Come to Puglia, Italy, the land of olive trees, vineyards, and the sunshine for this transformational yoga retreat. Under the vast blue sky and close to the cycles of nature, you can let go of ordinary life and tune your heart to the still voice at the center of your being. This retreat provides strong asana, pranayama, meditation, and chanting - all contributing to the spiritual alchemy. It is for serious students of yoga (and that does not necessarily mean advanced asana practitioners).
Set on 15 hectares of land, La Rosa dei Quattro Venti was created from the ruins of an 18th-century Masseria (a traditional Puglian farm). Recently named one of the top 50 health resorts in the world by the British Times and one of the best retreat centers in the world by Taschen Books, it delivers quality.
The main house, beautifully restored in an elegant yet rustic style, belongs to the small residential community, which provides for your needs with genuine care and love. Guest accommodation extends beyond the main house, sometimes in the restored trulli (the vernacular architecture of Puglia). The white tones throughout all rooms create an atmosphere of peace and spaciousness, highly conducive to spiritual work.
The grounds include a tiny chapel with old frescos on the walls, lovingly restored and set aside as a sanctuary. The traditional Catholic artwork, meditation cushion against an old stone, and roses upon the little altar provide an ideal place for encountering the sacred.
Surrounding the Masseria, fields and woods spread out in all directions. Paths have been cut into the forest, so you can spend your free time wandering into the wilderness, discovering the many varieties of trees and wildflowers of La Rosa, or out onto the country roads to explore the countryside and neighboring farms.
A swimming pool for the use of guests, complete with lounge chairs for sunbathing, is set behind the guest accommodation. For restful moments, a reading room has a beautiful selection of spiritual books and cozy places to curl up and read.
La Rosa has a stunning yoga studio. Once the masseria stable, its ancient stone walls create a serene space for practice and sacred ritual, while its hardwood floors and modern heating system will ensure your comfort during practice. It has an ample supply of mats, bolsters, blocks, belts, and blankets. All you need to bring for practice is your own cotton mat (if you use one), an eye pad, and a shawl for savasana.
On this retreat, deep yoga provides the tools for profound inner work. The classics of Tantra and Hatha speak of the physical body dissolving into light. This is more than a metaphor. You are not separate containers but intrinsically interconnected to a vast vibrating whole. Practice brings you to an encounter with that truth.
La Rosa dei Quattro Venti, the retreat center, offers the perfect setting for this experience. The deep blue of the Mediterranean sky; the autumnal color of woods and fields; the fragrance of harvest time, olives, and grapes and sun-ripened figs - all contributes to the serenity and peace of this retreat. With light fading at the end of the growing season, nature moves inwards.
It is an ideal time for retreat and reflection. Time and space open up here, time to dream, space to wander - everything you need to restore and revitalize, to gain fresh insight, and to arrive at a deeper place of tranquility in your heart.
This retreat will also introduce you to Jyotish, the ancient Vedic science of light. You will learn how Jyotish can empower you with self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-love. While yoga practices serve to deconstruct self-identity, Jyotish serves to illuminate it. It provides insight into the “who, what, and why” of your life and becomes a powerful beacon for navigating your way through daily experience with greater joy and freedom.
During the spiritual talks, you will learn to read the basic themes of your Vedic chart. If you don't have a chart, Marianne will draw one up for you if you supply her with your birth details. This is included in the price of the retreat, though individual readings are not.
Through the talks, you will understand the patterns and archetypes that characterize your unique karmic imprint. With the illumination that flows from this ancient science, you experience a profound affirmation of who you are and a clearer understanding of how to go forward in life.
Marianne is a yoga teacher in California since 1986, and in Dublin since 2000. She was around 15 years old when she first read the words of Lao-Tzu in the Tao Te Ching. It was there that she first began to walk the path of yoga, then it became a daily reality in her life.
Set by the countryside at about nine kilometers from Martina Franca in Apulia, La Rosa dei Quattro Venti is immersed in the splendid nature of Valle d’Itria, which is very famous for its trulli (ancient buildings that have now been mostly turned into houses) and for its worth-visiting towns (Matrina Franca, Alberobello, Ostuni, and Cisternino). La Rosa dei Venti is an ancient 18th-century “Masseria” (farmhouse) restored and renovated by keeping its original structure intact, located on a hill at about 450 feet.
Set apart from the hectic pace of modern cities, it offers the peaceful tranquillity of the countryside, where the song of birds and gentle breezes rustling the leaves are all you will hear, where the open sky and rich earth will nourish your soul.
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You will be served a fantastic vegetarian meal a day, prepared with love and skill from the bounty of the on-site organic garden. Food is primary at La Rosa, and their exacting standards for alkalinizing the body with sattvic nourishment will provide a delicious detox for your body and soul.
For a minimal extra charge, La Rosa dei Quattro Venti can organize a day off excursion, either full or half day, to some local sights of interest, the beach, or traditional Puglian markets. Puglia protrudes into the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, so the coast is never far away. The Itria Valley has many charming towns and is rich in history and culture.
The white baroque architecture of the cities and the fairy-tale-like beauty of the traditional trulli make this truly a unique corner of Italy. Many traditional artisans still work the old-fashioned way, producing ceramics and lovely pieces from wood and cloth. Traditional production of olive oil and cheeses is another interesting feature. The retreat will include one excursion if interest is there, with the cost split among the participants.
Yet in spite of the many beautiful places to visit in the area, this is a yoga retreat, not a yoga holiday. Maintaining a spiritual focus and conserving energy for the strong practices will definitely enhance your experience of the retreat. For those of you who can’t resist the draw of this magical land, Seven Winds Yoga suggests you come a few days early or stay a few days afterward, staying in a hotel and seeing all the sights then.
Please book your flights to arrive at Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI). Transfers from and to this airport are included in the price. Seven Winds Yoga will pick you up at the airport. Ryan Air has a direct flight to Bari from Dublin. The shuttle will be organized to leave Bari Airport for La Rosa on October 22, 2016, according to the arrival time of whoever is arriving last.