On arriving at the Mavros Molos Beach bar where the one week yoga holiday was to happen, I soon realised there was no need to worry.
The yoga teacher personalises the yoga practise to suit different abilities by modification of the poses. Add to that the fact that you will be in an idyllic setting at the edge of a golden beach in the more remote north western part of Crete with nothing at all to worry about. Almost all of the meals are included in the price and with no catering to do you will be free to join the yoga then take to the beach, or explore as you wish!
So why not join a week long yoga holiday to learn something new, or deepen your practise and get away from it all? It will surely leave you feeling stretched, toned and recharged ready to take the next steps of your journey.
What sort of yoga is it?
The Yoga Parinama retreat I joined for a week, run by Noemi Franco consisted of a morning Solar practise aimed at energising the body and mind in tune with the early morning sun rising, and the more restorative Lunar practise in the evenings: a slower, more restful practise aimed at deepening the work of the morning whilst releasing tension in the body ready for a good night’s sleep.
Noemi’s teaching emphasises aspects of Hatha Yoga, combining strong dynamic Vinyasa flow yoga, embracing the elements: Air, Fire, Earth and Water with gentler restorative practices. These sessions integrate breathwork, (pranayama), meditation and a sense of calm and well being is promoted.
It was hard work, at first, waking earlier than usual to be on the mat by 7am, but by the last few days I was the first one there! A sure sign that I was slowly recharging.
Where is it?
The studio at the Mavros Molos beach is in a stunning location overlooking the sea at Kastelli beach, Kissamos. Kastelli lies to the west of Rethymno and Chania, to the north west, within 109 miles of Herakleion, the capital of the island. It is approximately 45 minute’s drive from Chania, Northern Crete. Alternatively a public bus will drop you off in Kastelli. From there it is just a few paces to the Mavros Molos beach bar and restaurant where the yoga studio and accommodation are.
Accommodation consists of single, double and triple rooms which are family run, clean and of a good standard. The hosts, Maria and Mike who run the tavern attached to the accommodation, serve delicious food and cater for all the breakfasts and five evening meals, which are included in the price. It is very easy to find other amenable restaurants in the area, as nearby there is a port where the fresh catch of the day is brought to land! There are also vegetarian and vegan options available.
The Local Area
Behind Kissamos’s coastal plain are the mountains. The area consists of gorges and craggy peaks providing many easy grade walks; the chance to see birds of prey, wild flowers and old rural ways of making wine, like treading grapes. There is a bioethical olive oil farm nearby, venetian fortifications and two ports.
Things to Do
Apart from sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling and yoga you can visit ancient ruins, take a day cruise to the nearby island of Gramvousa or the blue lagoon at Balos. You can also explore the Venetian, and in days of yore, Muslim town of Chania; travel farther afield to Herakleion for Knossoss – an ancient Neolithic and Minoan temple which could be as old as 10,200 years. Alternatively visit the Samaria gorge for some vertiginous sight seeing! If that sounds like too much, why not just be still, select a book from Mavros Molos’s book shelf and enjoy the solitude.
A little story behind the Mavros Molos Beach Bar and Restaurant.
Maria and her family own the bar /restaurant/ accommodation and she has a passion for cooking well sourced, organic produce. Her meals are truly delicious. Her passion for cooking fine dishes stems from her grandfather who emigrated to Chania, from Izmir in Turkey. When he arrived she told me, being ever resourceful he decided to build his own boat and fished for a living. It was not long before, after having married, his family settled in Kissamos where he acquired a restaurant with space for rooms. He then began to offer hospitality to others, which Maria continues to this day.
Maria’s culinary skills extend to offering cooking classes where you can learn how to prepare traditional Greek vegetarian meals of such delicacies as stamngathi, radiki as well as greek salads, fish of all varieties in wonderful sauces, clams, gemisto (stuffed peppers and aubergines and courgettes). The prawns are delicious and there is meat on offer too. The delicious, pungent, locally grown seasoning flavours the food with aromatics of thyme, lamiaceae, marjoram, sage, basil and my favourite, oregano.
Having eaten Cretan food in and around the island, I can definitively say that the offerings at Mavros Molos are of the best on the island!
Whilst there are ample places of interest and things to do in the area and beyond, all within easy reach, sticking with the yoga each morning and evening has promoted a sense of well being; kick started my yoga practise and made memories to treasure.
If you are thinking about booking a yoga retreat; or have never given it a thought. Do it!You won’t regret it!
For a yoga break contact: http://www.freespirityoga.co.uk/
Free Spirit Yoga are based in Brighton and have been offering yoga holidays since 1994.
They offer world wide breaks, in the UK, Europe and World Wide.Prices start from £495.00 for the 7 night break.
Noemi Franco is based in London and teaches in various locations.
For more information about Noemi go to her website:
For an independent break at Kastelli: contct Mike and Maria : Address: Agamemnonos 73400 Kissamos Phone: +30 2822 022610