The Greeks have always been known for their laid-back approach to life. However, no one’s immune to stress, and lately, more and more people are looking for a way out of their overbearing routine in sports or hobbies that distract them from everyday problems.
Table of Contents
This is how some of the best yoga retreats in the country came to light. Next to the endless blue of the Mediterranean and the peaceful feeling that the Greek islands carry, you can enjoy a journey of well-being and renewal in one of the many retreats for yoga and meditation.
In most resorts with daily practices of yoga and healthy eating, you will enjoy a life-altering experience. They also host important teachers from around the world with extensive yoga backgrounds that will guide you through some of the most relaxing days of your life. Below, you will find the ultimate guide to yoga holidays in Greece that will answer all of your questions.
What are yoga holidays about?
Yoga holidays - credits: travelmag.com
Yoga holidays is a very organized sector in Greece, branching across the mainland, from Thessaloniki to Crete and the island from Mykonos to Skyros. All you have to do is choose the place you are interested in to spend your vacation. There is no denying the benefits of meditation alone, but if it is combined with other parameters such as striking beaches, fascinating attractions, and luxurious facilities, it becomes even more enticing.
Yoga retreats are an alternative type of vacation, combining both physical and mental relaxation. Essentially, these are organized centers-hotels, which have a daily practice of yoga in combination with a healthy diet. Now, special vacation packages have been created, which include accommodation, food, and yoga classes. There are complete programs for those who want to combine vacation and exercise with activities for every taste!
As we have already mentioned, wellness trips and yoga retreats are rising in the preferences of travelers in recent years worldwide, while Greece is one of the most popular destinations for yoga holidays. If you want to spend a week or more doing yoga in the most impressive parts of Greece, the following blog post will convince you to quickly book tickets, put leggings and swimsuits in your suitcase, and go on a yoga vacation.
One thing is for sure: after your yoga holidays in Greece the words Asana, Hatha, Pranayama, Namaste, Dosha, Ayurveda, will be second nature to you!
The benefits of yoga
Yoga session - credits: travelmag.com
1. You will gain an improved body image:
Let's start with the benefits to the spirit and mental health. Yoga builds one’s self-awareness, as it draws all of their attention to the abilities and movements of their body in the present moment, in the here and now.
Postures during exercise are not just for fitness, nor is anyone interested in how they look at the moment they strike it. Instead, people learn to connect with every small part of their body, without any judgment. As a result, yoga promotes a positive body image and a genuine increase in self-esteem.
2. Increased concentration:
As already stated above, an integral element of yoga is the absolute concentration in the present moment. It has been scientifically proven that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, and memory function.
The combination with meditation is amazing, as it offers people the ability to solve problems more easily, to learn, to store and recall information with greater comfort. This is due to the fact that through yoga, people develop the ability to control and direct their thoughts, but also to disconnect from the distractions of the environment.
3. It prevents depression and fights stress:
There is a lot of research that proves that yoga has antidepressant action and reduces the symptoms of depression. This may be because yoga has the ability to lower the levels of cortisol, one of the stress hormones that affect the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with depression. In many cases, it is recommended for people with depression to combine medication and psychotherapy with yoga sessions.
In addition, during yoga, the body relaxes, breathing becomes deeper and in this way, the sympathetic nervous system -such as the fight-flight response- is inactivated and gives the baton to the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is responsible for physical relaxation, deeper breathing, slower heart rate, and balance in blood circulation; the appropriate tools to reduce stress.
4. It develops awareness:
Consciousness has to do with concentrating our attention on what we are experiencing at a given moment, without judging ourselves. This state is a key part of yoga, but consciousness does not just stay in that one hour; it seems to spread to other aspects of a person's life.
Scientists have observed that those who have made yoga a part of their daily routine, develop the ability to do their every act fully conscious and manage not to be distracted by irrelevant stimuli. A prime example of that, is the meal time, where one eats, fully enjoying the taste, smell and process of a dinner, without focusing on exogenous factors. They are present with all of their senses.
5. It improves flexibility and balance of the body:
There are many who choose yoga to improve the flexibility of their body and its balance. As for the latter, yoga has the ability to correct people’s ability to feel that we are in a place. Usually, this feature is impaired in people with poor posture or dysfunctional movement patterns, which causes chronic pain in the waist, back, neck and knees.
