Those of you considering a yoga retreat or yoga holiday abroad should definitely add the week-long “Inside/Out” retreats with Michelle Bartolo to your short-list.
Set on the beautiful, unspoiled island of Gozo just off the north coast of Malta, the week-long retreats include morning and evening yoga and plenty of free time during the day to chill out and recharge your batteries.
An ideal week to escape the daily grind and relax your mind!
Guests arrive on Saturdays and gather for a vegetarian welcome dinner in the evening. Having flown from the UK to Malta, we took pre-arranged taxi transfers and a short ferry ride over to Gozo to reach the tastefully restored island farmhouse that would be our home for the week. After meeting the ever-smiling Michelle and the four other retreat guests, we were able to take a swim in the private pool before watching the sun go down across the valley from the farmhouse terrace.
Each day began at 8am with an invigorating 90-minute yoga class, either on the private terrace or in the large sitting room (depending on the weather), followed by a nutritious breakfast and a healthy side-order of laughter as we chatted and shared experiences with each other.
With intentionally small groups and the relaxed, convivial atmosphere that Michelle encourages, breakfasts sometimes extended well past mid-morning!
Guests make their own arrangements for lunch and dinner. Sometimes we ate out, enjoying an evening stroll to nearby villages or going further afield on hired bikes that Michelle can arrange; other meals were taken at the farmhouse where there’s a fully equipped kitchen in which to prepare food purchased at the local store just a short walk away. Some guests hire a car, but taxis are a good alternative for heading into town.
Each evening at 5, Michelle taught a 60-minute restorative yoga class followed by 30 minutes of wonderful guided meditation.
With years of experience teaching across many countries, Michelle’s yoga is a blend of various styles with significant elements of vinyasa flow and kundalini. On our retreat, there were a couple of relative beginners and others who had been practicing yoga for some years. The teaching was intuitive and ensured that everyone enjoyed the class. A great deal of thought had obviously gone into planning the week’s sequences, as the level increased a little each day, allowing us to experience noticeable progress as our bodies responded to two daily classes and our minds quietened, away from the daily grind.
During the daily free time, massages and other treatments were arranged for those who wanted them, and Michelle took some of us on a couple of guided walks round this delightful island. Towards the end of the week, she was even able to arrange a fabulous half-day aboard a local boat so that we could snorkel and feed the fish in the crystal-clear Mediterranean.
The Gozo Inside/Out retreats run monthly from April to November.
Check out details, pricing and availability at michellebartoloyoga.com
And you can watch Michelle teach a short yoga sequence at the fabulous cliff-top setting where she takes a sunset class in this video.
I, for one, can’t wait to go back!
With love and wellbeing wishes,