There’s nothing more important in midlife than taking care of our well-being. It isn’t just about the physical body. It’s about rebalancing our emotions and feelings as well. That’s why spending a week on a yoga retreat in Dalyan was the best present I could give to myself to boost my confidence and recharge my batteries.
With its craggy mountains, ancient roman ruins and unique delta nature reserve, the pretty riverbank town of Dalyan (a 40-min taxi ride from Dalaman airport) is quite different from other resort towns on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and easy to fall in love with.
It has appeal for nature lovers and history buffs alike. It’s a peaceful place, tucked away in an environmentally protected area on Turkey’s southwest coast, where birds of prey soar above, swooping down to catch small mammals rustling among the reeds, and where you’re sure to catch a glimpse of the majestic loggerhead turtle gliding just beneath the surface of the tranquil waters.
People come here for its setting on the placid Dalyan Creek, for the dramatic Lycian tombs hewn into the rockfaces that dominate the town on the west bank of the river, for the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Caunos, and for the enchanting İztuzu Beach.
I came here in September joining a group of midlife bloomers on a yoga holiday to improve my practice, exploring the surroundings gently, but also repleting with inspiring walks and adventurous experiences.
What is the purpose of a yoga retreat?
Choosing to spend my holidays on a yoga retreat with like-minded people that I can share my thoughts, feelings, and intentions with has been always my favourite way to detox myself from distractions and negativity.
The idea of a yoga retreat is that you take a break from your daily routine and disconnect from the world for a few days. This allows you to have some time with yourself, reconnect with the innermost part of you and also motivate you to implement different practices in your life. You might start including meditation as part of your day or adopting healthier eating habits. Sometimes, all you need is a little push to change your habits.
But for me this time it was different. I also needed to find my mojo again.
Villa Cabrece (Spectrum Turkey), a restorative and transformative place 20-minute walk from Dalyan, was the answer to my quest and the best choice to deepen my knowledge and physical capabilities, leave the stresses of the world behind and refresh my mind and spirit. A resort to enjoy all year round.
My heart sings as I enter the familiar grounds that house the retreat. Beyond the threshold lies a space of calm reflection and healing. The brilliant blue of the pool and the cloudless sky are dazzling and the healing colours of the surrounding fruit trees and flowers envelope you. My nostrils quiver with the delicate scents of lavender and jasmine flowers.
Upon arrival, the friendly resident dogs and cats, plus the founder and creator of Spectrum, Joanne Sparrow are on hand to welcome you.
Joanne arrived in Dalyan searching for meaning following the loss of her daughter some twenty years ago. In spite of her grief, she has found a place to be at peace and also flourish in her midlife becoming an inspiring role model for everyone.
Spectrum is a truly magical resort with over 30 types of trees growing on the 6,300 m2 of land where vegetables and fruits you’ll enjoy during your stay are picked and prepared by local women who are passionate about serving traditional Turkish dishes.
Spending the day lounging by the pool and exploring the grounds, picking a lemon, orange or pomegranate from the trees quickly became my favourite routine and it didn’t take too long for me to get comfortable as well as improve my daily meditation and practice.
Getting used to waking up early in the morning for the sun salutations in the colourful yoga shala soon started to become a familiar and empowering routine. Watching the rising sun behind the mountains while the local call to prayer was echoing around the valley was truly inspiring. What better way to welcome each new day?
I’ve found evening yoga sessions very inspiring and restorative, too. Restful postures and long, passive stretches allowed my body to experience deep relaxation, helping me to slow down and enjoy the power of stillness. Whilst sitting in a circle, we were then all invited to share our thoughts and practise mindful meditation.
Of course, there were many other offerings on hand to tempt me. Massage and all sorts of therapies can be enjoyed on-site as well as manicures, pedicures, reflexology, reiki, and emotional healing techniques. And you can also engage in plenty of activities. Not only yoga and meditation but also therapy painting and tapestry weaving, a textile art and relaxing activity, almost therapeutic, that helps improve our hand-eye coordination.
Dalyan and surroundings
A yoga retreat at Spectrum includes the chance of exploring the beautiful surroundings, too. When you feel to go off the beaten path, all you have to do is take a stroll into town and have a chat with the many boat owners who can tailor a trip to your needs and budget.
I’d recommend booking a trip across to Lake Köyceğiz, stopping off to visit the Sultaniye thermal mud baths where you are invited to slather yourself in its healing sulphuric mud. Here, you can let the mud harden on your skin in the warm sunshine and then, once rinsed it off, feel your skin smoother, firmer and some say, younger!
The evening boat trips are also highly recommended as it’s hard to describe the beauty of the night sky whilst gliding back to town through the delta at night. Be prepared to be dazzled by the night sky as well as the daytime views and expect to relax and return home refreshed and revitalised as much as I did. Dalyan, see you next year.