8 Days Meditation and Zen Yoga Retreat in Zakynthos, Greece
Meditation and Yoga Retreat Greece
Welcome to a beautiful week away in Greece! Out to Explore will help you immerse into a world of relaxation and inner exploration. You will enjoy a daily routine of guided meditation, gentle Zen yoga, and Nidra yoga. This retreat is suitable for all levels and abilities, and includes plenty of time in between to relax and unwind! What are you waiting for? Sign up for this special yoga retreat!
- Daily yoga sessions
- Daily meditation sessions
- Personal guidance in small groups
- Free time to explore and do activities of your own choice
- Transfers to and from airport
- 7 nights accommodation
- Yoga mats and props
- Hatha Yoga
- Restorative Yoga
- Nidra Yoga
- Zen yoga
Time to take a break from the relentless daily stress of life. Perhaps you are looking for a way to slow down and let go of all that stuff that’s dragging you down. Out to Explore Zen yoga holidays do just that. Through your introduction to the principals of Zen yoga and meditation, you will learn ways to reduce stress by simple practices that you can continue and build on at home.
Perhaps you already have an established practice that you would like to continue and enrich whilst on holiday. You will reconnect your senses and find the balance you need to be happy. All this as well as plenty of time to explore the raw beauty of this amazing Greek island.
What is Zen yoga?
Zen yoga combines elements of Taoist yoga, Hatha yoga, and Qigong. Incorporating elements of traditional Chinese medicine in a life enhancing exploration. If it sounds like gobbledygook, don’t worry. Just give it a go! It is a gentle and compassionate practice that will strengthen and increase your flexibility along with a whole host of other benefits.
Although Zen yoga’s origins are in Buddhism, at Out to Explore, their practice is non-religious. Zen yoga treats the body and mind as one integral body, aiming to enhance physical well-being and life satisfaction. So Zen yoga is often accompanied by meditation practice or Zazen. The word "meditation" often inspires grimaces and uncomfortable memories of trying really hard not to think about anything.
"I just can’t clear my mind to do it" is the type of thing you might hear frequently. Zazen could be better described as "quiet abiding." It is simply not possible to stop thinking. The brain is constantly active. Some areas are more active when you are resting, so the idea of stopping all that activity is unrealistic. Zazen aims to allow that activity to naturally go on, but without any judgement, without becoming attached to the ideas, images, memories, and thoughts that are constantly trundling through your minds.
Just letting them pass without getting involved with them. It is a practice, and like any practice, it becomes easier the more you do it. There has been research that suggests that this kind of "quiet abiding" can actually alter some of the brains neural paths. It is called neuroplasticity. What does that mean? It means that habitual thought processes or patterns can be changed. Your reactions to stress, physical or emotional, can be changed just through meditation or Zazen.
There is a whole bunch of good stuff that regular practice can lead to. Ranging from reducing stress, increasing clarity, to improved well-being, and it can even alleviate depression. Definitely worth giving it a go! Basically, Zen yoga involves simple breathing, movement, and stretching exercises that are available to anyone regardless of age, fitness, or health. There are three main principles underlying Zen yoga: alignment, energy, and mindfulness.
Alignment refers to physical alignment, an erect spine respecting its natural curves but with a sense of uplifting. In Zen yoga, you recognize that correct posture influences your state of mind and your energy.
Energy refers to the Zen concept of your bodies being energetic systems. This energy, also known as "ki", can be built up and drained. It flows through your bodies in particular routes known as meridians. When you stretch your bodies during yoga practices, you stretch, open and unblock your energy routes and guide your energy in beneficial directions. This is done through intention, meaning that your energy is guided through your breath or through imagery or a focused attention.
The idea is to open and energize your well-being energy circuits. It is not necessary to have a deep understanding of this, even just considering it as a concept will help to transform the quality of your yoga practice.
Mindfulness in Japanese calligraphy is called Nen. The character when translated directly is divided into two halves. The top half represents "now" and the bottom half represents "heart or mind." So put those together and you will have your heart and mind in the "now." Put in more flowery terms, it means the presence of a calm, alert, open, curious, steady but flexible, deliberate but judgement-free attention to the action of the present moment.
Sounds a little complicated. When you simply allow yourself to exist in the present moment, freeing yourself of the things that are not relevant to the present moment, that’s when you are being mindful. Mindfulness too gets easier with practice. Once you get the hang of it, you will never look back.
