Good Grape! Gundlach Bundshu Sonoma

Our friends at Gundlach Bundshu Winery in Sonoma take their sustainability seriously. We will be here May 25, 26, 27, 2012 for our Wine and Wellness Yoga, Cycling Retreat but whether you can join us or not read more about them at http://www.gunbun.com/

Here below is some of their inspiring work straight from their website. Enjoy!

SUSTAINABILITY

“At Gundlach Bundschu we define sustainability broadly, seeking not only to be responsible stewards of the land, but also to preserve this land for future generations of our family. There is nothing static about this view of sustainability—it requires innovation and action. We believe that preserving the unique ecosystem of Rhinefarm is essential to wine quality, as well as to the health of our family and business.

The introduction of beneficial predators, from owls and bluebirds to beetles and mites, and intensive pest monitoring allows us to minimize the use pesticides and herbicides. Cover crops contribute vital diversity and nutrition to the soils, and we utilize registered organic compounds and practices whenever possible. Vigilant management of our acute deficit irrigation program and water reclamation ponds promote conservation, recycling 70% of winery water. We continually seek ways to enhance environmental quality and make the most efficient use of resources.

In November 2008, two new solar arrays were installed on our property. The first, a 1.3 acre 80kw system, provides 60% of the winery power. The second, a “floatovoltaic” system, is the first of its kind in Sonoma County. The panels float on our ponds and provide 100% of the power to our water reclamation system.

In June 2009, Gundlach Bundschu received our certification as a Bay Area Green Business from Sonoma County. In 2012, we received our Fish Friendly Farming certification.”

Do You Need Some Wine & Wellness? And some Yoga and Cycling fun too!

April 1, 2012. I am dreaming of the sunshine and a little wellness trip. I know one you might want to join me on on and that is my Sonoma Wine & Wellness, Yoga and Cycling Retreat Memorial Day weekend May 25, 26, 27, 2012. And if you say you saw my BLOG post you’ll get $150 OFF and if you refer a friend you’ll get another $50 OFF! No April Fools Joke here. It’s true! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

SONOMA MAY 25, 26, 27, 2012

This Springtime 3-day Wellness Retreat is the perfect short health break! Our Sonoma Yoga, Wine and Cycling Retreat is ideal if you need time away to rejuvenate and refresh. Enjoy 3 days of elegant wines, gourmet vegetarian cuisine, daily hikes, optional leisurely bicycle rides, private wine tastings, spa treatments, yoga classes, amazing picnic adventures, and the country comfort of Westerbeke Ranch redwood cabins. This is the perfect escape to savor the charm of the Sonoma wine country where everything tantalizes your senses and relaxes your mind. Your days begin and end with vinyasa yoga to energize and rejuvenate you on all levels, but there will be time to sit on your sun deck, take a dip in the pool and relax in the Jacuzzi. And enjoy an unforgettable excursion to the Calistoga Hot Springs.

If you are looking for a weekend getaway that packs a great vintage, this Wine Country yoga tour will exceed your expectations! The perfect short break away to de-stress.

INVESTMENT: $699.00

NOT INCLUDED?
Airfare to and from the trip, gratuities for your guides.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN YOUR INVESTMENT?
• Cycle your yoga as we visit the most amazing Sonoma wineries (including Ravenswood Winery, Scribe, Tin Barn, Gundlach Bundshu and more!) savoring flavorful wine tastings and tours
• Experience the magic of the Calistoga hot springs mineral water and rejuvenation
• Shop in boutiques and visit historic monuments in Sonoma’s town plaza
• Enjoy an informational bike clinic with Jacob Young
• 5 Yoga classes with Silvia Mordini (that’s like a 5 class pack!)
• Receive 2 nights of lodging at Westerbeke Ranch
• Enjoy 3 complete gourmet vegetarian California Country style meals daily
* Guided cycling with experienced guide Jacob Young
• Take advantage of opportunities to get sun, swim, hike and more!
• Dharma talks and life coaching with Jacob and Silvia
• A special goodie bag with loving gifts

WHERE IS WESTERBEKE RANCH, SONOMA?
The Westerbeke Ranch is located five miles west of the town of Sonoma, in the heart of the wine country! They are just 50 miles north of San Francisco and 45 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. 30 minutes eastward are the sloping vineyards of the Napa Valley and the Calistoga mineral spas. In an area abundant with California heritage and natural beauty, Westerbeke Ranch is surrounded by dozens of historical wineries and points of interest. Nearby Glen Ellen is the former home of writer Jack London and the Jack London State Park. Historic Sonoma Plaza, a short five-minute drive away, features many charming shops and restaurants surrounding the original Sonoma Town Plaza. Westerbeke Ranch, our home away from home will allow us to easily cycle our yoga around the entire area!

