My yoga holiday in Side, Turkey

I spent last week in what has become a very special place for me – Jo Ozden’s yoga retreat in Side, Turkey. It was my second time to stay at the leafy family pansiyon in the ancient seaside city, and definitely not my last. Next year I’m hoping to take one (or both!) of my sisters with me.

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The charming Ozden Pansiyon was built in 1969 and was run as a B&B for many years
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Head up the stairs to Jo’s yoga studio, and down to the right into the private courtyard
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The leafy courtyard with its bright bougainvillea is an oasis of calm
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A perfect space for whiling away the hot summer days

While there, you’re guided by yoga teacher Jo through 4 hours of yoga daily (apart from Wednesdays) – first thing in the morning and then again in the evening in the sage-scented studio. The days are free to do whatever takes your Turkish fancy – a dip in the Mediterranean, a private boat trip to Manatgav River, a Turkish bath and massage, or my favourite, absolutely nothing at all.

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The beach is a two-minute walk from the pansiyon
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Tucking into some yummy Turkish gozleme and ayran with the other guests
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Chilling at the back of our private boat on the icy-cold waters of Manatgav River
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On the boat’s roof as we head from the river into the sea

But what makes it really special, is Jo herself. She encourages you to be completely honest with yourself through your yoga practice, to build upon the good, and toss out the bad into your belly bonfire. And if this is all sounding a bit airy-fairy for your liking, I can assure you that after both retreats I’ve done with Jo, I’ve never felt so empowered, fearless and completely clear about what I do and don’t want from my life, and more importantly, what I need to do to achieve it. Nothing airy-fairy about that!

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Jo with the family’s much-loved sausage dog, Flo
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It’s always good to have little Flo around to brighten your day

And the healing nature of Jo’s classes extends to the physical – muscles lengthen and soften, tension in the shoulders and back disappears, your body feels as light as a feather. This in itself is a revelation – yes, you really can feel that good. 

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A delicious traditional Turkish breakfast is served in the courtyard daily

To get to Side from Bahrain is fairly simple – Bahrain to Istanbul and then a one-hour flight to Antalya with Turkish Airways. Yoga Holiday Turkey prices are very reasonable, starting from GBP465 per person not including transfers. For more information, head over to Yoga Holidays Turkey.

Much love, xx

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