Sample daily schedule
Day 1 - Sunday
Day 2 - Monday
- 09:00 Gentle awakenings yoga
- 18:00 Yoga Nidra and set your Sankalpa
Day 3 - Tuesday
- 10:00 Energizing yoga
- 18:00 Aqua yoga or yoga Nidra at 19:30
Day 4 - Wednesday
- 09:30 Gentle awakenings yoga
- 18:00 Restorative yoga
Day 5 -Thursday
- 08:30 Gentle awakenings yoga
- 18:00 Evening Zen yoga and reido
Day 6 - Friday
- 09:00 Gentle awakenings yoga and reido
- 18:00 Evening Zen yoga
Day 7 - Saturday
- Free day
Day 8 - Sunday
- Check out
What is included
- 7 nights accommodation
- Transfers to and from the airport
- Twice daily yoga and meditation session
- Yoga mats and props
What is not included
- All meals and food
- Swimming pool (outdoor)
- Dining area
- Smoke-free property
- Yoga studio
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
You will be accommodated in Explorer's Rest. It is set back on a quiet lane in Argassi at the foot of Mount Skopos. It is a single villa divided into four studios set in a small olive grove. There is parking available in the gardens to the front of Explorer’s Rest.
Hiring a car enables you to explore the island in your own way and at your own pace. The studios provide compact home comforts. There are two ground floor studios. They have been refurbished and both can accommodate up to three adults with the option of an extra Z bed for a child.
The first floor studios are basically equipped and can accommodate up to two adults each.
Voyager and Wayfarer
Voyager and Wayfarer studios both bear characteristics of their names, reflected in their color schemes and décor. The spirit of the sea explorer and the wandering wayfarer are invoked in the carefully selected furnishings, pictures, ornaments, and books.
Both studios have full kitchens, giving you the freedom to choose whether to eat out or prepare some great home cooked food. The bunk beds, too, reflect the sense of adventure that Out to Explore likes to share with their guests.
The balconies have French windows with pull down mosquito nets for your comfort and convenience and enjoy views of the foothills of Mount Skopos. Perfect for enjoying a sundowner. Both studios have flat screen TV, safety deposit box, free air-conditioning, and Wi-Fi.
Nomad and Fernweh
Nomad and Fernweh offer basic accommodation for the happy holiday maker and explorer on a budget. They are accessed via stairs at the rear of the building that leads to a shared terrace at the entrance to the studios.
From here, you have a panoramic view of the sea and coast all the way to Zakynthos Town, as well as being able to watch the sun rise over the coastline. The balconies on the other side of each studio enjoy views of the foothills of Skopos and the surrounding lush green area.
It is a perfect place for watching the sinking sun, below the horizon. The balcony windows have pull down mosquito nets. Both studios have kitchen, refrigerator, wet room old style shower room, TV, safety deposit box, and free Wi-Fi.
Things to Do
During your free time, you can do activities on your own choice. You are welcome to use the swimming pool at Edelweiss Hotel, which is the opposite of Explorer's Rest. If the beach is more your thing, then Argassi Beach is a 10-minute stroll away. There are regular buses that can take you to Vasilikos and the gorgeous beaches along the Vasilikos Peninsula. Gerakas Beach, at the tip of the peninsula, is one of the main sites under the protection of the National Marine Park for the conservation of loggerhead turtles.
You can find out more about the National Marine Park's work by visiting their observation station at Gerakas. During your free time, you may like to explore some of the more creative activities that Zakynthos offers. Argassi is the home of Afrodite, a local potter who will teach you how to make a piece pottery using old fashioned techniques at the Spinspot pottery.
You can also ride a horse on an unspoiled beach beside the ocean, or explore by sea, or enjoy a kayaking trip to the blue caves organized by them. They can also organize bicycle and car hire for you. They are always on hand if you need any tips or advice.
Back to Roots
This is a unique experience of the island of Zakynthos with Jackie, founder of Nefis Travel. You will journey off the beaten track to the most traditional villages on the island, completely away from mass tourism, and largely untouched by time. You will have the opportunity to see real Greek island villages and experience day-to-day life in rural Zante. You will visit an olive oil factory as well as a monastery as you explore the hidden treasures of Zakynthos.
Naturally, you take in the view of the famous shipwreck bay from above and learn a thing or two about Greek culture, history, traditions, and mythology along the way. You will stop for lunch at Kampi, located high along the Zakynthian white cliffs, offering the most breathtaking, panoramic sea views in all of Greece. Here, you can enjoy delicious home-made Zakynthian meals while being serenaded by guitarist Nico and Jackie. The uplifting sounds of traditional Zakynthian folk songs are utterly enchanting.
