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ZEN MOUNTAIN RETREAT:
''Yoga, Rafting, Trail Hiking and
Garden-to-Table Cooking 
Experience...''

8 Days / 7 Nights ''Zen Mountain Retreat'' with
Thina Chat & Maria Vasdeki at the heart of Vikos Gorge in Breathtaking Epirus of Greece!

”The mountains are calling and I must go...”~John Muir

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About ''Zen Mountain Retreat''
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ABOUT

''Zen Mountain Retreat''

  • Daily yoga, meditation, breathwork and philosophy sessions with Thina amidst the stunning backdrop of the Zagori mountains.

  • Guided hikes through the legendary Vikos Gorge and historic stone bridges with Tasos.

  • Thrilling rafting and swimming in the crystal clear waters of Voidomatis River.

  • garden-to-table cooking workshop with Maria, featuring traditional regional recipes and more.

  • Movie nights under the starlit sky, fostering community and relaxation

  • Cozy accommodations at En Chora Vezitsa Guesthouse, blending rustic charm with modern comfort.

  • Optional first-night stay at Urban Yoga House Hostel & Retreat in Ioannina's city center.

  • meals, activities, accommodations, and transportation from Ioannina to Vitsa

Escape to the serene beauty of Zen Mountain Retreat, a transformative week-long experience nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Vitsa, Zagori. Led by Maria Vasdeki, the esteemed owner of En Chora Vezitsa Guesthouse, and Thina Chat, the visionary behind Yoga Fusion Shala, this retreat promises a harmonious blend of adventure, relaxation, and culinary exploration. Embark on a journey of self-discovery as you immerse yourself in daily yoga sessions, guided by Thina, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Zagori mountains. Each morning, greet the day with gentle stretches and mindful breathwork, setting the tone for a day of tranquility and inner balance. Fuel your body and soul with delicious, garden-to-table meals curated by Maria, featuring traditional Zagorian recipes bursting with flavor and nourishment. Delight in the freshest ingredients sourced from local gardens, while savoring the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Venture into the heart of nature with exhilarating activities such as hiking the legendary Vikos Gorge, traversing ancient stone bridges, and exploring quaint villages steeped in history guided by our experienced English speaking mountaineer Tasos Anestis. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you raft down the crystal-clear waters of Voidomatis River, renowned as Europe's purest river, and immerse yourself in moments of pure bliss as you swim in its pristine waters.

Indulge in moments of relaxation and contemplation with meditation sessions led by Thina, allowing your mind to find stillness amidst the chaos of daily life. Engage in thought-provoking discussions on philosophy, spirituality, and the ancient wisdom of Zen teachings, deepening your connection to the present moment.

As night falls, unwind with movie screenings under the starlit sky, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among fellow retreat-goers. Retreat to cozy accommodations at En Chora Vezitsa Guesthouse, where rustic charm meets modern comfort, ensuring a restful night's sleep amidst nature's embrace.

Your journey begins with optional accommodation at the Urban Yoga House Hostel & Retreat in the heart of Ioannina, offering a seamless transition into the tranquil rhythm of the retreat. With all activities, meals, accommodations, and transportation from Ioannina to Vitsa and Vitsa to Ioannina included, allow yourself to surrender to the beauty of Zen Mountain Retreat, where every moment is an invitation to reconnect with your innermost self.

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Yoga - Zen Mountain Retreat
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YOGA WITH THINA

Meditation, Breathwork, Asana

Philophy

  • Welcome & Closing circle 

  • Daily meditation practice

  • Daily pranayama

  • Daily asana practice in the Hatha Yoga Traditions of Sivananda, Yin and Ashtanga

  • Yoga Philosophy

  • Yoga Nidra sessions

  • Tea ceremony

During the serene days at Zen Mountain retreat, Thina will orchestrate a harmonious fusion of ancient yogic disciplines, guiding participants on a journey of self-discovery and inner peace. Each morning begins with a gentle call to mindfulness, as participants gather for the sacred ritual of meditation. With sacred silence as their compass, participants will delve into the depths of their consciousness, cultivating stillness and clarity amidst the tranquil mountain surroundings.

