Sunday, 3 June 2012

Yoga in Italy

Jan and I just returned back from leading a yoga trip in Italy.
The destination was an 800 year old farm house in the Tuscan Hills.

 23 people joined us in the journey, our ages ranged from early 40’s to early 80s. It was, as they say, the trip of a lifetime. The people, the places, every moment was amazing. 

Each person on the trip was touched by something different: The food, the wine, the flowers, the history, the art, the culture, the shopping.  There is so much to say. I could fill pages, but this is a yoga blog so that is where I will start and end.

The reason I am drawn to yoga is the journey. Every yoga pose and every meditation session is an opportunity to explore an inner landscape as vast as the outer world.

The reason Jan and I have started to offer yoga trips is to provide an opportunity to explore the outer world, with the added benefit of the yoga practice to focus and enhance the journey.

On our trip to Italy I was reminded how clearly the outer journey also enhances the inner. Experiencing the depth and beauty of the world around brought me into a balance of my own body mind and spirit held in the body mind and spirit of the world.

Each day the group came together for yoga at 6:30 am.  We met in an awesome room that was once a stable, but now a lovely yoga space.  While the transformation from stable to yoga room is relatively recent, the sense of time and history was palpable to us as we rested on the uneven floor boards. 

Donkeys and horses regularly stood at the window looking in. Perhaps they too have a sense of history and wondered what we were doing in their space. Or maybe they were drawn to the energy of communion and peace they felt emanate from the room. The morning yoga practice was an opportunity for our group to come together, to stretch, to strengthen and to prepare body and mind for the day ahead. Each evening the group came together again for a restful practice, an opportunity to give body, mind, and spirit, a chance to integrate the day’s events.
For me the most profound yoga was experienced in the in between hours, when we were off the mat.  Every day we all hopped into little vans and headed off to explore the spectacular Italian countryside on our way to yet another hill top Etruscan village.

The countryside was hilly, filled with the vivid greens of the various crops that includes olive groves and wine groves. Other green fields were dotted with red poppies, and beautiful yellow and purple flowers. The beauty of the landscape inspires me to source out my own inner beauty and offer it out, and to invite others to do the same.

Each village visited had its own magic. Quite possibly the magic came from a loving attention to detail demonstrated every where you looked. In the way the flowers hang from the balconies against ancient stone walls, beautiful artwork visible everywhere you turn, exquisitely fashioned  clothes, shoes and bags, or the enticing gelati, cheese, and wine displays.  
As someone who easily tires of details, Italy inspired me to begin to bring such caring appreciation to my own life- to slow down and patiently, lovingly attend to what is in front of me, for its own sake.

While the yoga practice at times emphasizes sense withdrawal,  and one reason is to help us attune to the subtleties that exist. Italy is a delight to the senses- an invitation to appreciate the subtle nuances along with the not so subtle!-Drink it all in! Taste! Feel! Breathe! Italy inspires us to live fully.

There is so much to absorb and experience, you cannot help but be fully in the moment and at the same time profoundly aware of an ancientness beyond words and a future is limitless.

This is yoga at its best.


1 comment:

  1. That was really well written Shauna. I think one of my favorite sentences was: "Every yoga pose and every meditation session is an opportunity to explore an inner landscape as vast as the outer world."