Join us on this ten-day healing retreat nestled amidst the amazing monolithic rocks of Meteora, Greece. These massive stones exude a healing presence that has attracted pilgrims for thousands of years. A perfect place to escape from the hustle-bustle of the world and partake of rural Greek culture. Indulge in a plethora of healing related activities or just sit atop a giant rock, self-reflecting and basking in the splendor of mother nature. A variety of classes will be offered for your healing curiosity and pleasure: Learning to cook healthy authentic Greek food; picking herbs in the wild, Thai yoga massage, an introduction to the Greek Orthodox contemplative tradition, the ancient Aesclepian Greek tradition of Dream Healing, icon painting, Greek folk dancing, nature photography etc. Additionally, a couple of day trips will also be offered to nearby towns and points of interest to get a broader taste of what this unique area has to offer.
While a lot of interesting classes are offered on this retreat, the mornings are devoted to learning massage.
As you probably know, the Olympics began in ancient Greece. What you may not be aware of is that in ancient Greece, the Olympic competitions were considered a form of sacred ritual. Athletics were a means to enhance one’s spirituality. The body was not regarded as a tainted vehicle but a divine one geared to transport us into higher realms of consciousness. The Olympics were a competition to see not just who could win at a given sport but how can the human body be used to expand consciousness and thus bring one closer to the Divine?
In this playshop we’re going to draw upon the spirit of this original ancient Olympic concept of bodily excellence and competition and discover how can we use our bodies to give the best bodywork with the least amount of effort. Put in a nutshell - how lazy can we get but still deliver a really effective massage!
Some of the topics we’ll be exploring are:
· Leaning into Laziness
· Transitioning from Bodywork to Body Play
· Befriending Your Inner Sloth
· Giving in to Gravity
· The Pleasure of Sitting
In this fun & playful workshop, that mixes massage with Greek mythology, you’ll learn how to provide a really satisfying full body massage with the least amount of effort, without having to remove anyone’s clothes and without the need for any special equipment or oils.
Greek Cooking with Coca Kula
Historically in many parts of the world food has been considered one of the primary forms of medicine if not the front line of healthy living. This is an opportunity to partake in a one of a kind garden-to-table culinary experience. All hands on deck, as we pitch in to prepare a delicious Grecian feast under Kula’s gracious tutelage and guidance. Learn to make traditional Greek favorites such as spinach, cheese or milk pie. Many of the ingredients
Glorious hikes with our local outdoor guide Daring Dimitri
Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering some amazing hiking opportunities. We’ll be offering a variety of hikes and walks of varying lengths and interests. A hike amongst the mammoth rocks is a must. Additionally, there will be an herbal hike where we will learn about the properties, identify, and pick some of the local medicinal plants. A jaunt to an abandoned monastery for those of you who enjoy exploring ruins is another exciting adventure. And for those of you looking for something truly of the beaten path, we’ll take an other-worldly walk to an old cemetery where you’ll encounter some startling history (and maybe a ghost or two).
Greek Icon painting with Christoph
Icon painting is an ancient Greek Orthodox Christian form of craft designed to venerate the saints. It’s been practiced locally for centuries and like most crafts it is both a creative and contemplative activity. Icon painters tap into the Divine, into the Spirit of the Saints, and channel their love for the saints into their creations. In this playshop, under the guidance of local artisan Christoph you can apply iconographic techniques to paint in traditional style or render your own modernistic variant.
Two fantastic day trips
A trip within a trip is like a dream within a dream. On these two scheduled day trips we’ll shift our dreaming from the element of Earth and Air, characterized by the great rocks of Meteora and the surrounding big sky, to the element of Water, in the form of lakes & the Mediterranean sea. Splash in the waves, swim in the warm waters or simply bask in the moist air and sun, replenishing your reservoir of Vitamin D. Or if you prefer a little town time, take a walk through the picturesque alleys of Kastraki or shop the boutiques.
