John’s Total Fitness Bootcamp

Pilates, Weights, Running, Swimming Retreat
Plus Option: Yoga with Vivi Letsou


John Smihula,
Ph.D. English Literature,
BASI Pilates instuctor


July 14-19, 2024

Full program: 5 nights
Short version: 2 nights


Cross Fitness


From 790€ for 5 nights

From 460€ for 2 nights

Our Invitation To You

An all levels retreat to help you attain a new regime for optimum form & fitness

Live one of the most exciting weeks of your life, reaching your very best fitness level, surpassing your limits and beliefs while having a fun uplifting time, with warm friendly company, a good balance of humor and encouragement, in the sumptuous environment of Zen Rocks’ breathtaking Mediterranean setting… You will feel so good during and after the retreat, this may prove to one of your most memorable pleasant experiences…

Description of the Retreat


This non-military “boot camp” will be peacefully rigorous and a lot of fun as we focus on improving strength, speed, endurance, and flexibility. We will begin with a posture and fitness assessment, write down our goals for the week, and discuss diet and nutrition. We will enjoy a wide range of activity, with no two days being exactly alike. Our mornings will start early, with a nice refreshing hike/walk or run amids to live groves, windy paths with scenic views of mountain peaks and blue seas. You may have a choice of alternatives on whether you prefer to walk, hike, or run every morning.

Coming back we rest with a brief break.

After a rejuvenating fruit and vegetable smoothie--John’s signature and guests’ favorite, our Pilates mat class will be dynamic and invigorating. BASI Pilates has a well balanced flow and our daily routine will include a section of Pilates mat exercises, weights, and cardio with such exercises as planks, pull-ups,burpees, and dumbbell presses and raises.

Then comes a vegetarian brunch and a long break to rest and recover—which may be a good time to head to the beach!

In the early evening comes our last 75 minutes of exercise. Another joyful and exhilarating practice that will feature Pilates exercises with props and equipment, and aerobic activities like rope-jumping and sprinting in place.

The gourmet vegetarian dinner will be delicious and filling;  sunsets at Zen Rocks are truly mesmerizing, andthe friendly company with John’s selection of Jazz and Classical favorites beats any 5 Star Dinner experience.

Για όλα τα Επίπεδα: Kαθοδηγούμενο Πρόγραμμα για Όλους

Μια εβδομάδα Total Fitness στον παράδεισο του Ζen Rocks για ένα Re-start στη Ζωή & την Υγειά μας.

Χρειάζεστε ένα ολότελα καινούργιο ξεκίνημα για την σωματική και νοητική σας ευεξία; Θέλετε να συνδυάσετε τις διακοπές σας με ένα αισιόδοξο πρόγραμμα γυμναστικής,  διατροφής και ηρεμίας στη φύση;

Περάστε μια εβδομάδα στον μοναδικό παράδεισο του ΖΕΝ ROCKS στην Μάνη κάνοντας τις διακοπές σας αλλά και το πρόγραμμα γυμναστικής και διατροφής που θα σας κάνει να νιώσετε ενέργεια, φόρμα και αναζωογόνηση. Κάνετε πρόοδο προς τους στόχους σας κρατώντας την φυσική σας κατάσταση με ένα ευρύ φάσμα δραστηριοτήτων, που περιλαμβάνει: προπόνηση για ενδυνάμωση με βάρη,  αντοχή,αερόβια κίνηση,  βάρη, και Pilates, αλλά και πεζοπορία, τρέξιμο, και κολύμπι.  Ξεκουραστείτε και αυξήστε την φυσική σας κατάσταση με φόντο το υπέροχο τοπίο της Μάνης στο μοναδικό παραδεισένιο retreat center, Zen Rocks. Σταδιακά δυναμώνετε και στο τέλος της εβδομάδας δεν θα πιστεύετε τον βαθμό ενδυνάμωσης που πετύχατε με τις δυνατότητες σας. Διότι οι δυνατότητες μας είναι πολύ ανώτερες από αυτό που συνήθως πιστεύουμε. Το πρόγραμμα δεν είναι δύσκολο και καταναγκαστικό.

Αντίθετα είναι ευχάριστο με πολύ χιούμορ, καλή παρέα, και διασκέδαση.Και βέβαια θα υπάρχει χρόνος να χαλαρώσετε στην ηρεμία της φύσης, ατενίζοντας έναν ειδυλλιακό απέραντο ορίζοντα ήρεμης θάλασσας και καταγάλανου ουρανού, κάνοντας  εκδρομές στα γύρω χωριά, ή απολαμβάνοντας ένα χαλαρωτικό μασάζ. Φυσικά θα ευχαριστηθείτε τη νόστιμη υγιεινή χορτοφαγική κουζίνα με προϊόντα βγαλμένα από τον κήπο μας, καθώς και τα μοναδικά φρέσκα και δυναμωτικά
Smoothies του John. Ίσως αυτή η εβδομάδα δώσει ένα καινούργιο έναυσμα ευεξίας, δύναμης, και έμπνευσης στη ζωή σας.

