Jiva Healing Retreats, Turkey
Purifying, brightening juice fasting and yoga retreats on the Turkish coast
Nature lovers looking to get in touch with their truest nature by clearing away the murk.
Anyone squeamish about intense detoxing and a few hungry nights in a simple, single bed.
If you’re feeling burnt out, bloated or lacking light, come for a complete cleanse and reset with Rebecca Andrist, wizard of nourishment in every sense, who runs seven day juice fasting and yoga retreats at the Yuva Retreat Centre on set dates each May and October to let the body rest, reset and heal. Set on the Turkish coast, Yuva is a nook of exceptional natural beauty, where tall pines and unimposing thatched bungalows sit alongside a hearty sea and dusky distant mountains. All retreats feature intelligent healthy eating classes and Rebecca’s intricate care and easily triggered laugh. Come to unpack weight and worries and usher in vitality.
The flickers of increasing bliss and presence as you wander down through the pines to the beach, knowing that, despite the sometime discomfort, you are doing something extremely good for yourself.
Brief moments of piercing despair at the lack of food around day three, a coated tongue from the detox, and the odd waft of wasps drawn to salty skin.
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Connie Allfrey reviewed this Jiva Healing detox retreat at Yuva retreat centre on the Turkish coast and through juice fasting, yoga, treatments and expert support from wizard of nourishment Rebecca Andrist returned to her light-hearted, light-footed best self after too long a separation.Have a peek Contact retreat
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The juice fasting and yoga retreats offer twice daily yoga, walks, massages, sea-swimming, a boat trip, a trip to the local town and hamman, a traditional Turkish facial with the family, daily healthy eating classes with Rebecca and enough space to waft around, just gawking at the beauty and the splendour, or rambling off for big beach explores.
Daily yoga starts at 8.30am in the yoga shala with Lys Wild, who is trained in Contact, Hatha and Yin yoga. The pace is quite gentle and explorative, to cater to those lacking energy from the fasting – a lesson might include sun or moon salutations, interspersed with some flowing Qi Gong sequencing to help tune into the infinite energy source around. A one hour restorative class in the evening at 5.30pm often takes place on the yoga platform for sunset views; with bolsters and props Lys’s deftly encourages weary detoxing bodies to unravel, by holding yin twists and extensions for up to five minutes. Be prepared to limber up and float out feeling virtuous.
You’ll have two daily juices, an evening soup and supplements, psyllium husks to keep the hunger at bay, and there are optional coffee enemas which you conduct yourself in the privacy of your own room with support and guidance beforehand. Most people found these easy to perform and found themselves relieving themselves of strange-shaped intestinal build-up, leaving them lighter and clearer. The detoxing is an activity in itself – observing the body releasing charges and toxins through various means, and giving it space to do that, feels a rare and curious privilege. Don’t forget your body brush and do try to move to shake things through, even if it’s just embracing the sharp steps to the upper shala.
The paths are cleverly dotted with yellow and red striped stones so you can find your way through the forest, or along the coast. You might want to head left and explore new beaches for three and half hours, or trek up into the hills and the forest, trying to avoid the temptation of fruit on the trees. The climbs can leave you out of puff with the lack of fuel, but the transcendental euphoria that accompanies the summit is worth the schlep.
Possibly the most delectable blue water you will find and pretty much jelly-fish free, this is the perfect place to stretch your sea-legs. There are several beaches to choose from, a cove to the left with a seated area at the top, or a beach to the right, where you can lie on the large flat rocks and might even see a turtle on your turn around the far buoy, coming back to fully enjoy the coastal view from your seaborne perspective.
The striking geology of the natural world here reminds you of what the world really looks like without man’s intervention. Wild and vibrant views seep into the soul, resetting the body to its parasympathetic state from the state of fight or flight busy lives and urban living instil.
Daily informative and sparky healthy eating classes with Rebecca Andrist cover a range of topics from the toxicity of our environment and cosmetics, to the best natural deodorant and good mushrooms to eat. Rebecca is a fountain of nutritional knowledge and drops elucidating bombs that you feel you should know, such as what causes a free radical, and how anti-oxidant plants and berries protect us, but everyone can also chime in with their own tips, such as using a bunch of herbs like a vegetable instead of a garnish. The breaking the fast class is particularly helpful in thinking about how to adjust back into normal life – chewing well, sitting upright, firing up the digestion with paper thin ginger soaked in lemon juice with a bit of salt, and crucially only eating until you are 80% full so the 20% space can help it tumble effectively like a nutri-bullet.
Deepa from Sri Lanka gives firm and thorough massages in a thatched treatment room by the sea, where you can listen to the waves, cocooned in the shroudy bliss of your mosquito net. Strong, creative and intuitive, she really gets in there, relieving any residual bumps and tension and assisting the detoxing process, while regaling you with fascinating Sri Lankan stories if you’re lucky. Deepa also offers reflexology, manual lymphatic drainage and Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture and cupping, providing a few needles in the ears over supper to assist with detox and sleep if you wish. Lys Wild gives Shiatsu massages up in a corner of the yoga shala, where she has set up a mattress and net, which feels magically aloft with the sound of distant prayer – her massages focus more on spine and hip realignment and working into the body’s auto-immune system with a lighter touch.
