I just came back from my first yoga retreat in Croatia! Izabela Maric came together with Svemir Vranko to revive the dying festival of Rovinj “YOMAD” which is a yoga, dance and music festival. They started organizing their workshops and retreats and I was there to witness the Shine on – yoga & meditation retreat.
Rovinj by car is about 4 hours from Zagreb and the retreat was a weekend escape. The schedule started with a welcome freshly made smoothie followed by Yoga Nidra which is a kind of meditation where you lay in a comfortable position listening to the guided voice and the instruments vibrations. That was the ultimate experience for me. The guided voice of Izabela was in English specially for me as it turned out I was the only International participant and that was when I experienced a moment where I lost track of the voice, the vibrating sounds and even my inner thoughts, it was pure nothing. When I came back I panicked because that was the first time for me I go through such an experience but it was a good feeling as well and I was looking forward to go through this again. Unfortunately It was challenging to keep the meditation sessions in both English and Croatian or just in English. My little knowledge of the Croatian language made my brain struggle to remember the translation of familiar words which wasn’t helping in getting me into the relaxation state which is the main goal.
Accommodation at M.A.R.E
M.A.R.E is a rehabilitation and education center for the mine victims, an abandoned building that was renovated by donations from different countries and furnished by IKEA. It has a great peaceful location by the sea overlooking the famous view of Rovinj which you find in many postcards.
The rooms are mainly shared with a shared bathroom, colorful design as you can see in the photos.
Our days started at 8 am with Yoga practice for one hour and a half, followed by a healthy breakfast. One day was oat, banana and jam or honey another day was Polenta and cream. There was always tea, decaffeinated coffee and smoothies.
One day Lunch was vegetable soup, gnocchi with soy meat and mushrooms, some salad and another day vegetable soup, rice with grilled paprika and cabbage salad.
Yoga and mindful walking
I usually do Yoga for half an hour everyday but here we started the first day with Ashtanga Yoga for one hour and a half and the next day with Vinyasa flow Yoga for the same period which is more of a free style yoga. It was intense and I had this good feeling of muscle pain which I carried with me to remind me and encourage me to do my daily Yoga routine for a longer period.
I also enjoyed the mindful walking were we walked in the nature in silence followed by another meditation session.
I can say that this was my first visit to an island in Croatia and it was to Crveni Otok (Red Island). A 20-minute boat ride in a sunny day took us there where we discovered an interesting discovery “Dogs are not allowed on the Island”. Another discovery was that the Island is not red. The water was cold but this didn’t stop people from swimming and as the Island is not that big we made a full tour around where we found some stones placed in a certain way and a sign saying how that this spot will stimulate your ability to learn and to be in harmony with the laws of nature, wisdom, education and the relationship with the divine which was a perfect fit with our spiritual retreat.
On our way back we saw the dancing dolphins which was unexpected and a nice surprise.
The retreat came to an end just like everything in life and we had to leave but we will keep this beautiful experience in our memory and in our blog and vlog.
I can say it was a good chance for me to improve my Croatian in such a friendly atmosphere, recharge my energy and relax my brain which is always flooding with thousands of thoughts.
This is not our first escape to Rovinj, you may want to check our trip which took us to the days of communication.
Written by: Theresa Khalil