Yogis who venture to Crete will find solace in the serene tranquillity of Kommos Beach, situated on the southwestern coast of the island, close to the village of Pitsidia and a mere five kilometres north of the fabled hippie haven of Matala.
Stretching along the longest expanse of Messara Bay, Kommos Beach gazes upon the Libyan Sea, adorned with azure and cobalt blue hues, frosted by billowing clouds of white that caress its fine sands. As daylight wanes, the sunsets cast an enchanting spectacle, as the sea mirrors the fiery ambers of the skies, while the silhouettes of the Paximadia islets inscribe tales of legend upon the distant horizon.
The mornings bestow a sense of tranquillity, brimming with an air of wonder. Echoes of ancient times resonate from the nearby Minoan ruins; though access to the site is restricted, the remnants are visible from the beach, their transcendental allure palpable to those receptive to such energies.
This bewitching ambience fosters an environment of peace and relaxation. It is not uncommon to witness individuals partaking in meditative practices or yogis embracing the dawn, gracefully stretching against the backdrop of the Libyan Sea as the heavens tenderly embrace the undulating waves.
A tapestry woven from history and mythology envelops the mystical essence of the beach, an experience not to be hurried. As your gaze fixates upon the sea, allow your eyes to rest upon the rock known locally as Volakas and endeavour to envisage the blinded Cyclops Polyphemus hurling it at Odysseus’s vessel in a bid to thwart his escape from the island.
This ethereal allure of the beach attracts yogis, particularly for its mystical ambience, as well as its seclusion and panoramic vistas.
Once a prime destination for naturists, particularly when Matala was the focal point for hippies in Crete, Kommos Beach still retains its appeal to naturists in the northern section known as Potamos. The southern area, however, is family-friendly, offering ample space for relaxation without the encumbrance of crowds. While sunbeds and umbrellas are available for hire by the taverna, the beach remains largely unstructured.
- Refresh & Revitalise: There is an undeniable allure in practising yoga on the warm sand against the serene backdrop of the sea. Harmonise your sun salutations with the ebb and flow of the waves and synchronise your breath with each gentle crest settling onto the shore. Imbibing the essence of nature provides an instantaneous rejuvenation for the body, promising a renewed vigour throughout your practice and the remainder of the day.
- Salt Therapy: Seawater is replete with minerals that naturally nourish the skin, and exposure to salt-tinged seaside air exerts a calming influence on the human body, aiding in reducing stress and anxiety. Inhaling sea breezes benefits the respiratory system, with allergies being a non-issue by the beach. Engaging in pranayama purifies the lungs, replacing stale air with revitalising salt-laden air.
- Vitamin D: 10-15 minutes in the sun by the beach are enough to augment the brain’s serotonin production. Excessive sun exposure is, of course, ill-advised, but basking in sunshine during a vacation is genuinely beneficial. In addition to heightened vitamin D production, yoga on the beach and sunlight exposure also trigger improved moods and heightened energy levels, supporting bone health, blood cells, and the immune system.
- Burn Extra Calories: After morning yoga, you can do stand-up paddleboarding, take a dip in the sea, or go for a long walk on the beach. Meandering through the village is an excellent means to embrace the local culture and keep the body in motion. In the vicinity of Pitsidia, one should not overlook the opportunity to explore the archaeological marvels of the region, including the Palace of Phaistos, the ancient Minoan villa nestled in Trinity village, the enriching Ethnological Museum in Voroi, and the ruins of ancient Gortyn.
It is imperative to proceed cautiously, as Kommos Beach is a protected nesting ground for the loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). The nesting season spans from May to September, during which clearly demarcated nests adorn the beach. It is essential to resist the temptation to ‘assist’ the hatchlings on their journey to the sea, as they are self-sufficient. Human intervention is strongly discouraged, with only the Archelon Sea Turtle Protection Society authorised to attend to these endearing marine reptiles. However, visitors are welcome to observe the turtles without causing disruption.