Putting this post together was the best! The photos are bringing back so many memories that I'm thrilled to share with you guys. I received a number of sweet messages about my Instagram Stories from my time at our YBC Yoga Retreat in Santorini, Greece, so the YBC Team created a little recap video for anyone who missed it below. And if you're wondering, yes! We are going back again next summer! Space is limited, so be sure to sign up asap.
I've been to Greece a number of times, but never to Santorini, an island you're probably familiar with from its Instagram-worthy town of Oia (pronounced ee-ya). It's a Cycladic island with white washed buildings surrounded by the vibrant blue Aegean Sea. I put together a yoga retreat this past summer in the hopes that people would be as excited to see Santorini as I was, and we had a fantastic group of women from all over the world sign up and come along for the ride.
I arrived a few days early, as I generally do for retreats, so I could get my bearings, get a head-start on overcoming the jet lag, and scope out some key places for our retreat-goers to visit.
The town of Oia is absolutely breathtaking. I have been all over the world, but Oia is honestly the most gorgeous place I've ever seen. Every single time I looked out to that view I had to pinch myself. It doesn't even seem real! There are a number of excellent restaurants and little shops all along the one main street in Oia, which is only accessible by foot (you should've seen the poor guys who worked at the hotels overlooking the ocean! They had to meet the guests on the street and then carry their luggage through the sweltering heat to the hotels - not a job I envy!).
I rented an ATV for most of the week we were there. You could easily take an inexpensive taxi from our hotel into town (about a 5-10 minute drive), but I wanted the convenience of being able to go when I wanted to go, and come back when I wanted to come back. ATVs are inexpensive, and pretty easy to use.
Here's the little town of Oia - so gorgeous!
On one of the days, our retreat group rented a boat and went sailing! I was so nervous - actually, a few of us were (Would there be a bathroom? Would we get sea sick? What if we hated it and wanted to get off?!) but it wound up being my favorite day of the whole trip (there was a bathroom, no one got sick, and I don't think anyone wanted to get off the boat!).
We went all around the island, and it was amazing because some of the beaches are so different from others. For example, there's a Red Beach, which gets its name from the surrounding high, bright red cliffs. Then there's this insane little volcano which you see above - all that you see there is hardened lava! A few of us swam up to it, with the captain of the boat telling us to watch out because the lava was sharp. We were all like, 'Yeah, yeah,' but the captain wasn't kidding! I cut my foot on those lava rocks! They were sharp as nails. (I was fine, they were minor cuts, not a big deal and nothing the ocean water couldn't heal up.)
What was so amazing was looking under the water with goggles. The volcano literally went straight down for what seemed like hundreds and hundreds of feet. You couldn't see the bottom, it was just pure blue. And barely any life under there, either. You'd see a small school of tiny fish here and there, but otherwise, nothing. (And no sharks, haha, that was my first question to the captain!)
We went all around the island, stopping here and there to swim. The water is so salty - saltier than any other ocean I've been in, and so refreshing!
Ok but back to real life - the yoga! We had a group of nine, which is a great size to me because I really get a chance to know each person (although I knew a handful of this group already - some of them had come on my Costa Rica retreat and Italy retreat in the past).
I created a comprehensive yoga program that included an arm balance workshop (see above - I'm assisting the sweet Whitney from Czech by way of Florida), power and vinyasa classes in the morning, and yin yoga in the afternoons.
The yoga practice was done in this cool tented platform, and they had all the materials we needed including mats, blocks, and straps.
Ugh, and bolsters!! My favorite! I loved how many props this venue had (if there are any venue owners, please invest in quality props! It'll keep your yoga instructors coming back!).
We stayed at a little boutique hotel just in the outskirts of Oia, and it was the perfect location because it was just outside the hustle and bustle of the town that you felt completely relaxed but close enough so you could take a quick cab in to grab lunch or go shopping.
Our accommodations were in these white washed buildings - each room is different and beautifully appointed with simple Grecian decor.
I found the beds super comfortable, and loved that each room had its own patio just outside the door.
Another one of our rooms. Some are small, as you can see, but the high ceilings make them feel airy and open.
I loved our time so much in Santorini that I've reserved a few rooms so we can go back once again next summer! Click here for all the details and to join me in Santorini, Greece for our next adventure!