UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN
I will admit, I signed up for the Tuscany yoga retreat on a whim. I had been feeling frazzled and overwhelmed by life’s demands — work life was in no way balanced with my personal life and a recent health scare had taken its toll. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed searching for some mindless distraction, a photo from Italy caught my eye. The rolling green hills of Tuscany looked so serene that I almost instantly felt nurtured by its fertile earth and the long light of summer sun.
The link under the photo led me to a description of a Tuscany yoga retreat designed to reset, recharge and rejuvenate – exactly what I needed! After practicing yoga a couple times in the past, I had felt great, yet never managed to make it part of my regular routine. (Remember that work/life balance issue I mentioned?) This particular retreat also incorporated something called Ayurveda – a ‘sister science’ of yoga – that uses tools such as food, herbs, and breathing to bring one back into balance. I was intrigued.
Without fully realizing what I was doing, I clicked the ‘Book Now’ button. And boy, am I ever glad that I did!
After six days under the Tuscan sun, I felt reset, recharged and rejuvenated. Each morning began with meditation – and though the first days were challenging, it became increasingly more calming as the week progressed. The daily yoga left me feeling strong, integrated and open in a way I hadn’t felt in years! After identifying my ‘dosha,’ I learned what foods and herbs to incorporate into my meals – things that naturally support my airy, easily-agitated disposition. And my breath! I had no idea that just remembering to breathe a certain way could so significantly shift me from frazzled to focused.
The food, in general, was nothing short of delectable. Most of it came straight from the surrounding farmland. And because we ate mindfully – truly enjoying each savory moment – I left feeling completely nourished (and without the guilt of overindulgence!).
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy a glass or two of wine, too. I mean, I was in Tuscany! The wine was local, organic, and I swear I could taste the exact same scent that was gently wafting in from the neighboring vineyards on the evening breeze. Have you ever had that experience? It’s divine. (And I am now in love with the idea of healthy hedonism – appreciating all the ways in which life tantalizes my senses.)
The whole experience was so much more than what I expected of a yoga retreat. We enjoyed daily strolls through the surrounding countryside – one day, I felt so energized I even ran for a bit! It was like a swell of joy bubbled up from within and I just couldn’t contain myself to a walk. I spent more that a few hours lounging by the saltwater pool and floating in true mindlessness. We learned a little bit about Mediterranean and Ayurvedic cooking – stuff that I’ll easily be able to incorporate now that I’m home.
Lastly, the connection I felt to the past – not just my past, but the past of all the people and traditions who have called Tuscany home over thousands of year – well, it left me feeling so much more grounded. I feel so connected to the elements and simple elegance of life again…rooted in a deeper understanding of myself and what brings me joy.
If you’d like more information about this Tuscany yoga retreat, you can find it here. (It’s happening again soon!) Thank you so much, Exotic Yoga Retreats! You really helped me reconnect with ease and delight in life again.
— from a ‘special guest’ blogger
Our Exotic Yoga Retreats teachers are incredible – and we would love for you to know more about them! As such, we have decided to create a series of features for each teacher. In addition to their general bios on our website, they have answered a few fun and thoughtful questions so that we know.. read more →
It is hard to know what to write these days. It is difficult to find meaning in what feels like madness. As we are bombarded with distraction and uncertainty, it feels natural to want to connect with our inner stillness. A yoga practice can help guide and give purpose to this turning inward – in.. read more →
It’s a brand new year, full of promise. And as usual, this first week has been full of messages about creating a new you. Often, you receive this message subconsciously and accept that you need to reinvent yourself. You feed the impulse to change who you are. You convince yourself that you will be happier.. read more →
. Xinalani Once we were Gods Immortal, perfect and bored We longed to play We longed to feel deeply So we created Earth Filled with trees, rivers and mountains Birds, animals and fish And many such wondrous gifts The game was ours to play And to love and struggle through When we came down.. read more →
Inspired by a great conversation with a wise young gal on a plane this morning, I share with you this poem by Hafiz. We spoke about God, divinity and the act of stepping into unknown territories (geographical, heart and mind)… the gifts that are always, ALWAYS here, simply awaiting us to receive them. .. read more →
People on retreats often ask if I meditate daily. The question makes me pause and ponder, “what is meditation”? For nearly twenty years I had a formal 2-hour daily practice. Now it’s very different and I imagine my ‘meditation’ will keep changing and evolving as I evolve. I like the idea of the beloved late Irish theologian.. read more →
Our luxury Ireland yoga retreat begins in just a few weeks and we are so excited to explore the lush countryside of this quaint European island. Since Irish culture has been exported to many countries around the world, most of us are familiar with at least a few aspects of life in Ireland. You will.. read more →
Every once in a while, life is just plain overwhelming. In sweet times, it feels like you are floating gently on calm seas – totally in the flow of life. Other times, it feels like you are holding tightly onto a slowly deflating life raft – battered by the storm and praying that it lets.. read more →