As for the improvement of flexibility, that goes without question. The first yoga session may be too difficult, as you may not even be able to bend over properly, but over time, this will be done with great ease and each time you will discover a new feature of your body. By increasing your flexibility, you will also reduce pain in various parts of the body, which are most often related to a sedentary lifestyle.
6. It builds muscle strength:
As you develop flexibility, your strength develops along with it. In fact, there are specific yoga postures that increase strength and build muscle. You need to keep in mind that strong muscles are not only good for one’s appearance. They also protect people from diseases such as arthritis and chronic low back pain. Strength combined with balance and flexibility protect people from falls and injuries, which for example weight-lifting does not do; it may build muscle, but at the expense of flexibility.
7. It corrects your posture, and, subsequently, protects your spine:
This is undoubtedly one of the most great benefits for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, and have limited movement at work. Our spine and waist need to withstand a lot of weight. Also, when our head is in the right place, aligned with our spine, our neck and muscles are not under much pressure.
But we rarely sit properly. When we squat, our body makes painstakingly big efforts to support our weight. This causes chronic pain, dyskinesia and arthritis. Also, shock-absorbing vertebral discs need movement, as they are the only way to get the nutrients they need to function properly. Yoga has all the appropriate postures to help your body move and support itself properly, thus reducing the pain associated with the head, waist and neck.
8. It improves sleep quality:
Poor sleep quality has been linked to obesity, hypertension, anxiety disorders and depression. More and more research shows that the integration of yoga in one’s daily routine, improves the quality of sleep and specifically the duration of sleep and the times they wake up in the middle of the night. There is still insufficient proof in regard to how it works, but it seems that yoga increases the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Of course, as we have already mentioned, with yoga preventing and treating the symptoms of anxiety and depression, it automatically leads to a more carefree sleep.
9. It helps with weight control:
Returning to the subject of consciousness, it has been proven that it is directly related to weight control. By developing awareness, we are no longer so vulnerable to outbursts of gluttony, we soon feel full and we control more the amount of food we consume. Therefore, it can be concluded that yoga promotes a more positive relationship between people and food. Also, let's not forget that yoga is a kind of exercise and, in fact, a very effective one, helping to burn the unnecessary calories of the day.
10. It has cardiovascular benefits:
According to Harvard researchers conducting analysis, yoga has been found to have an overall positive effect on our cardiovascular system. It seems to help reduce hypertension in patients and is likely to restore sensitivity to voltage receptors, which helps our body sense blood pressure imbalances to correct them.
In other research, yoga has been shown to improve lipid levels in healthy participants, as well as sugar levels in patients, reducing the need for medication. After all, the inner peace that yoga offers people generously, reduces the heart rate and deep breaths better oxygenate one’s whole body.
11. It allow a better nervous system control:
There are so many possibilities that yoga offers, that yogis who are at an advanced level and practice it for many years, can control their body in amazing ways and even through the nervous system. It has been observed that they can cause unusual heart rate fluctuations, produce specific brain signal patterns, and even change their body temperature.
12. It helps with pain control:
By gaining more control and awareness of body functions, it is now proven that we can also control the level of pain. Asana, meditation, but also the combination of the two reduce the pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases, as well as inflammation. In addition, the ability to control our breathing allows us to better handle pain attacks and has been found to relieve menstrual cramps.
Reasons to indulge in yoga holidays in Greece
Yoga posture - credits: travelling.gr
1. Everything is organized - the food, the practices, the schedule.
Retreat programs are usually all-inclusive. They include accommodation, meals and a daily program with fitness lessons, yoga, hiking, meditation, training talks, coaching and more. This is the best part of being on yoga holidays. Being tired from everyday struggles all year round, from your daily life and having all the responsibility of planning, in yoga retreats, the all-inclusive elements brings immediate relaxation and carefreeness to the guests. All you have to do, is choose the one that suits you best.
2. You can set new goals during this holiday season.
What are the most common goals we set for the holidays, especially in the summer? To reduce stress levels. To sleep more. To follow a healthy exercise or diet program. Unfortunately, this does not happen on traditional holidays; everyone almost always bids their summer goals goodbye before their vacations have even begun.
