From the start, I knew that the July 2017 yoga retreat in Abruzzo would be different. I have been to Shanticentre 6 times now, and this would be my third taught retreat, so I really do know what to expect. But I fractured a bone in the palm of my left hand 3 weeks before the holiday! So I arrived with a couple of little niggles about how I was going to manage teaching yoga with a sore hand.
There was no need to be concerned. As soon as I arrived, I felt myself wrapped in the characteristic healing and soothing calm of Shanticentre. The yoga took care of itself, somehow. The lovely group of yoginis who joined me where a pleasure! Everything just happened in such a natural, normal way – It was pre-destined! By the 5th day, I was doing handstands. I had no pain, no discomfort, and no problems in the fractured hand at all. I swam in the sea, gave loads of adjustments and everything just seemed to heal up. I’m certain that this was assisted by Rupert’s lovely cooking and the gentle kindnesses of the lovely Andrea, who hosted us this time.
Andrea has also replaced the familiar old image of Ganesha in the yoga room with a beautiful painting of Lakshmi. I was lucky enough to grab a photo of the artist resting in restorative yoga underneath her creation.
I left Shanticentre feeling so filled up, so healthy, so happy and so healed. I am always grateful for being bale to visit this amazing place. Now I know why! Anyway, enough about me, let’s get onto the meaty stuff (No pun intended – Shanticentre is a meat-free place.)
Meat-free but not food and wine free, that is. The food as always, was superb and accompanied by Abruzzo’s delicious Montepulciano and Trebbiano wines. We had an extra special treat, with a trip to the vineyard with Rupert. We tasted some super wines, and bought many bottles. Getting it packed was another story altogher – Ryanair’s limited baggage allowance and the liquid restriction was a challenge. But lots of wine was enjoyed.
And not just at mealtimes! Last year, we discovered an excellent restaurant near the beach at Rosetto. This time, we added that as an extra excursion. The beach at Rosetto is lovely, with shallow water akin to a bath, although the waves where pretty significant and gave us a good thrashing. After a super swim and soaking up the sun, the restaurant was a welcome pitstop. And then there was the most attractive waiter. Who served up the other theme of this holiday – Frito Misto! The freshest, most delicious mix of small seafood, fish and prawns simply fried in a light batter. So delicious, that we had to have some more for lunch on the day trip to Pineto, after yoga on the beach. And of course – wine 🙂
This holiday was not only about wine, though. We did some pretty amazing yoga too, dare I say so. It was an honour to have Rupert join us for some of the restorative and yin sessions. The morning yoga was pretty strong, and focussed towards the goal of getting into a handstand at the end of the week. And we achieved that too – Albeit with the help of blocks and props to make sure everyone was safe. The group chose this as an objective at the start of the week. I think they doubted their plan a little when we started opening the shoulders with Sphinx and Dolphin, but it paid off in the end. Headstands are not for the feint-hearted, and I am so proud of all the yoginis for having a go and getting upside down. I have photographic evidence to prove it too!
All the hard work, as always on a Diversity Yoga retreat, was balanced out by restoration and rest. Yin yoga on the terrace in the afternoons was blissful, as it was very hot. On request, I added a Yoga Nidra session after lunch one day. We also had a deeply relaxing restorative yoga session complete with bolsters and eye pillows. Scrummy!
The week came to an end far too soon. We will fondly remember sweaty morning yoga followed by langourous lazing by the pool, walks and shoe shopping in delightful Italian alleys, pushing the limits and helping each other with partner yoga, swimming in the balmy ocean and lazing on breezy beaches, wine, great food and friendly laughter. Oh, and did I mention the wine?
I will be back at Shanticentre on 28th August for the second Italian retreat of this year. Lucky me! There are still 2 spaces left, so if you would like to come along let me know ASAP.
The dates for next year’s retreat will be 9th to 15th July. There is only space for 8 people, and bookings are open now! Email me for more information
Much love and namaste, till next time