I came home recently from a truly magical family holiday – a healthy one too. We all met at this Exotic Yoga Retreat that I was fortunate enough to visit a few years ago with my mom – where we promised each other we would bring the family back.
Words cannot describe the magic you experience at this place.
Here is a snapshot of my time there – then and and now more recently!
YOGA RETREAT IN UMBRIA
On Both trips we stayed at Borgo Di Carpiano – the most heavily Italian villa you could ever imagine. It’s actually an ancient castle turned villa! The owners are the most authentic and passionate Italians who just know how to take care of people – and oh, do they know good food and wine! The taste of the villa was impeccable.
This is definitely more of a yoga holiday than a strict yoga course. It was relaxed and so enjoyable we just had to come back! There’s amazing yoga, but we could also relax by the pool with a book and enjoy the heavenly food and wine. This is what I love. It is not the place to go if you are looking for discipline and restriction – it’s a holiday, not a “cleanse.”
The structure of the day:
7:00am – Silent meditation in the chapel
7:30am – A walk In the Italian countryside
8:30-9:30am – Cappuccino on the terrace followed by a wholesome breakfast – fresh fruits (figs from the trees), eggs, cheese, Italian pastries if you wish – gluten free! The catering was all gluten free upon request.
10:30am – First yoga class of the day. It was mainly Vinyasa flow at the beginner-intermediate level, and we were really able to focus on alignment and posture. We practiced all our yoga in an ancient chapel – incredible. It was truly divine.
12:00pm – A swim in the infinity salt water pool – so refreshing!
12:30-1pm – Lunch. The meals were light; a gourmet salad of some sort followed by a fresh dessert – usually fruit or sorbet. The non-dairy 90% chocolate sorbet was a total highlight!
2:00-5:00pm – Rest/Activity time. Choices are: lie by the pool, rest, adventure into a nearby medieval town (and eat gelato!), take a cooking class or enjoy a massage – heaven, right?
5:00pm – Afternoon yoga. This was a restorative yoga session.
7:00pm – The highlight of my day – an Aperitiv as the sun goes down on the courtyard overlooking the Italian hills. My drink of choice was prosecco or an aperol spritz. It felt good to let go – relax with a drink after yoga and before dinner – laugh with our new friends and take in this moment. Life is good. Life felt extra good there.
The best I’ve ever had in my entire life, and I still stand by that statement! The food is all gourmet Mediterranean cuisine with fresh olive oil and organic vegetables grown right there in the villa garden. We were advised to eat mindfully, just like I teach in the JSHealth Program! The Italian people really inspired me in this way. They know how to enjoy their food and they don’t believe in rushing such a pleasurable experience.
We felt immense gratitude for each plate. You could taste how perfect the quality of the produce was – carefully chosen. Each portion was small but a taste explosion. So we really wanted to savour each mouthful. We put our knife and fork down between each mouthful.
Dinner was a 3-4 course meal – so you really want to go slow! When you eat slowly, you brain can recognize when you are full. You eat less but enjoy your food more. Isn’t that great?
The chef was truly amazing, preparing authentic Italian food with a healthy twist. And some meals were really indulgent. As mentioned – all my meals were gluten free (eg: gluten free pasta – I was in Italy – pasta was a must!)
Dairy is also a big part of the Italian diet and it was a big part of the food we ate – all good quality dairy.
I allowed myself all the indulgences of Italy – without the guilt! How? Because I believe this is healthy and balanced. I rarely eat gelato and pasta – but when in Italy – eat like the Italians!
Each sip of wine (made with organic grapes!) was a delight. I savored the unique and sexy aroma of it. I held my glass of wine like a lover. (And the nutritionist in me remembered to drink a glass of water after each glass of wine!)
We practiced twice a day, and our yoga teacher was just amazing; teaching us proper alignment and getting each pose right for our bodies. I loved the yoga flow, too.
You would always get a special card on your yoga mat in the afternoons – a note from our teacher that would inspire the class that day. Such a gorgeous gesture.
What I loved most:
I was present in every moment.
I ate mindfully – more than ever.
Spending time with my amazing family.
If you get the chance, do go to this amazing retreat, I can promise you, you won’t regret it!