I just wanted to say a huge heart felt ‘Thank You’ for such an amazing, powerful, transformational week xxx
I entered the competition and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the post to say I had won.
It took some time for me to embrace the fact that after a pretty rough two years this was a gift.. a real blessing and I had to just say Yes and let the rest follow.
My daughter was instrumental in helping me realise that I give give give and rarely take time for myself.
Fast tracking forward I returned yesterday from my week with Jo and as I write I am emotional because I absolutely enjoyed every single minute of my Yoga practice. Jo is an amazing teacher, all my worries about being inflexible, overweight, inexperienced just were non existent. You are a unique individual in her eyes. We are all at different levels and the pace and format just offered an environment that was holistic, nurturing, encouraging and healing of your mind, body and soul.
I made some amazing friends – Kay, Judith, Helen and Andrea I really miss you guys. You have made this journey even more powerful from your friendship and your own life experiences and journeys.
I loved the me time, the boarip on the Magnavgat River, the weather, the beach, the food, the friendliness of the Turkish people in Side.
A total of 16 hours Yoga and my Hopi Ear Candle treatment, head, shoulder and face massage left me in total bliss on my last day.
Thank you Jo and family for your hospitality x I will be back.
“I have Just returned from a fantastic couple of weeks at Yoga holidays Turkey. I went there feeling pretty low because I have knee problems and was concerned about doing the yoga. However with Jo’s guidance I not only managed to do lots of yoga postures I also had a chance to look at myself emotionally and spiritually. Along with good food, beautiful surroundings and wonderful people I have returned home with a new zest for life. Thank you Jo and family I will be back” xxx
I was recommended Yoga Holidays Turkey by a friend who knows Jo.
It was the best holiday recommendation I have ever had.
I came back a week ago after the most amazing week. Entirely relaxed with this inner confidence that has been lacking for too long.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jo’s style of flowing yoga and her grounded approach to both her yoga and meditative teaching.
I was apprehensive about travelling there solo but to be honest that all disappeared as soon as I touched down. My week flew past but I have come back home feeling like i’ve been away for 3 weeks in the best way possible.
From class based yoga, exploring beautiful Side, boat trips and the incredible sunny weather both in Jo and her families attitude and the incredible blue skies and sea air I think this holiday has met with all of my expectations if not more.
Thank you Jo, Murat and family and you have a return visitor in me (again, again and again)
Caroline xx – BristolI came to Jo when I was burnt out from work and family. As a novice hadn’t thought about the yoga aspect, just that I needed a break. What I found was a beautiful retreat, nourishing
yoga and amazing breakfasts . I loved it so much I’m already planning my next visit ❤️ Thank you Jo – Rebecca – Beautician, Bristol
Hi Jo, Thank you again for your love, support & hospitality throughout our time with you.
I’ve completed a few rounds of my shoulder loosening poses already ? Last night I had my third yoga lesson since leaving you and my teacher said my shoulders are opening up amazingly ????. At some point I will let him know I cheated on him with another teacher. I’ve being doing your lessons at home & the trunk of junk will be gone! Love you loads Rita X – Manchester
Well, I really can’t praise this week’s yoga holiday enough. Jo is warm, welcoming, fun, down to earth, and most importantly, really knows and loves her yoga.
Having the luxury of time, Jo was able to start slowly and gently, before easing into a more flow or challenging poses. We nicknamed Jo’s yoga “stealth yoga” as she’d sneak us up into an active asana sequence without us noticing how we’d got there, or we’d suddenly find ourselves attempting a quite challenging pose before she brought it back down into deep breath work and relaxation.
Morning sessions were breath-centred and flowed, while the evening practice centred on the breath, stretching, opening and deep relaxation of body and mind. Jo’s beautifully flowing yoga is all about kindness – realising our true potential and strength by being kind to our bodies, to ourselves, and to the world around us.
On top of all the wonderful yoga were the surroundings, the accommodation is a quiet little oasis in a busy (this week being a national bank holiday week for Eid) but laid back holiday town with great beaches and beautiful historic ruins all around. Breakfasts were fantastic, a huge aray of delicious, healthy foods, and the dinners provided by Jo’s mother in law were delightful (and yes, wine is allowed!).
There are plenty of great places to eat and drink in Side, and lots of other activities if you fancy more than yoga and beach. I’d particularly recommend a hammam (ideally two – at the start and the end of the week) and the beautiful river boat trip we took on our midweek day off.
Some of our group had returned time and time again, which I think really says it all – I hope to be one of them too!
Sophy. – Bristol
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.
Please click here to read the full review
Praise for Yoga Holidays Turkey.
Back home nearly a week and I still feel nourished remembering the week I spent in you’re lovely peaceful place.
It was my second visit and coming back felt like coming home. I enjoy your yoga lessons very much and I like your holistic approach and it wasn’t long before I felt I was coming back to me, myself.
Jo, you are a charismatic yoga teacher and I could feel that you are living what you are teaching. After my holiday and time out, I am much more aware of how important it is, in busy daily life to lean back, take a deep breath and reconnect with myself and feel the present moment. The private lesson helped as well, finding my way to the “mat“ in life frequently.
This time at Yoga Holidays Turkey, was a different experience from last year, as we were a smaller group and I came with a friend.
I felt very welcome and you have a very friendly and open family. The homemade welcome and farewell dinners were so delicious and spending time with you and your family gave me insight into a different way of living.
So looking forward coming back soon.
Namaste and lots of love Sonja. Switzerland
What can I say …Yoga Holiday Turkey is sanctuary amongst the vibrant historic town of Side Turkey.
Jo is a skilled and knowledgeable yoga guide. She has a knack to know just how her guests are feeling at any given moment or posture – from constipation to tightness in shoulders. (She was ALWAYS right!).
Her knowledge is deep and subtle, spiritual and real. But really it’s how she makes you feel, and how down to earth and authentic she is. You can tell by her spirit, and the shine in her eyes as well as her wicked laugh – she really is living her dharma and willingly shares it with all who stay with her and her family – ( who are fab as well!)
My week was too short, but she had me waving and flowing by the end as she said I would be. It was SO good – I bought her book and started my home practice on Tuesday after I returned to London and I’m looking forward to returning to the Side sanctuary next year for some more ignition of magic!
Lynsey – London
I honestly think that the breaks I have had with you this year have saved my life; kept me sane and physically healthy. I noticed a huge difference in my flexibility yesterday, when I went through the one to one programme that you made for me. I think the two weeks spent with you has really improved my stamina, confidence and flexibility.
I always arrive at yours so stressed and close to burn out and it takes me a while to relax and listen to my body and mind. I think my last stay with you I had a couple of light bulb moments. One that I have this internal voice telling me I am rubbish, and how inhibiting this has been for me in lots of areas. Its so obvious I can’t work out why I never recognised it earlier! Also in order to survive I think I close off and put stuff in compartments in my head and that is why it takes my so longer to relax.
I really am beginning to see possibilities for another life a less stressful more joyful life and I have you and your yoga to thank for opening my mind to that. My plan for today is go through the lovely programme you designed me here in the living room with the most amazing view over fields to mountains in the distance then have a long luxurious bath.
love to the family,
Chris xxx Scotland
Warm , friendly atmosphere and a slice of utopia – from the moment that I stepped off the plane from my chaotic hectic stressed up world I was made to feel welcome. the venue is a tiny piece of Utopia with a courtyard full of trees decorated with hearts and ribbons – where I was greeted with warmth and smiles- tea hot drinks and wonderful breakfast were served – I loved the morning and evening practice and felt Jo was able to work with all levels and guide the people to stretch themselves – I have dyspraxia and so often find instructions hard to comprehend but ok showed patience and humour and had enabled me to start to think more about listening to my body and it’d needs and look at giving myself more time to relax – I have been using the breathing Exercises since and I can honestly say that this is changing my life – Jo and Murat and family put so much effort into making sure that the guest are happy even when a storm hit the venue they went out of their way to make sure guests were feed n watered. – A wonderful enriching experience – I will come again and recommend it to a friend
Dear Jo ,
Wow I had the most amazing time. Most of all, my time in your retreat helped me reconnect with all of my body thank you so much I will definitely be back next year.
Peggy – London
So after much deliberation and nervousness and a lot of encouragement from Jo I bit the bullet, got on a plane and headed for the sunshine of Turkey for a week of yoga. Once I landed Jo was waiting for me, as soon as I saw her smiling face, I knew I was going to be ok, I felt safe and relaxed instantly.
