The Dream Yoga Festival held in Kabak Valley from May 1-5 kicks-off the summer and offers the perfect escape from city life as well as a chance to discover Turkish and global leaders in yoga and a variety of mindful practices. Not only is this very special festival located in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and is certainly Turkey's number one destination for many an expat, but it is also offering 30 workshops by more than 20 presenters in a wide variety of disciplines that are brought together to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This year's festival, the culmination of years of like-minded souls coming together to share and further their practices, is probably the peak of experiences when it comes to practicing yoga in Turkey with like-minded souls in one of the most beautiful settings of mountains, forest and sea. Under a spectacle of stars and set against a stunning backdrop of the Mediterranean, this very special festival is not one to be missed by anyone seeking to grow, heal, share and relax away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From May 1-5, Kabak Valley will be transformed into a utopia with more than 200 yogis and enthusiasts taking part in ongoing workshops and courses in a variety of yoga disciplines and therapies including Ayurveda, dance, music, storytelling and art, which will offer the perfect excuse to discover this beautiful area all while discovering yourself.
Festival-goers are free to attend any of the diverse workshops or events on offer that will run hourly from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. There will be a wide variety of schools of yoga on offer, including but certainly not limited to Vinyasa, Kundalini, Yin Yoga and Acro Yoga in addition to sessions devoted solely to backbends and inversions as well as daily meditation and Chi Gong practices.
Cameron Shayne the founder of Budokon himself will be offering workshops on day 4 and day 5 in what will be a unique opportunity to experience this newest exercise trend, which combines yoga, martial arts and meditation along with levels and a life coaching approach.
On day 1 and day 2, Ray Rizzo, Turkey's own resident expat yoga guru by day and rap artist by night, will be offering his "Weightlessness" course, which combines yoga, Pilates and Chi Kung. The author of a book and DVD series by the same name, Rizzo hails from New York but has been in Turkey for a decade now. He teaches Hatha Yoga and Tai Chi at Mars Athletic Club in Istanbul and performs hip hop as Ferryman in clubs around town.
Melis Ulaş will be offer two raw food workshops focusing on the unknown truths about nutrition and the benefits of eating living foods, as well as sharing applicable recipes for eating raw. Another interesting workshop is Feride Gürsoy's Family Constellation, which she describes as "entering a meditative trance-like state together and a space which is called the morphogenetic field, and then journeying into our subconscious to discover the root of our problems."
Judith Liberman, a French expat who has also been in Turkey for more than 10 years, has released a book in Turkish and has her own radio show, will be sharing her storytelling magic in a special Story Night and workshop titled Storytelling Therapy. There will also be sound therapy and contact dance workshops in addition to an Intro to Ayurveda course and Mandala and Terrarium courses as well as a classical Indian music performances. On the sidelines of the festival, there will also be a variety of therapies such as massage, acupressure and reflexology available.
Five different venues have been designated for accommodating festival guests, each with their own vibe and ambiance but all offering half board with breakfast and dinner buffets of mostly fresh vegetarian fare. For the most part, accommodation in the valley is more rustic compared to traditional hotel stays. Expect bungalows set on platforms in trees with mattresses, mosquito nets and hopefully, a private bathroom. Think "glamping" (glamourous-camping) Turkish-style!
Turan Hill Lounge is the original camp in the valley and thus the most well-known and loved. It is situated higher up and has cushioned terraces with stunning views overlooking the valley. There are 17 bungalows, four of which are decorated and furnished as boutique houses. They also have a number of tented platforms and you can set up a tent on the grounds, which also has a pool.
Natural Life is a newer favorite with closer beach access, a dozen bungalows, some en suite and tent options and lush green grounds. Latch has newer en suite bungalows with private pillowed terraces with views of the valley or the sea, while at Lilith, accommodation options include vardos, which are converted Roma caravans in
addition to bungalows. Both are just a few minutes trek down a forested path to the sea. The expansive Sea Valley could be the Kabak Valley equivalent of a resort hotel set right along the seafront with bungalows that have private bathrooms situated among olive and pine trees, offering a more upscale option and the closest one to the water.
Although for most, the rustic accommodations may be "roughing it," the stunning setting in nature in a sense displaced from the mainland offers a feeling of tranquility and rejuvenation that makes up for it multiple-fold. It wasn't just a decade ago when travelers would be met by a donkey to carry their backpacks down the Lycia Trail that takes you into Kabak Valley and the paths winding through campgrounds to the sea. Those days we were happy to have any sort of accommodation in what was such a spectacularly undiscovered natural paradise.
Now, as Kabak Valley has grown and the number of accommodation offerings has multiplied over the last decade, there is a shuttle that will take visitors from the final dolmuş stop of the village of Faralya down to the valley. There are regular dolmuş services from the Fethiye bus station and the approximately hour-long ride, although knuckle-whitening is absolutely breathtaking. The closest airport to Fethiye is Dalaman and is approximately two hours away by car; however, most of the establishments offering accommodation also offer additional transfer services for guests.