Triopetra Yoga Retreat

»A pure Ashtanga jewel in Crete's crown «

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Beautifully situated on the sun-drenched south coast of Crete, Triopetra Yoga Retreat is a gem for enthusiasts of Ashtanga yoga and island-living. The historical Greek location is a siren song to those wishing to immerse themselves in their practice beyond the shores of India. Open all year round, this welcoming yoga shala offers practitioners flexible retreat space to practice with experienced Ashtanga teacher Kristina Karitinou-Ireland.

  • What we love
  • Located in the quiet and historic Old Town
  • Everything within walking distance
  • Excursion opportunities to Triopetra beach, Kournas Lake & Chania and more
  • Their own cafe ‘Soul Kitchen’ offering local, seasonal macrobiotic meals
  • Twice yearly Teacher Trainings with Manju Jois
  • What to know
  • Ashtanga-focus for all levels
  • Separate summer and winter locations
  • Optional massage, vedic astrology and nutritional counseling available
  • Intensives with world renown teachers during the year
  • Discounts for long stays
  • Why go
  • Beautiful location
  • Moderately-priced
  • Experienced teachers

The Triopetra Yoga Retreat welcomes all skill levels, but it is really intermediate to advanced Ashtangis who will get the most out of this beautiful retreat. Self-led classes in the Mysore style are a daily occurrence here, and the shala pulses with the energy of experienced practitioners. There are teacher-led classes as well, a service which bridges the gap for less-experienced Ashtanga enthusiasts, but complete yoga novices may find themselves feeling a little out of their depth.
Even those who are new to Ashtanga will quickly become comfortable with the pervading spirit of welcome here at Triopetra, modeled by the owners. George Cassimatis and wife Kristina, together with their two boys, run Triopetra as a labor of love. This is, according to the pair, a place to share in their passion for life and rekindle or deepen a commitment to yoga, and physical and mental nourishment in all its forms.

In the Mysore style, almost all classes at Triopetra are self-led. This does not mean that retreatees are left to fend for themselves though. Teacher Katrina Karitinos-Ireland has not only been given dispensation by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois to teach Ashtanga, she is also one of the few teachers in the world who is qualified to teach more advanced levels of Ashtanga (known as the 2nd and 3rd series). For those who are newer to Ashtanga, the Summer Residence is the best time to book one, two, or several weeks, as Kristina leads 1st series classes each day.

One-week stays are the shortest possible time bookable, with two weeks being the minimum recommended by Triopetra. It is quite normal for stays to stretch for months, especially in winter when the retreat becomes quieter and more intimate as the summer crowds thin out. Winter is also the best-value time at Triopetra, when for example a three-month stay is just 3500 Euro in a twin-share room. In peak season, rates range upwards from 650 for a one-week stay in a shared room. In each week booked, the fee covers three meals a day, two classes, two daytrips, and accommodation.

Triopetra is a two-location retreat. Both places are in Rethymno, with the summer residence located in the old fortress and the winter residence in the village of Roussospiti which overlooks Rethymno proper. In summer, guests stay in rooms within old-style Greek homes a few minutes walk from the fortress. There are three tiers of budget options, although all are comfortable and have the air of local authenticity that is an endearing element of life on Crete. Over winter, accommodation is in the villas of Rousosspiti, each with three or four bedrooms, making the longer-term retreats feel like something of a family home.

Food is provided by Triopetra's aptly-named Soul Kitchen restaurant. This is no mean or mealy spread that sacrifices foodie pleasure for good health. Instead, working closely with macrobiotic-food warrior Chris Clark, the Triopetra dishes fairly quiver with nourishment, color, and flavor. Here the words 'vegan' and 'pleasurable eating' can be put in the same sentence with no qualms at all.

Triopetra is a haven for those looking for somewhere a little closer than India for a true Ashtanga experience. The beautiful location and total support for deepening practice are rare outside of the motherland, especially at such excellent relative value. The flexibility of stay-length compounds the feeling of welcome, as well as the feeling that this is a place that puts yoga first and profit a distant second. Definitely one for the Must-Visit list of devoted Ashtangis.

About the area: Rethymno

Rethymno, also known as Rethimnon and Rethymnon, is a town on the beautiful island of Crete in Greece. Known chiefly for its warm blue waters and old-world cobbled lane ways, the architecture is an interesting combination of Venetian, Moorish, and Greek that has been layered over the centuries as empires rose and fell. The climate is typical of temperate Mediterranean weather, with rainy-but-mild winters and warm, dry summers. Anecdotally speaking, there is a 'milder' sun here than in other hot parts of the world and although sunscreen is a wise purchase, there is a markedly low incidence of sunburn complaints. Mid-year summer temperatures average 26 degrees C (80F) while cold mid-winter January averages 12C (54F) except for an odd phenomenon called the Halcyon Days, a one-week stretch of warm January that comes every year.

Image credit: Triopetra Yoga Retreat

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