Why I Love Tuscany

February 24, 2011.  Tuscany has been a life-changing place for me. From the moment I arrive and smell the air I feel washed in the rich sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful place. The energy in Tuscany has brought me (1) great love, (2) gratitude and (3) inner quiet. The love part is a beautiful story whereby while on a train through total happenstance I met and fell in love with the most amazing man.  Ahhhh yes just like in the movies such as Eat, Pray, Love but it was my real life (as it was for Elizabeth Gilbert too) and it is as my Italian grandmother, Nonna, used to say “tutto e destino”. Everything is destiny.

There is something about Tuscany that makes you remember to appreciate life!  I am so grateful to appreciate the endless vistas, the serene vineyards of the Tuscan countryside, to marvel at the imposing fairy-tale architecture, or ride through the rolling hills that never end. Of course I also enjoy making time to shop, eat and sample a Chianti Classico or perhaps a little known SuperTuscan.

And perhaps what I find most peaceful is the gentle pace and rhythm of the Tuscan region which I try my best to bottle up and bring back with me.  As the poet writes “When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, its sound is often no louder than the beating of your heart and it is very easy to miss it.” Tuscany inspires the kind of inner quiet that helps you hear the blessings of your life and I always return feeling more connected to my own innate wisdom.

This is why I love Tuscany and will continue to bring friends, yogis, family to experience firstand this mystical place forever!  Join in Tuscany June 19-25 or October 16-22, 2011 in making memories to last a lifetime! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

PS Early birds receive $300 OFF! Register now to save your spot.

Through Earth we find Heaven

February 22, 2011. Michelangelo said, “My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.” There are places where I have personally experienced what he is expressing in words. Two of those places are Moab, Utah and Tuscany, Italy. The EARTH element is so strong there. The healing that takes place is incredible! I am called to heal or remain healed by returning to these places annually.

You see we all willingly or unwillingly pick up negative energies. The definition of Negative Energy is blocked or excess energy that needs toflow. Examples of negative energy include stress, frustration, anxiety or anger. Depression is feeling negativity but being unable to decharge that. Nature makes you feel closer to Universal Source Energy, because Source energy is flowing in nature. Nature can heal you!

Once you’ve you want to heal and experience heaven on earth then you can use the Earth element to decharge the negative vibrations. A good way of decharging using the Earth element is to go out to where you feel the grounding force of earth energy the strongest such as Moab or Tuscany. If you are stuck indoors then take a plant, point your fingers near it and say the mantra, “Oh Spirit, my heart is open to you, please come. I know you are in this plant. Please use this plant to decharge my negative energy. Thank you”. Do this for about 15 minutes.

Depression, anxiety and stress will flow out of your fingertips into the Earth. As you do this and repeat the mantra a lifetimes worth of negativity may flow out. You have a second chakra in each fingertip for giving or sending out energy. Don’t worry about the plant or the Earth. The plant representing the earth takes this energy and uses it in a positive way. It’s not bad for the plant in any way. Having a channel to the Earth brings huge peace and happiness. Although you may have problems you no longer care about them. The Earth also helps open your heart. It allows you to live on Earth happily. The Earth radiates huge energy and can magnify any type of emotion. When you purify the Earth element in you, the magnetism of the Earth will automatically suck out your negative energy.

Or meditate on this poem below or use this form of lovingkindness meditation to tap into the healing energy of the Earth element. And of course, join us in Moab April 16-19, 2011 or Oct 28-31 or Tuscany June 19-25 and Oct 16-22, 2011. Ah love, ah earth! Peace in all ways, Silvia

Let us bless the imagination of the Earth. That knew early the patience to harness the mind of time, waited for the seas to warm, ready to welcome the

emergence of things dreaming of voyaging among the stillness of land. And how light knew to nurse the growth until the face of the earth brightened beneath a vision of color. Let us thank the earth that offers ground for home and holds our feet firm to walk in space open to infinite galaxies. Let us salute the silence and certainty of mountains their sublime stillness their dream-filled hearts. The humility of earth that transfigures all that has fallen of outlived growth. The kindness of earth, opening to receive our forms into the final stillness.”


    Earth Lovingkindness Meditation

Say this to yourself:
May I be safe. May I be peaceful.
May the earth be safe. May the earth be peaceful.
May all people everywhere be safe and peaceful.
May all creatures everywhere be safe and peaceful.
May we feel our deep connection to the earth. May the earth feel honored and loved by us.

