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Italy Meditation Course

Ciao, Amici! Anyone who knows Natalie well knows that there are few things in life which generate more joy for her than practicing yoga, and all things Italian. It is for this reason that she is inviting you to join her this November (olive harvest season!) for a three-week, yes three-week immersion, in Vishoka Meditation® in her heart's home, Tuscany. For Natalie, Vishoka and Tuscany is the perfect pairing, like pizza and chianti. Andiamo!

Meet the instructors

Natalie
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Highlights

  • Daily yoga and Vishoka Meditation®
  • All practices are appropriate for all levels
  • Enjoy various cultural excursions and activities
  • Daily local, seasonal, traditional Tuscan breakfast and dinner
  • Wine is included during dinners
  • 20 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Yoga styles


21 days with instruction
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Air-conditioned public areas
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Lobby
  • Lounge
  • Meditation garden
  • Multilingual staff
  • Picnic area
  • Special menu request
  • Terrace
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Internet access
  • Laundry
  • Library
  • Parking lot
  • Wireless internet

This stunning agriturismo is home to Natalie's dear, dear friends, Samuele and Elisabetta. The property sleeps 12 people and features stunning olive orchards, a rich vegetable garden, fruit trees, chickens, a donkey, and a horse!

Roommates

Many of you will travel with a friend or family member, so your roommate is built in. If you are coming solo, please trust that Natalie will pair you with someone compatible. The rooms themselves are quite spacious and there are ample cozy little nooks, olive groves, gardens, trails, and such to enjoy alone time as desired.

Program

The promise of Vishoka Meditation®

  • Imagine a life free from pain and sorrow, infused with joy and tranquility

The ancient yogis called this state "vishoka" and insisted that all can reach it. The key is a precise set of meditative techniques designed to unite mind and breath and turn them inward.

  • Inherit the wisdom of a living tradition

Vishoka Meditation® is grounded in the authentic wisdom of ancient yet living tradition embodied by luminaries including Buddha, Patanjali, and a long line of Siddha masters. Drawing upon both yoga and tantra, Vishoka Meditation® shares the essence of ancient source texts including the Yoga Sutra, Lotus Sutra, and Shiva Sutra.

  • Experience Vishoka Meditation®

The heart of Vishoka Meditation is a technique that is spiritually grounded, yet highly systematic and experiential. But Vishoka Meditation is more than a technique, it is a living practice supported by a rich body of wisdom, refined over countless generations.

This course fulfills the pre-requisite for the Vishoka Meditation® teacher training!

Vishoka Meditation® course

Master the practice of Vishoka Meditation® in this in-depth, experiential training. Learn key foundational practices, explore the spiritual origins of Vishoka Meditation, and receive direct guidance from an officially certified Vishoka Meditation® teacher. Vishoka Meditation® is the perfect complement to your existing yoga practice, as well as a powerful stand-alone meditation practice.

Join Natalie for this upcoming Vishoka Meditation® Course (Level 1) and dive deep into the profound teachings and practices of Vishoka Meditation: The Yoga of Inner Radiance! This immersive experience with Vishoka Meditation® will take place in the beautiful, regenerative, and inspiring countryside of Tuscany, the perfect setting for reclaiming your "Inner Radiance".

Immerse yourself in the culture, cuisine, and beauty of Tuscany, featuring:

  • Daily yoga and Vishoka Meditation® (Appropriate for all levels of practitioners, all practices are optional)
  • Lodging at the beautiful Agriturismo La Fontaccia near Florence, Tuscany (All rooms are double occupancy and require sharing a bathroom with another person)
  • Breakfast and dinner at La Fontaccia featuring local, seasonal, traditional Tuscan cuisine (Lunch not included, wine is included with dinner)

Community

Retreats are made more enjoyable by the company of those you are with! In the months leading up to the retreat, you will all gather virtually to discuss Italian travel tips (currency exchange, packing, basic Italian etiquette), explore the history and art of Florence, and learn some essential survival Italian to enrich your experience. You’ll also enjoy practicing together prior to the retreat, as "WE RISE" is a pre-requisite for the Vishoka Meditation® Course.

