‘But I am an Indian! Why on earth would I want to do yoga on a Greek island? Yoga is MY tradition and I will do it in MY country!”
One might find such concerns perfectly logical, but let us elaborate a bit on the subject: Yoga Holidays on Santorini. To combine these two elements – Yoga (currently the world’s most practiced ancient form of self-development) and Santorini (the world’s most photogenic island) – is, at least for the author, a dream come true. There is no arguing that the location is the epitome of beauty. Santorini boasts a remarkably diverse landscape, ranging from the vertigo-inducing cliffs of the caldera to the moon-resembling labyrinths of Vlychada and everything in between. The island’s volcanic past has given rise to its exquisite features and plethora of types of beaches – black, red and white sand with sapphire, crystal clear waters, all but a short drive away. Beauty is surely an element that allows for contemplation and it generously does so here.
As for the other part of the equation, yoga practice: there was little in the way of yogis discovering this gem of a holiday destination. The energetically charged environment of the island has laid out a powerful canvas for retreat and self-exploration and has, for a long time, attracted senior yoga teachers from different disciplines. Nowadays, Greek yoga teachers trained to the highest international standards and qualified in yogāsana as well as Indian philosophy and Sanskrit, offer complete packages to cater for the most demanding of yoga students – Indian or not.
After UNESCO’s decision to include yoga on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the initial concern of yoga as an tradition originating in India makes for a valid one: Indeed, yoga has been offered to mankind by India, but we, as world citizens, may make ourselves worthy of this art by our personal, dedicated, daily practice – on holiday or not. Indian tourists might even be called ambassadors of yoga in their travels abroad. Hopefully they will pack their yoga mat!
Fear not that you will be stuck in a cave for the entirety your holidays, when you come to Santorini – although it can easily be arranged, should you be ascetically-inclined. For the travellers at heart, the island provides for ample and varied exploration. Walks amidst sleepy volcanic craters, daily cruises to the nearby islets lying languorously in the caldera lagoon, local ingredients compiling longevity-boosting mediterranean dining, international brands indulging visitors to world-class shopping – you name it, Santorini has it all.
One might hardly name either element ‘trendy’ or contemporary based on their lengthy presence in the history of mankind, but it now seems the best time to combine the two. Let the journey begin.
* Vula Bolou (BSc, MSc) is an Iyengar Yoga teacher and keen student of Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit. She organises yoga holidays on Santorini, together with her partner, Anna Zorzou. Find out more on santorinilovesyoga.com
Vula Bolou’s articles published on Indika:
Defining Yoga, INDIKA 2016