Fora hiking experience
Fora, in Greek, means momentum. Fora, in Latin, means outdoors, outside. This synthesis outlines the main idea of getting out and regaining your connection with what you need so much. The island of Zakynthos can generously provide earth, sun, and sea. Walking in nature revives, trains, and awakens both the body and the mind while it puts a brake on the fast pace of modern day life. With Fora, you find tracks and hidden treasures which the instructors will share with you.
On this occasion, you will start at Limni Keri and guide you along the coast to Marathia and the breathtaking untamed west coast. Along the way, you will get to know about flora and fauna. You will find a small taverna for lunch and finish your hike with a cooling swim in the sea. The trekking is approximately eight kilometers.
You will have the opportunity to explore the amazing coastline of Zakynthos with Seakayaking Zakynthos. With full instruction (if required), all equipment, and transfers for your peace of mind. Imagine exploring the blue caves by kayak and discovering the deepest and bluest gems of this island. You may even find yourself sharing the sea with a Caretta Turtle.
The breakfast buffet consists of freshly baked croissants or pancakes (gluten free), various cereals, and muesli. As well as oats seeds and dried fruits to mix your own muesli. Greek Yoghurt, milk, almond milk. Toast (wholemeal or white), Wheat free crisp breads and a variety of other crispbreads, as well as pumpernickel.
There are also butter, homemade marmalades, and jams and preserves. Locally produced honey. Feta cheese. Breakfast bars and traditional Greek paxamathia cookies. Boiled free range eggs from our farm. Fresh seasonal fruit including plums, watermelon, pears, bananas. Fresh orange and apple juice. Smoothies with frozen forest fruits. lemon and mint squash. Variety of teas (including green and Matcha tea) and cafetiere coffee.
The picnic lunch includes vegetarian quiche with gluten-free pastry, chickpea patties, pomegranate and tomato salsa, feta cheese dip, fresh fruit, and sesame bars. Our Mindful cooking session will be using fresh seasonal produce that we will prepare and eat together. This is always vegetarian.
The following meals are included:
The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:
- Gluten Free
- Raw Food
- Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
- Whole Food
The following drinks are included:
Meet The Instructors
Certified by School
Yoga Alliance E-RYT 200
Yoga became a part of Barbara's life in her mid 30s. After practicing yoga for 20 years and teaching for two years, Barbara Clother created the Zen Yoga Studio in Argassi as a base for sharing Zen yoga practice. Barbara has been involved in performance arts since childhood, she always enjoyed the emotional release she got from movement. One of her greatest pleasures is helping others find their path and connect with their joy, enabling them to continue their practice in their own daily lives.
Location Out to Explore, Argassi, Zakinthos 29100, Greece
Arrival by airplane
Please book your flight to arrive at Zakynthos International Airport (ZTH). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Out to Explore will pick you up from the airport.
There are all year round flights leaving every day from Athens which take approximately 45 minutes. There are also regular flights to and from Kefalonia, Corfu, Kithira, and Preveza.
During the tourist season, April to October, there are direct charter connections between Zakynthos and a number of European cities. Some of the larger charter airlines, Ryanair and EasyJet, fly to Zakynthos. Transfer from the airport can be done by taxi, costing approximately 16 EUR. Alternatively, you can collect a hire car from the airport either by booking online in advance or you can hire a car when you arrive.
Arrival by bus
Please book your ticket to Kyllini. The national bus company (KTEL) runs a daily coach service with direct connections to the cities of Athens, Patras, and Thessaloniki via a short journey on the Zakynthos-Kyllini ferry. The trip from Athens to Kyllini lasts roughly four hours and 30 minutes. From Kyllini, there is a direct ferry boat link to Zakynthos. The ferryboat ticket is included in the price of the bus ticket.
From the bus station in Zakynthos town, you can either take a bus to Argassi or a taxi costing approximately 8 EUR.
Arrival by ferry
All year round there are daily ferry routes from the port of Killini, on the Peloponnese coast, to Zakynthos. Two companies operating are Ionian Group and Kefalonian Lines. During the tourist season, May to October, there is a ferry connection which is Ionion Pelagos between Pesada in Kefalonia and Saint Nikolas port in Zakynthos. %All year round, there are daily car-ferry routes from Venice, Ancona, Bari or Brindisi (Italy) to Patras (Greece). Then, by car or bus (KTEL) to Killini's port, and by ferry to Zakynthos.
Booking And Cancellation Policy
- A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
- The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
- The rest of the payment should be paid 7 days before arrival.