I was worried that my beginner level of yoga and lack of flexibility would mean that I would be left behind which has happened so many times before with other yoga classes and has knocked my confidence. This was not the case. Jo’s approach to teaching is fantastic. She is intuitive, understanding, caring and encouraging and this is evident in her ability to teach from beginner to intermediate/advanced levels all in one class, and to actually somehow manage to personalise her guidance to each individual in the room.
I loved the laid back non pretentious approach to the classes, it felt so good to start and end my day with yoga and the fact that I still had the whole day to explore the delights of what Side had to offer. I loved strolling down to the beach which was a stones throw away and being able to lay there soaking up the sun and listening to the gentle sound of the ocean waves lapping the shore. On the days when I wasn’t at the the beach it was lovely to just stroll around the old town and enjoy the sights.
Jo’s Pansyion is an oasis of calm and tranquility, I felt safe and totally at home with Jo and her gorgeous family. It was so good to just be able to laze around on the bean bags in the little snug area and just listen to the russle of the leaves on the pomegranate trees shading me from sun above. My room was clean, comfortable, spacious, peaceful and everything I needed for my week away.
The traditional welcome and farewell meals were delicious as was the feast of a breakfast that was ready and waiting for us all after the morning yoga session.
I left Jo’s little haven feeling stronger, more toned, relaxed, rejuvenated, calm, motivated and craving more yoga.
Jo………Your an amazing person, thank you for a wonderful week of guidance.
My only regret………. not visiting sooner! I can’t wait for my next visit.
Posh x – Bristol
THE END! 🙂
Thank you for a wonderful holiday and for giving me a very memorable 30th Birthday. This was my first yoga holiday and first holiday away by myself so I was quite apprehensive about it, but the second I met you at the airport you made me feel so at ease, it was like visiting a friend. I felt in heaven when I stepped into your home, your family and other guests were so welcoming and the space you have created there is just perfect, so relaxing and peaceful.
I really enjoyed seeing all the sights of Side, I felt very safe wandering around by myself and just couldn’t help feel so relaxed as it is such a beautiful place. I really enjoyed the yoga too and want to keep it up as after doing it for a week I really started to feel the benefits for my mind and body, I think that you have got the balance of the yoga and free time just right, it was nice to have the yoga to structure the day but also great to have some free time too.
This isn’t the last that you will see of me, I have to come back and find that waterfall 😉
Once again thank you for a great week, if anyone is looking for a yoga holiday I shall definitely be sending them in your direction.
Georgia x –
“I had a wonderful wonderful break with you in beautiful Side, because of the yoga every day, the wonderful food, the nurturing environment you provide and swimming every day in the sea, a month on I am still reaping the benefits!
The breathing that you teach has helped me sleep better and to manage stressful situations. Realising that it is only me that can help me and only me that can change and make things better. It is hard, but what you give in your teaching is not just yoga, its a philosophy a whole life approach and you have helped make my journey so joyful!
The environment of your lush, verdant courtyard canopied with bright bougainvillea and pomegranate provides a beautiful space and quiet retreat from the heat. The short walk down to the beach and the warm azure sea, nothing nicer than going for a swim before or after yoga in the morning or evening! That is just a some of the reasons that I will be coming back to recover and regenerate for the third time in September this year.
– Chris xx Scotland
Just wanted to say a very big thank you for the past two weeks I have spent with you in Side. It is my third trip to you and it just gets better and better. I definitely benefitted from having two weeks as it gave my body and mind time to soften and truly relax.
I would stay for months if I hadn’t got to go to work but will most definitely be back as soon as I can. I met some wonderful people and it was lovely to see again Murat, Kuzey, Kaya, and Chance the cat.
You have given me the inspiration to have a regular home practice and I am even partaking in meditation which is great for me!
I feel privileged to have found you Jo and I hope to spend many more happy days with you in Side and anywhere else you pop up around the planet!
– Much love Wendy x – London
“This yoga retreat came at an important time for me, marking the transition from leaving full time work to starting university as a mature student training to become a nurse, and a few months after losing my Nan to cancer, so subconsciously I had high expectations. It is with great pleasure that I am able to say that it did not disappoint in the slightest!
Jo and her family welcome you to their pansiyon, their home, in a warm and relaxed way that gives you a feeling of visiting old friends mores than staying in a holiday resort or a yoga school with any kind of rigidly imposed rules. The accommodation was perfect for my needs; clean and comfortable and spacious and set around the idyllic garden courtyard in which we ate meals, or practiced yoga under the fruit trees, or sat reading my book on comfy cushions in a shaded corner. This space magically transported me away from the pretty streets of the old town outside and allowed for complete tranquility.
The town of Side is a lovely with plenty to do between the morning and evening yoga practices. I enjoyed time browsing the shops with their clothes and trinkets and sweets, exploring the extensive ancient ruins, trekking along the beaches, even parasailing in the bay with one of the other guests. My favourite afternoon activity was to sit at one of the myriad coastal restaurants and cafes, at the top of the small cliff, with the waves lapping at the beach below, drinking a turkish coffee and reading my book. There are so many places to eat or have a drink and all with stunning views of the sea.
Crucial to the trip for me was always going to be the yoga. I am relatively new to yoga, but am quite dedicated and passionate about it, doing my own practice at least 5 times a week, whether in a class setting or at home. Having not been to a retreat before I had half prepared myself for the possibility of the physical asana practice not being to my tastes, or not challenging me enough. Well this was far from the case; the practice we undertook was different to my usual styles but this only meant for a more enriched experience of it. Morning practice was more vinyasa based, with sequences that energised and opened up the body.
Personalised tuition within the class meant that I was able to get the challenge I craved, whilst everyone in the class was able to remain included and supported. Having plenty of time for this practice meant that Jo could really take time to guide us through all of our joints and really awaken them gently and properly, without the ‘jolting’ stretch you can sometimes feel back home during an hour long class.
Evening practice was more Yin based; slow and restorative and working deeply into the fascia and the core to explore the space that the mind can uncover within the body when guided by expert instructions and focused breathing. This evening session perfectly rounded off each day and set me up for a blissfully calm evening. The spiritual connection that Jo nurtures within each attendee of her practice is also important to mention – it is not a case of turning up and having your workout, but an exercise in opening the mind and expanding the imagination, using your own body as a tool to this end. The quality of yoga on this retreat is really excellent, trust me!
So delivered everything I could have hoped for, and sent me back to the UK feeling revived, and enlightened, and strengthened, and ready to take on the next challenge.
I will most definitely return just as soon as I can.
Thank you Jo for your teachings and to your whole family for their welcome and hospitality.”
Scott. – Birmingham
I have recently returned from a two-week stay at Yoga Holiday Turkey to help balance my life while going through a major transitional period in my life in which I left the comfort of my well-paid career to take up my dream of self-employment.
As a yoga instructor Jo is skilled and knowledgable and able to guide any level of yogis in their practice. Her yoga stands out from that of others because her passion and soul for all that yoga is can be felt in each practice, which helps transform the
minds, souls and bodies of those open for it.
I took the opportunity for a one-on-one session with Jo. Using a combination of personal development coaching and mentoring (due to my particular needs), Jo designed a tailor-made programme for my self-practice at home to help me maintain and build on the work that I had done with the group. She was able to adapt her style to my personailty and challenge me to practice mindfulness off the mat as well as on it.
Jo, with her passion for yoga and love to empower those who practice with her, helped guide me to let go and find my balance to allow myself to transform my life to become the person I want to be.
I look forward to returning next year to join Jo, her beautiful family, and another group of inspiring individuals to take a moment away from the yang of life and find their place of yin.
Julie – USA
Hi Jo & Family,
I write to say a massive thank you for a wonderful week of yoga, I learned so much and enjoyed every class. I’ve implemented a lot of what I did last week into my daily practice and it is definitely beneficial. I loved your way you taught, I loved the ease in which you went into the postures but also the strength and grace.
I’d like to thank you for your welcome your hospitality the beautiful venue the wonderful wholesome food and for creating something very special. You have the most beautiful family and to been around that energy was just so lovely & very healthy, your children are such a credit to you, pure souls.
I’ve recommended you to so many family members, friends and people who have mentioned how wonderful, refreshed and good I’m looking so hopefully this will transpire in people coming and experience the wonderful yoga space that you’ve created.
Thank you once again.
Lots of love & keep being the amazing inspirational woman that you are Jo.
Love & respect
– Ceri x x x Bristol
“My second visit to Side and what a special place it is. Practicing yoga in the Shala was peaceful with vibrant colours from the garden, full of laughter and always warm and welcoming.
Jo is an amazing teacher as she instinctively assesses what each person needs in their practice and she has many pearls of wisdom that she shares with the class. I felt totally relaxed and rejuvenated and feel that I progressed in my yoga both in mind and body. I know it will become an annual pilgrimage!”