Cherry on the Cake - Κερασάκι στην Τούρτα - Film Night
Film watching Night: Films being a passion of John, who taught Film History in the University of Reno for years, we will dedicate a night to watching and discussing an important film.

Option as a Τarget Goal
One day, later in the week when we are prepared, we may opt to start with an exhilarating 5.75k run down hill from 1200 feet (365m) to an isolated cove, where we will swim before completing the loop by hiking another 5.75k back to base camp.

Plus Option
When Vivi, our resident Yoga expert is in house, you may also enjoy one or two invigorating or restorative and therapeutic Abhaya Yoga sessions. No extra cost for group class. You may schedule a private session at extra cost.

Zen Meditation or Zazen is optional but highly recommended for a full rounded experience, a great reset for the nervous system.

Program Schedule

July 14-19, 2024

You are welcome to attend either the full program of 5 nights/6 days,
or, enroll for the short version of this bootcamp (2 nights, starting on July 14th).


5-6pm   (not before 3pm please)
6 or 6.30pm   Welcome circle... Easy introduction practice, dinner, and early bed time.

Daily Schedule

6:30 - 8:30


8:30 - 9:00

Smoothie break

9:00 - 11:00

BASI Pilates / Calisthenics / Weight training

11:15 - 12:15


12:15 - 18:00

Break (rest, read, chat, swim, etc.)

18:00 - 18:30

Zazen meditation (optional)

18:30 - 19:45

BASI Pilates & Cardio

20:00 - 21:00

Dinner & enjoying the sunset in good company


Normally after brunch... Latest by noon...
Sometimes we may have to ask for an early room check out by 10.00—11.00am.

Who is this retreat for:

This camp is designed for most but not all fitness levels. To participate safely, productively, and enjoyably,
you should, at minimum, be able to run a kilometer and do a few unaided push-ups.
Also, we will be following a healthy vegetarian/vegan diet with very little, if any, alcohol.


Registrations Fees, 5 night stay

Accommodations in:

Zen Rocks Luxury Tent:

€1,090 (subject to availability)


€1,290 (you will need to be 3/room to secure price)


€1,490 (you will need to be 2/room to secure price)



Registrations Fees, 2 night stay

Accommodations in:

Zen Rocks Luxury Tent:

€460 (subject to availability)


€535 (you will need to be 3/room to secure price)


€630 (you will need to be 2/room to secure price)



All scheduled Activities

Morning Smoothie



Extras services/items upon request

Private Yoga or Pilates Sessions

Therapeutic Massage

Smoothies or extra beverages/fruit/Meal Supplements


John Smihula,
Ph.D. English Literature

John taught literature, film, composition, and humanities for twenty years at American universities, principally the University of Nevada, Reno, and he is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. He also spent ten years as a counselor in the social services and mental health system in New York and San Francisco.  As a young man, he was a Peace Corp volunteer in Mauritaunia, Africa. And he has been an actor, sawyer, carpenter, and personal trainer.  Since he was a teenager, he has participated in many athletic activities, such as baseball, American football, Ultimate Frisbee, beach volleyball, weightlifting, running, rowing,and long-distance hiking at elevation—and training for triathlons and natural bodybuilding contests.  In recent years, he has turned to Pilates, and become a certified instructor, because he believes that Pilates, particularly the BASI method, is an essential tool to strengthen the core and improve balance, posture, and flexibility.

At Zen Rocks on the Mani peninsula, he runs with the dogs, practices Pilates, pursues his writing projects, listens to classical music, dreams of making another film, tries with little success to learn Greek, and goes forth, whenever possible, to explore as much of Greece as he can, especially awe-inspiring mountain peaks.

Have a question?

How do I choose the Retreat for me?

All our retreats aim to create a nurturing and welcoming environment for all levels of practice and all student needs. All programs offer the opportunity for a dose of daily good exercise through yoga or pilates, walks in nature and/or swimming in the sea, and both restorative and meditation practice. A weekly program offers a complete experience of well-being. Our teachers are highly experienced and skilled. If a program seems enticing to you, it is probably the one you need. Make a bold step and trust it: Go for it!

Can I come alone?

Absolutely! Our friendly staff and group of guests/friends will make you feel right at home. Surrounded by good company, with space to be on your own, according to your needs and wishes.

Can I bring my partner who is not a practitioner?

Yes. As long as one understands and respects the philosophy of Zen Rocks, your partner can join in the daily activities, or feel free to relax and follow their own schedule. Your friend or partner will feel warmly welcome at Zen Rocks.

