How to Make an Aperol Spritz

A personal favorite of ours! Even when we drink this at home, it feels like a little bit of Tuscany is still with us.

What is Aperol? Aperol is an Italian orange liqueur. It has become Italy’s most popular light spirit. Aperol Spritz is only 7 to 8% alcohol

What you Need:
Ice Cubes (approximately 3 or 4 ice cubes)
2 to 3 ounces Prosecco or any sparkling wine
1 1/2 ounces Aperol*
Splash of soda water, sparkling water, mineral water, or Club Soda
Orange wedge or slice (blood red orange preferred)

Siena_ilpatio
Preparation:
Fill a glass (highball glass or white wine glass) 1/4 full with ice cubes (you want to chill the drink and not water it down). Pour in the Prosecco and then top with Aperol. Add the soda water. Stir gently until mixed.

Garnish with an orange slice (either add slice of orange, twisting to release some juice and placing in the glass or simply use orange slice as garnish).

Makes 1 serving.

Italy Yoga Retreat Mindfulness Practice

In June I will return to Italy where I am always more conscious of the pacing of life. In the art cities like Siena and Florence the cadence of one’s walk is mindful, never too fast (whether or not you’re walking in heels on cobble stoned streets.) And in the Tuscan countryside the way in which one eats and drinks is even slower so as to savor the tastes completely. Then my travels will bring me to the warmest sun of all, that of the Amalfi area of Southern Italy. There I reconnected to the Sun in the most splendid way while living on Ischia!

And what I observe when living in the sun is that you move more slowly.

Tuscanycollage2013I am inspired to bring this learning back into the practice of Sun Salutations, Surya Namaskar, in yoga class too. There is nothing natural about practicing our Sun Salutes at break neck speed. If that’s the pace then your breath speeds up in a frenetic way causing your mind and body to overheat. You leave feeing frantic even if at first you misidentify this as “energized”.

Try it for yourself, on a sunny day go run around as fast as you can and then observe whether or not you feel more or less connected to your life. For me, I only ever want to feel more, and let light make me see more too. I don’t want to rush in my yoga because I’ve found that rushing in my life only led me to emotional and mental burn-out.

Yoga empowers us to be present to our magnificence but not manic. It is as Stephen Covey writes, “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Celebrating which in sanskrit is “Namaskar” requires us to enjoy the light of each moment. Therefore Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutations, are a traditional way to celebrate mindfully the light within us for each of us is self-effulgent like the Sun.

We have no need to prove anything or create undue friction by going too fast. As Hafiz so eloquently puts it,

“I am happy even before I have a reason. I am full of Light even before the sky. Can greet the sun or the moon.”

Today practice Sun Salutation A and B with this awareness. Even practice outside on a sunny day. And for variation in Warrior A try this:

*Inhale reach up from your waist say to yourself “I am celebrating!”
*Exhale hands behind your back in yoga mudra, breath in, breath out and fold, “I am releasing.”
*Inhale reach up
*Exhale open your arms into prana mudra say to yourself “I am receiving”

As you celebrate your life, share your brilliance from the inside out and receive the warm blessing of the sun into your heart. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
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Fashionable Yogis

Ciao Fashionable Yogis! If you, like me, love yoga and fashion then join me for some retail therapy in Italy this summer! Tuscany Retreat June 22-29 & Amalfi Eco-Luxury Retreat July 1-7! We will be living on Ischia, and learning the secrets to the fountain of youth!

PS I bought these boots shown here in Naples last summer, still my all-time faves. Can’t wait to be back there again! Do the things you LOVE.

http://www.alchemytours.com/2013/01/amalfi-ischia-yogaretreat/7/

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How to Speak Italian

One of my favorite parts of the Italian experience is hearing and speaking the language. I would love to have you join us on our Inspired Travel Alchemy Tours Tuscany Yoga & Wine, Cycling and Cultural Adventure June 22-29, 2013 or Amalfi Adventure July 1-7, 2013! 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

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Italy Yoga Retreat Where is Ischia

#1 question I get asked about my AMALFI ADVENTURE ECO-LUXURY YOGA RETREAT, JULY 1-7, 2013 is “where is Ischia?”

AWESOME DISCOUNT OF 3 OR MORE SIGNING UP TOGETHER = $150 OFF PER PERSON. Details herehttp://www.alchemytours.com/2013/01/amalfi-ischia-yogaretreat/

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$200 OFF for Sun Lovers, Beach Afficianados: The Perfect Summer Vacation!

Ciao Sun Lovers & Beach Goers!