The multi-level program of retreats is designed to provide mental, physical and psychological reorganization that benefits you long after you have checked out and the holidays are over. As a result, you do not need to postpone your goals until next time. Yoga retreats meet your needs and and provide you with all the guidance you need to achieve all your long-term goals.
3. You will get to meet an open community that is ready to welcome you.
If, for whatever reason, you do not spend your holidays with family or friends, it is possible to feel lonely and have a deep desire to connect with people. If you choose the right wellness retreat, there is an open community already waiting to welcome you.
Also, if you have a friend or partner that you wish to bring with you, they are also welcome! In some retreats there are reduced prices for couples or groups. And unlike regular vacations, you will have as much time as you need for solitary introspection and self-care.
4. You will become an expert in stress management.
The holiday season is known to cause increased stress and anxiety. If you are struggling with this problem all the time, disconnecting from everyday life and seasonal problems is a good start. Yoga retreats represent a physical and mental escape from these demands. They are usually found in secluded, quiet places in nature.
After all, stress management is a key part of any retreat program. Most of the time, they teach stress coping strategies and reactions. You will not only feel less stress during your stay, but will also become empowered to deal with the stressors of everyday life through a renewed perspective.
The best Greek islands for yoga holidays in Greece
Yoga in Ikaria - credits: greeka.com
Ikaria could be considered one of the world's yoga retreat destinations. Famously and unsurprisingly, on this remote island, life follows a much more relaxed rhythm, with time being a relative concept and the element of stress being absent from everyday life. It is no coincidence that the island of Ikaria is included in the 5 regions of the world with the highest percentages of life expectancy.
The world-famous festivals are part of the island's cultural culture, where locals and visitors create a ritual that takes the community to another level of importance. Unique beaches and special food compose a haven of beauty, peace and culinary opulence, while its locals are warm and kind to all visitors of the island.
Yoga in Lemnos - credits: soulseedmedia.com
Lemnos is a mysterious and somewhat unexplored island with rich history, unique flora and fauna, mouthwatering gastronomy, striking beaches and an alternating landscape that you will not be able to find anywhere else in Greece or the world in general.
The sand, salt, sea, and sky, are the elements of nature that cover the majority of the island. It is no coincidence that 30% of the island's surface is protected and belongs to Natura 2000. Keros beach is one of the 10 best in the world for Kite surf lovers. The island of Hephaestus with its many ancient sights gives off a mystifying energy and offers impressive views to Ammotines, Faraklo, and Alykes.
Yoga in Kythira - credits: bookyogaretreats.com
Kythira is an island where the color of white in combination with the intense blue of the sea dominate the setting. Its characteristic and wonderful scents of lavender, and the local plant of Kythira, sempreviva, create an incredible atmosphere that remains unforgettable in the minds of both local and foreign visitors.
Kythira is an island where the element of water is stronger than most regions of Greece -which is quite the feat. There, you will have the opportunity to hike in the waterfalls of Fonissa and Neraida and in the watermills, in a landscape full of plane trees. Chora with its nice, picturesque shops, the archeological museum and the incomparable view from the castle is one of the most beautiful on a Greek island. Not to mention that Avlemonas is a bay that looks like it came straight out of a fairytale.
All in all, the alternative Kythira in the southern part of the Peloponnese is an island with incredible landscape diversity; an ideal place for moments of relaxation and reconstruction.
Yoga in Astypalea - credits: kallichoron.gr
If the idea of doing yoga in one of the most beautiful islands of the Aegean, under an imposing castle and gazing at the endless blue, sounds appealing to you, then you should look no further than the island of Astypalea. There, you can combine your daily yoga practice with the countless beauties of an island: its amazing beaches, unique food, rich tradition, and a special sense of peace and simplicity
This hidden treasure of an island is located somewhere between the Dodecanese and the Cyclades, which resembles the shape of a butterfly when you see it from above. That is why it has been nicknamed as the ‘Butterfly of the Aegean’.
Despite its undeniable beauty, Astypalea remains a mostly unexplored island that is waiting for you to delve into. Both the island, and its people are so courteous, genuine, and welcoming, that they will make you feel as if you’re meeting with old friends.