– Kathryn xx – Manchester
Warm , friendly atmosphere and a slice of utopia – from the moment that I stepped off the plane from my chaotic hectic stressed up world I was made to feel welcome.The venue is a tiny piece of Utopia with a courtyard full of trees decorated with hearts and ribbons – where I was greeted with warmth and smiles – tea hot drinks and wonderful breakfast were served.
I loved the morning and evening practice and felt Jo was able to work with all levels and guide the people to stretch themselves.
I have dyspraxia and so often find instructions hard to comprehend but Jo showed patience and humour and had enabled me to start to think more about listening to my body and it’d needs and look at giving myself more time to relax.
I have been using the breathing Exercises since and I can honestly say that this is changing my life. Jo and Murat and family put so much effort into making sure that the guest are happy even when a storm hit the venue they went out of their way to make sure guests were feed n watered. – A wonderful enriching experience.
I will come again and recommend it to a friend.
Sally Wyatt – London
Well where do I start….what a fantastic holiday. Everything under one amazing roof of love, passion and serenity!! Side is just fantastic an animal lovers heaven!!! The food is out of this world.
I came a ball of confusion and scared out of skin for travelling and holidaying alone….something of which I’d never experienced!! Having broken my ankle nine weeks previous, a current split from a boyfriend and an over protective mother I was desperate for some time out.
What a perfect sanctuary I’d found just typing words into Google…you Jo and your wonderful family are an inspiration alone. Truly wonderful people.
Having broken my ankle I was unable to fully get into Trikonasana, well any of the triangle asanas comfortably and for the very first time in 9 weeks I did it with comfort, ease and grace.
I lifted into crow higher and stronger than ever before using my breath to connect with my bandhas.
The breath….the most valuable thing I have taken away is connecting with my breath….deep, long, cleansing breaths…you helped me so much Jo….more than you will ever know.
By the end of the week I was flowing into asanas by the power of my breath, mind and body a complete connection of all senses. I meditated at the end of class which for me was an absolute first, my ankle strengthened and my over active mind took a well deserved rest.
They say laughter is the best medicine….well that medicine was flowing along with the yoga…made some fantastic friends, LOL’d a lot…opened my heart a lot….chewed the fat a lot….all in all it was one of the best weeks of my life.
My practice deepened and my confidence strengthened.
What a week!!!
I miss you guys XXXX
Lucy Moore – Manchester
Hello dear Jo
Sorry it has taken so long to reply… now back in the suit 😉 and have been completely swamped by work since we returned home.. it’s going well but thank goodness I had such a good holiday! It was a pleasure to meet you and your family and to enjoy what you have set up. Quite something!
We often talk of it and how much we enjoyed ourselves at your lovely seaside retreat… and also the yoga… yes, the warrior mats have arrived, and have been put to use already too… I’ve been following the routine you gave me… several times, actually, either after going to the gym or in the morning when I couldn’t get to the gym. I’ve found it very good…
Feedback on the holiday? What can we say? We think you have a great set up and handle your guests very well, given that there’s a fairly wide range of them. I certainly found that there was space for a complete beginner to join your sessions even alongside those who are quite experienced already. The two sessions a day worked well, particularly as you build up through the week. The best session of the week for me was undoubtedly the extra session you and I had together, however. That was very good and what has encouraged me to continue.
Otherwise: the room was simple and comfortable, everything we needed; the house is lovely and the communal areas work very well for people to gather. We liked the way that you have introductory and farewell dinners for everyone too. Oh – and the yoga room you have made is super.
All told – as a complete beginner, I was very happy to be introduced to it by you. I didn’t really know what to expect, so tried to keep an open mind, but I can say that I was very pleasantly surprised by how good the week was…
For myself Julia, I can say, it really was a special thing to meet you, I am very grateful for hearing some of your life story and for meeting you in your reality. Also to meet your family.
Take care and keep in touch…
A & Yulia.
Andrew & Julia – London
WOW! What an amazing week we’ve just had with Jo in Side. Completely exceeded our expectations. 1st yoga holiday, 1st yoga holiday as a couple and 1st time to turkey. Jo made us so welcome and so at ease. Welcoming us into her home and her gorgeous family life. A lovely insight into life in this village. Nothing was too much bother. Her yoga caters for everyone, can be as dynamic or as relaxing as you all want it to be. She reads the mood and the ability so well. Her lovely positive, upbeat, caring nature leaves you feeling completely safe and chilled and totally relaxed. A proper holiday away from it all! Big thanks Jo x
Nicky & Gary Hilton – London
The week I spent at your place was so good for me. After so much stress I had in my job it was just perfect to stay there having time just for me, calming my mind, being alone and being together with all you guys. Thanks for beautiful time! Russia, Tajikistan
Had the most fantastic time. Arrived a very rusty, cranky and stiff beginner and left more relaxed and happier than I’ve felt in years. Jo is the most intuitive and supportive teacher and without her I would not have progressed as much as I did. The accommodation is comfortable, bright and a very relaxing place to be, the food is makes you feel healthy on the inside as well the outised.
I would recommend this holiday to anyone wanting to get some headspace and impove their physical and mental health.
I don’t think words can do justice to what you do.
Chris Brodie – Scotland
I would like to start by saying that I highly recommend Yoga Holidays Turkey. As a yoga teacher, I was hoping that I would still advance my practice throughout the week. It was also very important to me that my ‘non-yoga’ partner felt comfortable and included in the group.
Unsurprisingly, based on the feedback I read beforehand, we both felt very welcome and my other half didn’t get bored at all. We spent most days on the beach, taking in the beautiful surroundings and enjoying delicious Turkish food!
Yoga-wise I really benefited from this week as I’ve become more comfortable with incorporating softness in my practice. Jo is emotionally available and her teaching approach is grounding. If I had to describe the style of yoga she teaches, I would call it ‘Jo-ananda’, ananda meaning bliss in Sanskrit, because that’s what Jo offers…
Thank you Jo for a beautiful experience!
Fadela Hilalette – London
I do hope that this email reaches you and your family in good health.
I really enjoyed the yoga retreat as it allowed me to work within my physical constraints that I had at the time.
Jo, you gave instructions to suit all levels of abilities and everyone left each class feeling that they had worked to the maximum and taken on board all the challenges with success. Your down-to- earth approach with the class allowed people to take time out to think about their yoga, re-assess themselves, actions and life in general.
You have opened up your beautiful family home to share your passion for yoga and it was an honour to be a part of you’re lovely family for the week.
I did yoga with a great group of people from all walks of life and the dynamism, socialisation linked with other activities made it a pleasurable week.
A leisurely afternoon stroll brought me to the realisation that I had exchanged the frenzy of my daily life for stillness. The self imposed stress and unnecessary worrying had naturally fallen away. It had kind of taken me by surprise as a few days before I had arrived in Turkey with sleep problems and a busy mind that refused to let go. But it did let go, under the gentle flow of Jo, my yoga teacher’s guidance.
The iron will of my mind did not even try to resist; as there was nothing to resist. I was not forced into any unwieldy positions. I didn’t find myself willing the practice to finish due to my low boredom threshold. And I most certainly did not run screaming from the room at the mere suggestion of meditation.
All previous attempts at meditation involved me unsuccessfully trying to force my mind to empty, but there was no force, there was really no effort involved, it was a natural outcome of the calmness that was present. It simply crept into my yoga practice and pulled me in.
In this small retreat where everything flows, you don’t separate body and mind, it all connects together beautifully and I found myself forgetting all that baggage I arrived with. For a few days I stopped being busy and stopped trying to squeeze more into the day than the hours would allow. The passage of time went unnoticed and my mind drifted to a place of peace and even sleep.
Jo’s guided meditation induced sleep at the close of my yoga practice on more than one occasion and in addition I slept my deepest sleep in over a year. I allowed myself to shut down, not opening my lap top to work, or studying the coaching manuals I had brought with me, or even considering the multitude of other tasks in my mental to do list. I achieved what I thought I was incapable of achieving. I stopped the chatter of my mind and without any effort at all just let it be.
I became totally lost in my surroundings. The peace that descended brought awareness to my day. My feet soulfully connected with the cobblestones beneath them. The layer of dampness covering my skin simply reminded me of my presence. The whisper of the ocean brought me to stillness.
There was no mind talk, it had ceased, there was me, the sea and nothing in between. A sense of freedom and a carefree spirit returned. My worries floated away with the tide as I found a rare moment of peace.
I am grateful for this moment. I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the here and now. I am grateful for the hospitality of Jo and her family. I am simply grateful.
