Weekend Immersion: Abhaya Yoga Empowerment


Vivi Letsou & Nancy Hitzanidou









Weekend Immersion: Abhaya Yoga Empowerment

6 Nights/7 Days of Freediving, Yoga & Zen Meditation
in the Serene Landscapes of Mani - Southern Greece

A Fun & Exciting Retreat for ALL LEVELS of Divers:
SUPER EXPERIENCED DIVERS: Enjoy Diving in some of
the best waters in the world, in Kalamata Bay.

ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS: You will be taught the A-Z of diving in
the sea with great attention!  You do have to be a good swimmer.

Our Invitation To You
Our Invitation To You

Description of the Retreat

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Photos courtesy of Constanze Flamme: Flamme Fotografie -www.constanzeflamme.de

Water Readings

Nature is very much alive and conscious. Listen and it will show you everything. Connecting with the element of Water is the same as deeply connecting to yourself. You are connecting with the source of life itself, and we just happen to be the same thing. It can be a deeply moving, powerful
reminder that we are all much more than the physical. The Water can help us restore the most joyful, empowering expressions of ourselves.


To breathe well is to live well. Most of us aren’t even aware of the quality of our breathing and how deeply it affects our mental/emotional/physical well being. Have you ever noticed your breath when you are super stressed? Have you ever noticed your breath when you are deeply relaxed?

During this retreat we will be showing you the beauty and simplicity of breath techniques to empower your life with! We will be guiding and teaching you breathing for relaxation, breathing for more energy, breathing to facilitate deep transformation and, of course, breathing techniques for freediving.

It’s ALL connected.


Freediving is the art of moving underwater on one single breath. Whether you’re in the pool or the open ocean, diving for depth or having fun exploring the magic of the sea, freediving invites you to have an intimate experience of yourself as you develop your relationship with your breath and the water around you. It encourages you to stay focused on the present moment, slow down and master your breath control. By restoring the mind-body connection, you are better equipped to cope with everyday stress and pressure.

“Freediving is not only a sport, it’s a way to understanding who we are” -
Natalie Molchanova


Mermaiding is a creative self-expression art form that allows individuals to embody the mythical mermaid or merman persona. It's a unique blend of underwater performance, costume design, swimming with a mermaid tail and artistic expression. Becoming a mermaid starts with connecting to your inner calm, empowered self, integrating the breath hold skills of freediving, embodying your unique mermaid persona & concluding with the complete magical transformation into an aquatic mermaid fantasy.

What’s truly captivating is that mermaids exist in the mythology, symbolism and folklore of cultures across the world. They are depicted as half- human, half fish-like beings with supernatural powers, connecting the land to sea life. Some even believe they are the guardians of the ocean, maintaining balance within the marine ecosystem.

Mermaiding is all about bringing the magical mermaid fantasy to life with your own personal flare. It’s a transformative journey where the boundaries of reality and fantasy intertwine. When fully immersed in the water, mind attuned to the present moment, and body relaxed, a magical energy unfolds. Imagination is unleashed, dreams take flight and the ordinary is transformed into the extraordinary.

Comments & Quotes
Program Schedule

Saturday, March 23, 2024


Monday, March 25, 2024

Suggested Reading List:

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Short Biography of the Teachers
A Few Words from your Hosts

Sisters Sung Nghiem, Phuong Nghiem, and Trai Nghiem are monastic Dharma teachers at Plum Village, having been ordained by the Venerable Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. They are devoted to sharing the teachings of joyful, compassionate living through the practice of mindfulness and interbeing.

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register hereRegister here


Zen Rocks employs only local people and makes every effort to source only local food produce. Materials are also local wherever possible, the walls are madewith local stone and a local family of furniture makers are responsible for the beautiful hand carved stools, benches and bed heads. All organic waste iscomposted, it's plastic free where possible, and guests are invited to conserve water. Bathroom products are natural, the bed linen is organic cotton and themattresses are made with coconut fibre.


Seaview Studio

Elegant room with private entrance from main Villa foyer/kitchen, and nicely furnished balcony with open garden & sea views. Hand crafted elegant wooden furniture, Cocomat mattresses, organic cotton sheets & pillows, special lighting. Organic kourasanit floors (made of river sand) and bathroom walls.180 degree Panoramic Seaview.

Room Size :
25 sqm
Capasity :
up to 2
1 Queen Double Bed (or Twin Beds)

Seaview Master Suite

Comfortable spacious suite with private entrance from main Villa foyer/kitchen,and nicely furnished balcony with open garden & sea views.
Hand crafted elegant wooden furniture, Cocomat mattresses, organic cottonsheets & pillows, special lighting.
Organic kourasanit floors (made of river sand) and bathroom walls.
180 degree Panoramic Seaview.

