Italia : The Hills that breathes
The hill itself is 100 acres of wooded loveliness in a bit of Italy known as Marche, next to the town of Urbino and close to the mountains that border both Tuscany and Umbria (two inferior and much overrated provinces) At the centre of this hill is the renovated farmhouse you'll stay in, cabins and tipis you'll be massaged in, a salt water pool you'll swim in and sunbathe next to and the dome that you'll stretch, unwind and let go in. You can explore the 100 acres via marked footpaths, or break out and explore yourself (probably in both senses of the word).
Italia: Il Convento
Il Convento is perched amidst the lush Tuscan landscape — a cloister built in 1549 that, for three centuries, housed the Sisters of Santa Martha. Renovated by a couple on a quest for tranquility and meditation, the magnificent monastic edifice is now home to yoga seminars from April to October. The sublime setting, in the high meadows of the Apuanian Alps, between Parma and Florence, and Il Convento’s rustic architectural style steer visitors toward relaxation and contemplation.
France : Domaine du Taillé
Le Taillé is a workshop and retreat centre set in the midst of a 250-acre wooded estate in southern Ardèche. In this place which is blessed by nature all buildings are made of wood and stone and the combination of traditional and modern architecture ensures that the structures blend with the natural curves and declivities of the ground. The whole complex fits perfectly into the surrounding natural environment. This auspicious place is conducive to resting and centering, and provides the ideal frame for such activities as martial arts, yoga and artistic pursuits.
USA : New Age Health Spa
The magnificent Cayuga Yoga and Meditation Center is home to spiritual practice at New Age Health Spa. Lined with 10,000 feet of Western Redwood, Cayuga boasts a grand stone fireplace, heated floors, and a 5’ tall golden statue of Buddha statue presiding over it all. Here, we look to the Eastern healing arts for health benefits including reduced stress, increased flexibility, enhanced mental clarity and improved organ function. These holistic modalities combine the wisdom of ancient philosophies with contemporary sensibilities. All classes are suitable for both beginner and more advanced students of spiritual practice. The spiritual program at New Age Health Spa begins with a classic seated meditation at sunrise, followed by a three-mile walk through the beautiful countryside and a 50-minute yoga class. The afternoon features instruction in a variety of practices such as Ai Chi, a Japanese form of water exercise, Chi Kung, a Chinese discipline to balance energy and Tai Chi, a martial art form to induce relaxation and peace of mind. The day’s class schedule concludes with a pre-dinner meditation, which may include breathing exercises, chanting and guided visualizations.
Set in 120 acres against a backdrop of mountains, natural hot springs and the ocean, it’s hard to believe that Esalen is actually in California. Thankfully, the fame-crazed wannabes of Hollywood haven’t discovered this slice of sanctuary yet and there’s nothing but peace and tranquility to be found here. An educational institute, Esalen was built to explore human potential with over 400 personal growth workshops per year to help heal that wounded soul of yours.
Whether you’re sitting in a field writing music or perched atop of a cliff painting, you’re sure to find Esalen the isolated retreat you’ve been searching high and low for. In fact, you’d be lucky to find it at all -- even with directions.
Retreat reward: Visitors to Esalen can take a dip in the natural hot springs on the cliff side near the retreat and allow the healing properties of the water to suck out all the impurities.
Italie: La rosa dei 4 venti
Quietness, Peace, Nature, Liberty, Yoga, Sharing, Heart, Love: these are the key concepts to convey the spirit of La Rosa dei 4 Venti, yoga place, set by the countryside at about 5.6 miles from Martina Franca, in Apulia, the place is immersed in the splendid nature of Valle d’Itria. La Rosa dei 4 Venti is located on a hill at about 10 yards of height, halfway between Adriatic and Ionic sea, a place that is totally immersed in peace and quietness.
It’s an ancient 17th century “Masseria” (farmhouse), recently restored and renovated by keeping its original structure intact, thus meaning to convey a good perception of space and time absence and better awareness of the present, here, now.