Zagori Retreat: Bringing together the inner and the outer landscape (English version)
Zagori is one of the most strictly protected areas in Greece due to its wild and unspoiled nature and its distinctive traditional architecture. This seven-day program aims at enjoying nature, exercising your body, relaxing your spirit, cleansing and renewing the mind. Seven days living in a wonderful lodge in Papigo, combining movement, Yoga, meditation and trekking around the best-known places in Zagori, energizing and renewing body and soul.
This program invites you to walk by the river, in the mountains, to move and meditate in nature. It calls for the awakening of our senses, refreshing our connection to ourselves and environment, experiencing the particular and unique beauty of nature in Zagori along with its distinctive traditional architecture, inspired to learn about ourselves as part of nature, to connect inner and outer landscapes.
We will walk along beautiful tracks, learning about the place's natural and cultural history and life, guided by our experienced guide, Georgia ( http://geozagori.gr/ ). Georgia will lead you through some of the unique natural and cultural monuments of Zagori. There, we will perform our mindful movement practice, inspired by the landscape's special qualities, and our daily meditation in situ-guided by Thalia, an experienced and enthusiastic creative and expressive movement, Pilates and restorative Yoga instructor. This experience includes guided movement with breathing, sound to energize the chakras, mild restorative Yoga, stretching, Pilates, guided improvised movement and meditation.
Anna, an experienced spine-work therapist, will offer each participant a special hands-on restorative spine-works treatment. She will also guide us through a relaxing body-work session in pairs.
Accommodation will be in Tsouka Rossa Guesthouse ( www.tsoukarossa.gr ) a well preserved representative example of a 19th century mansion.
We have planned this lovely week and offer it to you as a gift that you can enjoy yourself, alone, or share with your beloved ones. The whole program is organized for a small group of participants from minimum 8 to a maximum of 15 people assuring a cozy atmosphere and a special attention to all participants.
Day 1: Welcome day
We welcome you to Tsouka Rossa Guesthouse with a homemade complimentary drink (16:00).
After you've made yourselves comfortable we meet in our Yoga room to get to know the group and have an introduction circle to our week. Then we unwind body & mind with a relaxing and rejuvenating Pilates and stretching practice. Following that, a freshly-cooked traditional vegetarian meal is served at the guesthouse. The day ends in the lovely yard of the guesthouse with a magical view over the Papigo towers.
Day 2: Sunrise day
In the morning, after breakfast, we will gather for a movement and meditation session in a lovely field near the guesthouse.
Following this, we will spend the rest of the morning in the Rogovo pools, a small gorge with cold running water that forms small pools; a great place for a relaxing swim! We will enjoy a light lunch in the area, before going back to the guesthouse for some relaxation time.
We will start the afternoon with a circle of acquaintances. Through group games and experiential exercises we will learn more about each other in a playful and entertaining way, guided through team- building games. Then we move on to a mild Yoga practice leading us to our meditation and relaxation before dinner.
In the evening, you are free to walk around Papigo village and to have dinner at one of the local restaurants.
Trekking Hours: 1, Difficulty Level: Easy
Day 3: Flow day
A two-hour trip at water’s edge along one of the cleanest rivers in Europe will bring you closer to nature. During our silent walk you will have a short break to visit a monastery; here we will try some soundings practice. We will use our voices to energize and balance our chakras and create soundscapes to experience the richness of sound within the special acoustics of the monastery.
Our walk ends at the famous bridge of Kledonia, a monument of cultural architecture. From here we will be transferred to another part of the Voidomatis river, where we can bathe, enjoy a light meal, rest and continue with an afternoon of movement and meditation practice by the river.
Transfer back to our premises. Free time for spine-works therapies and relaxation before dinner in the village.
Trekking Hours: 2, Difficulty Level: Easy
Day 4: Circle day
We begin our day with a sunrise movement and meditation session in the lovely field near the guesthouse. After that, we enjoy breakfast served on the premises.
After breakfast, there is the option of another visit and swim at Rogovo pools, while some participants will be enjoying their spine-works therapies. Lunch time is free for all.
In the afternoon, a Therapy session in the lovely yard of our premises overlooking the Papigo rock towers and Astraka peak will help you relax. Later we will all meet in order to prepare our DINNER. We will learn to make and roll-out traditional fyllo-pastry for pies and enjoy the collective cooking.
The cooking session is followed by our evening Yoga practice before dinner. During dinner we will share some local stories and we invite any participant to share with the group a favourite fairytale or story.
Day 5: Route day
Today's main thematic hike is the Kokkino Lithari (Red Rock) hike. We will set off on a short scenic hike to Mikro Papigo one of the best-preserved traditional stone villages in Greece. The hike will take you through the Bistyries caves with their extraordinary colors which were inhabited in Neolithic times. From there, after a one-hour hike, you will reach the Red Rock, the spectacular viewpoint overlooking the Vikos Canyon and Voidomatis springs. There we will hold a meditation session in an amazing field, followed by a light meal, enjoying the wonderful view.
In the afternoon we will have a massage session in pairs, with guided basic techniques of therapeutic touch and massage. The rest of the evening is free of activities. You can enjoy dinner in the village and relax in the guesthouse's yard.
Trekking Hours: 4 Elevation Gain: +400m Difficulty Level: Moderate
Day 6: Sunset day
Oxia view point: This thematic route which evolves in the heart of Unesco’s Geopark will give you the chance to have a spectacular view of the Deepest Canyon in the World and admire IN SITU the geological heritage of the area!
Missios stone bridge: Setting off from the traditional stone village of Vitsa, a well preserved cobbled stone path called Scala Vitsas, will bring you down to the Vikos Canyon. This is a downhill hike through the forest and you will cross the famous Missios stone bridge, one of the oldest and best-preserved bridges. From there we will move on by the riverbank to the Kokkoros bridge.
