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.
How are Living Myth Expeditions different from other tours?
Our expeditions are not your usual travel agency tours. We try to stay away from the crowds and venture to remote destinations. We would love your 100% participation and involvement in co-creating the journey together with us. And what is even more important is that we travel not only far out, but also deeply within. We study and learn how the outer influences the inner and vice versa. We have daily practices cultivating conscious and caring attitude toward ourselves, the group and the world around us.
How many people are in the group?
In retreat-expeditions we travel in small groups of 8-10 people. It is important for us to be aware of every participant and give everyone our full attention. We also invite in an atmosphere of friendship through co-creative teamwork, supporting and helping one another during and after the journey.
Can you tell me more about the expedition?
We create and propose a specific, yet flexible program that can be changed during the trip according to your suggestions and through a consensus among the traveling group. We have two fixed points: place of arrival and departure and the rest is open to improvisation. Traveling by car we are free to go anywhere inspiration takes us. As a part of our daily schedule we'll have three laboratories: MySelf, LifeStream and Living Dreams.
What is MySelf laboratory?
MySelf is a co-creative laboratory facilitating group dialogue to explore our sense of self, to become aware of our inner calling and creative spirit within, to examine our patterns, habits and routines, and to see how current life situation affects our health, inner disposition and creativity.
What is LifeStream laboratory?
LifeStream is a co-creative laboratory for in-depth exploration of the human body. It is dedicated to studying, becoming consciously aware of, purifying, refining and mastering the body's material and subtle dimensions. LifeStream was created by Michael Yoshpa about 10 years ago as a harmonious synthesis of many traditional and innovative approaches, which were developed in the course of his extensive study, practice and research.
What is Living Dreams laboratory?
Living Dreams is a co-creative laboratory for in-depth exploration of dreams and waking reality. It was created by Michael Yoshpa approximately 15 years ago as a synthesis of traditional and experimental approaches.
I have never worked with dreams and body oriented practices, is Living Myth for me?
Our laboratories don't require any previous experience in dreamwork or body-oriented practices. During the expedition all participants will receive individual instructions and necessary assistance.
Where are we going to live?
We will stay in a small family hotel on Nas beach. This area is considered to be the oldest settlement on the island. Even nowdays there are the remains of the Artemis temple on the beach. Nearby is the Halari Gorge that is full of small lakes, waterfalls and narrow rivers to enjoy.
And what about food?
Cooking and preparing our meals together at the Laboratory of Conscious Eating and Spontaneous Culinary Art will be an important activity of our expedition. We will also visit some of the best tavernas on the island to try local delicacies.
What about transportation?
A comfortable minibus will take us around the island.
How do I get to Ikaria?
You can arrive to Thessaloniki or Athens first and from there fly to Ikaria. There are also Hellenic Seaways ferries from Athens to the island.
How much money do I need for personal expenses?
Expedition price includes accommodations, transport and all activities. You will have to pay for the flights and food (about €200).
What should I take with me for the trip?
Please, pack light, comfortable clothing and footwear, suitable for body-oriented practices and trekking. You will also need a swimming suit and yoga mat. We will send you a detailed list after you register for the expedition.
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