythology. It is a stunning backdrop for practice, relaxation, and exploring ancient culture. As the home of mythical Odysseus, Ithaca symbolizes the return to the haven, the discovery and the fulfillment.
This retreat is held at the private boutique Itha108, touted as one of “the most beautiful retreat centers in Europe”. Envision yourself experiencing breathtaking panoramic views of the Ionian Sea, relaxing on sun-drenched terraces, finding serenity in quiet shady nooks, and soaking up the peace and tranquility of an ancient coastline steeped in mythology.
Each day will begin with an hour-long class devoted to meditation and mindfulness techniques. After breakfast, the daily three-hour Ayurveda and yoga classes are intended to go beyond the general group classes you may experience back home. Throughout the week, we’ll build progressively on Ayurvedic and yogic wisdom as well as anatomical, alignment and energetic themes.
Each afternoon there will be ample free time so that you can relax in one of the peaceful places within Itha108 or you may wish to explore the islands. Itha108 offers many terraces and quiet places for relaxation as well as a library filled with Indian artifacts, books, board games and music. Three pristine and picturesque beaches, all within a five-minute walk, provide opportunities for a beach stroll, swimming, kayaking, or sunning. Nearby hiking trails abound. Quaint villages are within easy reach for the culturally curious. Water taxis can take you to near by islands.
In short, this retreat is for those seeking tranquility and a balance of practice, adventure, culture, and relaxation amidst breathtaking island views and mythical surroundings.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
This retreat will allow you to unplug from your stresses and responsibilities, from electronics and newsfeeds, and remember what is really important to you. You will get the time you need for introspection so that you can reset and come home to yourself. You’ll go deeper into your yoga and mindfulness practice and learn to create new habits. You will be awe-inspired by experiencing one of the most beautiful places on earth. You’ll also be part of an open and inclusive community of fellow spiritual seekers.
- seven nights of luxurious accommodations at Itha108 retreat center
- three nourishing, organic and locally sourced vegetarian meals per day
- coffee, tea, fruit, nuts, cakes and biscuts
- daily Ayurveda, yoga & meditation classes, including use of yoga mats, bolsters, blankets, straps and blocks
- extensive library
- infused olive soap with basil, lavender or sage
- calendula face balm
- group transportation to and from Kefalonia airport to Itha108
Additional activities available:
- three gorgeous beaches are within a five minute walk from the retreat center
- a magnificent 17 mile mountain range ideal for hikers and mountain bikers
- kayaks and paddle boards are available to rent
- there is a scuba-diving facility near by
- cars, scooters and bikes are for rent
- Homer’s Walk, an amazing walk through what are believed to be the ruins of Odysseus’ home as told by Homer in The Iliad and the Odyssey
- Backgammon table, cards and other games
- relaxing on the veranda, enjoying sea views
- day trips to other islands by water taxi
- feeling rested and restored
- remembering what is meaningful and important in your life
- with a deeper understanding of your constitutional makeup and how to cultivate healthier habits and routines
- with a deeper sense of your yoga and meditation practice as well as how to practice at home
- with tools for working with the mind
- having connected with fellow spiritual travelers
- with memories that will last a lifetime
This is an example of how each day might unfold:
6:30am | Biscuits, bread, tea/coffee
7am | Meditation
8am | Yoga practice
10:30am | Brunch
11:30am | Free time for exploring culture, excursions, beach, kayaking, hiking, solitude, etc.
2:30pm | Light lunch
3:30pm | Free time for exploring culture, excursions, beach, kayaking, hiking, solitude, etc.
5:30pm | Dharma talk
6:30pm | Evening practice
7:30pm | Dinner
Itha108 intentional emphasis on indoor-outdoor living ensures full use of the natural land and its treasures that extend to sweeping and hidden beaches below. The retreat center has seven luxury bedrooms in the main house and five Mongolian yurts that are staggered up between rocks, forests and winding walkways.
The center is designed specifically to provide the space for practice and relaxation, with varied spaces to explore, read, or relax. The charming library has a stone fireplace, with a gentle ocean breeze that comes through shuttered French windows. This opens to a fantastic minimalist terrace with views of the neighboring islands and the setting sun. The sun-soaked veranda at the front of the house has panoramic sea views, and the design elements include comfortable daybeds, traditional Rajasthani furnishings and lighting. Both indoor and outdoor yoga and meditation practice spaces are available for our exclusive use.