Karen Lendon – Portsmouth
Hamilton coaching service
Spent my first holiday in 3 years at this beautiful place. Was a holiday for mind, body and soul. Cannot recommend this place enough – so much so I am already planning a return trip in October. Jo and her family really do welcome you with open arms and hearts. The yoga is amazing, the food is superb. The beach is on the doorstep. I love this place xx
Thanks Jo for a great week, I really enjoyed it and I’m feeling very relaxed as a result of it. I’ll definitely be coming back.
Another fantastic 2 weeks of yoga goodness at yoga-holidays-turkey in Side. This is my third visit in 3 years. Each time has been amazing. Jo is such a relaxed and inspirational teacher. You can literally go with the flow(jo)! and totally to your own limit. Jo always gives lots of options and her savasana and yoga nidra are just sooooo relaxing! Together with meeting like-minded yogis, sharing stories and lots of laughter, it is the perfect way to spend a holiday. Jo always has a fab team working with her – Lynda and Zainab – and spending time with her lovely family – Murat, Kuzey and Kaya – is always a pleasure. I will be back!
Hi Jo, Just wanted to thank you for a wonderful week of yoga last week. Your teaching style is so warm and inclusive, and I really felt able to settle into my practice by the end of the stay. I also couldn’t have hoped to meet lovelier people, and honestly didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did. I’d love to come back – but in the meantime, will look forward to seeing your new videos online. Love Emma x
Wow! What a wonderful week – amazing & inspiring yoga teacher as well as life coach – met some wonderful fellow students … Feel Nurtured. Inspired, relaxed and so so happy. Love Side … I WILL BE BACK! -:) Jo Ozden you are very special and have created such a welcoming environment. Sheena X
Thank you so much Jo for embracing complete strangers into your practice (and home); your encouragement to every single person with warmth, kindness and opportunity to challenge ourselves. It was really inspiring to hear your journey and humbling to share the flow of your incredible manner of teaching which comes from the heart and soul. I’ve left with some many positive thoughts, time to reflect on me and continue to take in every moment with lots of beautiful new like minded friends (plus great recommendations for books). Much love xxxx
Hi Jo and Murat, thank you immensely for a truly wonderful week of total unadulterated mindfulness and chillaxin’ – Jo – you are a legend, mentor, wise owl and fabulous. Love and warmth and good thoughts Sheena Xx
Stratford Upon Avon
This was the best holiday for years, everything exceeded my Highest expectations. Jo is a very special lady with a huge heart. Her family are wonderful, her beautiful children are a credit to Jo and her husband. Jo offers the best in yoga practice and welcomes her guests into the family home, providing guidance, fantastic food and love. Thank you Jo and family, I will be back as soon as I can.
Hi lovely yogis! home safe and sound 🙂 Jo thank you to you and your beautiful family for a lovely, lovely break! I had an amazing time and I am blessed to have been able to share your practice. You have given me a lot to think about over such a short period of time, of what sort of teacher I want to be and what yoga really is for me. Thank you a million times over. Thank you for sharing so much! Enjoy your break in August. Hope to see you all again soon. Namaste.
I have just completed my forth yoga session on my yoga holiday. This is yoga of a different calibre. It is not what I expected and at first I wasn’t fully convinced, however, I am fully feeling the benefits of a mind and body experience that is quite literally transformational. I will be challenged to find something like this in UK, or Egypt, but I aim to try.
Thank you again so much for the wonderful week of yoga and rejuvenation in Side. I had the best time ever, and I quite simply think you are wonderful. You have a great way of making everyone in your class feel welcome and comfortable, and I absolutely could not have asked for a better first time yoga retreat experience. It also totally motivated me and got me excited about practicing again. I’m hoping to take what I gained with you on the remainder of my travels and back to my life in America. I wish you continued happiness and peace with your lovely family. I loved your kids. They are so sweet and nice to talk to. Good job! If you find yourself in New York, please do let me know.
Carole Ann Taylor
What an amazing week I have had in Jo’s Yoga Pansiyon!
At Yoga Holiday Turkey, you feel like a guest, not like a customer and that is a priceless experience.
Straight away you feel welcomed and at home, straight away you relax.
Yoga Holidays Turkey is not a strict retreat, secluded and remote, Yoga Holidays Turkey invite you to take your Yoga wherever you need it.
Yoga classes are held either in the lush garden, in the shadow from the leaves above and with bird song around you, or in the charming Yoga room with its big windows that look out on a sea of flowers.
If you think you need a packed, strict Yoga programme from dawn till dusk for it to be transformative, think again. The three hours of Yoga are enough to deepen your practice and yet give you enough time to let the practice sink, to maybe explore Yoga on your own, and to explore your surroundings: beautiful, vibrant Side, and the amazing Mediterranean sea.
I was the guest teacher here for one amazing week, and I loved, that throughout the week everybody helped everybody. Be it an achey shoulder, a broken camera or an introduction to haggling – everybody contributed, which had a great influence on the dynamics of the group. No one was just student, no one was just teacher, and everyone was appreciated.
Yoga Holidays Turkey invites you to explore your own excellence, it is an empowering experience. You are not left on your own, but you have room to spread your wings, and that goes for the students, but also for the guest teachers, like myself.
This week stays with you, and you feel ready to make space for more Yoga in your own life back home.
And I haven’t even gotten to the food yet. The breakfast/brunch which we were served every day, and the food of the welcome and the good-bye dinner were all exquisite. Local produce, deliciously spiced and – oh so yummy.
I can recommend a stay at Yoga Holiday Turkey whole-heartedly and I hope to go back there soon!
I most certainly have been on the mat, subscribed to your YouTube!
I had such a wonderful time with you, what a great experience! The yoga was just one aspect of it, and your approach is fantastic, I definitely think that your practice is open to anybody and gives a great opportunity for the less experienced without being daunting at all. I loved the meditation and really feel that it has given me something to focus on if I am stress or anxious which I had never considered before.
I was fortunate enough to meet two groups and I can honestly say I have made some lifelong friendships due to the structure of your yoga holiday.
I can’t thank you enough and will be back next year for sure.
“Jo – thank you for such a relaxing week away. This was my first yoga holiday so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I absolutely loved the yoga and since coming home have started practicing on a regular basis. You and your family were great hosts and went out of your way to make me feel welcome. It was a ideal place to go as a single person as the other guests were so friendly. The accommodation was very comfortable and has a lovely courtyard area in which we had fantastic breakfasts. The beach and historic ruins are only a few minutes walk away. There are lots of good restaurants nearby and I became a huge fan of Turkish food. I would wholeheartedly recommend Turkey Yoga Holidays and hope to return soon.”
Hope you and your family are all well and that you have a great season. Please keep sending the newsletters, its so nice to be reminded of my holiday and to hear your news.
Lovely to get your email – I am still very much with you in spirit!! My breakfast was just a yogurt today which was very boring compared to Zeinab’s lovely creations!! I have been shopping and bought lots of fresh fruit and veggies to try and recreate some of the delicious recipes from the past week.
Thank you so much for a fabulous week Jo you really are a very special person and your teaching style is what I’ve been looking for.
I am seriously looking at coming over in Sept/Oct as I really cant wait another year to come to Side.
Keep on doing what you’re doing its fantastic.
Love to everyone.
I can’t thank you enough for the fantastic week I had with you, your family and my fellow yoga buddies, in Turkey! It was far too short, but I enjoyed every minute of it!
What you offer is quite unique! The fact that you open your home, heart and family to your guests is what makes the experience so enjoyable and so memorable. The yoga was perfect too! I came away feeling that I had taken my yoga to another level and was both surprised and delighted with what I achieved. I should also add that I have never slept so well in a LONG time!!
Thank you again for everything you offer and I can’t wait to come back….
Much love xx
Georgina Matthers Lines
Holland – Oxford
When I think back to when I started Yoga with you, I can’t believe where I am now!
Although, I’m sure if it hadn’t of been for you and your teaching style then I would of walked away from that first practice and never came back and/or thought about yoga again.
I’m now a year into my journey and I am so pleased that I’ve had the privilege to discover the wonderful practice of yoga, along with all of it’s incredible benefits!
Being able to share the experience with you and make a new friend along the way has been simply amazing!
Thank you for guiding me and keeping it real along the way!
Love you always xxxx
We want to say a big thank you for being a fantastic host during our stay. We loved everything from the delicious early morning breakfasts, to chilling out in our little bean bag spot. We came back feeling refreshed and relaxed. Thank you so much for your support the yoga too we really valued and appreciated your guidance. We have been trying to keep up the session in London the yoga session with you and Blanche were really inspiring. Hope we can come and pay you a visit in the near future.
Love to all the family
Chanj & Avi
Jo, Amazing lady!