Room Size :
35 sqm
Capasity :
up to 3
1 Queen Double Bed (or Twin Beds) & 1 Single Sofa

Seascape Loft

A sea of tranquility, this double or twin room rests on the upper floor of each Villa, with its own external stone staircase. The room opens to a private small balcony with expansive sea and sky views. Thisupstairs oasis also features a large private terrace, your own 40 square-meterprivate sun deck, and star gazing arena.

Room Size :
25 sqm
Capasity :
up to 2
1 Queen Double Bed (or Twin Beds)
A few words about Mani

The area of southern Peloponnese known as “The Mani’ is a very special place. Its location on the edges of southern Europe, its tempestuous history and its natural beauty, all combine to give the visitor an exceptional experience.

The Retreat is located about 30 minutes south of the city of Kalamata, in a quiet olive grove amidst a stunning nature spread of olive groves and rocky terrain. Kalamata is about a 2-2.5 hour drive from Athens on the Southern tip of the Peloponnese. Kalamata’s location marks the beginning of the incredible Mani, a peninsula stemmed by the magnificent Taygetos Mountain range, which also features some of the most picturesque seaside small towns, variegated beaches, byzantine churches, medieval Towers, and traditional stone-housed mountain villages.

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: info@zenrocksmani.com

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.

Retreat Experiences

Retreats normally last three or six nights, though shorter and longer stays are also available (by arrangement) for those wishing to drop in on the daily yoga,Pilates and zen meditation schedule. The teacher is either the owner of Zen Rocks, Vivi Letsou, or one of her trusted team of international teachers. A typicalday features morning Zen meditation followed by an Ayurvedic healing drink, a two hour yoga and/or Pilates class, brunch, rest or yoga therapy training, thenan evening restorative yoga or Pilates class followed by dinner and sunset meditation with a late evening Yoga Nidra/music/relaxation/Zen meditation session.


Vivi Letsou handpicks yoga teachers who are calm, centered and deeply knowledgeable. Expect to practise Abhaya Yoga (created by Vivi to help us align withthe wisdom of the heart and live fearlessly), Dynamic Vinyasa Flow as well as Therapeutic Alignment, Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra. Classes are around twohours each and usually take place around 9-11 am (post meditation and an immune-boosting lemon, ginger, honey and turmeric drink) and after dinner.

Vivi is also an Anusara certified yoga therapist. The depth of her anatomical understanding is a huge draw to yoga teachers the world over, and is also of immediateuse to anyone wanting to improve their alignment. Sessions focus on a body part; say the feet - "the roots of the body" - or the many complexities of theshoulder joint.


Zen Rocks offers several kinds of meditation including the simple Viloma Pranayama which expands the breath and lung capacity through gentle holds, andNadi Shodhana or Alternate Nostril Breathing. Expect an introduction to Zen Buddhism meditation too - both seated and walking. Meditation is usuallyconducted first thing in the morning and classes last around 45 minutes, depending on the teacher.

Zen Mindfulness Meditation is part and parcel of the daily programme and guests are encouraged to exercise mindfulness across all activities during their stay -whether that's conserving water in the shower or taking only what is needed during mealtimes. There are also specific mindfulness retreats throughout the year.Look out for Vivi Letsou's Refresh and Renew Retreat (where the day starts and ends with a mindfulness meditation), the Zen Retreat with two San Francisco-based Zen priests, and the Yoga and Mindful Eating/Plant Based Diet Retreat.


Treatments include Reflexology, Deep Tissue Massage, and Shiatsu. Don't miss the Thai Yoga Massage with Betty Papadopoulou - akin to being rolled on theocean waves, it will leave you feeling positively beatific.

An Ayurvedic doctor is available for consultation and massage on request. Treatments take place inyour bedroom or in the yoga shala and usually last one hour plus.


Abundant bushes of rosemary, thyme and oregano scent a gentle stroll around the grounds. Feast your eyes on the gnarled bark of olive trees and the clay potred earth, sit at the feet of a stone Buddha, or cozy down on a sun lounger to better gaze at the white washed walls and terracotta roofs of distant villages.Borrow a bike or head out on foot towards the mountains or walk the 6 kilometres to the tiny secluded beach on the other side of the bay. The nearest bigbeaches are Kitries (10 minutes drive) and Kardamyli (30 minutes). Both are stone and pebble.

A further 10-minute drive brings you to the long sandy beachesof Stoupa (the town that inspired the setting of Nikolas Kazantzakis's Zorba the Greek), and it's another 10 minutes to the beach at St. Nicholas. The Zen Rocksminivan offers daily rides to the beach. For the more active, bicycling, mountain trekking, beach walks and water sports (including canoeing) are also available.


Zen Rocks offers dedicated Pilates retreats and Pilates teacher training weeks. Private and public Pilates classes are also available on request.


In case of emergency:

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