Following meditation, the practice of pranayama unfolds, as Thina expertly leads participants through rhythmic breathing exercises designed to awaken the vital life force energy within. Through conscious control of the breath, they learn to harmonize mind, body, and spirit, attuning themselves to the subtle rhythms of the universe.

Participants are invited to explore the physical dimension of yoga through the practice of different traditions of Hatha yoga. With Thina's expert guidance, they flow through a series of asanas, or postures, seamlessly integrating movement, breath, and mindfulness. Through each pose, they cultivate strength, flexibility, and presence, awakening to the innate wisdom of their bodies and the interconnectedness of mind, body, energy and matter.

As the day progresses, Thina will imparts the timeless wisdom of yoga philosophy, drawing upon ancient texts and personal insights on the yogic path. Exploring the philosophical landscapes of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, offering profound teachings on the nature of reality, the power of consciousness, and the interconnectedness of all beings.

As the sun sets over the mountain peaks, Thina will leads the group to softer gentle yin and yoga nidra practices as the group will withdraw in silence, in a sacred communion with the divine essence that resides within and without. With hearts full and minds clear, participants carry the transformative teachings and experience with them as they journey onward, forever changed by the wisdom of Zen Mountain retreat.

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Hiking - Zen Mountain Retreat
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HIKING

''Bridges & Villages''

  • Explore the timeless landscapes of Zen Mountain Retreat's Bridges & Villages Hike.

  • Begin your adventure in the charming village of Vitsa, traversing historic staircases from centuries past.

  • Descend into the picturesque ravine of Vikos.

  • Follow the path winding through Central Zagori's rich heritage.

  • Encounter the renowned Missios and Kokkoris bridges.

  • tread the ancient stone path of Koukouli.

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HIKING 

Crossing ''Vikos Gorge''

  • Explore the awe-inspiring Vikos Gorge within Vikos-Aoos National Park.

  • Witness the Guinness World Record canyon with cliffs towering up to 1700 meters high.

  • Traverse cobblestone paths and footpaths amidst the gorge's mystique.

  • Connect with nature's tranquility, fostering a union of body, mind, and spirit.

  • Immerse in the enchanting beauty of Voidomatis Springs, a poetic oasis of crystal-clear waters.

  • Step off the beaten path and into nature's embrace.

  • Get ready for an unforgettable voyage of self-discovery.

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OUR EXPERIENCED GUIDE: 

Tasos Anestis

  • Explore the awe-inspiring Vikos Gorge within Vikos-Aoos National Park.

BRIDGES AND VILLAGES

Embark on an enriching journey through the timeless landscapes of Zen Mountain Retreat's Bridges & Villages Hike. Step into the quaint village of Vitsa, where your adventure begins along the historic staircase crafted centuries ago. As you descend, immerse yourself in the picturesque ravine of Vikos, where nature's splendor unfolds before your eyes.

Traverse the path of legends, winding through the heart of Central Zagori's rich heritage. This circular hike unveils the intricate tapestry of tradition, as you tread upon the very stones that once connected Zagori's 46 villages. Along the way, encounter architectural marvels born from the generosity of past benefactors, such as the renowned Missios and Kokkoris bridges, each a testament to a bygone era.

Feel the echoes of history beneath your feet as you follow the ancient stone path of Koukouli, known affectionately as Koukouli Steps. Let the whispers of the past guide your steps through the traditional villages of Koukouli and Vitsa, where every cobblestone holds a story waiting to be shared.

From the crossroads of culture to the embrace of nature's embrace, this hike promises an unforgettable odyssey. Join us and experience the harmony of past and present amidst the timeless beauty of Zen Mountain Retreat's Bridges & Villages Hike.


CROSSING VIKOS GORGE
On the 5th day we'll journey through the heart of nature's grandeur, where the Vikos Gorge beckons with its awe-inspiring beauty. Nestled within the embrace of the 12,600-hectare Vikos-Aoos National Park, this sacred sanctuary holds the Guinness World Record for the deepest canyon relative to its width, a testament to its breathtaking splendor.

