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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How to Make Limoncello

What is the famous drink of the Amalfi area?

The region is famous for Limoncello! Traditionally made from the zest of Sorrento lemons, zest/peel & steeped in grain alcohol until the oil is released. The resulting yellow liquid is then mixed with a simple syrup – yummy & delicious!

Come taste for yourself July 1-7, 2013! Join us living on Ischia for an adventure of a lifetime. Learn more http://www.alchemytours.com

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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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My Love of the Ocean

oceanstirscollageMay 11, 2013. I am pinch me excited to be returning to the Italy this summer to lead two yoga retreats and to spend more time than ever on the beach! Join me won’t you? xoxo

“To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.” -Isaac Newton

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul.” -Wyland

(Amalfi Adventure is for lovers of the ocean, Ischia shown here)

ABOUT OUR AMALFI ADVENTURE JULY 1-7, 2013:

Are you looking for paradise? Well, we’ve found it and want to share it with you! Come experience a retreat like none other on the famous “Green Island!” Right next to the more famous Isle of Capri, the greener sister Island of Ischia (pronounced Iss-Key-Ah) has a more natural, untouched feel. As one of the world’s first health spa destinations, Italians (and Romans, before that) in the know would flock to Ischia to indulge in its mineral-rich volcanic mud and waters. Today, Italian Doctors literally prescribe time here to reap the benefits of bathing in the healing springs. Just off the Amalfi Coast, Ischia boasts natural wonders such a dormant volcano, lush gardens, thermal spas, clear beaches, ancient ruins, and endless views across the Bay of Naples.

We will be guests at the pristine Villa Lina, which is situated perfectly on a quiet nestle of olive trees and overlooks the Mediterranean. Soak in the incredible pool—filled with the famous thermal waters from an aquifer 150 meters below the island. Relax on the panoramic sun decks with breath-taking views. Take time to stroll the olive grove and lemon tree-lined terraces, gardens, and hiking trails to the beach. We will hold twice daily yoga classes in one of two amazing yoga spaces (one indoor and one outdoor), both overlooking the sea and lush vegetation.

But we will enjoy so much more than just yoga! We will ride Vespas to visit ancient port villages sailingamalfi(such as the picturesque Castello Aragonese). Enjoy artisanal shopping in Ischia Porto. Look for the famous thermal mud bath treatments, rucolino liquors, lemon candies, or the handmade sandals. We will watch the sun rise from Monte Epomeo, and enjoy a hike to the natural thermal seaside cave of Baia di Sorgeto. Visit the lovely town of Sant’ Angelo and spend a day at one of Ischia’s popular thermal spa parks where you can hop from pool to thermal pool experiencing various temperatures, ancient therapy techniques, and opt for some treatments like a massage or facial. The week will end with an exciting boat ride to Capri, where we will see the hidden beaches and grottos where we will swim where the romans did, in the ancient ocean waterfalls.

In addition to all its natural wonders, one of the most appealing things about Ischia is the hospitality of the people themselves. You’re sure to enjoy the island’s welcome and relaxed way of life during your stay.

SPECIAL WELLNESS PROGRAMS DURING OUR 7 DAYS:
Day 1: Arrivals Naples, Ferry to Ischia, Evening Yoga, Welcome Social Hour and dinner
Day 2: Ischia Porto: Visit to the Castello Aragonese, shopping, beach
Day 3: Ride motos to Baia di Sorgeto (open thermal beach) and visit Forio
Day 4: Wellness Day at Thermal Spa Park with 10 pools, Cooking class
Day 5: Hike to Mount Epomeo and enjoy amazing overlooks and historic cave dwellings, Visit seaside town of Sant’ Angelo, sunset aperitivo & wine tasting
Day 6: Boat Ride to Capri and island grottos
Day 7: Final Yoga, Breakfast and Departures to Naples

SAMPLE DAILY AGENDA
8:00am-9:15am Yoga
9:30am-10:30am Breakfast
10:30am–12:00pm Free time to relax at the villa
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm-6:00pm Special trips
6:30pm-7:30pm Yoga
8:00pm-9:30pm Dinner

RESERVATIONS:
$500 deposit to hold your spot. Book now at http://www.alchemytours.com

INVESTMENT:

$2,400 Double per person (shared room, private bath)
$2,700 Single per person (private room, private bath)