Do not pass up on the opportunity to take a day trip to the islands of Kounoupi and Koutsomytis. The unparalleled beauty of their turquoise waters and beach bars will steal your breath, while the both have truly managed to stay untouched by time.
Yoga in Andros - credits: exploreandros.gr
Andros is a Cycladic island, which has the privilege of being within close distance from Athens. It boasts uniquely beautiful beaches with clear blue waters, which are considered some of the best beaches in Greece. There, you can also find running waters in a small waterfall that is a sight to behold. If you are lucky you can swim with a swan on the beach. Let’s not forget that Andros is an island with tremendous biodiversity, part of Natura 2000.
What’s more, it is an island full of locals who will treat you like a family. There, you will have the opportunity to taste traditional homey food made with the help of recipes that have been passed through generations.
The regions of Achla and especially Onar, which despite being widely advertised, have been kept secret, are an earthly paradise. It is the ultimate place to isolate yourself, do your introspection, and calm your soul. There, the word retreat fully justifies its meaning.
Yoga in Aegina - credits: purefitness.gr
The last bonus option of Greek islands that are ideal for yoga holidays is Aegina, an easy destination suitable for a short yoga retreat as it is located within an hour from Athens. The island has a unique vibe, with its light and vibrancy having inspired several artists who lived and created their art there. Its history and the many changes of the landscape guarantee a carefree break from your daily life.
There are three places where you can organize a unique Yoga Retreat right next to Athens in the incredible island of Aegina: in Irides studios, LaLibay Resort & Spa, and Villa Vithania, to name a few.
The best yoga retreats in Greece
Silver Yoga, Evia
Silver Yoga - credits: thebody.gr
On the second largest island of the country and only an hour and a half away from the center of Athens, Evia, has one of the most popular yoga retreats in Greece. On the Aegean side of Evia, lies a private island, Silver Island, where all the magic of yoga and meditation takes place.
It was created by the Christie family, who had a cottage and acres of olives there in the region. The latest generation, however, decided to turn it into the ultimate yoga retreat. Without electricity and internet, Silver Island helps you to "disconnect" completely from the digital and -more generally- the outside world. Its name is inspired by the way the leaves are polished by the olives. The living space of the retreat is unsurprisingly completely ecological, while even the meals offered are carefully crafted to be completely organic.
Yoga Rocks, Crete
Yoga Rocks - credits: itravelling.gr
Yoga Rocks is located in Triopetra, Crete, just above a wild cliff and the most pristine golden beaches of the island. The retreat's hosts. Phil and Helen, are from the United Kingdom. They have created this space to organize activities that give people the opportunity to become one with mother nature. As a result, they organize weekly yogis events with experienced yoga instructors and classes from Ashtanga to Vinyasa Flow and Prana Flow. What's more, they give people the opportunity to meditate in nature and practice their 'pranayama'.
Aegialis Hotel - credits: itravelling.gr
The island that with its wild but beautiful landscape takes your breath away, could not help but boast one of the best yoga retreats in the country. The energy exuded by Amorgos is not compared to any other Cycladic island, while the locals are one of the friendliest islanders in Greece.
In the southernmost part of the island, Irini and Nikitas Giannakopoulos created the Aegialis Hotel & Spa just above Aegiali beach, mainly to promote the beauty of Amorgos around the world. There, they hold various yoga and holistic therapy events, from Spring to October, with experienced instructors from all around the world.
Yoga by the beach - credits: bookretreats: cnn.com
Nikiana beach of Lefkada is the perfect place to combine your vacation under the hot sun with meditation and inner spiritual exploration. At the Serenity Retreat, guests can take lessons in meditation, Buddhism, Tai Chi and enjoy enjoyable massages overlooking the sea. All courses are designed to encourage participants to break free from bad thoughts of the past and gain a more complete and positive outlook on life.
Osho Santorini - credits: soulseedmedia.com
Wanting to create a community of people interested in personal development through meditation, a group of friends decided to create Osho, a treatment center in Megalochori, Santorini that offers yoga and meditation. Through a mystical journey that combines the timeless principles and values of the East and Western science, stress is eliminated and practices that cleanse the mind and body take place on the daily.