When should I book?

Book early, as soon as you know the retreat you are interested in, and your schedule. Click here to send us your questions or to register. Link: REGISTER

Where do I fly to –How do I arrange my Transfer?

We would be happy to help arrange your transfer from Athens or Kalamata to Zen Rocks.The retreat is located about 30 minutes south of the city of Kalamata, in a quiet olive grove amidst sea and blue skies. The closest village to us is Kalianeika, about one kilometer from us. There is airport access both from Athens Airport (3 hours from ZR) and from Kalamata Airport (30-40min from ZR).

-Flights to Athens International Airport (ATH) and transportation to Zen Rocks
All major airlines fly to Athens international airport, called Eleftherios Venizelos. Zen Rocks is about a 2.5-3 hours’ drive from Athens. We can arrange a private transport for you and/ or your group or you can rent a car to drive yourself to Zen Rocks. The ride is beautiful, and you can enjoy a direct ride along the new Athens-Kalamata highway, or you can make stops in places like the sites of Ancient Mycenae, Ancient Nemea, the city of Nafplion, and the town of Kalamata.

-Flights to/from Kalamata (KLX)
More and more there are direct and/or charter flights to the small airport of Kalamata from different European cities. Also, new 30 minutes flights have just started from Athens to Kalamata regional airport are very reasonably priced if booked well in advance.
Alternatively, you can fly to Kalamata from the northern Greek town of Thessaloniki.

-Transportation options while in Greece
The way to reach Zen Rocks is either with our luxurious Mini Van for 8 people or by renting a car from Athens or Kalamata and drive around on your own. Our office can assist you with your car rental reservation. Or you can make your booking directly. During your stay at Zen Rocks our minivan is available for hire along with an experienced driver. The rates for transfers with our minivan are in the attached document titled: ZenRocksRates.
Allow us to book your transfer from Athens or Kalamata. Simply email us at:

Driving Directions to Zen Rocks

The retreat is located about 30 minutes South of the city of Kalamata, in a quiet olive grove amidst the sea and blue skies. The closest village to us is Kallianeika.

1. Drive on the new freeway from Athens to Kalamata, and be prepared to stop frequently for tolls. Expect to pay around 15€ each way. It may take you 2-2.5 hours to reach Kalamata.

2. Stay on the freeway and exit Kalamata heading towards Areopolis and Kitries. After the freeway ends, you will pass Lidl, and a café called Cosi on the right, and then the road forks and you see a road sign. At this point you have the option of heading up towards the mountain towards Areopolis and Kardamyli, or taking a right towards the sea and Kitries. You can reach us either way. We are giving you directions through the coastal road here, as it may be easier to find our location this way.

3. Take a right towards Kitries and drive down the coast for about 10-15 minutes. Right as you approach Kitries, the road goes uphill. There is a big retaining wall right in front of you, causing you to almost stop. You see a road sign for Doloi.

4. Make a sharp left up the mountain towards Doloi.

5. Drive for 5 minutes until you reach the village of Kalianeika.

6. When you reach Kalianeika, stop in front of the church and set your odometer to 0.

7. Drive for one kilometer, and you will come to switch back turn where you will see a fence with big cacti and a huge rock. You are getting close.

8. Immediately afterwards, you see a second switch back turn and a couple small signs for Zen Rocks. At this point leave the asphalt road and enter a smaller cement farm road. Drive 200 meters on cement, and then another 400 meters of dirt road. At this point you will see the electrical posts and a cement road up on your left. This is our private drive way to Zen Rocks.

(Attention: our drive way is the SECOND paved road you see on your left. Do not take the first one, right where the cement ends… wait till you drive the extra 400 meters of dirt and pebble road and you come across the electrical wires and big posts… at this point you will also notice that the farm road you are on is covered with the cement of our paved drive way.)
9. Go left on our cement road. It is a sharp incline. Come up on first gear and full throttle. Small cars will do fine if you know how to drive fearlessly.