The Fun Theory at Play with Alchemy Tours

FEBRUARY 16. 2011: Jacob turned me on to the website http://www.thefuntheory.com The site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as FUN is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better. The premise of the site is why don’t folks do more of those things that we know are good for us. And the proposed antidote is that if we make those things fun, can we get folks to change their behavior? The result in this Volkswagen sponsored initiative is YES!

My favorite example is seeing how they got people to take the stairs instead of the escalator! Caution: this site will make you SMILE.

When you come on a trip with Alchemy Tours, you also will smile. We will do some yoga, bike, hike, explore, dance, laugh, and even sometimes sing–all in an effortless effort to enjoy the experience of yoga which we know is healthy for us. From this, we learn to live the way we practice our yoga. Today, choose FUN, and in that choose LOVE. Wishing you a day of healing, love and light, Silvia

PS Hope to see you in Puerto Vallarta Feb 26, Pagosa Springs April 7, Moab April 16, Tuscany June 19, San Juan Islands Aug, Sonoma Sept and more!

Passion for Your Life Adventure

FEBRUARY 12TH, 2011: Are you doing things because you love to do them or because you feel like you have to do them? What percentage of the time would you say? Well, if you are spending more of your time doing stuff because you feel like you have to instead of wanting to then this is a simple formula for misery.

“The purpose of life is a life with purpose.” -The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari.

Then the first step is to ask yourself and WRITE IT OUT “what are you passionate or excited about?” This helps you define the purpose of your passion. Now you may ask, why write it if we can just think about it? Because science tells us that by writing out your goals on a piece of paper you send a red flag to your subconscious mind that these thoughts are more important than the other 59,999 ones you’ll have today!

This helps us to filter out what is unimportant and focus only on the important. We will enjoy life more fully if we stop focusing on the minor stuff and figure out what we want to major in life. And the greatest thing is that we can have fun while we’re progressing along our path. We can reclaim the joy of waking up each day excited about our life adventure!

Don’t you want to wake-up filled with energy and enthusiasm?

So ask yourself right now: Where are you going, what path are you on?; Are you excited about the direction?; If I could choose to make any adventure which one would you do next?

Have you always dreamed of doing yoga on the beach living on your own tropical island? Or maybe you’ve always been excited to visit Tuscany or to challenge yourself in the beauty of Moab’s red rocks or go West? Then write out on paper your Life’s Adventure and make it happen. Stop holding back your excitement for what you really want to do or try or experience!

And from this passion for life you will be transformed or as Pantanjali says in the Yoga Sutras, “When you are inspired by some great purpose all of your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world!” Be the cause of your own future happiness! Start planning the next wonderful adventure doing what you love!

Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

Mental Constipation: Why Do We THINK The Things We Do?

February 11, 2011. Our mental habits are created by repetition. Of the 60,000 thoughts we have per day if 40,000 are replaying a past worry or negative situation we will only stay stuck. Stuckness is where there is no flow. And if you take those thoughts and times them by 7 days per week, 4 weeks per month that equals a lot of mental constipation. We need flow. We need to get back to the water and be inspired by thinking the GOOD things we want to think but don’t because of our day to day routine.

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.” – Robert Henri

When we sit at the sea watching the waves we connect to our own innate water nature (of which we are made up to around 80% as adults). We see the flow, we feel the vibration of movement and just that helps us get mentally unstuck. The practice of yoga is like that too. In a pose we identify the stuckness of negative or self-limiting thought and learn through this cognitive behavioral therapy of yoga to get beyond that thought onto a more healthful one. We move with breath, pose to pose, breath to breath like an ever flowing wave and our thoughts patterns start flowing again.

Really yoga and the ocean are both therapy. “It’s hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much. Everything about it is renewing for me, almost like therapy…Beach Therapy” -Amy Dykens.

For a week long experience of Positive Psychology and inspiration join me in Puerto Vallarta Feb 26-March 5 at Xinalani Resort (http://www.xinalaniretreat.com/). Only fourteen all ocean front rooms, gourmet healthy food, 14 yoga classes and more! Nobody likes to be constipated mentally or physically. Use this time now to join me for that walk on the beach or opportunity to watch the ocean while we practice yoga to get unstuck. May this lead you to only ever thinking the Great Things you want to think for your life! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia, Alchemy Tours

Moab Musings from Michael Young

At Alchemy Tours we love to invite our clients, friends to share their own thoughts on our trips. Here is a neat 3 point summary from Michael Young about his experience November 4-7, 2010. Enjoy!

Michael Young writes, “What can I say:
I’m not one to take on a trip like this…I thought I’d rather be on a desert island sipping pina coladas, enjoying the sun and water, then food sleep and whatever. To my surprise and after many second thought excuses I decided to head to Moab with family members Jake and Nathan.