LODGING
Westerbeke Ranch offers shared accommodations in charming and comfortably furnished redwood cabins. Delightful paths lead to the cabins, which are nestled in the gardens above the pool area. Each cabin has a series of bedrooms with each bedroom having its own bathroom and private entrance.

TO REGISTER AND SAVE YOUR SPOT:
A $500 dollar deposit will reserve your space.

ITINERARY
Day 1 – Friday, May 25, 2012

Afternoon:

11:00am Meet the group depart San Francisco Airport

12:30pm Arrive Westerbeke Ranch

12:30pm Lunch

2:00pm Hike in The Bartholomew Park and Yoga Practice

3:00pm Visit Bartholomew Park Winery and tasting room and museum

4:00pm Winery tours and tastings: Gundlach Bundshu Cave Tasting

Evening:

6:30pm Dinner

8:00pm Restorative Yoga Practice

9:00pm Social and Dharma Talk

Day 2 – Saturday, May 26, 2012

Morning:

7:00am Yoga Practice

8:00am Breakfast

10am Cycling or Shuttle to Wineries (Ravenswood, Scribe Winery, Tin Barn Wineries, and more!)

Afternoon:

12:00pm Cycling or Shuttle to Calistoga mineral spas (enjoy the mineral baths, optional spa appointments)

Lunch on your own in Calistoga

5:00pm Depart for Westerbeke Ranch

Evening:

6:30pm Yoga Practice

8:00pm Final Dinner

9:00pm Social and Dharma Talk

Day 3 – Sunday, May 27, 2012

Morning:

7:00am Meditation

8:00am Breakfast

9:00am Yoga Practice

11:00am Check out & Depart for San Francisco Airport

Afternoon:

12:00pm Picnic Lunch in transit

1:30pm Arrive San Francisco Airport for departures

The Sanctuary at Two Rivers Nicoya Peninsula Costa Rica: Detox, Transform, Evolve

This retreat is designed to take the adventurous yogi to a deeper level of self-awareness and is perfect for those who want to unblock all mental & physical barriers to live the best life ever! Throughout this week, we will embark on a transformative process of mind and body detoxification using a combination of dynamic poses, meditation, journaling and community for an experience of deep connection and awakening. Join us at Costa Rica’s premier 100% Off-The-Grid, Solar Powered, Gourmet Vegetarian Retreat Center where you will live and learn the lessons of one of the Earth’s only five “Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives” according to author Dan Buettner.

Yoga in paradise means we will awaken each morning and end each day with a yoga practice designed to bring awareness and balance. Come unplug in a modern Zen tree house where you have time to relax, read, journal, set mindful goals, rest and renew your entire sense of well-being in between morning yoga, pool yoga, restorative yoga and incredible vegetarian meals. In the afternoon, wander through the Jurassic jungle enjoying adjacent secluded waterfalls or walk 1000 yards to a glorious surf and swimming beach. In many ways, attending a yoga retreat is always a type of overall collaborative experience because it provides you an opportunity to share, have fun and connect with other like-minded people.

Furthermore, as your guides and life coaches with a combined twelve years experience organizing group travel adventures, we are 100% committed to helping you reach your full potential in a friendly, unpretentious, and supportive environment. Join us at this private 40-acre eco-estate exclusive for only 12 guests with minimal mosquitos, comfortable breezes that provides a magical place where you deepen your yoga practice, relax, refresh, detox your body, transform your mind and catalyze change for living a LIFE-inspired!

This trip embodies the vision of transformation. In 7 days you will:
*Integrate Spirit and Nature as you enjoy exceptional yoga, hiking, eco-adventures to a waterfall, horseback riding, connecting with pristine beaches, organic food, and relaxing jungle spa treatments.
*Enjoy camaraderie as you yoga, play and meditate with a group dedicated to doing the same.
*Recharge, refresh and renew, leaving totally more inspired about your life!