The Summer Solstice of June 21 is getting closer! We will celebrate it by returning on our epic Tuscany Retreat in Italy June 22-29–and as passionate as we are about Tuscany, because we have both lived and breathed there for many years. We are off to the ocean! If you want to:

1. Soak up the Sun
2. Build Sandcastles
3. Rest, Relax, Reflect
4. Collect Seashells
5. Drink wine, enjoy endless limoncello
6. Enjoy ancient spa remedies & healing hot springs

Then this means you’re beach lovers like us. You should know we’re also both Water signs so wearing shoes generally feels over-dressed. Pack some swimsuits, and let’s adventure in barefeet together on the Amalfi Coast July 1-7th living on Ischia! Salute the SUN for REAL!

Grazie mille,
Jake and Silvia
Fun Leaders, Alchemy Tours

*PS Photos are of Ischia!

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Solar and Lunar Energies in Tuscany

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One of the most impressive cultural experiences that have changed my life from living in Italy is the appreciation of Sun and Moon energies. The history of honoring the Sun in the land of Tuscany is epic. There are all sorts of rituals and celebrations surrounding solar energy. And just as important Italy is a place where in the evening people stand up and cheer at the moon! Appreciation of getting Moon baths is equal in importance to enjoying the sun. Here are three poems to inspire the solar, lunar and balance of energies within us and outside us. Remember your right side represents the Solar/Masculine energy and your left side represents the Lunar/Feminine energy. Both are constantly at play.

With That Moon Language by Hafiz

“Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud,
otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this,
this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives
with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying, with that sweet moon vision,
what every other eye in this world is dying to see?”

The Sun Rays By Peter S Quinn

The sun rays in your eye,
The love you’re giving that I have found;
Like sun that shines though the sky,
Each love must be worth and sound.
The sun that shines each day,
The love you gave from your heart;
What matter what we do or say,
Never let it depart.

Each heart is broken only once
And never grows from sorrow,
Let there never be no bygones
Not today nor tomorrow.

Sun rays oh sun rays
Never hide behind a cloud,
Sun rays all my days
That’s what love’s all about;
Give me no raining shower thought,
Nor glimpse of shadows I’ve caught.

THE SUN AND THE MOON BY The Poet Keri, Age 11

The Sun and the Moon shine again.
The Sun and the Moon the lights of our days.
The Sun and the Moon, making their amends.
The Sun and the Moon, shining their rays in different ways.
The Sun and the Moon, what light up day and night.
The Sun and the Moon, ones that never fight.
The Sun and the Moon, different but the same.
The Sun and the Moon, on two sides of a frame.
The Sun and the Moon, shining their rays in different ways.
The Sun and the Moon, making their amends.
The Sun and the Moon, the lights of our days.
The Sun and the Moon shine again!
Yoga in Tuscany, at Soul Space Gabriella-2

Namaste Italy

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We all know how to appreciate others. It’s something we can practice every day with very little effort. And when we appreciate other people, it reminds us and them of how great they are.

Essentially this is what we mean by “namah”.

Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.” Or in my interpretation, I celebrate your greatness. And by saying this to each other we come together to honor our innate potential to make the world ever more beautiful.

You can also Namaste a place. Italy is one of those places for me.

I Namaste Italy.

*Join us on retreat in Tuscany June 22 -29, 2013 or Amalfi Coast July 1-7, 2013. Namaste with us!

Italy Yoga Retreat Summer 2013

Florencepromo2013I would love for you to join our 8 Day Italian Adventure to Tuscany, Italy led by me and International Travel Guide Jacob Young. We are both passionate about Tuscany, have lived in Italy, and are experienced in the culture! We will be guests at Antico Borgo di Tignano recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site focusing on Tuscan traditions. Stay in your own 10th century restored villa with 1, 2, or 3 bedroom options all with private baths. Peacefully nestled into the hills with epic views of Casole d’Elsa and Volterra in the distance, this is the perfect entryway into the Tuscan countryside. We will travel to many famous Art Cities, including: Florence, Monteriggioni, Siena, Radda in Chianti, San Gimignano, Castellina in Chianti, Tignano, Petriolo Natural Hot Springs & Spa, The Mediterranean, Casole d’Elsa, and Colle Val d’Elsa. Many people decide to spend some time after our trip, to build on the foundation, and we highly recommend it!

Come experience personal growth and a retreat like no other where you can investigate the deepest dimensions of your yoga practice with guided journaling and supportive life coaching all while exploring the rich Italian culture by biking, hiking and walking tours. Truly enjoying being under the Tuscan sun as you lie by the pool or stroll the vineyards. Here is an opportunity to celebrate life and experience the infectious enthusiasm Italians have for their country. Frances Mayes, author of Under The Tuscan Sun puts it best: “Life offers you a thousand chances…all you have to do is take one.”