Yuva’s owner Attila’s neice and two elderly sisters create this special, local experience for a group of guests at a time. Your face is first steamed over a bucket filled with forest herbs, rosemary, sage and verbena, before you are asked to lie down while the ladies cake your face in a clay mask to dry, placing cucumber coins on your eyes. This is then washed it off with a hand and a bucket, before you are smothered and massaged with sesame oil by one of the ladies.The whole affair is deliciously transportive and relaxing, and your skin is finally revealed like a child’s.
If you’re craving some bustling Turkish colour and ambience, local Fethiye provides market delights (don’t miss the delectable dried grape and walnut pestil for savouring post fast) and a two hour Hamman experience – from which you will fly out newborn, having shed a few pounds of skin and tension. Choose a man if you want the best massage if you can handle feeling thoroughly pummelled while naked.
A speedboat trip to the local cool water caves when the sea is calm and inviting is not to be missed. Afterwards you will be willingly deserted on the aptly named Paradise Beach for three hours. This stunning spot is perfect for sunning, swimming and chatting in the water to escape the wasps’ curiosity – it’s amazing how much deeper you can relax when there’s no meal on your mind to get back to.
There are fourteen rooms in total – eight traditional Anatolian stone rooms, and six thatched sea bungalows. The stone rooms are much larger with two beds, a larger bathroom and air conditioning, which might prove useful in the mid Summer heat, but is not needed in cool October evenings. The sea bungalows are situated in a strip, just by the path down to the beach. They have a large wooden terrace with a sun lounger for crashing and thinking about croissants in, a genius clothing line just over the side of the balcony to dry things on, and a few potted plants. Inside is simple, but homely, with a single bed, colourful rugs on the floor, a table and chair. The thoughtful mosquito net on the bed and gauze on the windows and door are hole free and effective so you can swing windows wide without a worry. The bathrooms are compact but functional with a good shower that takes a minute to run hot, a basin, and a loo with a sprinkler system if you want to go without loo-paper the Turkish way!
There are a few chairs under parasols next to the yoga platform for when you’re feeling je ne sais quoi, or get flagged down by fatigue.
Be sure to save space if you want to buy some of the delectable local tahini, sesame oil and mulberries for nourishing mementos to smuggle back home. Long sleeved tops protect from chilly mornings as well as the minorly-mosquitod evening. Pack light and practical, with cashmere bed socks – you won’t wear your nice dresses and make-up.
When to Go
Jiva Healing retreats in Turkey take place in May and October, when the air is temperate and divine, and you can expect similarly perfect Summer days, cooling in the evening, though there will be more of a floral spring floor in May.
The raised restaurant looks like a perched scented candle when you’re travelling towards it through the dark starry night. Opening on one side to the ocean view, the far end leads into the panoramic kitchen, which is really the heart of the retreat centre with the family coming in and out, creating rainbow coloured food, or drying various things you’re not wholly sure you want to eat. The restaurant overlooks the yoga platform and sea, with wooden floors, long and round tables, handmade lights hanging down, Isis the family dog curled under a bench.
Sustenance is minimal for the first six days, consisting of two daily juices for lunch and breakfast – with a varied cocktail of vegetables like beetroot, carrot, courgette, cucumber, spinach, kale, parsley and mint, and only 20% fruit of apple or peach, which you can go without if you choose. The juices are served in the upper shala, and the evening soup is served in the restaurant, consisting of a fairly thin but flavoursome vegetable broth, dominated by cauliflower or courgette, and beefed up by an array of sumac, chilli, fresh garlic and dried oregano. Supplements include a daily B vitamin, colon cleansing herbal pills, and amino acids.
There are two tea stations in the upper shala and restaurant, where you can help yourself to barley grass and psyllium husks throughout the day to encourage clearing and to stave off hunger pangs. Little bowls of fresh herbs like verbena, mint, nettle and white sage (you will soon be obsessed with) are welcome bag replacements for the incessant tea drinking, with fresh lemon juice for the morning cleanse.
There is the opportunity to break the fast early, and enjoy local organic produce – delectable vegetables simply cooked but flavoursome, perhaps some beans or spinach with tomato, savoury rice stuffed peppers or vine leaves, meaty beetroots and courgettes, the odd fresh as morning egg, and everything smattered in the local dark tahini, and masticated slowly, sitting upright.
The retreat centre is family run, with cousins brought in from the cities to help. Everything is composted and organic, chickens roam freely (you might be lucky enough to have a fresh egg from them on the last cleanseday!) all the wild herbs are harvested from the forest, and the water heat is solar-powered.
Eco Yuva Faralya Hotels Faralya Koyu Mugla TURKEY
Transfer time: 1 hour 30 mins