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Affordable Yoga retreats: find yours in Turkey

Affordable Yoga retreats: find yours in Turkey

Flavia Munn is a London-based health journalist and yoga teacher, and friend of Last year she sought affordable Yoga retreats and found her self on an adventure to Turkey.

If you’ve ever thought of combining international travel with the chance to further your creative or spiritual interests, then read on for Flavia’s best tips and details on why you need to do a yoga retreat in Turkey…

When did you travel?

During May (2015) for seven days.

Affordable Yoga retreats: why Turkey?

Life had been really busy and I knew from past experience that this kind of break away was exactly what I needed to reset and relax.

Most people probably decide on a holiday based on destinations they want to visit, but with yoga retreats I think it’s fair to say many students base the destination decision on what kind of yoga they want to practice and with which teacher.

I booked my trip through Free Spirit Yoga because I had heard many good things about the company. I made my final decision based on the description of the teachers who I carefully cyber-stalked (‘researched’) beforehand.

The teachers were Zoe Martin and Gary Ward, of Yoga Leicester who are inspired by the teachings of the legendary T. Krishnamacharya and his son T.K.V Desikachar.

They also brought their very sweet baby daughter along, who entertained everyone at mealtimes! I liked the description of Gary and Zoe’s yoga on the Free Spirit and their own website, particularly their emphasis on yoga’s therapeutic qualities and working with movement, breath and sound. I thought they looked like kind, friendly people – a warm smile can be a deal-clincher when deciding who to spend a retreat with, particularly when travelling alone. I also liked the idea of having two different but complementary teachers.

Flavia Turkey yoga mats travellivelearn 1500x

Where exactly did you go?

The retreat was based at Grenadine in Dalyan, about an hour or so drive from Dalaman airport (about a four-hour flight from London Stansted).

Grenadine Lodge is situated on the outskirts of the small town of Dalyan and within a conservation area. Photos simply do not do the location justice. It really is peace and paradise on earth! Imagine waking up to the sounds of nature (OK, sometimes the birds were interspersed with a dog barking but not an aggressive one). Then you wander across the dewy lawn to one of the two yoga shalas (or huts) for an hour and a half’s yoga – a more energetic style taught by Gary in the morning – before a traditional sweet and savoury Turkish breakfast, eaten beside the pool which is the focal point of the garden.

Next up is the highly stressful decision of what to do with the rest of the day – a lounge beside the pool ordering fresh salads, ice creams and juices; or a 15 to 20 minute walk into town to the shops and market and where you can catch a river boat to the Iztutu turtle beach. Or you could have a hamman, a traditional Turkish bath, which includes a good scrubbing.

Flavia Turkey yoga travellivelearn 1500x

For those who have never been to a yoga retreat before, what’s on the itinerary?

How much yoga you do on a retreat is entirely up to you. Don’t feel you can’t come as you don’t think you’ll be able to do two classes a day (which can mean three or four hours of yoga a day).

The yoga is at both ends of the day – before breakfast and before dinner. Gary’s morning class was energetic while Zoe’s evening one was soulful. They both were on the same theme of that day, based on the chakra system. The body’s seven chakras – or energy centres – is a common and effective theme for retreats.

How you spend the time in between is entirely up to you. There are many options for group trips, be that to a hamman bath or the twelve island boat trip, or a massage or other holistic treatments in the solitude of Grenadine Lodge (all very reasonably priced).

Want more on wellbeing travel? You might like to read about how to book a wellness or creative retreat🧘‍♀️



Personal highlights from this retreat?

The location was divine and the entire group was friendly and funny. In fact, I spent many times laughing to tears! More seriously, it was an incredibly supportive environment and while Zoe and Gary were also on hand for anyone who needed to talk, the amazing staff at Grenadine would literally sort out anything you desired.

The yoga, of course too. It was a different approach for me and I loved it.

The twelve islands boat trip was stunning. We had a boat to ourselves and we could jump into the sea for a cooling swim, and had delicious barbecued food on board.

