Naxos Island, the inspiring Yoga destination

“If paradise was on Earth, it would be here.”  Nikos Kazantzakis *
It’s been some years, but I can still recall the feeling that I had when I first saw the “Portara” or “the great door”, this massive marble doorway, that stands proudly as the jewel of Naxos. As a Greek, I have to admit that I adore all our Islands, but the island of Naxos, has a special place in my heart. Not only because is the homeland of the girl I love, but is an island that has something to offer to everyone . For me is the most Zen place on earth and I can certainly say that belongs among the ultimate yoga destinations all around the globe.
Ask anyone to name a Cycladic island  for a summer vacation and Naxos is unlikely to be among them (despite the fact that is listed to be one of  the best Greek islands) and that is why you will love it. An island blessed with tall, forested mountains (including the highest peak in the Cyclades) and many miles of broad, sandy beaches. But this island  has a divine touch as Zeus, the highest god, was born on Crete, but grew up on Naxos. The people of Naxos used to worship him, and there is a cave  to his honour at the mountain Za (Zeus).
They used to say “variety is the spice of life” and if you’re looking for variety,then this island is certainly the place to visit. Naxos has imposing mountain massifs and fertile valleys, inhabited by cheerful people with a tradition in music and dance, and full of beauty that surely will enchant you. An island blessed with a beautiful Mediterranean climate that is ideal for travel all year round, but summer is really when Naxos come alive.
But why is it a Yoga destination? The answer is simple : it is a blessed land, and only in such a land you can practice the art of Yoga. An island full of archaeological sites ( the Dimitra’s temple) and of course the Two Ancient “Buddhas”. Don’t hesitate to discover the two giant statues “sleeping” in this blessed land. The giant statue of a young man (Kouros) lays on the site where it was excavated and The Kouros of Apollonas dates from the 8th century BC .
In Naxos you can visit lots of secret places to meditate and rethink your life, a place like that is the Tower of Agia and the small Byzantine monastery near by. Yoga is also a spiritual practice and has no Faith. throughout the island – inside the  green valleys of oak, maple, fig, olive and plane trees and at the top of  mountains and hills — hundreds centuries-old churches, chapels, cathedrals, and monasteries waiting for you to visit them and have this spiritual connection, no matter what is your religion. There is an old “Byzantine Park” in the Tragea region, where you can find lots outstanding examples of Byzantine architecture.
What is worth visiting? Of course the villages. Once you go there, the journey starts into the history and past of the island, myths , heroes, and legends, come alive. There are so many and very different to each other, that is difficult to encounter on any other island. Try to visit them all.
But what I love the most during my stay in Naxos, are my long promenades in this divine nature. All These natural trails the used to be the  main access and transportation from one village to another, from antiquity to the late 1960’s. Now they are well preserved and you just have to follow the signs to get to your destination. Don’t hesitate to visit them , but first ask for direction !!!
There are so much more that I want to reveal you about this beautiful Greek island, about the friendly people, the Mediterranean food, the sandy beaches, the old town, the music, the small rocky beaches of the north, the villages up in the mountains, but the best is yet to come.
Our famous Greek writer, Nikos Kazantzakis describes with his own words what Naxos is really about, at his book “Report to Greco”
“This island was such a blessing; tranquility, innocent faces, melons by the pile, the peaches, the figs, the calm sea. I would gaze at the people, never did these folks get a fright from a quake or a Turk, their eyes had nothing fiery about them. Freedom here had quenched the thirst for freedom, and the happiness of life spread wide like sleeping water. If it ever was disturbed, it never became turbulent. Security was the first gift I sensed while wandering about Naxos –security and, after a few days, boredom. We made an acquaintance with a wealthy Naxiot, Lazaros, who kept a wonderful grove in Eggares, an hour from Chora, he invited us, we stayed two weeks. What abundance, the trees laden with fruit, what bliss! Crete became a tale, a distant fiery cloud. Never a scare, bloodshed and struggles for freedom, everything melted and dissolved within this sleepy bliss of Naxos…”
* Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece’s foremost 20th century writer, once wrote about the time he spent as a teenager in Naxos’ fertile valley of Eggares.
Panos Kontogiorgos.
500HYAI

 

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