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The Healing Journey Retreat & Teaching Skills #303

Live Retreat@ Zen Rocks, Mani and Online

Teacher(s) Name(s)

Nancy Hitzanidou, E-RYT 500, YACEP
& Vivi Letsou, E-RYT 500


July 5 - 9, 2023


Teaching Skills
English 33 Hours
Yoga Alliance
Cont. Education Credit


from 790€

The Healing Journey Retreat & Teaching Skills #300Α

A healing journey through asana practice-meditation-study: understanding our subtle anatomy using the chakra model,
and healing ourselves from toe to head...

For Yoga teachers: 33 hr Yoga Alliance Continuing Education.
300 Hour Certification with Abhaya Yoga: Part 1/3 of 100 Hours Teaching Skills in Excellence. We will study the Physical and Energetic Anatomy of the human body, and use the yogic practice of awareness in Embodied Movement, on this journey of exploration, detection, and reconnection—all important tools for today’s yoga teachers, movement professionals,
and all practitioners.

Study the body —  Understand yourself — Breathe, Move, Free your energy…   HEAL


A few words about this Program

In this Teachings Skills in Excellence program we will explore, study, and embody:

  • Our Physical and Energetic or Subtle Body–Nadis (vital energy channels), Chakras (vital energy centers), Bindus, energy currents, Kundalini
  • Feel, and understand the inner body, as the root or source of any disorder
  • Learn methods of detection, becoming AWARE of the Subtle body & blockages
  • Learn specific asana, pranayama, and meditation techniques for restoring balance
  • Structure a yoga class following the stairway of the Energy Center

Our ABHAYA Yoga Invitation to you…

This Third Step of our Abhaya Tree of Studies, the Trunk program, correlates to the HEART of Abhaya!

Heart=       Connection with the Truth of our heart. Iccha.         

Program Schedule

20-26 September 2021 @ Zen Rocks Mani Retreat

Format & Curriculum

Requirements & Certification

Our Abhaya Yoga Teacher Training programs are Certified through
NYSY Academy & Yoga Alliance


“The body and spirit are exact mirrors of each other—a fact much more apparent to the ancients than to those of us distracted by our modern materialism. (In the book “Yoga of the Subtle Body”) Tias even-handedly blends the anatomy we know today with the anatomy of the energetic body.”

Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, about the work we will be exploring



Anastasia, Nancy Hitzanidou

Electrical and Systems Engineering, MSc
NYSY Yoga Certified Teacher, 500 Hours 
Yoga Alliance E-RYT® 500, YACEP®

Nancy ‘s deep love for Yoga as a physical exercise, philosophy and way of life, infused in her the desire to share the joy of Yoga practice and study with others.

Νancy is a rarely eloquent, informed lecturer of Yoga history and philosophy.  She also leads retreats and seminar circles on Meditation, helping people to find an appropriated meditation path according to their needs.  She also teachers dynamic vinyasa, therapeutic and restorative asana classes, sharing a close connection with Vivi and NYSY Academy since 2008.  She is now a faculty member of the Abhaya Yoga Tree of Yoga Studies, supporting yoga trainees in their path of growth through understanding the roots of the Yoga Tradition with her unique enthusiasm, grace, and wisdom.

Her yoga apprenticeship started in 2001 at Yoga Arts School in Thessaloniki.  She came to Athens and in 2008, she completed the Yoga Alliance 200-hour Registered Yoga Teachers Training Program at NYSY Studios with Vivi Letsou.  In 2011, she received her 500 Hour NYSY  Yoga Teachers Diploma, with specialization on  Meditation and Tantric Studies,  a Yoga Alliance 500-hour Registered Yoga Teachers Training Program.

In June 2015,  a new path emerged for Nancy, that of the Tantric teachings of Sally Kempton. Nancy joined her in London where she completed the Meditation Teaching Training Program: “The Art and Practice of Τeaching Meditation,” with Sally Kempton.

Nancy’s love for deeper learning led  her to a  3-year Distance Learning Course in Philosophy and History of Yoga with the Traditional Yoga Studies Institute, of Georg and Brenda Feuerstein.  She was certified from this 800 hour program in December of 2016.  Nancy has also been studying Sanskrit for many years, as her love and appreciation for the path of Yoga continue to expand.

Her practice is deeply inspired by her Teachers, as well as by the numerous Yoga workshops and Teacher Training programs she attends, in Greece and abroad, led by exceptional Teachers, and concerning various techniques of physical practice (Asana), Pranayama, and Meditation (Dhyana).

Nancy shares a deep spiritual friendship with Vivi; together they have traveled to India and studied at the Himalyan Institute of Yoga with another respected teacher in the Tantric Path, Pandid Rajmani Tigunait.

Since 2008, she teaches classes, leads workshops, and serves as faculty for Teacher Training Programs, in which the physical postures, meditation and applied Yoga Philosophy interweave and inspire each other

As a NYSY & Abhaya Yoga Faculty teacher she has been introducing yoga students to the deep wisdom path of Yoga History & Philosophy. With true compassion and understanding Nancy creates a safe circle encompassing and welcoming each team, whereas Nancy blushes at the sound of her nickname, Saraswati, goddess of learning and yogic wisdom.

