Yoga and Intuitive Cooking with Eugenia and Maria
Unleash your culinary creative potential and nourish body and soul!
Join Iyengar yoga teacher Eugenia and experienced cook, long term vegetarian, meditation practitioner and lover of all things natural Maria for an 8-day Yoga and Intuitive Cooking Experience on Crete, the inspiring and heart-opening Mediterranean island paradise.
During a yoga retreat we can gain deep personal insight through yoga postures (asanas) and breathwork (pranayama). We can experience an opening of the heart as well as balance, grace, ease, fulfilment, and remove the layers of tension that often make it difficult to "listen" and be receptive to the voice of intuition. How do we inform our practice with a deep knowing of what is beneficial and nourishing to us that is there in every moment, how do we set creativity free within the seemingly rigid framework of yoga postures, and how does resting in the quiet and peace that is our innate nature and that we tap into during the practice of yoga connect us to a spring of creative potential that we may not have even known was available?
The yoga classes will move between structure and detailed instruction, exploring the poses in a way that resonates with how we feel in the moment, and free intuitive movement; in the cooking classes we will then take these experiences off the mat and into the kitchen, and bring well-being, joyful and playful creativity, flowing with intuition, and infusing the process of cooking with the longing to take care of ourselves, as well as to offer and be of service to others. The "playground" of the kitchen will also be an excellent practice ground to explore how we sustain the practices that lead us into a state of presence, aliveness and authenticity, also after the retreat has ended.
As the owner and founder of YogaOnCrete, Eugenia is the heart of the retreat. For the ones who have not met Maria (our in-house chef on all YogaOnCrete retreats) and tasted her cooking, her warm nature and dedication to her spiritual practice, shines through her wonderful dishes (every week there is at least one guest who wants to take Maria back home with them!!). In combination with fresh, pure ingredients (many from organic local farms), her food is happy food, even for persons who are not accustomed to a vegetarian cuisine. During the afternoon 3-4 hour Intuitive Cooking classes, which will as a whole be a practice of awareness and presence, rather than learning recipes, you will have the opportunity to practice sourcing wonders from your own intuition and creativity. In a relaxed and social way, you will enjoy creating simple yet delicious dishes, that the whole group can then enjoy at dinner.
Treat yourself to a break from every day life and learn how to flow with creative joy and ease. Come back feeling transformed, reborn, empowered and committed to a healthy and balanced lifestyle tailored to your rhythm and needs. Rekindle that deep connection with your inner being, and with fellow participants who will quickly become close friends.
This powerful retreat will give you:
- A renewed sense of energy and joy through anleashing your creative potential
- A personalised morning yoga & meditation practise that is grounding and heart opening
- A fresh perspective on your nutrition
- A deeper connection to your intuition
- A chance to soak up the magical Mediterranean
- Daily meditation and yoga and movement session facilitated by experienced Iyengar yoga teacher
- Daily Intuitive Cooking workshop facilitated by experienced cook, long time vegetarian and meditation practitioner and lover of all things natural
- A warm and supportive group of like-minded people
- 7 nights' accommodation in a traditional guesthouse located near the beach
- 7 breakfast/brunches and 5 dinners (prepared by the group!) included (all vegetarian)
- Linen and towels provided
The week begins with a welcome grounding yoga class at 6 pm on the day of arrival and then delicious vegetarian welcome dinner.
Thereafter, you will start the day at 8.30 am with a 2-hour yoga and meditation session to open and connect with your heart and body, and unleash the creative potential that is inherent in everyone. All yoga sessions are held on the spacious, covered yoga deck among the olive trees so you can enjoy your connection with the sea, the trees, and the hills. After breakfast guests are free to relax and enjoy the beach and sunshine, receive a massage treatment, or explore the village and region. In the afternoon we will meet again in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for the cooking workshop, usually 4-8 pm, and then we will all enjoy the delicacies created together during dinner.
Morning yoga sessions
In order to support the retreat’s focus on connecting with oneself and with one's ability to intuitively approach a creative task such as cooking, the morning meditation and yoga sessions will aim at invigorating and opening the body, particularly the belly, our creativity and intuition "powerhouse", relaxing and centering the mind, and creating a sense of spaciousness and calmness, from which the participant can flow into the day and the afternoon's cooking workshop.
The classes will be a mix of Iyengar yoga, Hatha Flow yoga and free movement, focusing on precision, alignment, the cultivation of awareness, the prerequisites of a safe practice, as well as deeply sensing into the body, releasing suppressed tension, emotions, and restricting thought patterns, and "listening" to its messages, from where the creative process can flow naturally and easefully. The foundations for a basic series of asanas (postures), breathing techniques and meditation will be explored and systematically organized in a way that can later continue being explored in one’s everyday life. There will also be space for a deep listening of what the body needs in the moment and thus making one’s own choices in the practice in a playful and creative way, preparing the ground for self-practice, that is how and what to practice without the presence of a teacher. Each class will begin with a centering and grounding meditation and end with a deep relaxation.
