Immense gratitude for our Healing the Heart Meditation retreat! We just spent the most perfect week imaginable on the island of Ithaca, in Greece with Heather Prete and Chandresh Bhardwaj. This was a first collaboration for Heather and Chandresh—renowned meditation instructors who teach weekly classes at the DEN Meditation in Los Angeles. The retreat was a massive success and we look forward to hosting many more with both of them!
The theme of this retreat was “Healing the Heart” and Heather and Chandresh approached this topic from the perspectives of Mindfulness and Tantra, respectively. Both lineages give us the tools necessary to experience living from heart-centered awareness. Chandresh—spiritual advisor and founder of Break the Norms movement—led the morning meditations, afternoon workshops and a few powerful night meditations. He teaches the importance of staying curious and rebellious, especially when it comes to spirituality. With Chandresh, no topic is off-limits and I fell in love with his honest, funny, fresh and modern approach to meditation. Heather—meditation instructor and facilitator—led beautiful evening meditations and workshops and a special stargazing meditation. Heather’s teachings feed my soul and when I’m around her I feel like I can come home to myself. There is comfort and ease in everything that she does, a nice contrast to Chandresh’s raw Shiva energy. The two instructors split up the meditations and workshop and co-taught our final session, bringing everything together. Our yoga instructor Adell Bridges led morning flows, which allowed us to move our bodies and fully experience the benefits of the meditations.
It was incredible to be able to experience the energy of the group shift from day one. None of our 12 solo travelers knew one another prior to this trip, but by day three all barriers had dissolved and we were breaking out into spontaneous hug fests—as only “Mama Heather” can orchestrate. During the week, I saw genuine love, compassion and honesty, I saw the light turn on in people’s eyes, and I saw the formation of lifelong friendships.
Itha108 was the perfect container to hold our group—and all of our energy! This boutique retreat center, located on one of the most remote islands in Greece and overlooking the sparkling Ionian Sea, was a once in a lifetime experience. I highly recommend you visit if you get the chance! We were transported into a world so far removed from the hustle and bustle of “normal” life. A place where our bodies and minds could finally rest and our hearts could open. The rooms, the food, the service, everything was so high quality and mindfully chosen.
After we got over our initial jet lag, it took us some time to remember how to just be—something the Greeks do particularly well. Through our daily practices, communal living and being in harmony with nature, we were finally able to experience life from a heart-centered place. This retreat was truly an experiment in impeccable living. Our group became very close and everyone opened up so much in such a short period of time—something that we rarely have permission to do in everyday life. Despite our fairly full schedule, our guests would stay out on the veranda past midnight, chatting away and looking up at the stars. Each day was a gift and we didn’t want to miss a second of the magic!
During this retreat, we also got to explore the island and experience local culture. We took Wednesday off to do a boat tour around the island, stopping at several beautiful remote beaches and swimming holes. We had a guided walking tour of Odysseus’ Palace, which is the mythical home of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey. On our second to last night, we went out for a celebration dinner at Calypso, in the picturesque little town of Kioni, and indulged in traditional Greek cuisine, freshly caught seafood and, of course, wine!
This experience, this place, has made us family and will be in our hearts until we return again. We look forward to watching the transformations as they unfold. For our guests, this is only just the beginning. Grateful to have been witness on this perfect journey.