We travel to experience life from different angles and to open ourselves to new experiences. A lot of us are hoping to find something, to ‘find ourselves’ perhaps, and in our constant searching, what we invariably find are places and people which alter who we are forever.
I’ve spent my year travelling without a destination or a plan in mind. It’s been fun, sometimes painful, exciting, incredible and ultimately life-changing and wonderful in every way. I’ve also had a love-hate relationship with myself and with my yoga practice this year. It’s been one of those on again, off again things, every time I do it I know I am doing something extraordinary and wonderful that is changing the very fibre of my being. Then I get lost in some trivial pursuit that takes my attention away from having to focus on myself and my personal growth, because this single minded focus is uncomfortable, difficult and painful, and whatever I have found to distract me must be more important than the self-development I know I am supposed to working on.
I found something in all the travelling though. It happened in stages; it started on a moonlit beach in Thailand and it ended over dinner on a private Greek island paradise – both experiences, strangely, included swimming in bioluminescent plankton – the only two times I’ve ever even seen plankton! I’ve spent 20 days sitting in silent meditation in a Thai monastery trying desperately to escape myself; I’ve spent several hours standing on my head in front of 50 eager students trying to convince myself that this is where the learning was and that this was where I was meant to be. I placed too much emphasis on trying, and not enough on just learning to ‘be’. It sounds easy enough, all this talk of just being, resting and finding ourselves in the silence, and I’m sure it is simple, but we are human and therefore have a tendency to complicate things beyond recognition, making the simple act of just being quite challenging.
We spend so much time fighting ourselves, instead of simply accepting where we are. It was only when I finally let go of every expectation I was holding that I found myself truly learning. It was in the moments when I found myself amongst new friends, or alone under an oak tree with the ocean breeze gently kissing my skin, that I really found what I was searching for. It was at the end of a long road that I ended up on Silver Island, an idyllic Greek rock that is home to a small cluster of beautiful white buildings and two wonderful hosts who made our time here more than magical. I felt at home from the moment I stepped onto the jetty, I felt at peace and somehow I stopped trying and just let myself soak it all up. Maybe it’s because I was too exhausted to keep trying, but I think it has a lot to do with the people around me, the place I was in and the quiet comfort of being so well looked after during my time here.
Silver Island Yoga Retreat is as private and exclusive as the unspoilt Greek Island itself. Hosting only 10 guests at a time, this is a holiday of peace and rejuvenation, where mindful living, appreciation, gratitude and a magical sense of wellbeing becomes the sole purpose of your stay. Enjoy the healing benefits of yoga, one two hour class at dawn, and a second at dusk, and experience the serenity of the surrounding beaches, coves, rolling hills and olive groves throughout the sunlight hours to really feel at one with nature, and above all, yourself.Typically rustic and yet wonderfully refined, this island paradise has moved me beyond words. Lissa and Corne, our wonderful hosts, along with Lissa’s sister Claire, who coordinates all their admin from her home in South Africa, have created a unique, once in a lifetime experience; a space which is lends itself perfectly to the healing and nurturing of the human spirit. This is not a “yoga retreat” and it is so much more than a holiday destination – it is a brief glimpse into a way of life that allows time to stop and the body to be forced into a state of rest. It is rehabilitation for the busy mind and the restless soul, and it is from being here that I somehow feel whole again, as though I can now take the love I have cultivated for myself during my time on Silver Island, and with newfound strength and clarity, share it with the world.
Thank you to Lissa and Corne, Claire and Ernest, for everything you do and have done. You are a winning team and I wish you all the best with the future of your magical Island Paradise. I’ll be back soon, of that I have no doubt.
For bookings contact [email protected]