    My description is this:

1st I was shocked at the high level of bonding I did with my sons, but more so with my fellow Moabiters whom I never knew before the trip. Experiencing close encounters with situations that you normally don’t come across, beautiful scenery, and chill factors that can make you think twice before trying it out.

2nd this was a trip of first for me: going on a mountain bike up and down a rock slope, climbing cracks, crevices and ridges, hiking and enjoying wonderful preselected hot spots to visit.

3rd the Yoga was awesome and secretly I had ideas that it was for wimps….ugghhhh was I wrong! It was the first time I had done Yoga with an instructor.

This is the greatest exercise that can be. Our instructor/teacher was incredible! I stretched, sweat, and was soothed from this ancient exercise. What a fantastic learning experience overall.

I would do this again in a heartbeat.
Thanks to Alchemy Tours and fellow Moabites! Love You!”

Need Balance in Your Life?

February 9, 2011. Wendell Barry said, “The earth is what we have in common.” I’d add that our ability to lose our balance and allow over-worrying to make us feel ungrounded is also what we have in common.  You know, that feeling of being disconnected and just off center.

So we devoted today’s practice to getting grounded into the earth, our common ground. Grounding serves us as a simplifying force, one which helps us plug back into ourselves and allows us to be fully present and balanced. Once centered we feel empowered and stable to see the circumstances of our lives with increased clarity.  We no longer over-respond or over-worry.

Just like building a yoga pose from the ground up, we need stability to form a strong foundation for our lives. On the yoga mat we used a long series of standing poses to help us achieve the security that comes from connecting our nervous system to the earth. In Sanskrit this is known as Sthira. As a result we all left the practice with our inner stillness intact once more ready to be the rooted influence amongst our families and friends. May you stay grounded and keep coming home to balance.

And if you are looking to do even more in depth work on balance and grounding join me for the two places in the world that always make me feel more centered: Moab, Utah and Tuscany Italy. Check out www.alchemytours.com to join me April, June, or October 2011.  In the meantime let’s stay in touch, the earth is what we have in common.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

PLAYLIST FEBRUARY 9, 2011

Very balanced chill 60 minutes to invoke the earth element and promote grounding, trust and calm.  Perfect for those times you need to quiet the anxious mind or impatient heart.

Shiva Invocation, Shantala

Assyrian Women Mourners, Anja Lechner & Vassilis Tsabropoulos

Realms, Sigal Brier

Duduki, Anja Lechner & Vassilis Tsabropoulos

Pluznick, Raphael & Steve Kindler

Kerala Dream, Shaman’s Dream

Trois morceaux après des hymnes byzantins I, Anja Lechner & Vassilis Tsabropoulos

Trois morceaux après des hymnes byzantins III, Anja Lechner & Vassilis Tsabropoulos

Night Song, Bill Dougrlas / Ty Burhoe / Kai Eckhardt / Steve Smith

Purnamadah, Shantala

Stars (Instrumental), John De Kadt

Interview with Silvia Mordini and Jacob Young

Cyber Interview Courtesy of our Friends at Xinalani Retreat, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Silvia Mordini and Jacob Young, owners of Alchemy Tours, are busy getting ready to escape the wintry Chicago-land area for a luscious tropical escape to Xinalani Retreat in sunny Mexico. In between planning workshops, classes, and music play-lists, we were able to conduct a cyber-interview with them so you can learn more about this world traveling couple and the amazing upcoming retreatthey have planned.

Xinalani: Where did the idea and name for Alchemy Tours come from?

Jacob: It really branched from two things. 1) One of our favorite books is The Alchemist. With that as the somewhat obvious backdrop, it made sense that the alchemy of Silvia’s and my background would blend to create a sort of super trip for people unlike others out there. The yoga and active travel vacation being the alchemy that turns to gold.

Xinalani: How did the two of you meet?

Jacob: We met on a train in Italy…yes, it was one of those romantic things you read about in books, and yes, we get asked every trip about it. Perhaps that is one of the incentives for coming on one of our trips?

Silvia: The way Jacob tells the story makes everyone cry every single time. It was exactly as Rumi writes, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” In that moment of meeting I was returning from a Yoga Retreat in Tuscany where I had found much healing and growth. I had ever more fully let go of the barriers to loving myself. I was truly awake and more openhearted than ever before. And that is when Jacob found me.

Xinalani: What came first your love of travel or movement (yoga, cycling, hiking)?