Flavia Turkey yoga setup travellivelearn 1500x

One big lesson you came away with from this particular trip?

Suspend your judgement. I was a bit uncertain when I saw most of the group were of quite different ages to me and many knew each other from Leicester, but I put that aside and I was right to do so as they were so much fun and incredibly welcoming, warm people.

How many retreats have you been on?

This was my third yoga retreat. Previously, I’ve booked through Yogatraveller and have been to Morocco and Gozo (Malta) with them. I chose the first trip to Gozo based on their website and emails I’d exchanged with Michael Moroney, who runs the business with his yoga teacher wife Michelle. He was very helpful and put at rest any apprehension about travelling alone.

Flavia Turkey travel signs travellivelearn 1500x

What tips do you have for people who are interested in seeking creative, yoga and/or meditative experiences around the world?

Do your research and ask questions – this gives you an idea of the kind of people who run the retreat and whether it’s for you or not.

I’ve recently booked two retreat centres in India based solely on Tripadvisor and other review sites, and my email exchanges with the teachers who run them.

As a yoga teacher, why do you think retreats are a good idea?

They give you a chance to try something different. I never go on a retreat with a teacher I already practice at home with – no offence to them but I like to use retreats to try a different teacher and approach.

Retreats give you the time and space to explore your practice, learn and develop in a supportive, relaxed environment. I’d attend a retreat three or four times a year if I could (work and finances permitting).

Flavia Turkey photo travellivelearn 1500x

Top three essential items required for a trip to Turkey?

Mosquito repellent, sun cream and a good camera.

What’s next on the travel bucket-list for Flavia Munn?

At the end of March I’m off to southern India for six weeks. I’m very excited about this! It will include two yoga retreats – one in Goa and another in Kerala. In between these, I’ll be cycling around the region including stopping a couple of days in Mysore, which is the yoga capital of India and the home of ashtanga which was taught by Sri Pattabhis Jois until his death in 2009.

I’ll be writing about my experiences on my website – do check it out and let me know what you think!

Your advice for a first-timer who is keen to try a yoga retreat but tentative because they feel inexperienced?

Just go for it! You won’t regret it. You will only wish you had done it sooner. I’ve only ever met lovely, friendly people on retreats and had truly amazing life-changing experiences.

Would you recommend this experience in Turkey, and why?

Definitely! The yoga was suitable for all – those with no experience, plenty still for the more experienced and a safe and supportive environment for people looking personal development or healing.

Where can we find you online?

My website and blog is and I’m @flavers on Twitter.


5 ways to build energy balance this autumn

5 ways to build energy balance this autumn

After a long and very hot summer, autumn is finally here. We are barely a quarter of the way through the year, though many of my clients have been telling me how mentally tired they are feeling. With the change of season and the crisp, cooler mornings to look forward to there is no better time to build up your energy balance.

Autumn leavesI’m sharing five simple strategies to give you a boost, so you feel a zest and vitality for living in the now.

1. Make time to do something you enjoy. It’s about giving back to yourself. Whether it be cooking up a storm, taking up a dance class, photography or art. Hobbies not only provide a creative outlet but can lower stress levels and blood pressure, as well as increasing your focus and concentration. If you do something you enjoy it will give you satisfaction and true joy.

2. Get social. Catch up with friends – it’s good for your health. You’ve never needed a better reason to hang out with a mate, an active social life is an important part of a healthy life. Find the time and energy to stay connected. Friends help you reach your goals, feel supported and enhance your sense of wellbeing.

3. Meditate. Meditation can take many forms, find one that suits you. Meditation will quieten your mind and help you stay calm, focussed and in the now. It can be as easy as taking ten minutes to yourself before the kids are out of bed in the morning, or sitting in a peaceful spot by the ocean or garden. Take a walk through the forest and enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves. You could even download a meditation track to help you concentrate. When our mind relaxes, our bodies do too, helping reduce stress and feel at peace.

