Below is my review of Silver Island Yoga: a yoga retreat like no other. Situated on a small Greek island, the retreat encompasses sixty acres of hidden coves, ancient forests and fields of wild flowers. Entirely eco-friendly, serving only freshly produced vegetarian food, Silver Island Yoga is a much needed sanctuary away from the stresses of modern day life.
Floating in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea is Silver Island Yoga. The island looks like a postcard: an expanse of silvery olive trees, white washed buildings and pebble beaches. The Island is serenely quiet (aside from the sound of the odd chicken), peaceful and secluded. It is a perfect place, really, for a yoga retreat.
Back in March, I was grumpy. Moving around, sleeping on sofas, trying to buy a house, trying to move things out of my old house and working full-time, had all taken its toll.
One night, I decided that I needed to visit somewhere drenched in sunshine; a place to recharge. I needed yoga. It was then that I remembered reading about a magical looking destination called Silver Island Yoga, and I was able to find it online within minutes. A mere thirty minutes later, and having seen only a selection of this apparent paradise, I was all booked – a week of ‘realignment’ with Rebecca Halls, waiting for me.
Thanks to their wonderful website, I knew that the Island would undoubtedly be beautiful, and that we would be eating organic, home-grown food for the week. Indeed, it all sounded incredibly virtuous and lovely. However, I wasn’t prepared for just how wonderful Silver Island Yoga would be.
To get to Silver Island Yoga you must travel from Athens (via private taxi or bus journey) to the tiny town of Oreoi, on the island of Evia. Both transfers take approximately four hours, with the private taxi costing between €190 – 220, dependent on your route (one involving a short ferry crossing). The bus costs just €18, plus the cost of the ferry crossing at €4.70. Once in Oreoi, the owners of the Island – Lissa and Corne – will collect guests from the small port between 10.30 – 12.00pm (dependent on the season) each Sunday morning.
I chose to opt for a private taxi and arrived in Oreoi on the Saturday evening, the night before the retreat would start. The staff at Silver Island Yoga kindly booked me a room at the local Paralio Hotel for the night, costing just €35. Just a stone’s throw from the harbour where I would later be collected, the hotel was an ideal and perfectly comfortable place to stay.
The following morning, and having been transported to the island via Lissa and Corne’s beautiful boat, we finally arrived on its pebbled shores. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined. The water surrounding the island was crystal clear, teaming with colourful fish and smooth, worn pebbles. Ahead of us lay the island’s slopes, each covered in a blanket of with vibrant wildflowers and scented pine trees; hammocks suspended between each.
Yet above all this, however, it was Silver Island’s soundtrack that truly caught my attention: the deafening sound of complete and utter silence.
There are two main places to stay on the island: The Villa (with beautiful sea views) and the island’s Main House, attached to the kitchen, dining area and lounge. It was here that I would be staying with my wonderful roommate, Ruth. With the price of each room including full board and lodgings, the cost of my shared room in the house was €1,300 for the week.
The island’s accommodation is of a traditional white-wash style, with picturesque blue windows and shutters, surrounded by climbing roses and scented jasmine. Inside, both houses are filled with large, embroidered cushions, thick rugs, shelves creaking under the weight of their books and the perpetual smell of burning incense. Each and every room is light, peaceful and filled with beautiful cotton sheets and linens, creating a wonderfully Mediterranean atmosphere.
After settling into our rooms, the group soon had their first lunch together; gathered under the house’s beautiful veranda. Organic and completely fresh – recently dug or harvested from the island’s gardens – the food served on the island was incredible. Although not a vegetarian myself, I felt entirely satisfied by the food on offer: each meal offering a new and inventive take on traditional vegetarian dining.
Our days on the island quickly fell into an easy routine.
It began with 07.30am yoga and meditation, high above the island on the beautiful yoga platform that overlooked the sea and lighthouse. After two hours of stretching and breathing, we next had a breakfast of fresh juices, home-made granola and yogurt. After this was our free time, during which you could go swimming, kayaking, hiking, or – and as I preferred – lying motionless on the beach.
After a large and laughter filled lunch, we were then afforded more down time, before an evening yoga class. The classes with Rebecca were both dynamic and incredibly calming, including a mix of guided meditations and hula-hooping parties underneath the starry skies.
Evening times were by far my favourite time on the island, as the entire group gathered for an en evening meal; complete with organic wine, open fires and music. As the island is completely self-sufficient, electricity only runs from 8-10pm. After this window of time, you then have your own solar lamp to guide you.There was something quite magical about this, and I would spend most evenings watching the glowing lamps move around the island as dusk fell.
This post in no way covers all that Silver Island Yoga is. Throughout my week I enjoyed sunrise kayaking trips; hula hoop classes; an incredible show by Rebecca (think: neon lights, flashing hoops and lots of dancing); sunset walks; meditation; snorkeling; massages; arts and crafts and long afternoon walks.
By the end of the week, I not only had a wonderful tan and more flexible hamstrings, but a new found sense of happiness and ease. Really happy. Silver Island Yoga is a special place and when combined with special people, makes for an utterly unique experience.
Maybe it was the healthy food, the exercise, or the fact that wherever I was on the island, there was someone kind to sit and talk to, but on my way home, I found myself crying. Silver Island Yoga is a holiday I’ll truly never forget.
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