INCLUSIVE RETREAT PRICE:
• 7 days and 6 nights private Villa accommodations (spacious bedrooms each with private bathrooms, linens)
• All meals (one lunch will be on your own, to explore)
• Beverages during meals – including wine!
• Transfer from Ferry
• Use of estate premises (terraces, pool, beach access, etc.)
• Two Daily Yoga Classes and Evening Group Activities
• Scenic boat tour, visit to Capri
• All day trips and walking tours
• Private wine tasting
• Traditional cooking class
• Soaking in the healing waters of Baia di Sorgeto
• Visits to Thermal Spa Park with 10 pools
• Sunrise Hike to Mount Epomeo
• Trip to Sant’ Angelo for an amazing sunset
• A moto on select day
• Entrance fees to all group events and activities
• All transportation during the trip
• Comprehensive trip literature
• Use of yoga mats
• Taxes

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

WHERE WE WILL STAY THE ISLAND OF ISCHIA
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Bay of Naples on the mid-southeastern coast of Italy. Located 30km from Naples mainland, it measures just 34km in diameter and is profiled by Mount Epomeo IMG_7839peaking at 788 meters above the sea. Historically, the island has been inhabited by the Greeks, Syrausansa, Romans, Heruli, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Normans, Saracens, Turks, and Aragonese, and plenty of ruins remain to suggest the lineages of these colonies. With its wonderful climate, nice location from the mainland, and richness of therapeutic hot-springs, it’s not hard to see why it was a landscape worth fighting over!

Nicknamed the “Green Island”, Ischia was one of the world’s first health spa destinations. For centuries people have flocked to Ischia to indulge in its volcanic muds and waters rich with healthful minerals. Doctors even prescribe stays here to reap the benefits of bathing in the healing springs. In addition to all its natural wonders, one of the most appealing things about Ischia is the hospitality of the people themselves. You’re sure to enjoy the island’s welcome and relaxed way of life while during your stay.

ACCOMMODATIONS THE VILLA LINA
This yoga retreat will be hosted at the beautiful Villa Lina. An “agriturismo”, Villa Lina is a country villa situated perfectly on a plantation of olive grove and citrus overlooking the Mediterranean. The property boasts two pools, one of which is filled with the famous thermal waters of the island, and the other with sea water.

A private location, the Villa is nestled in gardens of flowers, olives, palms, and lemon trees. Rooms are nicely furnished with balcony or terrace with sea view. Positioned between the beautiful villages of Forio and Sant’ Angelo, this location is perfect for a hike to Mount Epomeo, the Baia di Sorgeto, and one of the island’s most famous thermal spas.

Lovingly run by Nicola, one can easily see the care and passion put into the villa and the respect of the land of the estate. This property is a piece of paradise and an oasis of pure nature.

THE YOGA SPACE
The indoor yoga room is a large studio (about 90 square meters) with tile floor and natural light. It has a beautiful view of the ocean. The outdoor yoga space is about the same size and also boosts a tremendous ocean view.

CUISINE
Nicola is also an amazing chef and he will delight you with typical dishes and you will have a chance to discover the authentic Ischian cuisine. Healthful, vegetarian and pescaterian food is part of the retreat experience, and while eating at Villa Lina you’ll enjoy typical cuisine of Ischia prepared by the Chef, all with the freshest of produce and ingredients. Vegetables come from the on-site gardens or other farmers on the island, and of course you’ll enjoy some of the best local wines. Selection is seasonal, and you can guarantee to love and appreciate each bite. Special diets can be accommodated as well.

SURROUNDING AREA
Not only will you enjoy the grounds of Villa Lina with the sundecks, terraces, gardens, thermal pools, and yoga space, but the retreat also includes carefully-planned day-trips to offer guests a full experience of Ischia. The island is full of various natural wonders, from a dormant volcano, lush gardens, and rich agriculture, to thermal spas, clear beaches, ancient ruins, and endless views across the Bay of Naples.

We will visit the village of Ischia Ponte for a visit to the picturesque Castello Aragonese and artisanal shopping in Ischia Porto. Look for the famous thermal mud bath treatments, rucolino liquors, lemon candies, or the handmade sandals. A day will be spent hiking to Monte Epomeo for unparalleled views across the island, as well as a hike to the natural thermal seaside cave of Baia di Sorgeto. We’ll also visit the lovely town of Sant’ Angelo and spend a day at one of Ischia’s popular thermal spa parks where you can hop from pool to thermal pool experiencing various temperatures, ancient therapy techniques, and opt for some treatments like a massage or facial. The week will end with an exciting boat ride to Capri and around the island seeing the hidden beaches and grottos.

HOW TO GET THERE?
You will fly into Capodochino Airport (NAP – Naples). Alternatively you could fly into Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO – Rome) and take the train to Naples.

You will depart for Ischia from Naples through the Port of Naples. We will meet you in Ischia with two options are to arrive in at either of these Ferry Docks: Ischia Porto (most frequent stops) or Forio (closer to villa). The Villa Lina is located in the countryside of Panza in the area of Forio, Ischia

ITINERARY
On line http://www.alchemytours.com or email us

$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

tuscanynightday

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