Yoga is a system that beautifully fine-tunes awareness of body and mind and cultivates the ability to skilfully respond to life’s challenges; the correct understanding and practice of postures becomes a tool for deepening one’s awareness of body, breath and mind, and brings about physical and mental harmony. In these sessions Eugenia wishes to instil the confidence in each participant to trust the wisdom of one’s body, learn to listen to its rhythms and signals, and thus adjust the practice as is most useful and create a base from which each day’s ordinary extraordinariness can unfold, well after the retreat ends.
The cooking workshops in the afternoon will also start with a short meditation and will focus on attuning each participant to their own propensities and drives, attractions to certain ingredients (e.g. herbs and spices), and bringing one's own touch to the recipes created. Cooking will be approached playfully, with curiosity and openness to exploring one's own "way", and will in essense be used as a tool for self understanding and growth. Maria wishes to support each participant in realizing that we all have creative potential, whether we think of ourselves as "creative" or not, and cultivating trust in riding the impulses that come from within, so as to uncover the uniquely, beautiful expression of divinity that we each are. Most importantly, we will have simple, open-hearted fun!
The fourth day of the week is a rest day from classes, with no yoga or cooking class; an optional excursion can be arranged, with the possibility of a guided hike through one of the magnificent gorges of the area (usually the magnificent Aradaina gorge) or other season appropriate hike, ending at the beach (approx. €25 depending on number of participants going).
All breakfasts/brunches and five dinners are offered at the house, while on two 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 at an extra cost. On the last day of each week, departure can be arranged after breakfast.
The number of guests is limited to 10, to create a warm and friendly atmosphere, adhere to COVID-19 related regulations regarding distances, and to ascertain that individual attention is given in the classes.
Eugenia initially studied Psychology in Athens and went on to receive an MSc in Sport Psychology in Wales. She then began practicing yoga in 2004, while studying Contemporary Dance in Scotland. She gained a Yoga Teacher qualification from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres in Spain in 2005 and in 2012 received her Iyengar yoga teaching certification, with Constantinos Giannetakis as her regular teacher.
Whenever possible, she loves continuing her training also with other teachers such as Donna Farhi, Angela Farmer and Martine Le Chenic, and has in recent years become more interested in tailoring a practice in tune with a woman's needs and hormonal cycle. She is currently living between Rhodes and Crete with her husband Nicolas.
Her classes strive to create a safe and nurturing environment. The focus on the breath, as a powerful tool for developing awareness of the body and quieting the mind, is integral in her teaching, also incorporating elements of her Vipassana meditation practice.
Ultimately, her interest lies in integrating an analytical/psychological approach, emotional expression through movement and voice, and the development of awareness and connection with our spiritual essence through yoga and meditation, in light of a holistic approach to well being.
Maria has been the cook at YogaOnCrete since 2017, and her presence felt an organic addition to the team from day one! Plus, the enthusiastic comments regarding her fantastic food do not seize to surprise us: "The best food I have ever eaten, and I am not even vegetarian" was a recent one :-) Maria's traditional Greek home made dishes with a healthy twist owe their heart opening taste as much to her culinary as well as to her meditation experience and of course the locally sourced organic ingredients. Maria grew up in Thessaloniki with her father being the cook in the family’s coffee shop. Later, she had a small taverna in Heraklion serving home cooked traditional Cretan dishes. She has also worked as a chef in many restaurants and tavernas across the island. After she started practising Vipasana meditation 11 years ago she experienced how, when cooking, her energy moves through her hands into the food she’s preparing and into the people eating it. She says: “Through my extensive experience on how food affects us, I saw that the way we express ourselves and the awareness of what we offer when cooking is more important than just putting ingredients together. When cooking with love, compassion and attention I could get a result far more fulfilling and nourishing. Preparing food is a sacred ritual that has the power to transform you, and food prepared this way really nourishes you and takes care of your mind, body, heart and soul.” The quality of the ingredients is also an important factor, because it shows how you care about yourself, the quality of food you put inside which becomes part of your body. The majority of ingredients in Maria’s food are organic and where possible sourced from Maria and her husband Giorgos’ natural farming farm near Chania, or from friends’ organic farms nearby. This way we’re helping small local farmers to produce more organic crops and be able to support themselves. Maria is also trained as physiotherapist and kinesiotherapist and offers massages and spiritual guidance. She spends 1 month a year in silent Vipassana meditation retreat.
(all inclusive) per person
Early Bird Discount (€50 off displayed price) applies for bookings 3 months in advance of course start date
- €570 shared non en suite accommodation (2 in a room, ideal for friends) with use of communal bathroom.
- €660 shared en suite accommodation (3 in a room) or single non-ensuite (with use of communal bathroom).
- €710 shared en suite twin or double room.
- €900 single en suite accommodation (please note that single room availability is limited).
- €490 non-participating partner sharing a room.
- €560 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.