As you traverse the rugged terrain, you'll be enveloped in the mystique of the gorge, where the ancient Voidomatis River has sculpted sheer cliffs that tower up to 1700 meters high. Carved over eons, the landscape reveals a tapestry of limestone and dolomite formations, a geological marvel dating back 150 million years. This journey will lead us through a mosaic of ecosystems, from verdant forests to rocky outcrops, offering a glimpse into the intricate balance of nature's design.
At Zen Mountain Yoga Retreat, this expedition is not merely a physical endeavor but a spiritual odyssey, inviting you to delve into the depths of your being as you navigate the cobblestone paths and footpaths that wind through the gorge. Here, amid the tranquil serenity of the wilderness, you'll discover a profound connection to the earth and sky, a union of body, mind, and spirit.
Prepare to be enraptured by the enchanting beauty of Voidomatis Springs, where crystal-clear waters flow like liquid poetry, rejuvenating your senses and revitalizing your soul. Each step becomes a meditation, a conscious communion with the natural world, as you surrender to the rhythm of the hike and the whispers of the wind.
Equip yourself with hiking shoes, comfy hiking clothes, and a backpack filled with essentials (water, sunscreen, hat and our guesthouse's packed lunchbox) ready to embark on a six-hour exploration of the soul-stirring landscapes that await.
At Zen Mountain Yoga Retreat, we invite you to step off the beaten path and into nature's embrace, where every moment is an opportunity for growth, discovery, and transformation. Are you ready to embark on this unforgettable voyage of self-discovery?

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Rafting - Zen Mountain Retreat
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RAFTING

Voidomatis River Adventure

  • Duration: 3 Hours.

  • Rafting in the heart of Vikos-Aoos National Park.

  • Paddle through turquoise crystal clear waters.

  • Discover the inner beauty of Vikos Gorge.

  • Have fun whilst swimming and jumping in the crystal clear waters.

  • Pass by the arched bridge of Klidonia.

       PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS:

  • 4 years old and above

  • Basic Physical Condition

  • Knowledge of swimming if you join the swimming session.

  • No previous experience required

On the the 4th day of our retreat we embark on a journey of serenity and adventure as we join a guided rafting experience down the gentle currents of Voidomatis River. Nestled within the majestic Vikos Gorge, this serene waterway meanders through a landscape adorned with ancient plane trees and time-honored stone bridges, painting a picture of natural splendor that is both awe-inspiring and soul-nourishing. As we'll glide along the crystalline waters, letting the rhythmic paddling become a moving meditation, syncing our breath with the flow of the river and the rhythm of nature, Immersing ourselves in the untouched beauty of Vikos Gorge, where the vibrant hues of turquoise water contrast against the verdant backdrop of lush forests and towering mountains, creating a scene of unparalleled tranquility.

While we'll take moments to pause and connect with the essence of the surroundings, feeling the cool embrace of the river as it carries us through this sacred wilderness. And when the urge arises, we'll embrace the playful spirit within, allowing ourselves to swim and frolic in the refreshing waters, experiencing pure joy in each splash and leap.As we navigate our way downstream, passing beneath the graceful arches of the Klidonia bridge, feeling a sense of harmony and unity with the natural world around us, a profound reminder of the interconnectedness of all things.

This experience is open to travelers of all ages, inviting those with a basic level of physical fitness and swimming ability to join us on this journey of discovery and renewal. No prior rafting experience is necessary, only a willingness to surrender to the flow and embrace the beauty of the present moment. Venturing off the beaten path and discover the hidden gem of the Voidomatis River—a sanctuary for the adventurous soul seeking to reconnect with nature's timeless rhythms and find inner peace amidst the splendor of the Greek wilderness.

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Cooking Workshop - Zen Mountan Retreat
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COOKING WORKSHOP

WITH MARIA

  • Master the art of crafting Greek delicacies like cheese pie and stuffed tomatoes in an easy, approachable manner.

  • Return home, ready to impress family and friends with your newfound skills and recipes.