What an inspiration, Have had a relaxing, restorative and inspiring week. Thank you. Oh, and I can hear now!
Look forward to seeing you again. Much love xo
I am so glad that you are following your truth & by your practice and space you have created you are giving others, including me, courage & inspiration to follow their own so simple yet a life of work. A heart felt namaste & Love xo
Thank you so much for all your wonderful guidance and for sharing you’re lovely home with us. So glad I came xo
With thanks for a really unique week xx
I have had a really fantastic time. Thank you x
Thank you so much for making this a wonderful week. I will be back.
With Love Helen
Jo & Gang
We have had a great time. Thanks for you inspiration, insights and guidance (and fun)
With Love Jan
Thank you so much for the transformational journey I had last week during my stay with you and your family in beautiful Side, Turkey. This was my first ever yoga holiday/retreat and my first ever visit to Turkey. Although I previously had lots of silly misconceptions about what life was really like in Turkey and I was initially reluctant to book the holiday and come on my own as a slightly overweight 30 year old gay guy, I can honestly say that it was quite possibly the best thing I have ever done for myself in my life.
I arrived there on the Saturday night with so much fear and apprehension. My flight from Manchester had been delayed and I was super stressed out on arrival but your husband Murat was there waiting for me with a friendly welcome and a big smile at the airport as planned so I instantly felt reassured. I then knew that I no longer had to worry about a thing, I could be myself there and that nobody was judging me. The lateness didn’t seem to matter at all.
Upon arrival yourself, Murat and your children warmly welcomed me openly into your home and made me feel safe and secure. That meant that I never felt lonely even once during my stay there and could really focus on the yoga practice and having a good holiday. Your son and daughter Kaya and Kuzay were like a younger brother and sister while I was there and really entertained me with all their anecdotes and stories. They were certainly not shy at all and were really good at breaking the ice which was great! I was really impressed by how bright and intelligent they are and how liberal and open you are as a family. I never once felt weird about being there.
The change in myself from the start of my holiday to the end was profound. On the first Sunday I remember running around Side like a headless chicken in an effort to take photos of absolutely everything! Somehow I felt that I had to prove how much I had seen there, how much I was enjoying myself, how I was going to vindicate my choice of holiday destination to the people I know back home etc. etc. etc. I took 50 photos on day one!!
Then after our first vinyasa yoga practice with the teacher Bee Bosnak on Monday morning, my mood began to change, I began to slow down and relax and there was a big shift in the way I felt about being there. While walking around ancient Side in the morning, going to the beach in the afternoon and doing our yin/meditative yoga in the evening I was completely absorbed by the location and found a little sanctuary for myself. This helped me to get rid of so much of the emotional baggage and hang-ups about myself that I had been carrying around with me for years and years. The mantra I chose for myself on Monday morning during practice was “enjoy” but it took me a day or so to realise what that really meant for me. I then realised the only one I had to check in with about enjoyment levels was actually myself, and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought. Perhaps I wouldn’t have found that out if I didn’t go to Side on my own. It’s a strange thing for me to have to learn but I’m very glad I did!
I went for a hamam, a facial and a full body massage for £35 while in Turkey! This is something I never would have considered at home due to feeling fat/out of shape etc but I knew I couldn‘t go to Turkey without experiencing a Turkish bath!! This turned out to be a really amazing experience. The strange thing was that during the hamam I was asking myself if I really deserved it because I felt so spoiled!! However, now I know that my needs are important too and that everyone is entitled to some TLC even me!!! Through this very intimate experience and also getting undressed each day on the beach (how often can you do that in the UK?!) I just thought “Sod it!” and didn’t care about my lack of a six pack anymore.
Jo, you helped me to see that yogis and yoginis come in all different shapes and sizes and can still have great flexibility. Thanks for showing me the youtube videos of the vinyasa yoga teacher Mark Giubarelli. It was refreshing to see that male yoga teachers don’t have to be stick insects of have a six pack! You really opened my eyes this week.
Unlike other yoga retreats that may be out there I never once felt like I had to conform to rules and regulations and there was plenty of free time in between classes to do my own thing if I wanted to. This meant there was zero pressure and that it was total “me time”.
Now that I’m home and have had time to reflect on my journey, I’m going to concentrate on enjoying my yoga practice rather than trying to get somewhere or push myself into advanced postures. Last week you deepened my love of yoga and also allowed me to live my truth. For that I am so grateful and I hope to continue to create good things for myself now that I am home.
I will never forget the invocation Bee taught us at the end of class:
“Om bolo shri sat guru bhagavan ki, Jai!”
To the teacher within, the only teacher of truth
I want to remember it from now on and believe in my own decision-making capabilities in order to live my truth.
That you so much again for everything Jo and all the best for the future!
Lots of love ^_^ xxxxxxxv
Hello, I would like to introduce myself. I am Hayley 30yrs old, slightly overweight, busy mum, wife daughter, sister, friend and sister- in-law.I have recently started private yoga lessons with Jo (aka yoga extortioner) and I can honestly say I have never felt better.
Having never tried yoga and not knowing a lot about it. I was nervous but I really knew I needed a positive change in my life.At my first session, Jo put me at ease instantly explaining that I would be going at my own pace and working to my own personal edge (not tucking our legs behind our heads on the first session). Jo explained what type of yoga we would be practicing and what yoga means to her and why she practices. She then asked what I wanted from my practice and I found Jo really understood me and we where on the same page.
I didn’t want a religious experience but did want to cleanse my body from the inside out and learn how different posture help to detoxify the body and help let go of any baggage that we all carry around with us. Jo also explained that all our bodies are different and that as long as the intention to get into the pose is there it doesn’t matter that we might no be able to touch our toes on the first session but with-in time you would certainly notice an improvement and benefits.
I can say that within my first month with Jo, I have defiantly noticed an an improvement within my flexibility and attitude towards myself and others. I use the breathing techniques Jo has taught me to stop myself from launching into space over the slightest to things and buy myself time and prospective over the situation.
I whole heartedly recommend Jo as a Yoga teacher weather you meet her for one hour, one week of hopefully a lifetime of lessons. Jo and Yoga are changing my life for the better. I eagerly await my next session to come and look forward to the day I can call my self a Yogi.
– Calm – Love – Yoga
Hi Jo, Thank you for one of the best holidays of my life – I couldn’t have asked for a better week! You and Murat make the place really feel like a home-from-home, and I felt relaxed the minute I arrived.
I came on my own in July and did a week of Ashtanga with Zoe. Having not done any Ashtanga, I found it challenging and very rewarding, and by the end of the week I was in the Crow posture – a very proud moment! I learned so much from the practice and the workshops, and I have been keeping up my practice since! I have been on yoga holidays and retreats before, but I can honestly say this one was the best balance between yoga practice and a great holiday. After morning practice and a tasty breakfast, you can just step out and find yourself in the midst of the shops, cafes, culture and beautiful beaches of Side – all at your disposal depending on what you fancy that day. Or, for some real peace and tranquillity, you can chill out around the courtyard gardens at Jo & Murat’s.
I met a fantastic bunch of people too, it really couldn’t have been better. I can’t wait to come back!
Lots of love, xx
I think you are an amazing yoga teacher! It is difficult to teach yoga to people that you don’t even know and we were all on different levels. You made us all feel that we were developing our own! practice. Good warm-up, cool down and guidance guidance guidance during the training. I’ve realized again how important breathing is. Loved the setting, the incense, the birds in the trees and the cool music…
I walked into your house and immediately felt at home. Nice rooms and bathrooms – and at no extra charge for a single room. The food was amazing, I’ve met special special people and enjoyed the swimming and chilling and reading under your tree.
I’ve traveled all the way from South Africa and would do it all over again! Miss you and please send all my love to Murat, Kusey and Kaya. Till we meet again. xxxx
Here is my review:
I’ve been on many yoga holidays, but Yoga Holidays Turkey was the best one I ever experienced. Not only is the atmosphere super relaxing and in the perfect location. Jo’s teaching style immediately takes you into a state of bliss. I’ve been doing yoga for over 15 years and have never experienced a teacher who immerses you so effortlessly into practice quite like Jo does. I love how she incorporates the spiritual, mental and physical elements in such a harmonious way. It really took me to another level – a true union with myself.
I will be flowing with Yoga Holidays Turkey again and as soon as possible! – Namaste
Hi Jo, Feedback as promised:
I arrived in Side a bit stressed and frazzled hoping to have a bit of a rest with some yoga thrown in. I had not done much stretching since over 10 years and felt a bit stiff and more recently had anxiety attacks due to stress at work.
After the first yoga session I felt like a knot is being undone and was quite emotional.