4. Focus on healthy living. We know we should be healthy, but it’s hard to be good all the time. The 80/20 rule works for me and many of my clients. Be good for about 80% of the time, and don’t feel guilty for the other 20%. Eat healthy food, reduce alcohol intake, exercise daily (it’s easy as taking the dog for a walk) and try to maintain a sensible work/life balance. Bad lifestyle choices can leave you feeling exhausted, stressed and fatigued. Have something positive to focus on, and plan for, as it helps us to feel a zest for life. Whether it’s a holiday, your wedding, or a milestone birthday – having something to look forward to helps channel our energy and keeps us positive, which makes us feel empowered.

5. Smile. Smile yourself out of a bad mood. If you’re having a bad day, while you might not feel like you’re in a smiling, happy mood, you should smile anyway. Your brain cannot tell the difference between a posed smile and a genuine one – they have the same result. Your facial muscles send messages to your brain telling you to experience that positive emotion. So, next time you are feeling down and negative, try smiling and you’ll soon be feeling happier.


About the author
Luke Sheedy is a gifted life advisor, motivator and free thinker. He combines his metaphysical talents to advise clients on their natural strengths, talents and abilities. Luke helps release what is holding you back, so growth can occur and your life’s plan can unfold naturally.

Slowing the noise and negative replays with mindfulness meditation

Slowing the noise and negative replays with mindfulness meditation

I’ve been practicing  meditation for around six months now and openly admit to it changing my life. Not only am I able to better manage stress and outlook on negatives that come my way, but I’m better able to manifest and ponder upon the good things and what I want more of.

You may have noticed too, all of a sudden, meditation, and in particular, ‘mindfulness’, seems to be all around, and for good reason. Many busy and (potentially) stressed executives, business owners and entrepreneurs are (re)discovering meditation in order to achieve balance; and in finding balance they/we can better manage all our endeavours – personal and professional.

But, this post isn’t actually about meditation as such – you can find plenty on the topic all over the internet (and in particular The Huffington Post which is in strong favour of all of this right now). I’ve been utilising a popular APP, Insight Timer, throughout my practice recently. In its primary form it is a ‘timer’ for meditation practice – set the length of time you wish to meditate for and the timer will mark intervals and/or let you know when your time is up. Secondly however, it’s becoming a type of social media where like-minded users can connect. While it’s still quite young (and a little ‘buggy’) and improvements are on the cards no doubt, there are thousands and thousands of people ‘on’ Insight Timer now, and you can see who in the world you’re meditating with simultaneously. Pretty cool, yes? More and more ‘groups’ are being added too, so that either ‘virtual’ or ‘real’ meet-ups are plausible. I’ve just linked in with a UK & Ireland group that I’ll keep an eye on – who knows, I might even be able to link up when I’m over there later in the year.

The other nice thing about this interaction and the types of people using the APP, is the daily dose of inspiration or assistance you can gain from insightful types all over the world. I wanted to share some advice I found useful today – and it wasn’t even in response to any issues I had voiced. In fact, the response was a to a young man who has been through a trauma and is finding it difficult to get back into a positive state of mind. Several of the community jumped in with advice for him, and one person made mention of how often thoughts, or a negative experience, plays over and over in the mind. It’s almost like we’re trying to achieve a different outcome but instead, it’s just torture. Instead of resisting it though, she advised letting it play out, but to make a concious effort to conclude the thought process/pattern with an appreciative or positive thought about the incident – what outcomes are worth being grateful for; what lessons were learned? Evidently this helps with restoring ‘peace of mind’ while letting all sides of the brain have a say, so to speak.

I personally think the tactic is worth trialling; what do you think? If you have any insight, views or opinions on this, please let me know. And if you’re on Insight Timer too, drop me a line on Facebook – I reckon this social network is only in its infancy. Travel Live Learn on Facebook or tweet @sarahblinco