Why Is Gozo A Great Location For A Yoga Retreat In Europe?
The combination of great weather, the sea and a relaxed attitude makes both Malta and Gozo great locations for a yoga retreat or holiday. In recent years the number of highly skilled, experienced and caring yoga teachers has risen substantially in Malta, making yoga a life enhancing pastime for many local and foreign residents.
Get Away From It All In Gozo…
The makeup of the local population means that most yoga teachers live and run classes in Malta through the year, but escape to Gozo for short breaks and quiet time at regular intervals. Gozo is the smaller sister island of Malta and is much more rural, quieter and relaxed, making it a great location to power down from the stresses of life and get back in touch with some of the things that matter most in life.
Gozo also happens to be a very historic location. For example, the oldest man-made structure on earth, Ġgantija, is located on the island. Think of Ġgantija as being like Stonehenge, only bigger and much older. There are a number of sacred sites on Gozo and they are quite easy to visit. If you are looking for a deeper connection to life, nature and humanity, they are great places to go, experience and feel.
What Happens On A Gozo Yoga Holiday?
A Gozo yoga holiday hosts up to eight people to keep the experience personal and caring. Typically a modern farmhouse with all modern amenities will be rented and shared between the group, meaning that everyone lives and eats together for either a long weekend or week. This is a real bonding experience for everyone and new friends are guaranteed!
Each day will consist of two yoga sessions. The morning class will be focused on breath, heat building movement and meditation. The evening class will be a restorative class where we hold grounded poses for a certain length of time to allow the body to open more. With long deep meditative breaths that will be sure to settle you into a peaceful nights sleep. All classes include breathwork, warmups, practices from both the Kundalini and Vinyasa traditions, some chanting and meditation. Classes will be hosted inside the grounds of the farmhouse, while others will be located outdoors during sunrise and/or sunset on the rocks or a rooftop overlooking the sea (weather permitting).
The goal is to help everyone learn, experience and grow and this will certainly do that. Obviously everyone has a different experience and perspective, but this is among the best yoga holiday in Europe and incredibly affordable.
We encourage community meals as breakfast is included with your retreat – lunch and dinner tends to be potluck style as we all share our creations cooking in the kitchen together and picking up new tips and ideas to take home with us. Some choose to go check out the local restaurants as well, this fluidity gives you some free time to go explore Gozo’s culinary scene. Menus can be tailored to suit specific dietary needs, but generally there will be lots of fruit and vegetables, meat can be prepared only on the outdoor BBQ if need be. The goal to leave you with a new experience of eating for mind, body and spirit.
Yoga holidays in Gozo include some level of spirituality (as we are all spiritual beings already). How much will depend on you, but it is important to understand that there will be some. If you seek real spiritual growth, your teacher can help guide you further along your journey and awakening.
Since Gozo is actually a small island, there will be time to explore and take in the churches, culture and history. Or, if you prefer, go to the beach and get some sun! The Mediterranean waters around Gozo are a clear blue and are great for swimming in. In fact, Gozo is regarded as one of the best locations in Europe for scuba diving and there is also now a growing freediving community.
Would A Week Or Weekend Yoga Holiday Suit Me Best?
Any amount of time you can give to stepping out of your routine and everyday life is a Retreat. Many people benefit highly from just the weekend retreats as they provide a taster of what a retreat is like if it’s your first time. There just won’t be much time to explore the island in a weekend. More is also More… with a week long retreat you will see drastic changes both physically, mentally and emotionally and these practices can last as long as you wish if you have the discipline to carry them home with you and maintain a practice. Our instructor Michelle also provides online classes you can do to maintain a practice after your retreat – from your home at a time & day that suits your schedule
As with any hobby, skill or experience, more time and exposure will help you learn and internalise the lessons. It also provides more time to really bond with the other people on your retreat. For these reasons, we highly recommend that you find the time and set aside a full week to visit Gozo for a yoga holiday and give yourself the space to genuinely relax and unwind from the stress and pressures of everyday life.
What If It Needs To Be An Affordable Yoga Retreat?
Luckily, it is still relatively cheap to get to and from Malta by air these days. There are tourist flights to Malta from most major European cities throughout the year. During the summer there are often flights everyday.
In recent years it has become more expensive to visit and live in Malta, but Gozo is still much cheaper. This means that everyday items, such as fruit, water and eating our are still great value for money in Gozo. If you really must live like a King, it is possible in Malta, but quite hard to do in Gozo. Most Gozitans work in agriculture so the average wages are quite low and therefore prices of normal goods reflect this. It is very likely that day-to-day life is cheaper in Gozo than wherever you might currently live, if you are in Europe.
Is This For Beginners?
The week is designed for all levels of yoga ability. If you have never tried yoga before, you probably ought to go and have a few classes locally to try it out and get the hang of some basics. However, beyond that, all levels can come and enjoy a life enhancing week in Gozo.
If you think of your own ability as being a beginner, that is fine. Yoga classes require each person to do what they can do. Beginners will progress during the week and return home a healthier, fitter and more flexible version of themselves. More advanced people will be able to get lots from the classes because they have more experience to build upon.
Gozo happens to have a very keen acro yoga scene, so if you are more advanced and want to try something new, we can arrange for some more experienced acro yoga practitioners to join us.
Whether you are a beginner or intermediate level, classes are sure to have time to explore meditation. Each morning class ends with 15 minutes of meditation and every evening class has a 30 min guided meditation. This quiet ‘inner’ time will help you become centred and focused – yoga is designed to bring you to a state where you can meditate – cultivating peace, balance and love from within.
Reserve Your Place Today
Here at MaltaStar we work with Michelle Bartolo. Michelle is a Maltese/Canadian yoga teacher who has been practicing yoga for over 20 years now and guiding yoga classes and retreats for 13 years. Michelle has travelled extensively worldwide to learn and experience yoga and meditation. Through the year she runs regular classes for locals in Gozo where she lives and runs retreats, private sessions and 200 hr Teacher Trainings.
Michelle‘s Gozo retreats consist of:
- Twice daily yoga and meditation
- Group Hikes
- Excursion to sacred site on Gozo
- 7 nights accommodation
- Healthy vegetarian Welcome meal upon arrival
- Healthy wholesome breakfasts each morning
- Relaxation time either around the pool or in the sea
- Arranged massages at an additional cost & other excursions you may be interested in including, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, free diving, scuba diving, snorkelling & spa-ing 🙂