The Art of Walking: A Yogic Exploration
An avid hiker and city walker himself, Constantinos invites walking and hiking enthusiasts to discover how tools acquired through yoga can be transferred in order to improve one’s hiking technique! Drawing from the deep understanding of the body, posture and movement gained in Iyengar yoga, participants will be offered principles that they will then have the chance to apply in three hikes of moderate difficulty during the week, while exploring some of the area’s most majestic descents from the steep mountains all the way down to the turquoise sea! The week begins with an introductory yoga session at 6.00 p.m. on the day of arrival, followed by dinner. Thereafter, there will be a morning (9.00-11.00 a.m.) and afternoon (6.00-7.30 p.m.) Iyengar yoga class on two days, and a morning class on Sunday the 20th of May. On alternate days, instead of the classes there will be hikes of increasing difficulty and length.
Each class prepares the hike to follow, so the week unfolds in a slow and consistent progression.The hikes will end up at a different beach each time; daily encounters with the cool Mediterranean waters, unspoilt surroundings, wholesome local food, other excursions, and a warm and welcoming group of people will add to making this experience unforgettable!
"The Art of Walking helped me completely re-think how I walk - and how I practise yoga, thanks to Constantinos, a truly gifted teacher. It was set in the most stunning scenery, and with the beautiful village and beach just metres away. The accommodation and food were excellent, and Eugenia was a great hostess - generous, informative and highly organised."
2016 workshop participant
- 6 Iyengar yoga classes
- Two days of hiking (with the option to stay on for 1 more day of hiking, after the end of the classes) plus options for alternative activities/excursions in case of rain
- A round trip to the beautiful Sweet Water beach (if staying for the full week)
- Professional and experienced yoga instructor and local hiking guide
- 7 [or 5] nights' accommodation in traditional guesthouse located near beach
- 7 [or 5] breakfasts and 4 dinners included
- Linen and towels provided
Course ProgrammeThe aim of the workshop is to provide lovers of nature who enjoy walking and hiking with some useful yogic insights that will help them maximise the enjoyment they receive from the hiking experience, through improvements in posture, breath and concentration. There are four basic human positions: sitting, standing up, lying down and walking. Yoga, through the study of asanas, has extensively explored the first three. How can this thorough study of static positions inform the dynamics of walking?
Among the topics that will be studied are the following:
- Muscular-skeletal body vs. physiological body
- Experimenting with the placement of the centre of gravity, and finding ways to initiate movement from different parts of the body.
- Understanding biomechanical alignment and finding a more balanced vertical axis that will enable you to receive the support of the rebound force of the earth.
- Hip and shoulder coordination
- Understanding deep diaphragmatic breathing and the oscillatory movement of the spine that connects legs and arms to the centre.
- Learning how to extend your spine, how to warm up and cool down before and after hiking and how to take care of minor hip and shoulder issues.
- Discovering useful meditation practices that will allow you to connect breath, walking, and awareness.
The week's outline
- Tuesday - afternoon yoga
- Wednesday - morning and afternoon yoga
- Thursday - Imbros gorge hike
- Friday - morning and afternoon yoga
- Saturday - Aradaina gorge hike ending at beautiful Marmara beach
- Sunday - morning yoga (option to end course here)
- Monday - Pachnes peak (2453 m) hike
- Tuesday - departure after breakfast
(Note: The hiking schedule is subject to change, depending on the weather, as well guest numbers, preferences and abilities)
The hikes will not be structured, rather participants will be free to experiment with whatever techniques have been practiced in the classes. If someone prefers to take a rest on one of the days, they are free to do so, and there will also be an option for a shorter hike.
During the day in between classes or after hikes, there will be enough time for guests to relax and enjoy the beach and sunshine, receive a massage treatment, or explore the village and region. Four dinners are offered at the house, while on three of the nights guests are free to dine out in the village restaurants (not included in the course cost; approx. €15 for a full meal including drinks). Individual excursions (e.g., hikes, boat trips) can also be arranged during the week. On the last day, departure can be arranged after breakfast.
The number of guests is limited to 15, to create a warm and friendly atmosphere, and to ascertain that individual attention is given in the classes.
The classes comprise of a series of asanas (physical postures), usually sustained for some time so that the body and its necessary actions can be observed within the posture, pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditative techniques (sitting in silence, concentration techniques), through which the development of awareness of the body and mind in the present moment and deep relaxation are practiced.
Iyengar yoga was developed through the pioneering work of B.K.S. Iyengar, who freed the classical yoga postures (asanas) from their Indian mystique and with the use of props made them suitable for Westerners, who want to have a clear understanding of what happens in a yoga posture. A typical Iyengar yoga class focuses on precision of movement, correct alignment, and the study of the ‘muscle and mind’ actions and resistance necessary to enter a state of concentration. Breathing awareness is emphasized in every asana in order to deepen the experience. Through consistent practice the student overcomes physical and mental/emotional limits and develops a deep awareness of the body, power, control, patience and physical and mental harmony.
During this course, the classes will be tailored to provide deep understanding of the posture, weight distribution, use of muscles, and breathing necessary for optimizing one's hiking technique and most efficient use of energy.
Constantinos is an enthusiastic and dedicated practitioner of Iyengar Yoga since 1992. In 1996, he moved to France where he also obtained his certification as a clinical psychologist from the University of Picardie. During that time, he studied extensively psychoanalysis both in the freudian and the lacanian vein and became particularly interested in the possible role of the immune system as an interface between body and mind. In the course of time, it became apparent to him that health is not simply the absence of disease but also concerns a state beyond that, which relates to the plasticity and lightness of the energy body. In 1999, he moved to London where he continued his study of psychoanalysis at a postgraduate level while also studying yoga at the South London Iyengar Yoga Institute, where he stayed for 3 years. In 2002, he gained his Iyengar Yoga teaching certification and became a member of the UK association. After his return to Greece in 2003, he opened the first official Iyengar Yoga Centre in Athens, where the first teacher training in the country took place. His teaching is alignment-based and aims at clarifying the biomechanics of asanas and pranayamas in a very precise way. It is also informed by the belief that the study of the body, nature and breath gives one the opportunity to understand the mind.
- all inclusive, per person per week [in brackets, prices for participation in the first 5 days of the course, including 2 hikes only]
- €520 shared non en suite accommodation (2 in a room) with use of communal bathroom. [€420]
- €600 shared en suite accommodation (3 in a room) or single non-ensuite (with use of communal bathroom). [€490]
- €650 shared en suite twin or double room. [€520]
- €820 single en suite accommodation (please note that single room availability is limited). [€650]
- €450 non-participating partner sharing a room. [€310]
- €510 work-exchange option (only one place per week): about 2-3 hours’ help per day with light household tasks (e.g., washing dishes, cleaning yoga studio) that does not interfere with the attendance of all classes. Accommodation in triple room. [€390]