Yoga Week at the Odyssey
Author and photographer: Annette Spaan
Dutch Travel Journalist Annette Spaan spent months at the Odyssey and wrote this blog about her experiences.
The yoga and meditation week at the Odyssey seems like a great opportunity to finally put my brain into a much needed zen-mode. When I try to relax, at least ten different subjects race through my mind at 160 kilometers per hour. Since the whole week is based on Greek mythology, I will even get to discover my inner Goddess.
This yoga seminar is Dutch. There are 12 of us under the tutelage of yoga teacher Mirjam de Boer, who is from the Netherlands. On the first day she gives each of us a bracelet with a little Buddha. Mine is made of jade, my favorite colour!
Most of the yoga classes will be held in the gym next door to The Odyssey, but for some we will get to explore more of Poros. For our first adventure we visit Russian Bay, one of the island’s loveliest beaches.
Against a background of ruins I close my eyes and join in on the meditation. It only takes a few seconds before what-to-do lists and grocery shopping needs start to dominate my thoughts. The more I try to suppress them, the louder they speak.
The yoga begins. It has been a long time since I last followed a class. I feel stiff and find that my back is protesting. It is a joy to watch Mirjam perform yoga, she looks like a Greek Goddess herself.
With the yachts floating in the background we even do yoga in the sea. In the distance we can see the uninhabited island that we will visit later this week.
After 45 minutes of stretching, my body feels more flexible and loose. My muscles relax and my breathing is more calm. I imagine the waves taking my thoughts to slowly disappear in the endless sea.
As the class comes to an end, we all sit on the beach and watch the sunset. Mirjam puts her Goddess Oracle cards in front of us and lets two of us choose one. I pick Kuan Yin, a card that tells me to have more compassion for myself. Sound advice.
For another class Mirjam takes us up to the roof terrace of hotel Alexandros. We are surrounded by pots of flowers, bougainvillea grows through the blue railing. The view of the pastel-coloured houses of Askeli, the green mountains and the calm sea make me feel dreamy.
In every class another Greek Goddess is the focal point. Today it is Demeter, who symbolizes the connection with other people. Hence, we finish the yoga with exercises that we have to do together. It might have taken almost an hour, but by the time the meditation part comes to an end I feel so relaxed I want to sleep. My mind seems suspiciously quiet.
When we get back to the Odyssey the bistro is full of little candles.
Later in the week we find ourselves on a bright white taxi boat. We sail off, leaving Poros town behind us.
In front of Russian Bay lies the tiny Teachers Island. The school that it houses is closed, but a yoga class is on its way.
As we set foot on the uninhabited island, we are immediately stunned by the views. We secretly hope that the taxi boat will forget to pick us up.
Before the taxi boat can even turn around and leave, some of the ladies are splashing in the turquoise sea.
A few hours and yoga exercises later the sun sets. I stare across the sea and think about the Greek Goddesses. Everybody has done the What Goddess Are You? test on the internet before they arrived on Poros. We enjoy sharing our results with one another. I am Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, Beauty and Creativity. An Oceanic Goddess born out of the foam of the sea. A woman that feels naturally drawn to expressive professions, in which she can transform her sensitivities into art. The idea makes me smile.
We can hear the taxi boat from a distance because of its loud Greek music singing over the waves. From the moment we get on board we dance our way to Poros like there is no tomorrow. People in the harbor of Poros town notice our private party and wave to us.
This week might be dominated by Goddesses, but there is a place on Poros that is ruled by a God: The temple of Poseidon. He is the God of the Sea and the brother of Zeus. At 7am I walk with Katerina and the yoga group through the pine forest to this historical place.
The temple of Poseidon is located high on a mountain. When we are almost there we stop and look down in awe of our view of Vagionias Bay. Under the water lies an ancient Greek town.
Just around the corner, Katerina treats us to a picnic of delicious home-made goodies.
The temples in Greece are always built on the most spectacular locations, and the temple of Poseidon is no exception. The ruins dating back to 520 before Christ are surrounded by olive trees, mountains and cypress trees. A spectacular coastline lies at its feet, hundreds of meters below.
Listening to the sound of the wind blowing through the branches of the olive and pine trees is a meditation on its own.
We all walk back to the Odyssey with our yoga mats under our arms. It suddenly hits me that this was one of the last classes and that I am really going to miss it. I like the silence during yoga and the relaxation I feel afterwards. I like the focus on my body for a brief period of the day. My restless mind usually finds it hard to relax because there is always so much to do. The irony is — if you slow down, you just might get more done.
Mirjam de Boer hosts her yoga and meditation week twice a year on Poros, in the spring and the fall.
For prices and more information visit her website www. soepelengezond .nl
Do you want to cook with Katerina at Odyssey?
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