Jacob: Certainly, for me, it was the movement that came first. Growing up in small-town New Hampshire was not confining to me, because it was all I knew. But from the moment I learned to ride on two wheels, I was gone. I stretched my boundaries constantly, and when I moved across the country my senior year of High School, I became aware of a bigger place around me. Living in Europe the past 8 years (Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain) and guiding in those regions really expanded upon that.

Silvia: For me it would be travel although from an early age my parents tell me I could ski before I could walk, I danced formally and for the pleasure of it, and I was always doing something active Tennis, Swimteam, Biking, Hiking, Running. But even so travel was my greater influence and first love. My Father, Enrico, was at heart a pure adventurer and my Mother’s parents were serious spiritual seekers.

I grew up traveling all over the world with my brother and parents from the time I was an infant. I guess the fact that I love to show other people the beauty of the world through Yoga Retreats and Active Vacations shouldn’t surprise anyone since I was born in Ecuador, South America and my Father is from Northern Italy near Modena, and English was my third language.

One could say being a citizen of the world is in my blood. And I learned from my Father, this spirit of Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha, to dream the impossible. I saw with my own eyes, touched and tasted new flavors, experienced new landscapes and as a result I learned about myself. Every time I traveled somewhere I came back different, I was changed and knew that anything was possible.

Xinalani: What is your favorite part about going on retreat?

Jacob: Getting past the small talk and really getting to know people. Then, sharing with them the best parts of this new region they are visiting is fulfilling in a very unique way.
Silvia: I am always humbled by the ways our small tribes of Alchemy Tours grow fond of one another and unconditionally supportive of each other’s growth. In the corporate world we used to talk about teaming together, but you wouldn’t often really see it. Experiencing the loving group dynamic gives me great hope that little by little all people everywhere will one day be able to share this same yoga, or union of spirit and respect.

Xinalani: Describe one of the funniest adventures you’ve had on one of your trips?

Silvia: You will find us always laughing on our trips. When people feel safe and nurtured they are their funniest selves!

Xinalani: How do you see people changed by going on retreat?

Jacob: Without fail, people change after our retreats. Mark Twain sums it up when he says, “The enemy of prejudice is travel.” People learn more about themselves, and the yoga that Silvia teaches while on retreat is her to the max. If you have never experienced a Silvia class, you are in for a treat.

Xinalani: Describe a perfect day at home and then on retreat?

Jacob: A perfect day at home is waking up and enjoying a neighborhood run or a group ride. Coming home to relish in a relaxing brunch. Heading down to the farmer’s market to dream up an elaborate dinner, then going home to cook and enjoy quality time with those I love. On retreat, my perfect day is showing a group of people my favorite place in a given region…I am blessed to do this regularly.

Xinalani: When did you last have the most fun?

Silvia: Today. Without a doubt, I wake up and say to myself and all those around me “this is the best day ever”. And it is. I can make fun out of anything and anywhere, even chair pose or going up a crazy steep climb on two wheels.

Xinalani: What do you do when not guiding or leading a retreat?

Silvia: I own a successful yoga studio in Chicagoland Total Body Yoga, named the best Yoga Studio of 2010. We have over 50 weekly classes and a team of 15 teachers in 3,900 square feet of wellness space and have happily welcomed over 8,000 students in 8 years. And as a studio owner I have always been a full-time yoga teacher as well. And most of all, when not on retreat I dive deep into being the best student of yoga. I take daily classes and live by the words of Michelangelo when he was in his nineties, “Ancora Imparo” (I am still learning.) However my greatest joy when not guiding others comes from being a good friend, partner, lover, daughter, sister and one day a mom too.

Xinalani: How important is music in your life? What music do you play in yoga class?

Jacob: Music for me is life. I love music because it can not only infuse emotion to a situation but can also be a very powerful tool and motivator.
Silvia: My life is constantly flowing with a soundtrack. My yoga has a soundtrack too. I take great pride in putting together a gourmet experience of sound in creating a new and unique play-list for every class to complement the mood, the time of year, day, bhava (feeling) of the experience. And I love receiving and sharing new music with friends!

Here are two play-lists I just created for our Xinalani Retreat.