I had expected lots of bending and 50 sun salutations etc. and was relieved that Jo’s calm voice was guiding me through breathing, relaxing, letting go, becoming aware of my body.
Everyone else in the group was friendly and relaxed, there was no pressure to do or be anything. Each session was slightly different but framed with relaxation exercises, the instructions by Jo were gentle and down to earth, not one muscle hurt afterwards throughout the week.
For the first time in ages I managed to really unwind which resulted in sleeping a lot, watching cats play, looking at green leaves whilst slumped on a bean bag…
It could not have been a better introduction to yoga, since I have been back, I get up an hour earlier every work day and do a variety of yoga stretches. First they were 30 minutes long (shy), now it seems to get longer (almost 1 hour, getting bolder), I can move much better and it gives me a different perspective on what I have to do that day.
I will be back next year as the combination of lovely people, beautiful location, cat watching, and last but not least yoga sessions are an ideal recipe to have a great time.
And the food! Bonnie the cat! I could go on…
All the best, thank you!
“You’re so beautiful and organic in your power, Jo! And it’s deceptively hard! Love it”.
Life expert and founder of core strength vinyasa yoga
Greetings from London! My Email is a bit late..but better than never though eh lol.
First and foremost, I wanted to let you know that I think you are a wonderful person, an intuitive teacher and an inspiration to me.
Since I have been back, I may not have continued my yoga (but I will). The yoga has helped me to remember to continue my stretching and I believe worked some unknown magic in me Thank-you!
I wanted to thank utterly for the great trust that you had in me (requesting to pay when I returned to London). Turned out that both my bank and Paypal did not want to process the transaction, as it was not in-line with my usual spending activity and being abroad didn’t help!
My stay in your home was most wonderful. Your Kuzey and Kaya are just gorgeous, bright, warm-hearted kids and they contributed greatly to a very happy stay. Please tell them all I say a Big Hello with kisses to the kids from me.
Please share with your kids my photos tell them. I think they are lovely and I send my love, hugs and kisses, I will not forget them and maybe see them them in some years to come!?
How are you? Did you have a lovely holiday?
To add my review for you, I would like to say: – – – –
“A piece of peace, can be found at the Ozden’s – I feel privileged to be part of your dream come true”.
Hi Jo….Oh and by the way a distant memory your joking I think of your place every day and have been telling other about you.
I have many fab memories Jo. A very warm welcome with a safe and quick transfer from the airport from Murat and greeting from yourself and your lovely children kuzey and kaya, loved my room number 16 very clean and comfortable bed that was around the secret garden which I have named and loved where all the yoga took place. I just got up in the morning grabbed a brew and placed my mat in the secret garden.
I so so so loved loved loved the Hatha flow yoga that you took us through. I am not a early morning starling and I couldn’t believe that I was first up ready for my practice. The yoga was fab and after 1 week I actually felt energised, oh so calm. I loved my Hopi and pressure point facial with you Jo.
Chillax after Abba’s fab breakfast was perfect, in fact the word Perfect, gail and I, who I met at your place from leeds (gail was fab company and we had lots of giggles) had used so many times during our stay with you Jo.
The Location was a fab stroll away from the beach so after yoga in the morning thats were we headed to yet again Chillax and flap my flippers in the sea (LOL). JO you and Wendy are fab teachers and I learnt a lot from you both which has given me the motivation to explore more about yoga and has inspired to do more home practice. Oh by the way loved the yin and Wendy’s chakra yoga for the evening sessions was such a added bonus. Jo I will be returning to your place as soon has I can as this for me is going to be a LIFE LONG LOVE AFFAIR with your place that I no for sure.
I can’t thank you enough for making my experience so memorable and I will never forget it because it was so PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT.
Jo your are such a genuine down to earth, warm, real yoga teacher thats just one of the many reasons that I will be back for your teaching.
Much love to you Jo, Murat, Kuzey and Kaya (cuties). Still got the pics of Kuzey out shopping with us in the bling heels (Ha)
Dear Jo, Murat, Kuzey and Kaya,
Thank you so much for a wonderful two weeks in Side. I loved every minute of it, the yoga was amazing, the food was fabulous and the courtyard and garden was such a lovely setting. You were all so welcoming and I felt just like part of the family! It really was one of the best holidays I’ve been on and I’ll definitely be back. Wish i was still there now actually!
Emma – Kuwait & Scotland
Hi Jo, I can’t believe I am back at work! At least the weather is ok here. I had a fantastic time, all the yoga and laughs have given me a new lease for life. Hope you have a fabulous last week and enjoy Istanbul. Thanks for everything
Thank you for a wonderful week of yoga with Blanche. This was my first yoga holiday and it was a truly relaxing and wonderful holiday. Being able to practice 3 hours of yoga each day in a beautiful setting looking up at the sky, surrounded by flowers and trees helped me relax and go deeper into my poses. Blanche was a wonderful teacher, so gentle, her instructions were spot-on and each session was perfectly tailored to my needs. Thank you to you, Murat, Kuzey and Kaya for looking after me so well, the wonderful food, the excellent chauffeur service, the entertainment from Kuzey and Kaya. I will definitely be back and will recommend you to friends, work colleagues and my regular yoga buddies.
Enjoy your well earned break and see you soon. Love to all.
Thank you so much for an amazing time! I loved every minute of my stay with you and you will defiantly be seeing me again!
Lovely, clean rooms, with no horrid single supplement, fantastic breakfasts, which have everything that you could possibly want and caters for all tastes, plus they filled-me up all day!
Great yoga practice, you are a fabulous teacher and you re able to teach a class that is good for novices as well as the advanced.
All of this, plus being in the heart of such a lovely town and just on the edge of all that amazing beach!
I’m also, so glad that I had one of your treatments, you really put your heart and soul into it and I felt EVEN MORE relaxed afterwards …. if that was possible!
I hope you’re having a good summer, I brought the weather back with me and we are having a scorcher 🙂
Lots of love to you, Murat and those adorable, special kids XXXXXXXXX
Hey Jo, Just wanted to say thanks for an awesome holiday! I feel so different from when I left the UK to hoilday with you. Keep doing what you are doing as it is amazing. Lots of love
Hi Jo, Love to the children, miss their excitement and lovely chat already.
THANK you again for your intense unrelenting patience and hard work, it certainly makes a difference to a lot of lives so you can hold on to that when it gets TIRING!
Hi Jo, just wanted to say thank you for such a great week. Could ‘gush’ for ages but I’ll just say it was perfect! Trying to get back into the work routine but am missing the yoga, sun, beach and my place on the bean bag!
Look forward to coming again next year. Cheers
Dear Jo & Murat,
First of all I would like to congratulate you both for this fantastic offering. I had a little scepticism coming to these yoga lessons. I was not sure if I could do it for the week and if my body would be ready to take this. Jo you have just done a fantastic job and helped me so much with your instruction, alignment tips & steering the program.
This was a fantastic week for me, I thank you both for this fantastic offer within a vibrant area. I was truely a unique oppurtunity. All the best to you both and lots of success for the future.
Sener Arslan, Switzerland
HUGE thank you for a wonderful week – beautiful place, was looked after so well, room, food, transfers, cat, seaside practice, hamam and boat trip arranged, wonderful new chums, everything just ace. Oh and there was some amazing yoga too. I’ll be back. Om Shanti x 🙂 x
Vanessa – Birmingham
A massive thank you to Jo, Alice and everyone at yoga holidays Turkey, had a great week doing yoga, chilling out.. And not forgetting the laughs, will definitely be back and would recommend to friends and family..
Lisa – London
I had am amazing week doing yoga with Alice and being based in Side old town. The location and accommodation were so peaceful and felt entirely safe as a lone traveller. The format of the retreat was great allowing me time to go off and explore or rest up on the beach between the two practices, I left more relaxed than I have been in a long time. The friendly and helpful environment that you create with your family made all the difference, fantastic!
My only regret was not fully understanding the transfer costs with you. I would so strongly recommend people book the transfer through you to be ensured of a peaceful start and end to their holiday. The bargain transfer I booked was a nightmare from start to end between getting lost in the middle of the night and them not being where they said they would be.
I hope your new group are all settled in. Very best wishes and thanks to you an your lovely family.
Sarah x Bath
I had the most wonderful two weeks volunteering and holidaying at your retreat. Being able to join in the two yoga classes a day was exactly what I needed to reconnect with my yoga practice.
Jo is an inspiring and thoughtful teacher always taking into account the different abilities and needs of her students. I was nursing an old wrist injury but under her sympathetic guidance I felt
able to attempt postures I had up until then avoided and would not have even considered before. I even got up intI o an arm balance for the first time. I have trained as a yoga teacher and Jo was supportive and encouraging to me to take this forward and make my dreams come true.