Dream Incubation Healing with yours truly Bubbly Boxcar
Greece is also home to one of the most ancient of medical practices known as dream incubation healing. At one time, numerous Dream Temples or Aesclepia were strewn around the Mediterranean lands. They were places of pilgrimage where people went to ask for and receive a healing dream to address their physical afflictions. The healing dreams received often contained a prescription that the dreamer would then follow through with in waking life. For those interested we will explore incubating healing dreams during our stay in Meteora asking our Inner Physician for assistance in coping with or curing whatever ails us.
An evening of Greek Folk Dancing
In many traditional societies, after a hard days labor people danced. Dancing was a fun way to shed the stresses of the day and connect with one’s friends and neighbors. At least on one of our nights, after a hard day of leisure, we’ll do the same! No prior experience necessary, a local folk dance expert will step you through the way.
Monastery Tour with Princess Pamela
Monasteries, dating back centuries, perched atop giant monolithic rocks, is one of the features of the area that makes Meteora special accounting for its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. We will take some time to visit these historical and spiritual treasures, allowing the aromatic Frankincense that pervades these structures to transport us to another dimension and if possible arrange to meet with a resident nun or monk and have them explain the Greek Orthodox contemplative tradition in their own terms.
Perched atop the gigantic granite rocks of Meteora, the sunsets literally rock. Living as most of us do in urban environments we’ve lost touch with many of the Earth’s natural rhythms and cycles. In past times, peoples’ lives were organized around the rising and setting of the sun and these were times of the day when people stopped doing whatever they were doing and shift into a state of Being, basking in the wonder of the phenomenon, soaking in the beauty, giving thanks for the day. On this retreat, you’ll be graced with numerous opportunities to reconnect and revisit with this timeless tradition.
Art, Portrait and Landscape photography with Mr. Andy Camera Krupp
Some of you may be wondering what’s the connection between photography and wellness? A good photographer learns to appreciate the value of perspective, lighting and focus. The same scene viewed from multiple perspectives renders a completely different picture. The same could be said about our lives, and the situations we find ourselves in. A simple shift in perspective can make the difference between seeing a situation as a problem, an opportunity, a challenge or a gift. Here we provide an opportunity to not only sharpen your photographic skills under the guidance of master photographer Andy Krupp who will help you capture the feeling, mood and culture of this trip but to also apply the language of photography to examine how we encounter our lives and personalities. How can we free ourselves from stuck situations by changing the lens through which we view the world?
While there are many activities to choose from, we acknowledge the fact that this is a after all a retreat. Some of you may wish to turn inwards and seclude yourself for some portion of the trip. We both support and honor this need. All activities are optional, and should you feel the need to and choose to cocoon for a while, skip part of a day or an entire day, know that you will be fully supported in this capacity.
Breakfast will be served at the main hotel venue. Lunches and dinners at a number of local restaurants. The cuisine is Greek and will be served platter style with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. Expect to feed on traditional Greek specialties such as souvlaki, spanakopita (spinach pie), Greek salad, moussaka, grape leaves etc. We will also be cooking two dinners together as a group as part of the Cooking with Kula class, an extravaganza you won’t want to miss where you’ll learn how to make Greek favorites such as the well-known Greek spinach pie (spanakopita) or the not so well known, but equally delicious, milk pie!
If you have special dietary needs please contact us directly so that we can discuss options with you.
There are two options available for lodging. If you’re looking for a more traditional experience (and are on a budget), rooms can be reserved at one of the local family run guest houses where you’ll get a chance to experience down-to-earth Greek hospitality and receive a 10% discount. Choose the Budget Coupon option when registering for the trip.
If, on the other hand, you prefer more upscale accommodations (with pool access), then you need do nothing and just accept the standard charges when registering.
These are the arrival days. Those who arrive early are welcome to explore the city of Athens. You may wish to visit the famous Acropolis or wander the streets that surround it partaking of the colorful and festive street market scene.