SPECIAL TUSCAN CULTURAL ADVENTURES ON RETREAT:
Day 1: Arrivals Florence, Deplane Yoga, Walking Tour Tignano, Welcome dinner
Day 2: Monteriggioni & Siena afternoon; aperitivo on il Campo
Day 3: Cycling to Colle Val d’Elsa morning, afternoon Radda in Chianti Private Wine Tasting & walking tour, Gelato in Castellina in Chianti
Day 4: Cycling morning Loop Ride back to Tignano, Volterra afternoon walking tour and shopping
Day 5: Cycling morning, San Gimignano, wine and cheese tasting & lunch
Day 6: Morning drive to the Mediterranean relax on the beach, afternoon lunch and visit to Petriolo Natural Hot Springs & Spa
Day 7: Visit Casole d’Elsa, Tuscan Cooking Class, evening dinner party!
Day 8: Final Yoga, Breakfast and Departures

RESERVATIONS:
$500 deposit to hold your spot.
Book now at http://www.alchemytours.com Please email hello@alchemytours.com or call 872-228-9642 (2AT-YOGA)

INVESTMENT: REFER A FRIEND EARN $75
$1999 Triple
$2400 Double
$2700 Single

INCLUDED IN THE TRIP PRICE:
• 7 nights/8 days of accommodation in 1, 2 bedroom apartments with private baths
• Delicious daily breakfast, lunch, dinner and all snacks and drinks for each day’s activities
• Airport transfers
• All day trips and walking tours
• Private wine tours and tastings
• Social hours on select evenings
• Traditional Tuscan cooking class
• Italian language class
• All private transportation during the trip
• Visits with ALL transportation included to Art Cities: Florence, Monteriggioni, Siena, Radda in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti, Tignano, Petriolo Natural Hot Springs & Spa, The Mediterranean, Casole d’Elsa, Colle Val d’Elsa
• Soaking in the healing waters of the Petriolo hot springs
• 12 Yoga classes with Silvia Mordini
• Restorative Yoga
• Guided Meditation Practice and Pranayama
• Partner Yoga
• Goal writing and wellness coaching
• Private evening Dharma talks facilitated by your Guides Jacob and Silvia
• Entrance fees to all group events
• Informational cycling and safety clinic with Jacob Young
• A quality bicycle and an experienced cycling guide with knowledge of the greatest rides in the region
• All gratuities for special events, transfers, lodging and meals.
• A special goodie bag with trip-specific comfort items
• Comprehensive trip literature

NOT INCLUDED IN TRIP PRICE:
Airfare to and from the trip and gratuities for your guides.

WHERE WE WILL STAY
We will be guests at Antico Borgo di Tignano–a classic Tuscan farmhouse which our friend, Gabriella amalficollagebeautyhas converted into a stylish yoga retreat center. Gabriella guided a team of architects and licensed contractors to renovate this medieval village and now you get to see the completion of her vision. With epic views of Casole d’Elsa and Volterra in the distance, this is the perfect entryway into the Tuscan countryside.

The actual Borgo was a 16th century rural residence. Its original name, Borgo di Tignano, has Roman origins. It is the probable birth-place, in the 4th century, of Saint Attinia, a venerated saint from the Volterra area. Amongst its illustrious guests in the 1800’s, during the time the Borgo was a summer retreat from the ‘Scolopi‘ fathers, was Pope Pius the ninth. This Borgo is overall a place to enjoy with your heart, surrounded by a soft landscape and a peculiar light which often brings back forgotten emotions.

In the local tradition, one says that the Berignone Forest, which faces the Borgo, is what inspired Dante Alighieri to write about the “Selva Oscura”–the location in which his Divine Comedy story starts.

The gardens of the Borgo, with lavendar-lined paths combine with aromatic herbs, juniper hedges, myrtle and evergreens to reproduce a Mediterranean environment. The characteristic ‘Osteria’, which used to be the old olive press, is the ideal place for a romantic candlelight dinner overlooking the amazing countryside, or a light lunch on the panoramic terrace.

A beautiful, large swimming pool and lounge area welcome you to get the most out of the sun. There is a reading room that also has a wireless internet point. There is a golf course within 30 minutes drive from the Borgo.

THE YOGA SPACE
The yoga room is a large room (about 90 square meters) with tile floor and natural light.

MEALS
Gabriella is not only a great architect, but she is also an amazing chef. She takes joy in delighting your palate with her favorite, local dishes–which is the best way to discover the authentic, Tuscan cuisine.

ACCOMMODATIONS
Accommodation is in apartments with one, two or three bedrooms; all bedrooms have private bath.

All the apartments are independent, personalized and fully furnished, with ample garden and terrace areas for leisure. The perfume of flowers and plants surround the swimming pool.

*Visit http://www.alchemytours.com/2011/01/tuscany-2013/ for more details

Tuscany Yoga Retreat 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. 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 dsc01770pre-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 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 was awesome. It was very charming and beautiful. The atmosphere is so relaxing and comfortable. 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. 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 Silvia 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!

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.
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