All of the guest rooms can be either single or double occupancy. Within the main house there are two rooms with a double bed (ideal for a couple) and four rooms with two single beds. The main house has en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning with mosquito nets, coco-mat mattresses, wood paneled ceilings and views across the Ionian sea. Each bedroom has a unique identity.
The five Mongolian yurts are light and airy inside. They contain two comfortable single beds with en suite bathrooms, mosquito nets, coco-mat mattresses, and plenty of shelving. The Luxury Yurts are larger then the Classic Yurt. Pathways and steps provide access to the yurt platforms, each with outdoor seating, positioned high among rocks and trees with beautiful sea views. To see pictures and learn more about the rooms and yurts, visit Itha108.
Food at Itha108 is fresh, nourishing, and made up of local produce. All vegetables are organic and sourced from the best of what Ithaca and neighboring Kefalonia has to offer. Plentiful, home-cooked menus blend traditional Greek cuisine with a contemporary style-simple, yet artfully prepared. Vegetarian fare is on the main menu, although freshly caught fish may grace the table at some meals. Dietary needs can be accommodated.
Organic olive oil has been produced on Ithaca as long as anyone can remember. The olives are cold-pressed by the local press to preserve all their healthy qualities. This is a single press process, producing an oil that is pure and translucent, a beautiful pale green in color, slightly sweet to the taste because of its low acid content, a little peppery, and rich in Vitamin E. It’s a perfect accompaniment for salads, pasta dishes or dipping in bread.
Travel & Arrival
- A valid passport is required and must be valid at least six months after the date of travel (March 2020 or December 2021). It’s highly recommended to obtain travel insurance.
- The neighboring island of Kefalonia is the closest airport with direct flights from Europe and indirect flights from Athens, Greece. From Europe check RyanAir and EasyJet for low cost options. From Athens to Kefalonia, an early morning or late evening flight with Olympia or Aegan Air takes one hour.
- Plan to arrive to Kefalonia (EFL) airport by noon on Saturday. Upon arrival at Kefalonia airport the group will meet at a restaurant just outside the arrival gate. We will depart from the airport just after noon and take a minibus to the port of Agia Efimia (approx. 1 hour). From there we will take a water taxi or ferry to Ithaca (10-30+ minutes) where we will take a twenty minute taxi to Itha108 our destination for the week.
- 60 days prior to departure for the retreat please supply your flight information.
- Every effort will be made to accommodate your itinerary and include you in the group transfer however any person traveling outside the group will incur additional expense.
- The group will depart Itha108 by 9 am on Saturday for Kefalonia. Your departing flight must be in the afternoon or later.
Other Things to Expect
We will be enjoying a delightful climate during our retreat. This is the most comfortable time to be on the Ionian Islands, with reliably sunny days, sea water ideal for swimming and water recreation. There will be easy access to island infrastructure like ferry service and water taxis. Temperatures in early September have a high of 85°F and a low of 65°F. Wind speeds are usually no more than a moderate breeze in the afternoon and evening.
Main House Villa Deluxe (Old Library, India)
$2700 Double occupancy
$3100 Single occupancy
Main House Villa (Raas, Mango, White, New York)
$2400 Double occupancy
$2900 Single occupancy
Luxury Yurt (Amara, Sanda, Metta)
$2400 Double occupancy
$2900 Single occupancy
Classic Yurt (Yurt I)
$2300 Double occupancy
$2800 Single occupancy
Costs associated with passports (required), airfare, flight changes, airline baggage fees for any and all baggage, medical or travel insurance, vaccinations, gratuities and taxes for personal services, laundry, specialty beverages or alcohol, spa services, and tours/excursions/kayaks/SUP are not included.
All retreat payments are final, refunds are not available due to the planning and logistics involved.
This retreat will sell out quickly. It is encouraged to place your deposit soon so that you can secure your place and begin planning your remarkable retreat to paradise.
A non-refundable $700 deposit secures your space in the retreat. The full amount is due by June 1st for 2019 and March 15th for 2020.
For Yoga Alliance registered teachers 30 hours of continuing education are available with this retreat.