Movement and meditation practice over the Missios stone bridge.
During our last evening we will share our 7-day experience playing with clay and colors and exchanging thoughts and emotions. After that we will enjoy a traditional dinner at the Guesthouse.
Trekking Hours: 3 Difficulty Level: Moderate
Day 7: Good-bye day
Our last breakfast at the guesthouse. One last spine-works experience till noon when we will say goodbye! A van will transfer you back to Ioannina city.
What is spine works?
Spine works is a therapeutic method of manipulation by hand, of the musculoskeletal and the visceral system, with a muscular- neural-peritoneal and energy approach. It is focused on the spine from the skull to the sacrum and extends throughout the body. Its main concern is to restore the body motion removing the pain and focus on relaxing or stimulating all soft tissues involved in the mobility of the spine and other joints. And it does this gently, based on the principle of non-pressure. It does not use any violent, abrupt techniques, machinery or medication. You can experience this method enjoying one 45’ minute session during your accommodation in Tsouka Rossa Guesthouse (included in the overall price of the program).
Our movement-based practice
Within the week-long program, Thalia will lead us through sessions of stretching and core empowering exercises, of flow movement and breath, of Yoga, pranayama and meditation. We will have somatic and meditation practices within the nature where we will work on grounding, breath, energetic connection with elements of nature (mountain, horizon, sky, trees etc). We will also work in pairs and groups reinforcing qualities of communication and playfulness. Through our movement practice and meditation, we will focus on natural qualities offered by the gorgeous landscape, like the flow of water, the view from an elevated point etc. The whole week calls for a natural opening of the senses to the natural beauty of Zagorian landscape. Through our meditation and practice, we will connect with this beauty and we will focus on similar quality and beauty that lie within us. We will also use our voices to open tone and balance our energy centers. The combination of trekking, our somatic practices and meditation is designed to accomplish deep revitalization and to work with pleasure, joy, softness and kindness within monumental Zagori to empower qualities and practices that help us grow.
Meet our team!
Guide of natural and cultural interpretation
My passion for nature begun when I was at the Technical University of Crete studying Environmental and Mineral Resources Engineering. I became a climber and speleologist and on a trip in Zagori region I fell in love with the breathtaking landscape, natural environment and cultural history. After graduating I decided I couldn’t spend my life living in the city so I returned in Zagori in 2009 determined to devote my life in this fascinating area.
I have lived here for six years and observed all the changes in the natural environment during the 4 seasons. Now I have a deeper understanding of the diverse elements that comprise that magnificent and unique area. Last year I completed my master degree in mapping geotrails in Zagori, which is part of Vikos-Aoos Geopark founded in 2010. To me, the geopark provides the context for the best learning experience. It blends some of the most scenic views in the world with unique geology, ecosystems and surrounding cultures that has managed to remain untouched by the industrialized world. In this sense, visiting this region is like traveling back in time!
My current objective is to provide this knowledge and experience to nature-lover travelers seeking exploration and comprehension of Zagori region during their trip.
Anna Sofoulaki - Therapist
Anna Sofoulaki was born in 1978 in Heraklion of Crete. She is a graduate of the Theatre Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts. She has worked as an operator of puppets with the group Texnopolis and UNIMA of Crete and as a teacher of theater education in primary education. In 2013, she completed her studies of the faculty of Spine works of the Association “Academy of Spineworks and Emotional Support of Love” in Heraklion of Crete. Since then she lives and works there exercising the healing art of Spineworks. During 2015 she began to participate in the transmission of teaching alongside his teacher Dimitris Kokkinakis. In the last eight years, she is dabbled at movement, Yoga, meditation and has attended a variety of workshops focusing on dance, performance and art-therapy. The subject of her personal research through the healing process and arts is the meeting point between body-emotion-mind in order to express, create and interact. She likes travelling, reading and cooking.
Thalia Ditsa- Pilates, Yoga, creative movement and meditation
Thalia Ditsa was born at 1978, in the United Kingdom. She grew up in Crete, where she discovered the joy and the magic of movement through dance. She originally studied Physics. Soon she turned to occupy herself professionally with movement as a dancer, choreographer and movement instructor. She studied choreography in the UK. She has taken part in many artistic projects as a performer and choreographer. She deeply believes that movement, as a vital process of life, can be essential to therapy and a positive contribution to many somatic and psychic challenges and occasions. This belief, along with the experience of several injuries she faced, pushed her to train to become a Pilates and later a Yoga instructor with Jenny Colebourne in Athens.
For the last decade, she has been teaching Pilates, contemporary dance and improvisation, creative movement, meditative movement mainly in Athens where she lives, but also in Crete. Her inspiration comes from her multi-dimensional experiences concerning movement, body and mind, through her different trainings (dance, Pilates, Yoga) and her intense research and practice in somatic practices such as Body- Mind Centering©, Feldenkrais, Butoh, dance-movement therapy, release techniques in contemporary dance, ideokinisis, Franklin method and other. She also practices Sound Balancing©, where voice and sound are utilized consciously for energetic re-balancing. She is continuously in the flow of researching movement as a springboard and an educational process for a meaningful presence and a better life quality. Thalia seeks for the knowledge of ancient traditions like Yoga as well as contemporary approaches on how with our mindful presence within our body and movement, with acceptance of what is, with breath and meditation, each person can be supported through their own personal growth process and their interaction with the world.
Welcome and share your trip with us!
Cost Per Person (double room 2 beds)
1 Spine-Work Therapy
6 Multi Sessions (Yoga, Pilates, Meditation)
Transfer into Zagori
Minimum number of participants: 8 persons
Down payment: 25% of the cost
Down payment pay off date: By 15/6