Yoga can be an amazing healing tool and this was for me, both on the physical and emotional levels. Doing yoga intensively like this can bring up a lot of issues for people and helps to clear out stuff we don’t need and enable us to move forward. This is a safe place to allow this to happen with an authentic teacher in Jo. It can be transformational and I think it was for several of the students I met there. It’s a wonderful holiday to take alone as you can be with others as much or as little as you like. And yoga poeple are always lovely! I’ve practiced with many teachers and Jo is one of the best. I loved her, the kind of yoga she teaches and her delivery style are really great. There’s a balance between taking yourself to your edge, total relaxtion, wonderful ancient practices like pranayama/ breathing techniques and yoga nidra and lots of fun and laughter.The volunteering experience was better than I could have expected. Jo is easy going and easy to work with. It’s karma yoga. I miss my therapeutic sweeping. It was a joy to work in meaningful tasks, all contributing to making visitors’ holidays enjoyable. It felt very worthwhile and I hope I can spend more time there next year. Side is a wonderful place to wander ancient ruins, swim and sunbathe. The Side festival was on at the time and we had the incredible opportunity to see the Beijng Symphony Orchestra perform in the amphitheatre as well as local folk dancing and music, all free. “I cannot recommend this yoga retreat highly enough. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and cant wait to get back next summer
I decided that I wanted to do something good for myself, and that this should be exercising yoga and meditation during my vacation. I will never regret this decision! I have never gotten so close to myself before, both my strengths, resources, and vulnerabilities – I learnt a lot about myself during this inner journey. In addition, I learnt a lot about yoga, new techniques, and new postures – it was so fun and so rewarding! Jo’s yoga holidays in Side is fantastic, and I can’t wait to come back next year!
Charlotte Reedtz, Norway
What a relaxing week! The garden is an oasis of cool tranquillity, the warm, clear waters of the Mediterranean are just a few steps away, and the stunning two-thousand-year-old ruins of antiquity can be seen wherever you go in the beautiful Old Town of Side. Jo and her family provided plentiful amounts of healthy and unbelievably delicious food along with a warm, friendly welcome. This is a wonderful place to escape from the strains of day-to-day life. Thank you for a fantastic holiday!
Paul – Brentwood
Thank you again for such a super week and being such a fantastic yoga mentor and host
Catherine – London
I have practised yoga for 12 years and I have never practised in such beautiful surroundings – looking up at the sky, trees and flowers in the courtyard definitely enhances the practice, as does the music and incense – the surroundings were really conducive to relaxation and enjoyment. Practising yoga three hours a day for seven days is a wonderful way to deepen your practise – I found that I was able to release and go deeper into poses than I ever have before. I like that Jo’s classes were relaxed and flexible – tailored to the needs of the individuals in the class, and not fixed in stone – she seemed to know when we needed a more energetic or a more relaxed class.
The breakfasts were absolutely delicious and so filling that I never ate lunch… a rarity for someone who usually eats every few hours! Similarly, the dinners cooked by the lovely Wendy were a wonderful taste of authentic Turkish cooking. It was lovely to share them with Jo, Murat, Kuzey and Kaya – very welcoming hosts who all made my stay very enjoyable.
Having a yoga class in the early morning and late afternoon, and having the middle of the day and the evening free, meant that we could laze on the beach, go to amazing performances in ancient Roman amphitheatres, experience a Turkish Bath, explore the beautiful ancient town of Side and enjoy the restaurants… this is what makes this yoga holiday particularly special – it is truly a yoga ‘holiday’ – with enough yoga to really relax and deepen your practise, but plenty of fun and relaxing holiday experiences too – the perfect balance.
I would highly recommend Yoga Holidays Turkey to anyone who practises yoga at any level and wants a truly relaxing and enjoyable holiday experience in beautiful surroundings.
Amy S – Australia/London
Being relatively new to yoga and keen to develop my practice under expert intensive tuition, I booked a week’s retreat with Yoga Holidays Turkey. Having merely a trio of months under my crisp new leotard, I must admit I was hesitant. However, it proved to be fruitful for both my practice and my confidence and I also had a relaxing break in the sun to boot.
My choice wasn’t entirely down to whim. I liked the look and description of the practice; it’s situated on a peninsula, meaning the luxury of more than one beach to choose from; you’re falling over (and also practice amongst) ruins situated close by; email correspondence provided lots of additional information; oh, and I love a proper kebab!
I appreciate the way Jo approaches her practice according to the individual. We were all at different levels and, of course, brought individual characteristics and approaches, which Jo observed and nourished. She guided and developed within and subsequently beyond my ability, a relief given my greenness and a boost given I’m a Capricorn! I never felt as if I was pounced on or admonished for every bent elbow or sagging hip or hand that strayed from my mat. It was a nurturing and supportive approach rather than a clinical, prescriptive, one size fits all practice. Each member of the group was stretched according to their desire and ability, which was lovely to watch as well as experience. This comes from Jo’s intuition and observations, which isn’t something you can be taught. It had the effect of experiencing a bespoke tuition albeit within a close knit group who learned from and encouraged each other. Each practice was unique and captured accurately the vibe of the group on that day. Nothing about the practice felt as if it came from a step by step manual on how to do it; it came from feeling rather than thinking, which to my knowledge is how it should be.
After each morning’s practice we feasted on a sumptuous Turkish breakfast made by the adorable Wendy. We were treated to a welcome and goodbye traditional dinner, which was such a lovely way to start and end the week. I felt invited and welcomed into a family home, whilst being free to come and go as I pleased with no demands made of my time. The rooms were clean and spacious, situated a few steps from the garden, which is where I enjoyed hanging out, sipping my Turkish tea, gazing at the flowering trees whilst basking in my yoga glow. I can sense and feel that now whilst sat typing in my chilly London flat, which is testament to the gifts I received from Jo’s retreat.
In terms of practicalities, my transfer to and from the airport couldn’t have been easier so I recommend you go for that option. Side has everything you need and Jo is able to recommend the best restaurants, bars, kebab sellers, Mamat and shops, should any take your fancy. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed by the Turkish delights on offer in Side. Oh, and one final recommendation; don’t leave Side without sampling a delicious ice cream. Just ask Jo to point you in the right direction and you’ll be back every night until you leave. Namaste!
Gill W – London
Absolutely perfect holiday. Yoga Holidays Turkey is such a beautiful sanctuary – the right mix of relaxation and interaction. I felt really cared for and incredibly safe. If I needed space – there was plenty to be found in the quiet courtyard and beautiful nearby beaches and if I wanted company there was lots to be had from the kids, the cat and Jo and Murat’s wonderful guests. Couldn’t have asked for better …and of course the yoga was wonderful. Thank you so much for a week of bliss! I have learned so much and I feel like a new person.
Nancy, London P.S. I’ll come back.
Thanks for a fab time with you – my holiday surpassed all my expectations and as you know I was so sad to leave you to come home, although, I am now looking forward to joining you for the teacher training in 2012 🙂
All my feedback is good for my holiday with you and I soooo loved feeling I was part of your family and home during my stay with you, and the position close to the beach,bars etc was all good……………
All round fab time and I cant wait to come back, what more can I say but thank you xx
Nicky B – Devon
Just to say thank you for a great week, I really enjoyed it and got loads out of it. We are now back at work in Bath, where it is considerably colder than it was in Turkey last week!
Hope to see you again another year.
Thank you for a truly relaxing wonderful and inspirational Yoga Holiday in a stunning setting. It normally takes me 5 days into a holiday to unwind, but I felt chilled from day one…and the stress of London office life couldn’t feel further away!
You and your lovely family and the people here made me feel comfortable and welcome.
I really appreciate all your hard work and enthusiasm to make it a special holiday including your amazing massage, words of wisdom and showing us the real Turkish street food.
Marcela’s teaching was hugely inspiring, so attentive to each pupil’s needs; beautifully combining dynamic Vinyasa Flow, detailed allignment, meditation and theory with fun laughter and passion.
The holiday was a perfect blend of yoga, fun in the sun, sight seeing, gorgeous beaches and making new friends. It is a experience I will never forget (especially yoga at the Apollo Temple) and one I certainly wish to repeat!
Martha Heiland-Allen, London
Dear Jo, Let me start by saying a massive thank you for organizing one of the best holidays I have had so far. The web-page was attractive and the transaction was smooth and the information given was reassuring enough to make me book a holiday alone. Although the surroundings might be a little busy for people who want a full on retreat, for me it was idyllic as it allowed me to practice yoga & have a holiday all in one. I honestly cannot think of any way that it could be improved. It far exceeded my expectations. I only wish I could stay longer (and take your children home with me).