Travel to Italy and Celebrate the Art of Enjoyment

When in Tuscany I feel this great sigh of relief, delight, joy and peace all at the same time. From this ahhh feeling I am able to focus my intention on learning or relearning the art of enjoyment. Now I thought I was pretty good at it already, but being in Tuscany shows me I still have a long way to go on my Masters degree in Pleasure. Just like yoga, practice helps. Whether this means finding bliss in celebrating simple but amazing meals without hurry or becoming more present to the quiet beautiful moments like applauding the rising of the moon at night.

Now you should know my Father was born in Italy so I know firsthand that the Italian people have a deep respect for the philosophy of enjoyment. This is the idea of IL BEL FAI NIENTE which means “the beauty of doing nothing.” Remember this passage from Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

“Generally speaking, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused but that’s not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. Of course we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure.) Americans don’t really know how to do nothing.

But against the backdrop of hard work, il bel fai niente, has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. You don’t necessarily have to be rich in order to experience this, either. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich.”

So ask yourself how do you define pleasure? Enjoyment? Joy?
Are you living life “self-specific” or still making everyone else’s opinions more important than your own?

For when you live life on your terms you find the flow. You step into the currents of grace. Rumi says, “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” For many of us Savasana is that first experience of il bel fai niente. It is as Sarah Powers described her first savasana, “naptime, that she experienced an unusual peace, which she pinpointed to an absence of longing, it was clarity with joy underneath, and she decided she had to come back to yoga, that it would be hard but hard didn’t mean bad.”

I hope you join me on our upcoming Tuscany Yoga & Wine, Cycling and Cultural Adventure June 23-30, 2012 to practice the art of enjoying your life! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia

Tuscany Yoga Retreat with Alchemy Tours Testimonials

We asked our Tuscany guests three questions:
1. What aspect of your life transformed the most (physically, mentally, emotionally)?

2. Why do you think a yoga retreat can inspire you?

3. How did your Yoga Retreat help you make positive changes in your life?

We are really humbled by the overwhelming response some of which we are sharing here. If you are considering going on an Italy Yoga Retreat, read this first and think about whether any of this resonates with where you are at in your life right now? We are dedicated to helping serve your journey to make that quantum leap to a happier, more focused life…a life of purpose, a life INSPIRED. Join us in Tuscany June 23-30, 2012! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

Yogi 1:

Going on retreat allows you to open your eyes to who you are other than what you do. Diving into the unknown, surrounded by and dependent on the kindness of strangers, means you have nothing to fall back on but who you are when you come to your mat. You can’t rest on your business card, your resume, your social circle, your partner, your history. And you aren’t framed by those facets either: meeting people and a place without the structure of pre-conceptions means that you come exactly as your own self. You may not know your own self particularly well; you may be unsure of who he or she is. But on retreat, that’s all you start with, what you build upon. Connections come from the space in between what we do and who we are on paper; retreat gives us time to explore and relish in those sometimes far too small spaces from where each breath arises.

Yogi 2:
I went on a yoga retreat with Alchemy Tours in October of 2011. I was in a place where I was feeling like I needed to do something for myself to reconnect and gain clarity on my life. Do all this while practicing yoga and cycling in the hills of Tuscany? Sign me up! I didn’t know quite what I was searching for, but called it my “Eat, Pray, Love” trip. On the retreat I found myself laughing and feeling happier than I had in months; while also gaining the confidence through self reflection that I truly am in charge of how I want my life to unfold. Since returning, I have been making small changes that are the building blocks to creating a more satisfying/fulfilling professional and personal life. And most of all, I can’t wait to go on another retreat.

Yogi 3:
How did your Yoga Retreat help you make positive changes in your life? I went to Tuscany by myself to explore everything that the Yoga Retreat through Alchemy Tours could and would offer. I discovered that I could travel alone, make great friends of all ages and backgrounds and could be my complete self. Silvia & Jake are more than friends, they are my inspirations to follow a life I love and make no excuses.

What aspect of your life transformed the most (physically, mentally, emotionally)? For me, the biggest changes were mentally. Waking up early to attend a morning yoga class, taking walks and choosing to participate in activities that were offered were all choices I made based on what I wanted to do. Doing yoga with Silvia is more like a life walk. She takes you through the beginning, building up your confidence, letting you shine in the peak poses and lets you feel okay with relaxing at the end.