Lessons

  • Sankalpa and daily prayer
  • Cultivating healthy breathing
  • Diaphragmatic breath
  • The wisdom tradition of Vishoka Meditation
  • Refining breath awareness into pranic sensitivity
  • Cultivating pranic sensitivity through asana
  • Vishoka Meditation and the Yoga Sutras: Part I
  • Refining pranic sensitivity through systematic relaxation
  • Discovering your "Inner Space": Pranic awareness in savasana
  • Vishoka Meditation and the Yoga Sutras: Part II
  • Finding your seat: Cultivating a stable and comfortable meditation posture
  • Adopting a yoga lifestyle
  • Refining pranic sensitivity through pranayama
  • The scope of Vishoka Meditation: Part I
  • Nadi Shodhana
  • So Hum pranayama
  • The scope of Vishoka Meditation: Part II
  • Aharana pranayama
  • Samikarana pranayama
  • A yogic understanding of the mind
  • The main body of Vishoka Meditation
  • The complete practice of Vishoka Meditation
  • Refining your practice of Vishoka Meditation
  • Trustful surrender: Part I
  • Trustful surrender: Part II
  • Introducing the Sri Sukta
  • The Sri Sukta worldview

What will this course qualify you for?

The Vishoka Meditation Course® primarily nourishes your own experience with your practice. It also serves as a pre-requisite for the Vishoka Meditation® teacher training offered through the Himalayan Institute.

Included excursions

Cultural excursions and activities included

  • Traditional Italian cooking class
  • Olive harvest with a visit to the local olive press
  • Visit a local goat farm with Pecorino cheese tasting
  • Wine tasting with Tuscan snacks at the Pomino Vineyard

Instructors

Natalie Backman

Retreat location

Italy began calling to Natalie at an early age, watching Audrey Hepburn on the back of Gregory Peck's Vespa in "Roman Holiday". In 2017, she returned to Italy after a long hiatus, with her husband, for their honeymoon. Serendipitously, they wound up staying four nights at this delightfully charming Agriturismo, in a tiny village called Rufina, just outside of Firenze (Florence) in unbelievably beautiful Tuscany.

By their third night there, she and her husband had formed what has already proven itself to be a life-long friendship with the owners, Elisabetta and Samuele. Since 2017, Natalie has returned to this Agriturismo, called La Fontaccia, every year bringing students, friends, and family to experience for themselves what touched her heart so deeply.

It isn't just the luscious landscape, it isn't just the incomparable culture, it isn't just the astonishing architecture, exceptional cuisine, or gracious people; there is something deeper which pulls her to Tuscany. It's the sweetness of doing nothing, dolce far niente, and the way that nothingness reunites you with your pure, true being.

Food

Daily breakfast and dinner at La Fontaccia featuring local, seasonal, traditional Tuscan cuisine will be provided. Lunch is not included, wine is included with dinner.

Dietary Specifications

Elisabetta, one of your wonderful hosts, will be cooking breakfast and dinner for you each day. Enjoy traditional Italian cuisine and she is very creative and familiar with cooking for dietary specifications. Please let Natalie know ahead of time if you have food allergies, preferences, or aversions. Breakfast and dinner are provided every day.

For lunch, you can walk to the Rufina village center to explore the local offerings or enjoy local restaurants on the days you are out and about. Wine is included in the price of the retreat if you are interested. Samuele procures the wine selection from local vineyards. It’s primarily chianti, though he is known to walk up while you’re reading on the hammock overlooking the hillside, to offer a glass of sparkling white wine, fair warning!

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Optional add-on excursions

  • Hot springs
  • Nature walks
  • Horseback riding
  • Visit museums and historical sites in Florence
  • Day trips to Sienna, Luca, Cortona, and more

What's included

  • Daily yoga and Vishoka Meditation®
  • Cultural activities (Including traditional Tuscan cooking class, olive harvest, olive press, cheese tasting, vineyard tour and wine tasting, village tour, and more)
  • 20 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfasts and dinners including wine with dinner (Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are available upon request
  • Bed linens, towels, air conditioning, TV, parking, Wi-Fi in the room, potable water, hot water kettle with herbal teas in your room and in the common room
  • Rental car transportation around Tuscany
  • Additional access to rental cars throughout the week (For three drivers)

What's not included

  • Extension of stay (If you wish to arrive early or stay late, Natalie will connect you directly with Sam and Elisabetta to make a reservation, availability is not guaranteed)
  • Airfare
  • Any transfer to and from La Fontaccia
  • Tourism tax of 1 EUR per person per night (Paid directly to La Fontaccia)
  • Lunch or snacks (Available upon request with enough notice to allow for shopping and preparation; paid directly to La Fontaccia)
  • Change of bed linens and towels more than once a week (5 EUR; paid directly to La Fontaccia)
  • Laundry (Available on request 4 EUR per person; paid directly to La Fontaccia)
  • Coffee outside the scheduled breakfast (1 EUR; paid directly to La Fontaccia)
  • Meals away from La Fontaccia
  • Additional activities such as horseback riding, hot springs, museums, etc.

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
21 days / 20 nights
from --

Availability

Arrival: Friday November 12, 2021
Departure: Thursday December 2, 2021

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