What a better place to do yoga than Italy? I recently spent a long weekend at Sunflower Yoga Retreats in Casperia, Italy and left with a renewed energy and renewed engagement in yoga.
This quiet and enriching experience is tucked away in the ancient hilltop village of Casperia in the Lazio region north of Rome. While my March visit was cold, their name is inspired by the many sunflowers that appear on the rolling Sabina Hills around Casperia in the warmth of summer.
As their brochure says, they ‘have been offering yoga retreats based around health and relaxation, good food, Italian culture, and nature for 10 years.’ And they’ve definitely got it right.
They host Thurs-Wed stays but as they were light on bookings in March I was able to book a long weekend. There’s a daily 90-min yoga class each morning to get you started. Our morning sessions were in an ancient cave. Gabrielle, the regular instructor, is fantastic and one of the best I’ve had in the 7 years I’ve been practicing. American and trained in the U.S., Gabrielle has been in Italy for several years and her practice focuses on form and alignment reflected in the Iyengar style. Its a great foundation and gave me a refreshed approach to my practice.
Accommodations are in one of three 13th century restored village houses. I stayed in Casa Latini… so lovely and typical Italian. I paid for a single and was lucky enough to have the twin room with sitting room and amazing bathroom carved out of a 1,000 year old cave!! The house also has a rooftop patio you can sit out on, enjoy a glass of wine and the views of olive trees and grape vines in the distance.
Casperia is tiny so you can walk around it in no time and no cars are allowed within the village walls. There are two cute yummy restaurants in town that are oh so affordable! Shared kitchens in each house allow you to shop at the local grocery and cook your own Italian inspired dishes. I was in heaven at the grocery… pasta, wine, cheese, olives… what more can you ask for?!
And finally there are fantastic holistic spa treatments you can book during your stay… from massage to polarity to reflexology (check out the Self & Spa sections for more details).
Sallie, who takes care of you throughout your stay, also plans excursions to Hot Springs, Hikes and Cycling. Cooking classes and Italian lessons can even be arranged.
The weekend was just what I was looking for… some good quiet alone recharge time.
Thank you Sunflower Retreats! I look forward to my next visit.