Yogi 4:
How did your Yoga Retreat help you make positive changes in your life?
Before the yoga retreat, I was looking to reconnect with my wife and myself. The retreat helped in so many different ways with just those things, as well as opening up some amazing new friendships. I felt like a totally new person afterwards.

What aspect of your life transformed the most (physically, mentally, emotionally)?
Before the trip, I was a bit run down from work life. While attending the retreat and afterwards, I became so much more aware of what I needed in order to deal with the mental and emotional stresses of work and gained a new level of respect for what laughter can do to enlighten my life and the lives of others.

Why do you think a yoga retreat can inspire you?
If you are looking for a truly different type of vacation, a yoga retreat can open your eyes to not only the physical beauty surrounding you, but can fully awaken the soul within all of us through the love and laughter shared by the group. Put yourself out there and go!

Yogi 5:
One of the best choices I ever made was going to Tuscany with Silvia and Jake. Not only is this part of Italy gorgeous, I learned so much about myself… not to mention the amazing food and yoga everyday. I highly suggest you go. It will be a trip you never forget.

Yogi 6:
Silvia has asked us to share our thoughts on the Tuscany retreat, and I am happy to share some of my experiences with you.

There are a few aspects that I would like to touch upon, first, the tour guides – Silvia and Jake are wonderful. I’m not sure if you are totally new to both of these people, but I believe you and your wife will really enjoy them. Silvia has been an inspiration in my life for about 6 years now and I consider myself very lucky to have stumbled upon her studio back then. She is an insightful and loving teacher who has lifted me up more times that I could ever keep track of. I met Jake on the retreat and found him to be a very fun and enjoyable person. He is really down to earth and kind as well.

The farm house – we stayed at Ebbio, was awesome. It was very charming and beautiful. The atmosphere is so relaxing and comfortable. Our host Franz was also very entertaining and charming.

Tuscany, Sienna and surrounding areas – all of the day trips that we did were wonderful. There are so many intersting and amazingly beautiful places. The culture is so enjoyable as well. In addition to the retreat trips, I was able to add a few days on both in front of the retreat and on the end of the retreat to enjoy even more of Italy. Everything was amazing, so depending upon your tastes and desires you may wish to add on a few days if possible and see more as well.

Lastly, but definitely not least, the yoga two times a day was a wonderful way to begin and end each day. If only I could manage to do that at home! 🙂 Someday…

Yogi 7:
I wanted to be sure to tell you I had an absolutely marvelous time. You and Jacob did an excellent job planning and executing a wonderful experience for us all. You are one of the best and most inspiring yoga teachers that I have met and practiced with, and I have done workshops and retreats with many very good ones, some quite ‘famous’! I regret that I can’t practice with you at your studio on a regular basis. You have such a gift for teaching and such of depth of knowledge and training, in both the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga. And you clearly embody all that you teach, I admire your sense of peace, calm, and thoughtfulness – you are beautiful inside and out – I want to bring more of these attributes into my life.

It was a wonderful group of people, and a big part of the fun. I just loved the country and the Italian people, Ebbio was such a magical place, right in the middle of a magical region. I love these types of vacations, it reinforced my preference to limit all the museums and cathedrals, etc. – they are good in small doses, but I would much rather explore the culture of an area by doing the types of things we did. I definitely want to go on another trip with you and Jacob. Thank you again for a wonderful experience and I look forward to future trips.

Yogi 8:
How did your Yoga Retreat help you make positive changes in your life?
I went into the retreat with intentions to re-connect with myself and my husband, which I definitely accomplished, and as a bonus I built many new connections and developed lasting friendships.

What aspect of your life transformed the most (physically, mentally, emotionally)?
Physically, mentally and emotionally I felt transformed. The physical components were great, as was the extremely healthy diet, and although I ate like I was on vacation, I came back feeling healthier and few pounds lighter from all of the yoga and cycling. Mentally, I was in a state of bliss from the amazing surroundings, stress free environment, and wonderful people I was able to share the experience with. Emotionally, I felt like I gained a greater understanding about what is really important and a greater sense of my life’s purpose.