Vivi Letsou, Creator of Abhaya Yoga

NYSY Academy Director, Co-founder Zen Rocks & Avocado Café

Bachelor’s of Science–Aeronautics

Master of Arts–Theater Arts & Film

Yoga Alliance 500 hours, BASIPilates™

Vivi is a strong and charismatic Yoga teacher and educator.  In Greece she is known as “the teacher of teachers in the yoga path.” Having taught in the traditions of Ashtanga, Anusara, and Vinyasa Yoga, Vivi finally created Abhaya Yoga—a style that combines dynamic asana with strong alignment, flow, and an empowering transformational philosophy rooted in Tantra and Buddhism.   It is her greatest joy to share this path with others, acting as a mirror for people to discover and embody their power, beauty, and hidden talents.  Through Yoga and the intimate environment of a training, Vivi loves to witness this catalytic prosses at work, where the individual and the team are mutually uplifted. 

More on Vivi’s background & philosophy…

A visionary and activist for positive change, Vivi returned to her homeland, Greece, in 2004 with a strong impetus to effect positive change through building enlightening communities.  In her life and work she has been trying to integrate Yoga, Zen, and Tantric Philosophy, the spiritual paths she has sought to combine for over 20 years, while a filmmaker in California.  

Through her journey of teaching and practicing Yoga, Pilates, and meditation, Vivi has been able to find a way of practice that makes us strong in all levels and helps us to triumph even in challenging circumstances.  Amidst the Greek economic crises, Vivi and her beloved husband, Eraj, have managed to create successfully: NYSY Academy for Yoga and Pilates, and Avocado Vegetarian Café—two bright centers in the heart of Athens.  Recently they completed another life-long dream, building Zen Rocks, a stunningly beautiful retreat center in Mani/Southern Greece, dedicated to maximizing our human potential through the healing practices of Zen, Yoga, Tantric meditation, nutrition, permaculture, and restorative living. 

The Abhaya Yoga Tree of Yoga Studies was inspired by the sturdy olive trees surrounding  Zen Rocks.  Studying these trees, she invites practitioners to discover their seed desire or dream–their iccha, to root deeply in their power through yoga practice, and establish a strong trunk for teaching before they branch out to expand and reach their full potential as teachers, communicators, and strong human beings.

Teaching Pilates was a later discovery for Vivi, but she fell in love with the practice, especially through the approach of BASI Pilates.  Now she incorporates Pilates core exercises to all her classes and teacher training programs. 

Teamwork: Our Working Philosophy

Vivi’s passion for a brave and upright way of being in the world is contagious. Hundreds of bright yogis and yoga teachers have emerged from her workshops and teacher training programs, now spreading their unique light and making our whole planet brighter!

Vivi’s gift and passion is to bring excellent talented teachers, artists, and participants together to create opportunities for good working projects, deeper practice, and growth. In California she founded the first Ethnic Dance School with dances from around the world, the San Jose Kinisi Worldance Center, in 1987, and produced Ethnic Dance Festivals and Carnival events for the city of San Jose, raising awareness and appreciation for ethnic arts/dance to the dry silicon valley area.  In San Francisco she worked as the director of the Latin Mission Theater, La Mission, and produced/directed several plays, films, documentaries, like the award winning political documentary, “Hidden in Plain Sight” featuring Noam Chomsky, and the feature film “Skeleton Woman” among others.  “The spirit of teamwork is what leaves positive traces behind, once a project vanishes in past tense,” says Vivi about all this experience. 

Through the years with the amazing team of NYSY they have organized successful Yoga and Pilates Conferences, Festivals, in Athens, and Yoga-Pilates-Meditation retreats all over the Greek islands and now at Zen Rocks in Mani. 

Vivi shares: The motto of our NYSY, Avocado, and Zen Rocks team is:  «Oμάδα όχι Μονάδα» meaning that we work as a team not as an individual unit. Our goal is to be a great support for each other in our common dream to bring more beauty and happiness unto our world. 

Discovering yoga in the 80s, Vivi feels immense gratitude for her first teacher Kali Ray ( ) who illuminated the path of Tri-Yoga, a beautiful flowing vinyasa style of yoga. Ashtanga was the next discovery with senior teacher, Tim Miller ( ), being a true inspiration in dynamic practice. Having the good fortune to study with many inspirational yoga teachers, she is blessed to have heard the simply powerful words of her beloved teacher and friend, Rusty Wells ( ): “Be Kind, Be Love!” and to be taught the grace of Bhakti Vinyasa Flow through the many teacher training courses they have offered jointly in Greece.

