Something magical happened...
Seven Riverflow yogis departed for Italy, a bit frazzled around the edges.
We had all been feeling more than a bit overwhelmed. Jobs, families, aging parents, aching bodies... we started this trip with heavier hearts than we wanted.
But we made a promise to travel light.
Seven landed in Italy, as acquaintances who shared a love of hot yoga. Some of us had practiced together. Some had never met.
But something called us here, something that felt more real than our "real" lives. Call it the siren song of travel. Call it the power of determination. Call it our own desire to regain our balance.
And in a very short time, we would become friends, confidantes, and fellow adventurers with a shared secret ...
Italy.... is... Blissful
You hear it in the language. You feel it in the gentility of the people. You taste it in the food you've never had before - wild boar, tripe, rooster; endless flavors of gelato, 1000 ways to eat nutella, just as many ways to top a pizza. No calorie counting allowed here: this is about nourishment. And Italian coffee: espresso, latte, macchiato, shakkerado, freddo, even Pocket Coffee chocolate that oozes liquid coffee from its center.
No limits. No guilt. No holds barred
We had no To Do List. Nothing expected of us
From the very first day here, we felt time expand. So much to see and do yet.. not feeling at all exhausted at the end of the day. How can that be? It's the same amount of time here in Italy... but different. Time to be by yourself and a time to be with others. Time to share in conversation and time quietly listen. Time to let go of stress that made you feel stuck
Could this be a new way to live your life...back home?
We were ready to find out. Blissful Warriors here in Italy...and finding ways to take her back home.
That's what we came to this Renewal for... to come home changed
Day 1: Milan
Actually, I was getting unready.
I was practicing what I was about to ask my yogis to do: go with the flow. And remember that the unplanned is the best plan
But I do love surprising people and I had some ideas....
From Malpensa Airport to Milano Centrale, our first stop was the little restaurant La Columbrina where the locals eat. Our first meal in Italy.
Consuela, Owner and Chef of at La Columbrina, sat us at a large table in a private room and brought us her freshly-baked croissants filled with fig, nutella, apricot and wild berries, by the plate-full. Fresh baked bread and olive oil for dipping (it is olive picking season in Italy, she explained, and this oil was pressed just this morning). Bottomless cups of macchiatto, espresso, tea.
Then we ordered lunch. And dessert
With every bite, we became more grounded- around this table, sharing this conversation, right here and now. Savoring each bite of bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and the slurp of vegetable soup filled with freshly harvested carrots. Salads of wild arugula and raw mozzarella, prosciutto, soft eggs, and ripe olives. We felt satisfied, with our food and with ourselves, and the more we ate the lighter we felt.
The train ride to Florence rocked us into an afternoon nap, and we arrived at Palazzo San Niccolo, our palatial home/yoga studio/garden/ breakfast lounge. Greeted by our large new Italian family - Elisa, Angel, Grazia, Francesca, Annalisa and Federico, who, like all good Italian family, had prepared a welcome dinner: pasta Carbonara, venison, chocolate-dusted tiramisu.
This is what richness tastes like.
The days unfold...
When I embark on any journey, I don't prepare.
You prepave by clearing the pathway in your mind for the journey you want - fun, easy, delightful with surprises. When you expect it, and feel it, it must show up. And so you don't sweat the "obstacles" that may show up, because you know for sure that they are thinly disguised blessings, equally important to the plot of your journey which you have preapved to be taking you exactly where you said you wanted, at just the right time.
Prepaving has nothing to do with packing your suitcase - in fact, it requires unpacking your baggage. Letting go of "shouldn't eat pasta" and "I must see all the museums" and "I'm allergic to ice cream." It means turning your back on old paths that feel unsatisfying.
And turning the clock face-down. For 7 days and nights
How? You begin each day with Hot yoga and meditation to remember your priority: you.
You empty out the baggage and allow space to be filled with delight
I won't say much more about our Riverflow Renewal in Florence, 2017; it's all about surprises, and I don't want to spoil any surprises for you.
But I will tell you that there are new surprises waiting to warm your heart and change your life