Why do you think a yoga retreat can inspire you?
Exploring a new environment through yoga and seeing the “yoga” in everything was very inspiring, as was all the love, laughter, and living life!

Yogi 9:
I hope you are considering the Alchemy Tours trip to Tuscany! I went July 2010 and it was truly amazing. I travel quite a bit, so I tend to have high expectations. I can honestly say this trip was beyond my expectations! I’m not sure how anyone couldn’t enjoy staying on a Tuscan farm, touring Tuscan cities, village and vineyards, wine testing, eating amazing food, shopping, biking, yoga and swimming in the Mediterranean!

I’m not sure if you’ll be staying in the same place, but Ebbio was fantastic. If you’re looking for an authentic Tuscan experience, you really can’t beat staying at an organic family farm in the heart of Tuscany. The food was out of this world – fresh, delicious and abundant! I still have dreams about the gnocchi.

I had never been on a group tour before, so I was a little nervous going in. I only knew a couple people from yoga class, and I just recently met them, so it was a big decision for me to go basically on my own. Everyone on the tour was friendly, easy-going and interesting. I realized that you really can’t go wrong traveling with people who do yoga, even if you don’t know them going in. We had an absolute blast together! By the end of the trip, I considered everyone a good friend.

I also liked that I had the freedom to do (or not do) anything the group was doing. If you wanted to do yoga, great. If you wanted to sleep in or take a walk around the farm, no one made you feel bad about doing whatever you needed/wanted to do at the moment.

Jake and Silvia took care of everything too, so it was never stressful. They had everything meticulously planned, but they weren’t rigid about it. They were flexible, accommodating and made adjustments so everyone was able to get the most out of the trip. I felt that they truly cared about us, were tuned into what we needed and did everything they could to make it an experience of a lifetime for everyone.

How to Speak a little Italian while on an Italy Yoga Retreat

One of my favorite parts of the Italian experience is hearing and speaking the language. I would love to have you join me on our Inspired Travel Alchemy Tours Tuscany Yoga & Wine, Cycling and Cultural Adventure June 23-30, 2012! And in preparation here’s a little bit of what to practice saying. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

WHAT TO SAY

Fortunately, getting around in Italy with little or no exposure to the Italian language is not very difficult. The Italians are, by nature, outgoing and often appreciate even the slightest attempt at communicating in Italian. Here are some useful words and phrases to help you get started:

English Italian

Yes / No Si / No

Hello / Hi / Goodbye Ciao

Please Per Favore

Thank you Grazie

You’re welcome Prego

Excuse me Mi scuzi

I’m sorry Mi dispiace

Good morning Buongiorno

Good evening Buona sera

Good night Buona notte

Goodbye Arrivederci

To the left A la sinistra

To the right A la destra

Straight ahead Sempre dritto

Bicycle Bicicletta

Hotel Albergo

Why Self-Discovery leads to Happiness

According to New York Times bestselling author, Dan Buettner, in his book THRIVE there are 6 key things he discovered as the keys to personal happiness. While on a yoga retreat we really concentrate on a number of these 6 factors. Today would like to talk about the importance of Self-Discovery while on retreat.

Mr Buettner says Self-understanding is one of the six key contributors to happiness. He writes, “People who can articulate their life purpose in one sentence are 20% happier than those who can’t.” While on retreat you are in contact with like-minded, interesting people that support your personal growth through on-going interaction.

Yoga is a journey into our own uniqueness. It is a story of rediscovery for most of us. What with all the noise, static and stress of daily life we often lose track of who we are and what our purpose is. My greatest teaching intention is that you discover the uniqueness of you and bring it forth into the other 23 hours off the mat day in and day out.

We achieve this from a yogic view because we study ourselves through ourselves. The Journey becomes our destination, one of continued self-discovery. Going on retreat gives us time and a safe space to ask ourselves that timeless question, WHERE AM I GOING, what is my purpose?

Take to heart the powerful words of Mary Oliver who writes:
“When it’s over, I don’t want to wonderIf I have made of my life something particular and real.I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, Or full of argument.I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” Take time to book a wellness break for yourself and get 20% happier by using time for self-reflection to promote your self-expression. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

PS A PERFECT RETREAT FOR YOU WOULD BE COSTA RICA AUGUST 11-18, 2012. ONLY 12 GUESTS AT THE SANCTUARY AT TWO RIVERS.