  • Enjoy eating our cooked delicacies together.

Indulge in the vibrant flavors of Greece with our immersive Greek Cooking Workshop! Picture yourself savoring the fresh taste of a delectable Greek cheese pie or inhaling the irresistible aroma of stuffed tomatoes and peppers. Wouldn't it be wonderful to carry a piece of Greece back home with you after your holiday?

Join us and unlock the secrets of crafting these mouthwatering dishes in a fun and approachable manner. With our expert guidance, you'll effortlessly master the art of Greek cuisine, empowering you to return home as a culinary maestro, ready to dazzle your loved ones with your newfound culinary prowess.

But the experience doesn't end in the kitchen! After all the culinary magic unfolds, it's time to gather together in our charming courtyard, adorned with blossoming flowers and fragrant herb pots. Here, under the enchanting Mediterranean sky, we'll come together to feast, drink, and revel in the joyful ambiance. Immerse yourself in the sounds of Greek music, share stories, and forge unforgettable memories as we celebrate the culinary delights of Greece in the company of newfound friends.

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Thina & Maria - Zen Mountain Retreat

Thina Chat and Maria Vasdeki, the dynamic hosts of Zen Mountain Retreat, bring a harmonious blend of expertise, passion, and creativity to their roles, creating an unforgettable experience for all who cross their path.

Thina Chat, with a background rooted in music and performance, embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led her from Athens to the Netherlands and eventually to becoming a seasoned yoga educator. Her immersion in the teachings of Yoga Philosophy and Advaita Vedanta, and the physical practice of Hatha yoga in the traditions of Sivananda, Ashtanga, yin and Iyengar, coupled with years of dedicated practice under renowned teachers such as Manju Pattabhi Jois, Bela Lipat, and Vairagya Ranko, has shaped her her love, practice and teaching of the yogic path. As the owner of ''Yoga Fusion Shala'' school and Urban Yoga House retreat in Ioannina, Greece, Thina passionately shares her wisdom, love for philosophy, and extensive experience with students worldwide. Her status as an E-500RYT and YACEP educator with Yoga Alliance underscores her commitment to excellence in teaching, ensuring that participants of Zen Mountain Retreat are guided with expertise and compassion on their journey to inner peace and self-knowledge.
Maria Vasdeki embarked on her journey in Athens, immersing herself in the realm of Geography, culminating in a Master's degree in Environmental Protection and Management. Her profound adoration for nature and a penchant for creative hospitality experiences beckoned her back to her origins. Returning to the captivating region of Zagori, Maria assumed the reins of her family's En Chora Vezitsa Guesthouse. Since then, she has been an ambassador of her love, passion, and expertise, offering guests not only a stay but an immersive local encounter. From exhilarating hikes to culinary workshops, yoga sessions to rafting adventures, and cooking retreats, Maria curates authentic experiences, ensuring each visitor departs with cherished memories and a deeper connection to the beauty of Zagori.

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Getting to Ioannina

GETTING TO IOANNINA: 

BY AIR / BUS

FROM ATHENS
Booking a flight from Athens International Airport (ATH) to Ioannina National Airport (IOA). Aegean airline offers direct flights between these two destinations, typically with a duration of around 1 hour.

FROM THESSALONIKI
Take a taxi or bus from Thessaloniki airport to Thessaloniki's intercity bus station (KTEL). From there, board a bus headed to Ioannina. The journey by bus usually takes around 3.5 hours.

FROM CORFU
Upon arrival at Corfu Airport, you'll find taxis and buses available outside the terminal building so that you can head to Corfu port. Ferries operate regularly from Corfu to the port city of Igoumenitsa. The ferry journey from Corfu to Igoumenitsa typically takes around 1.5 hours. There are buses available from Igoumenitsa to Ioannina, with varying schedules throughout the day.

FROM AKTION - PREVEZA
you can first take a taxi or bus from the airport to the nearby town of Preveza. From Preveza, you can then catch a bus to Ioannina. The bus journey typically takes around 1.5 hours, depending on the schedule and any transfers required.

Gallery - Zen Mountain Retreat
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