in-depth retreat on the island of long-livers
June 3-15, 2018
This unique journey opens a series of
retreat-expeditions to "Blue Zones" –
places around the globe with average lifespan of 90 to 100 years. In Icaria longevity is
a part of local lifestyle and culture.
Spend a few weeks on this incredible island and discover indigenous longevity secrets
and new ways of joyful living!
Our First Lessons of Longevity,
Happiness and Well-Being
Lesson #1
Travel with those
who share your values
This is probably the most important thing you can do to rediscover joy in your life. To Blue Zone dwellers this comes naturally: Icarians are among the most friendly and joyful people in the world. When they get together to celebrate, socialize or help each other, there is always a spirit of joy and happiness among them. During our trip we will study and share this approach to life. Participants of Living Myth expeditions value mutual attunement, which fosters seeing, hearing and appreciating one another. Living Myth is an international community of friends that stay in touch long after the trip is over. Learning and living joyfully is easy and natural when we are supported by friends. Good Tribe = Good Vibe!
Lesson #2
Be active without obsession
The longest-lived Icarians tend to be simple farmers living in the island's highlands. They stay active and exercise mindlessly by just gardening, walking to their neighbours and doing their own yard work. During the retreat we will be moving a lot around while exploring the island. Icaria offers mountain and canyon hiking, swimming in waterfalls and the sea, walking in pristine forests, soaking in hot springs, and simply Being with its ever-abound nature. We will practice yoga and qigong, meditate, and purify our bodies and hearts with elements of inner alchemy: earth, water, fire and air.
Lesson #3
Sense life's purpose
As a part of our daily schedule we'll have three laboratories: MySelf, LifeStream and Living Dreams. During our retreat we will focus on our bodies and through this work examining our basic beliefs and patterns, which shape our lives and often result in perpetual business, anxiety, fatigue, false identity, idealized self-image, self-denial, disenchantment and lack of inspiration. We will learn how to look beyond these patterns and make choices based upon our heartfelt values.
Lesson #4
Fast and be silent
Icarians have traditionally been strict Orthodox Christians. Their religion called for almost half year fasting. Caloric restriction that cuts 30 percent of calories out of the normal diet is the only proven way to slow down the aging process in humans. During the retreat we will practice conscious approach to cooking and eating. We will also have a day of fasting in silence.
Silence is another secret for deep relaxation and true happiness. It is a gateway to deep listening within oneself and the world. Conscious movement, meditation and concentration practices will help us to study silence, re-encounter our true nature, and rest in primordial awareness.
Lesson #5
Enrich your diet
Icarians eat a variation of the Mediterranean diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes and their famous honey. In every meal they also use a lot of olive oil, which contains cholesterol-lowering mono-unsaturated fats. Traditionally Icarians eat what they grow in the garden, augmenting their diet with wild edible plants abundant on the island. In the course of the retreat we will try local delicacies in the best tavernas on the island and visit several old-established ecological farms to meet their owners and to experience the unhurried pace at which local people worked and lived for many generations.
Lesson #6
Savor the nectar of life
Local people proudly assert that wine was first invented on Icaria. It is thought that Greek god of wine, Dionysus, was born on Icaria, and in ancient times his worship flourished on the island. In his Iliad Homer mentions strong dark-red Icarian wine, which was highly prized in his times. It is believed that Iliad's warriors used magic powers of Icarian wine in preparation for battle, to cure ailments, and to strengthen military prowess.
Lesson #7
Build social ties
In the course of our expedition we will get to know a number of amazing people. Famous cheese-maker Argiro will teach us how to make the tastiest goat cheese on Icaria. We will visit weaving shop of 105-years-old Ioanna Proyu. She still enjoys sharing the intricacies of traditional weaving lore with everyone interested. Charming Xenia will lead us along mountain passes and through ravines of Icarian wilderness. For last several years she and her six-years-old son have been restoring ancient mountain foot-paths used by local people since time immemorial. We will spend a day in nature with wonderful Theodoros collecting wild herbs and making essential oils.
In our expedition we will also have a very special guest, a gerontologist Misha Kogan, a leader in the newly established field of Integrative Geriatrics, the author of several books in this field, and a specialist in Blue Zones science. Misha will lecture on Hypothermia practices and Blue Zones longevity lessons.
Lesson #8
Icaria is famous throughout Greece for its centuries-old festivals – panigiri – when traditional orchestra plays day and night, tables groan with food, and people dance while hugging each other. On the first day of our expedition the island will welcome us with All Saints' Day panigiri at two small villages. There is no better way to begin celebrating life on Dionysus island than with dancing, music, wine and new friends. Icarian panigiri is a very special and truly unforgettable experience!
Expedition Route
Expedition Team

Facilitator: Michael Yoshpa

Michael holds a PhD. in Pharmacognosy and Medicinal Chemistry, and Masters Degrees in Biology and Education. He is a photographer and facilitator of inner development retreats.

Michael is an author and facilitator of several self-learning laboratories: LifeStream, MySelf, Living Science, and Living Dreams. He teaches meditation, qigong and martial arts.
Organiser, guide, interpreter: Yana K.M

Yana is a photographer and holds a Master's Degree in Fine Arts from the State University of New York. She taught photography at the university, organized art workshops for children and adults, and took part in numerous exhibitions and festivals worldwide.

Over the last 15 years, Yana has visited more than 35 countries. She speaks fluent Russian, English, French and Indonesian.

Photo Album

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