Vivi was been greatly motivated by such vibrant teachers as Anusara’s Desiree Rumbaugh ( ), who stands firmly for what she believes: “Love is Stronger than fear.”  Vivi’s deep knowledge of precise structural alignment and therapeutics is largely attributed to her practice in Anusara yoga (,  and her erstwhile teacher, John Friend, ( ). Vivi was the first certified Anusara Yoga teacher in Greece, pioneering a new way of therapeutic practice in her native land.  She is eternally grateful to her yoga sister and mentor, Sue Elkind, of Dig Yoga ( ), for sharing her wisdom for “walking the walk, and talking the talk” in today’s yoga business and ethics. With Sue she studied also pre-natal yoga, and yoga therapeutics with Sue and her husband, Naime Jezzeny  of Dig( ). 

Another exceptional teacher and friend on the path has been the wise Ayurvedic therapist and educator, Arun Deva of Rasayana ( ).  Together they have led retreats to India and offered Ayurveda training courses at NYSY in Athens, and retreats in Mani at Zen Rocks.

Vivi is grateful for all these new and old friendships with great teachers and sincere practitioners. It is her joy to invite great minds and spirits to NYSY and Zen Rocks and to share their light, compassion, wisdom and love with the Greek and international community of seekers and practitioners. 

Through the path of Abhaya Yoga Vivi loves to uplift and empower people so they can embody their full potential. 

Her two favorite mottos:

If you are ready for positive change, your life will change positively.”

“Empowerment through Yoga. Experience it. Teach it.

For over 30 years, Vivi has followed her zen teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson ( ), in meditation retreats at the San Francisco Zen Center ( ), and marveled at the clarity and luminosity of his teachings.  Had she been a better zen student she would have been enlightened by now, but not wanting to miss the opportunity of studying with this rare master, she keeps staring at a blank white wall and trying to open her ears and heart to the Buddhist teachings on wisdom, compassion, and interbeing.  Reb, meanwhile, keeps giving away the secret to Enlightenment: “it is the way we help each other; the intricate way through which we are all inter-connected.”  Vivi’s gratitude also goes to her long time Zen comrade Bernd Bender( ), of Akazienzendo( ), in Berlin, who has invested so much in sharing his compassionate Zen practice with fellow meditators in Greece.   And to Koten Roshi from Saikenji Temple ( ), in Japan, who generously shares his Zen wisdom with the Greek community around the Athens Zen Center.  ( )

After years and years of meditation Vivi discovered in the powerful pithy teachings of her teacher, Sally Kempton, ( ), an immediate experiential path, a shortcut to enlightenment…

In Tantric philosophy “everything is a play of consciousness,” and to recognize that this auspicious power of divine awareness imbues every instance and particle of life is simply liberating. To study it through the ancient scriptures of Tantra the way that Sally illuminates their meaning is a rare gift; and to fully embody their meaning through the Tantric meditation techniques that Sally imparts with deep wisdom and eloquence is no less than miraculous. 


With great joy Vivi shares her understanding of this uplifting philosophy any chance she can.  

Vivi’s training in Pilates includes studies with the Physical Mind Institute, Ellie Herman Pilates, and BASI Pilates ( ), a system she has grown to love and teach with great enthusiasm. She teaches classes and privates, and incorporates BASI Pilates exercises in every yoga class. It is a great affirmation to see students grow healthy, aligned, and supported by a strong core.  Vivi believes that the key to good Pilates is good training.  Forming a strong partnership with Rael Isacowitz and BASI Pilates back in 2006, and establishing the first BASI base in Europe, Vivi and NYSY Academy have spearheaded BASI Pilates Teachers Courses with great diligence and the highest educational standards in Greece for over 15 years now.


Over 300 excellent BASI Pilates instructors have graduated from these programs and have gone on to establish solid Pilates careers locally and internationally.


It has been a joy for Vivi, to see the team of teachers & administration at NYSY & BASI growing harmoniously to support each other and the global Pilates community.


Vivi also spearheaded the annual Athens Pilates Symposium, a fun, experiential, and highly educational international Pilates conference, one of the first and most successful in Europe.


Looking into the future, Vivi and her team are embarking on a new effort:

Organizing the “New Era Pilates Summit” slated to open the curtains to a new Pilates vision in the spring 2021.

Join an Abhaya Yoga Teacher Training Program! 
Empowerment through Yoga: Experience it… Teach it. 


Double Room

Deluxe Triple Room with Sea View. This triple room features a balcony, dining area and minibar. Share a room with two of your friends or two other retreat guests.

Triple Room

Deluxe Triple Room with Sea View. This triple room features a balcony, dining area and minibar. Share a room with two of your friends or two other retreat guests.

Quadruple Room

Deluxe Quadruple Room with Sea View. This quadruple room features a balcony, dining area and minibar. Share a room with three of your friends or three other retreat guests.

Have a question?

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!

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.
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.

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

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:

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!

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!

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

Ειδικη Προσφορα για ελληνες

2 συμμετοχες με την τιμη του Ενος!

2 για 1

Μονο 2 δωματια διαθεσιμα!

Επικοινωνήστε μαζί μας στο:

Single Rooms are available at our sister location off-site.
We provide transportation.

Feel free to contact us for more information

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