It was a pleasure to meet you and your wonderful family, I wish you the best of luck.
Sarah Aldugman, London
Thank you so much for two wonderful weeks of really great yoga with Marcela. All the best to you and your sweet family.” Thekla Maute, Berlin
“Namaste Jo & Murat,
I am so grateful for the amazing experience I just lived. It was a great yoga holiday. I had a wonderful time with your family, the students and all the beautiful places we visited around Side.
I want to congratulate you for all your effort to make this happen, really well done. Everything that comes from the heart has a good outcome. I just want to say that the students and I could feel your heart in every aspect and this is success in itself. İ really believe that your Yoga Holidays will bring more interesting people. This was a fascinating experience and one I would love to do again.
Marcela – Om Shanti (Yoga teacher)
Dear Jo & Family
What a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’!! I chose to attend the Yoga-Holidays trip with Marcela as a recommendation from a friend. I had no idea what to expect. My week stay with you in Turkey not only met my expectations, but was possibly my best ever holiday! On return to the UK, I feel energized in mind, body and spirit. Everyone is remarking on how amazing I look, both my toned body and huge smile.
YOGA: Marcela is amazing, for both beginners and advanced she guided us through a completely different routine every session to work through our entire body, breathing techniques and meditation. Marcela is so inspiring and motivating. I never thought I would have the patience or stamina to last twice daily for the week, but thanks to Marcela I’ve been able to attend every class and continue the good work now I’m back in the UK.
HOLIDAY: As well as the traditional Hamam and the best massage I’ve ever had (thanks to Jo) we enjoyed amazing food, sights, explored the ruins, markets, swam at the beach and went on an amazing private boat trip with Captain Metin. The boat tour took us up the river to the rapids and waterfalls and back to a beautiful peninsula where the fresh water river meets the Mediteranean. As well as a sunset bonfire, Captain Metin (Also a chef) freshly prepared a BBQ with fish we caught on the journey. We danced on the decks well into the night and dived off the roof into the open sea. A memory that will stay with me forever.
COMPANY: For guests travelling in groups or as a single, this holiday is perfect. The daily yoga sessions brought us all together as a group very quickly, and I know I’ve met some amazing people I will stay friends with for a long time. I can’t remember when I last laughed so much. Jo is amazing and welcomed us into her family. She was a fantastic host who looked after every detail for us. Her husband met us at the airport and her beautiful children were so warm and a lot of fun.
For anyone interested in a holiday that will change their life (for the better) and give them warm memories for the rest of their life, this is the holiday for you. I look forward to joining Jo, her family, Captain Metin and a new group of guests next year.
Jess Gywther, London
What can I say about the most wonderful, relaxing week of my life! The location was perfect, beautiful weather, good food and comfortable rooms, and of course the yoga – Marcela was a fantastic patient teacher with me(as a yoga beginner) making me feel like I could do any of the poses and helping me to do just that. Doing the early morning yoga with the birds singing and the sun rising was blissful. Thankyou very much to Jo for organising the trip and making sure we all had a good time.
Becky Owen, London
Dear Jo & Murat,
Thank you for making me feel so welcome. It was lovely to be picked up at the airport by your husband, making the journey stress free. When you are only on holiday for a week the ease of travel makes a big difference.
The yoga times 7.30am and 6.30pm where perfect as it allowed a big amount of free time and I didnt feel rushed at all. All the meals were nicely cooked fresh and enjoyable.
I enjoyed the Yoga, meeting Jo Prakash the teacher what an inspiration, initially I felt it was maybe not for me, but after the 1st session I appreciated Jo’s empathy adapting her classes to suit others and myself. At first I thought it was more of a workout, but it soon became clear the importance of the warm up in relation to the postures. I will certainly be taking this into my own practice, to build up my own strength and stamina. Jo is such an inspiration and a book of knowledge; obviously learnt from her own practices. Thank you Jo for sharing.
It was great to meet your lovely family, I can see you making a real success of your business, being a great team.
Wishing you great health, wealth and happiness
Dear Jo & Murat
This is my first Yoga holiday and it was fantastic! I didnt know what to expect but we were well taken care of. The Yoga itself was excellent. It’s the perfect way to start and end each day. I learned so much in a week and improved leaps and bounds compared to my practice at home. I am learning with a greater knowledge and what it can do for my body – AND with the abilty to do things i never imagined I could do.
The location and availabilty of other activities turned out to be the perfect balance for the evening/morning yoga classes. We spent our free time at the ocean, sightseeing happily and eating great food. We had everything we needed in one spot.
Our instructor Jo was so nice to work with, she pushed us to the next level while giving us space to modify our practices to our own abilities. She was highly knowledgable and kind. We just loved her.
Jo and Murat ran the holiday wonderfully. Their attention to our cares and needs were taken seriously. They were always around checking in with us, and participating in the yoga classes alongside us. They made us feel welcome and comfortable. The entire week was a pleasure – the yoga, seaside time; a nice mixture of lounging and mindful practice.
Thank you for a great experience.
Kirsten – Georgia
As a beginner Yoga student, I was a bit concerned about my ability coming to a yoga holiday. I had never had an instuctor before, only practiced a few yoga postures on our living room floor. With those reservations going in, I am happy to say this was such a wonderful and changing experience for me.
In one week I was able to accomplish so many things. My core is noticably stronger and I went from struggling with the concept of ‘crow’ pose to doing not only ‘crow’ and a variation of ‘side crow’ but also ‘peacock’ and ‘bridge’ poses. While all my poses need work still, it was wonderful to see and feel the transformation in one week. Our teacher Jo Prakash is an extremely capable and motivating yoga teacher I owe her great thanks for pushing me and giving guidance on how to improve for the future.
The organisers and director of our yoga holiday deserve an equal thanks and appreciation. Kirsten and I were well taken care of by thoughtful and caring individuals and their wonderful family. Access to ancient history, beautiful beaches, shopping, delectible Turkish Cuisine, our room and a relaxing vibe made for a wonderful holiday.
Thank you for a wonderful experience and I hope to be able to come and enjoy another yoga holiday with you. Thanks Jo & Murat.
Andy, Tbilsi – Georgia
Jo has hosted a wonderful Yoga holiday and has worked hard to keep all the guests happy. She ‘Bent Over Backwards’ to help people have the best time. Her and Murat have both worked together to provide the best service ever to everyone and I wish them the very best with all future holidays as the totally deserve it.
Jo Prakash (Yoga teacher) Luton.
Thank you for the most amazing yoga holiday!
This was something I have only dreamt about for years now, but with your help it has become a reality for me and now looking back I have learnt so much, met some amazing people, laughed, cried and captured memories I will treasure forever.
My goal was to kick start a very intermittent yoga practice into something I have the confidence and knowledge to practice daily. Marina, our teacher, was the perfect coach and teacher for me and my idea of what I want yoga to mean for me.
Your organisation was faultless from the beginning and made everything from pick up to drop off back to the airport smooth and hassle free!
This was truly a holiday!
Georgina, Utrecht, Holland
Hey Jo, Thanks for an amazing experience; truly inspirational. I shall definitely be back for some more fun. Lots of love to you and your family.
Sandra Staley, London
Dear Jo & Murat
I feel my experience in Turkey was powerful on many levels. The physical challenge is the most obvious, however yoga’s effect on a spiritual and emotional level is the most profound for me. The two week course has awakened and set in motion my meditation practice (that I once did on a daily basis 10 years ago). The practice I did focused primarily on seated meditation with asana’s only necessary if there where detected blockages in the body. The ashtanga practice brings the meditation into the movement. Each time I do the modified primary sequence, I feel I squeeze out a little bit of ignorance and self deception, which leaves room for the good stuff. Alice’s enthusiasm and professional manner made the two weeks well worth the price. Look forward to joining you again
Micheal Goddell, Bath, Somerset
Hi Jo & Murat.
I wanted you to know that I really enjoyed the holiday, thank you very much.
I gained a real appreciation of what it means to practice ashtanga yoga, including the dedication required and the range of benefits of a regular practice (I made more progress in my practice on holiday, than I would have made in several months at home!).
Your passion for yoga and your belief in the physical and emotional benefits of regular practice (and retreats/holidays) shone through. I think this will be really important in the sustained success of your business.
The quality of teaching was amazing, it was great to be able to work in a small group (rather than large classes as at home).
The class schedule worked really well for me, allowing time during the day to reflect and relax.
Thanks for a lovely experience.
Chris Martin, Bath, Somerset
We look forward to welcoming you here Come holiday with us!