10. Welcome to Zen Rocks.
As Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn says: YOU HAVE ARRIVED!

Οδηγίες για το Zen Rocks Mani

Το Zen Rocks Mani βρίσκεται σε απόσταση περίπου 30 λεπτών Νότια από τη πόλη της Καλαμάτας, ανάμεσα σε ήσυχους ελαιώνες, τον ουρανό και τη θάλασσα! Το κοντινότερο χωριό είναι τα Καλλιανέικα.
1. Πάρτε τη νέα εθνική οδό απο την Αθήνα προς τη Καλαμάτα οπου θα χρειαστεί να σταματήσετε συχνά σε σταθμούς διοδίων. Υπολογείστε οτι το συνολικό κόστος των διοδίων θα ειναι 15€ η διαδρομή. Η απόσταση ειναι περιπου 2-2.5 ώρες απο την Αθήνα μέχρι να φτάσετε στη Καλαμάτα.
2. Μείνετε στην εθνική οδό και βγείτε στην έξοδο της Καλαμάτας με κατεύθυνσή προς Αρεόπολη και Κιτριές. Όταν τελειώσει η εθνική οδός, θα συναντήσετε ένα σούπερ μάρκετ Lidl και μια καφετέρια στα δεξιά σας που ονομάζεται Cosi. Σε εκείνο το σημείο ο δρόμος χωρίζεται και θα δείτε μια πινακίδα. Σε αυτό ακριβώς το σημείο, έχετε την επιλογή είτε να συνεχίσετε προς το βουνό με κατεύθυνση προς Αρεόπολη και Καρδαμύλη είτε να πάρετε το δρόμοι που είναι στα δεξιά σας που πάει μέσω του παραλιακού δρόμου στις Κιτριές. Όποιο δρόμο και να πάρετε μπορείτε να έρθετε στο Zen Rocks Mani. Εμείς παρακάτω σας δίνουμε οδηγίες από το παραλιακό δρόμο μιας και θεωρούμε ότι είναι ο πιο εύκολος δρόμος για να έρθετε.
3. Κάνετε δεξιά προς Κιτριές και οδηγείτε στο παραλιακό δρόμο για περίπου 10-15 λεπτά. Στο σημείο που έχετε φτάσει σχεδό στις Κιτριές, ο δρόμος έχει μια ανηφόρα. Στο σημείο αυτό υπάρχει ένας μεγάλος τοίχος μπροστά σας που σας αναγκάζει σχεδόν να σταματήσετε. Εκεί βλέπετε μια πινακίδα προς Δολούς.
4. Εκεί αριστερά προς το βουνό με κατεύθυνση προς Δολούς.
5. Οδηγείστε προς τα επάνω αυτόν τον δρόμο με τις στροφές, για 5 λεπτά μέχρι να βρείτε το χωριό Καλιανέϊκα.
6. Όταν φτάσετε στα Καλιανέϊκα, σταματήστε μπροστά από την εκκλησία και ρυθμίστε το μετρητή χιλιομέτρων σας στο 0.
7. Οδηγείστε για 1 χιλιόμετρο και θα δείτε μια στροφή φουρκέτα, η οποία σας φέρνει προς τα δεξια. Εκεί θα δείτε ένα φράχτη με μεγάλους κάκτους και ένα τεράστιο βράχο. Πλησιάζετε!
8. Αμέσως μετά βλέπετε μια ακόμα στροφή φουρκέτα που στρίβει τον δρόμο προς τα αριστερά. Θα δείτε δύο μικρές πινακίδες για το Zen Rocks. Σε αυτό το σημείο αφήνετε το ασφαλτοστρωμένο δρόμο και μπαίνετε προς τα δεξιά σε έναν μικρό αγροτικό δρόμο από τσιμέντο.Οδηγείστε για 200 μέτρα στο τσιμεντένιο επαρχιακό δρόμο και άλλα 400 μέτρα σε χωματόδρομο. Ακολουθήστε τις πινακίδες για να μην μπείτε στον ελαιώνα που είναι πριν από εμάς. Περιμένετε να δείτε το σημείο με την πινακίδα του Zen Rocks να δείχνει τον ανηφορικό ιδιωτικό τσιμεντένιο δρόμο στα αριστερά σας. Είναι που θα σας φέρει στο κατάλυμα.
Σε αυτό το σημείο και μόνο θα δείτε και τους στύλους της ΔΕΗ να ανεβαίνουν προς τα πάνω.
9. Κάντε αριστερά σε αυτόν τον τσιμεντένιο δρόμο. Έχει έντονη ανηφορική κλίση, οπότε βάλτε πρώτη ταχύτητα για να ανεβείτε. Ακόμα και μικρά αυτοκίνητα ανεβαίνουν άνετα. Είναι λίγο σα να ανεβαίνετε ίσια πάνω στον ουρανό, στα σύννεφα… Απογειώνεστε λοιπόν.
10. 5 Δευτερόπτα μετά: Καλώς ορίσατε στο Zen Rocks Mani. Χαλαρώστε και απολαύστε τη διαμονή σας!

Όπως λέει και ο δάσκαλος του Ζεν Thich Nhat Hahn: You have arrived! Pause. Enjoy!

Booking a Massage or other Therapy

Let us know about your needs and preferences and we can pre-arrange the perfect nurturing massage or related therapy session for you.


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*Depending on availability, Single Rooms may be off site, within a 3-5 minute ride from Zen Rocks at spacious, luxurious accommodations.
**Must have three people in the room to secure this price. I understand that Zen Rocks may not be able to secure a third roommate in which case I agree to pay the double room price.

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