Triopetra Yoga Retreat
Tripetra Yoga Retreat - credits: mandala.gr
Triopetra Yoga Retreat is a place where good energy flows freely. Through the generous beauties offered by Crete, visitors can feel comfortable and take care of themselves. The people of Triopetra Yoga Retreat through daily practice of yoga and healthy eating, want to offer a different experience and teach visitors how to live a healthier and happier life. It operates from May to mid-September, hosting important yoga instructors from all over the world with extensive yoga experience.
Euphoria Retreat - credits: euphoriaretreat.com
Communication with nature, balance and inner search are some golden points that one will find in the so-called mythical region of the Peloponnese and specifically in the Euphoria Retreat. The natural beauty and the dramatic landscape in combination with the ancient monuments, invite you to a unique leisure trip. Therapeutic programs and activities of every taste are offered. Just a few fdays on Euphoria Retreat will transform you into the best version of yourself!
Fykiada Retreats - credits: Fykiada.com
You hvae the opportunity to experience the authentic island life through the organization of Fykiada Retreats programs in Mykonos, Kythnos and Koufonisia. Nature explorations, sea activities, yoga sessions, tasting of Greek island cuisine, are some suggestions of Fykiada Retreats that are waiting for you to try them. How can you resist?
Abeliona Retreat - credits: abeliona-retreat.com
The must-visit resort for rejuvenation, relaxation and exploration is located in Messinia, and specifically at the Abeliona Retreat. There, you will find a place surrounded by green trees, with clean and pure oxygen and countless activities and programs for a proper vacation that focuses on your well-being.
Ikaria Longevity Retreat
Ikaria Longevity Retreat - credits: ikaria-longevity.com
The famous Ikarian way of lifestyle that ensures a long and happy life, is offered for you to experience at the Ikaria Longevity Retreat. It is the ultimate spot for your summer getaway. Through targeted activities such as meditation, yoga, and communication meetings, among other things, you will eventually change your way of thinking - your way of life as a whole.
Vericoco Retreat and Creative Center
Vericoco Retreat and Creative Center - credits: vericoco-retreat.com
In Kefalonia, you will find the right place for your physical and mental peace. Yes, you read that right! The Vericoco Retreat and Creative Center is the place that will drive away your stress and all kinds of anxieties and will offer you relaxation, tranquility and a variety of programs and activities, overlooking nature.
Yoga - credits: euphoriaretreat.com
Rejuvenation and wellness are keywords that you will experience for yourselves in Evia and specifically in Anandamaya Retreat. The combination of sea and mountain will fascinate you and activities such as horseback riding, mountaineering, surfing as well as meditation and yoga programs, will offer you the ideal summer experience.
We need to pay the same attention to both your psychosynthesis and our physical condition. That is why wellness retreats aim at the above combination for a substantial development. Dedicate this year's vacation to your mental and physical well-being and you won't regret it!
Okreblue Seaside Yoga Retreat Center in Paros
Okreblue Seaside Yoga Retreat - credits: itravelling.gr
Located on Filizi Beach, overlooking the Aegean Sea and among cedars, Okreblue is ideal for those who want to reconnect their mindand body with nature. It is a place with wonderful outdoor yoga stands among the trees and the sounds of nature. The rooms are within walking distance of the beautiful sandy beaches with clear waters. The healing energy of this tranquil place, creates the ideal environment for yoga and meditation holidays, relaxation and rejuvenation. Meals are made with organic ingredients, many of which are grown in the Okreblue Garden.
In recent years, Greece has become one of the largest and best destinations in the world for yoga retreats and holidays. The islands of Greece, with deep blue beaches and dense vegetation, are the ideal environment for a week or 10, where you will combine yoga and fun vacations all in one. It is an unforgettable experience that will enrich your knowledge, your techniques, and your skills in yoga. It is also a great opportunity for you to rejuvenate, to really relax and to communicate with others, and make friends.
You want to escape, to calm down, to get lost, and to be found. You are not looking for busy places of summer worship, you are oriented to a more isolated environment. That which will allow you to rejoice, to immerse yourself in yourself and your body, to exercise your spirit, to fill your soul. You are looking for yoga holidays in Greece; trust us!