We would love your help! We host Exotic Yoga Retreats in phenomenal locations all over the world—but would love to explore the diverse beauty of the United States! Do you know of the perfect venue to host an Exotic Yoga Retreat here in the USA? If you introduce us to a venue—and we host a.. read more →
Most of our Exotic Yoga Retreats are designed to promote the Mediterranean style of living and overall health. In fact, we strive to offer our participants an experience in both good health and good living! We achieve this experience in a number of ways – some that are unique to each retreat and others that.. read more →
Have you been looking at an Exotic Yoga Retreat, but want to go on a trip with your non-yoga-practicing partner? Are you excited about and committed to your yoga practice, but your partner wonders what you find so alluring about it? Perhaps he has never tried yoga – or tried it and didn’t care for.. read more →
The small, isolated nation of Bhutan was closed to tourism until 1974. Considered by some to be the world’s last Shangri-La, this Himalayan kingdom has intrigued and charmed its visitors for over 40 years now. Our Bhutan yoga retreat is truly exotic, taking place in a natural wonderland that few people will ever visit. In.. read more →
Home is where the heart is. Yoga is a journey. Each individual practice brings you from one state to another in your body, mind and heart. In such a lovely way, the evolution of your practice over time will continue as long as you continue to show up on your mat. The beauty of yoga.. read more →
Yoga travel affects us and everyone around us. Last week, we celebrated Independence Day here in the United States. We declared our freedom from Great Britain 240 years ago – not a long time, in the overall timeline of this planet and human history. As one of the founding principles of this nation, we greatly value.. read more →
There is something about Switzerland – perhaps the ruggedly beautiful landscape or serene alpine lakes – that simply exudes relaxation and inspiration. Add a touch of luxury, daily yoga, and ample opportunity to explore the mountains and our Switzerland yoga retreat becomes a deeply rejuvenating experience. Our 2016 Switzerland Yoga Retreat begins in just a.. read more →
The Tuscan countryside brings many pleasant things to mind: fresh pasta, roasted meats, farm-grown produce, and of course, the playful palette of Chianti. What better place to fully enjoy these Italian pleasures and deeply connect with yourself than on a soulful Tuscany yoga retreat? As you may know, our Exotic Yoga Retreats are about much.. read more →
The first ever Exotic Yoga Retreat was a yoga and wine holiday in Puglia. “Yoga and, uh, wine?” When Exotic Yoga Retreats was launched over four years ago, it seemed that everyone I told about it responded with this question — as if yoga and wine did not belong in the same sentence. I expected.. read more →
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”. There are packing-nerds (like me) who pack their bags weeks or more in advance of a trip. There are the packing-challenged, who procrastinate digging out the suitcase until late night before travel… read more →
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN I will admit, I signed up for the Tuscany yoga retreat on a whim. I had been feeling frazzled and overwhelmed by life’s demands — work life was in no way balanced with my personal life and a recent health scare had taken its toll. As I scrolled through my Facebook.. read more →
Travel light, Live light, Spread the light, Be the light. –Yogi Bhajan We are on the road a lot here at Exotic Yoga Retreats, so it is no wonder we have learned some travel tips and tricks along the way. People have all sorts of thoughts and feelings about traveling – and a multitude of.. read more →
An Exotic Yoga Retreat is the perfect yoga retreat for the solo traveler! Have you been wanting to go on a yoga retreat, but can’t quite seem to coordinate schedules with your friend or partner? There are many reasons people travel solo (and love it!) – and a yoga retreat is the perfect opportunity to.. read more →
3 Things to Make You Jump On Board Our Exotic Croatia Yoga Cruise! In recent years, Croatia has become the hot spot to visit! With turquoise blue coastlines on the Adriatic Sea, pristine national parks, historic landmarks and quaint island villages, there is no wonder this Eastern European country was recently recognized as the Mediterranean’s fastest-growing travel destination… read more →
Blending the magic of the Middle East with the traditions of the Berber people, distinct images often come to mind when you hear of the North African country of Morocco. Maybe you imagine the colorful markets, snake charmers and layered scents of spices – or perhaps you picture a sandy ride atop a lumbering camel… read more →
Meditation is essentially any practice that focuses your awareness to a degree that the busy mind quiets down, and you become simply aware of the present moment. Why is this simple act of presence so profound? It’s not easy to explain in words—like other profound experiences in the life—it’s only in the experiencing that you understand meditation’s.. read more →
Yoga relieves stress and boosts mood While all forms of activity are beneficial for your mental wellness, there is something special about yoga. If you find that you can’t relax during other forms of exercise, yoga is the ideal choice of activity. Stress often contributes to depressed mood, but research shows that yoga can effectively reduce.. read more →
My sister Katherine and I visited Morocco recently to scout the perfect exotic location to hold our first Morocco Yoga retreat—that special kind of place where simplicity and luxury meet in natural harmony. When we venture into a new location, it’s with a lot of thought and inquiry as to whether it has that ‘magical.. read more →