PLAYLIST:
Om Shreem Shriyei, Steve Gold
Count Your Blessings, Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
The Ave, Blue Scholars
POWER, Kanye West
Miss Teardrops, Felix Laband
Govinda Fly, Sharon Gannon (Mixed By Mike D)
Alors On Danse, Stromae
Trapped In My Mind, Kid Cudi
Motion Movement, Blue Scholars
What a Feeling, Collie Buddz
Meditate, (feat. Gabriel Teodros & Khingz) Suntonio Bandanaz
Hey Baby, Stephen Marley featuring Mos Def
Afterlife, Glorybox

PLAYLIST:
Flip Ya Lid, Nightmares On Wax
Under Pressure, Queen & David Bowie
Diarabi, Issa Bagayogo
Mamacita, Collie Buddz
Clothes Drop, Shaggy
Breathe, Stretch, Shake, Mase
Breathe, Alexi Murdoch
Twist, Xavier Rudd
Jamaican In New York, Shinehead
The End, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Drive, Ziggy Marley
Enchantment, Corinne Bailey Rae
Something So Right, Paul Simon
Purnamadah, Shantala
Shavasana/Deep Relaxation, Shiva Rea

Xinalani: How did you first hear about Xinalani Retreat in Mexico, and why did you choose Xinalani for your retreat?

Silvia: I have been traveling to Puerto Vallarta with my parents and brother since I was a little girl. I love it there! I find the energy of the people and the place so deeply generous that when Yoga Journal named Xinalani one of the top 10 yoga retreat centers in the world I knew I had to bring folks there. I saw myself doing something like this in Puerto Vallarta in a dream many years ago. And now the dream is coming true!

Xinalani: Where do you go next? What comes next for Alchemy Tours?

Silvia: We have 11 retreats planned for this year. Our schedule is:
April 2-5, 2011 Pagosa Springs, Colorado – Yoga, Skiing and Snowboarding
April 16, -19, 2011 Moab, Utah – Arches National Park Yoga and Mountain Biking
June 19-25, 2011 Tuscany, Italy – Yoga, Cycling and Cultural Adventure
July 2-9, 2011 Dolomites, Italy (Sellaronda Bike Day is 7/3/2011) Yoga, Hiking and Cycling
August 4-7, 2011 Seattle, Washington Wallace Lodge – Yoga, Beers and Bikes
Oct 16-22, 2011 Tuscany, Italy – Yoga, Cycling and Cultural Adventure
Oct 28-31, 2011 Moab, Utah – Canyonland National Park Yoga and Mountain Biking
Sept 2-5, 2011 Sonoma, California – Yoga, Wine & Cycling
Nov 24-28, 2011 Sayulita, Mexico Yoga & Surfing Retreat at Haramara Resort
Dec 18-23, 2011 Big Island, Hawaii, Yoga, Kayaking and Cycling

We hope to meet new friends at one of our upcoming retreats!

Links:
http://www.silviamordini.com
http://www.jacobmyoung.com
Join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alchemy-Tours/127736747267720

Salt Water Heals Anything

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.”
–Isak Dinesen

February 8, 2011.  I have found great healing both on and off the yoga mat, on a bike,  trail running both sweating and crying at the same time.  Maybe that makes the cure of salt water even more efficient? I find the same benefits from sweat and tears as a I do when I visit the ocean.

There is something that transforms itself from the inside out.  I leave the sea feeling cleansed and ever more hopeful.  I would love for you to have this same healing experienced.  Come experience the cure of 7 days of yoga, living looking out at the sea, playing in the water, walking the sandy beaches at Xinalani February 26 – March 5, 2011.

Your time is now to promote your own healing. There is no good that comes from postponing the cure and I speak of this from experience. With no regrets, just a suggestion I wish I would have followed sooner, invest in your own healing. The cure is always within your power to choose! Love yourself, love you day, love your life! Silvia  (www.silviamordini.com to join me for regular yoga classes)

Your Life GPS: Where are you going this Year?

February 5, 2011. Just a year ago I used GPS for the first time. I get the idea. You plug in where you want to go and it helps guide you there. The key point being you KNOW where you want to go. Yoga to me has been that which helps us ask the question “who am I” and eventually we get to the “why am I here” and even further down the path “WHERE THE HELL AM I GOING?” So this concept of GPS is pretty vibrant.

If you can get to the point that you know where you want to go then you know your spiritual maturity is evolving in the right direction. Until I finally decide to go to Tuscany on a Yoga Retreat one year I just played at entering a real GPS for my life. Then from that point forward I got clear. I want that for you. Get on the mat, do the practice, get your destination in gear and watch what happens. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

    PART OF MY PLAYLIST TODAY 2/5/11

Hard Sun (Main), Eddie Vedder
Nogo, Issa Bagayogo
Break Your Heart, Taio Cruz Feat. Ludacris
Vamos A Bailar, Gipsy Kings
Tighten Up ,The Black Keys
Express Yourself, Mocean Worker Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street
Mr Big Stuff, Jean Knight
Dedication, Kirby Shelstad
AMAZING GRACE

Join us on an amazing spiritual adventure http://www.alchemytours.com or come take class with me http://www.silviamordini.com