Dear Beautiful Yogi,

As you most likely know, I spent about 4 weeks this September in Italy, leading a workshop in Rome, a week-long retreat in Umbria and touring around on vacation with my family afterwards. Yoga is my lifelong passion and it also affords me the opportunity to teach around the world. I am so grateful that my career places me in new countries, gives me fresh perspectives and connects me with like-minded people all over the place. Here are a few highlights from my recent trip.

Italy is a beautiful country and what was most impressive were the people. Everywhere we went, from the hustle and bustle of Rome, to the countryside of Umbria, people were friendly, helpful and genuine. I particularly noticed that staff in restaurants and bars were almost always warm, welcoming and helpful. We never once encountered an attitude towards us. Finally, we understood when one particularly endearing bartender told us that the reason for such warmth is because we were in his home (Italy) and “of course you would want someone to feel at ease in your home.” That truly encapsulates the spirit of Italy.

The beauty of the buildings and architecture is breathtaking. We were most impressed with Rome. Everywhere we turned, we would run into something stunning right in the middle of the city. From a church, to a local fountain or something as monumental as the Pantheon, Rome is full of countless ancient buildings and artifacts. The cobblestone streets are filled with people sitting outside restaurants and bars which look like something right out of a storybook. History, beauty, culture and flavor literally fill your senses on the streets of Rome.

Locanda Del Gallo was an ideal retreat setting and the perfect contrast to the intensity and chaos of the cities. Sitting up on a high hill overlooking greenery and rolling hills, the property had everything essential for a fantastic retreat. The HUGE yoga room was set off and away from the main buildings, down a little path nestled in the trees. We were able to practice in the open air to the sounds of nature, chimes and buzzing bees. The property was lovingly maintained, clean, well-appointed and comfortable. The owners Paola and Erik were there when you needed them but never hovering. And the best part? Of course, the incredible food. I had the best food in all of Italy while on retreat there. The lunches were to die for, fresh vegetables from the garden and homemade focaccia every day. Dinner each evening was several courses and we never had the same meal twice. I would 100% go back to Locanda Del Gallo for another week long yoga retreat. It was the perfect place to recharge, replenish and nurture oneself with all things good. Who’s in for a yoga retreat in Italy??

One highlight for my family was a day spent at Monterosso al Mare. This was the most stunning and picturesque beach I have ever been to. We enjoyed an insanely epic day there. The day prior was rainy and windy, but on this day the sun was shining, the temperature was in the low 70’s and the water was perfect. It was truly incredible. The water was turquoise blue and crystal clear, set against multicolored buildings cascading down the mountainside. We soaked it up and seared the experience into our memories. It was a day we will all remember. If you ever have a chance to go to that part of the world, don’t miss it.

At times, we were tired of traveling and all of us missing different aspects of home. But one thing for sure is travel might be hard on the body but it surely opens your eyes. We all realized as great as Italy is, you can only eat so much pizza and pasta before you get tired of it! It makes home and the comforts of your regular life that much more special. We all missed the ease of life at home and the abundance of any kind of food you desire. The one thing we didn’t get tired of was the gelato!

I think we all missed our routines too. Travel really disrupts your usual rhythms and getting home and back to routine feels really good and needed by all of us.

Upon returning to California, my schedule is changing. The YogaWorks Novato location is closing October 18. Beginning Saturday October 19th, I will be starting a new class on Saturdays at YogaWorks Larkspur. This new class goes from 10:30am to 1140am and will be an ALL LEVELS CLASS. My vision for this class is to provide a sanctuary for students to go inward, breathe, meditate, move, replenish and revive oneself on all levels. I will offer graduated options covering levels 1/2 to 2/3 so each student can tailor the practice to their needs that day. Expect to go deep, get quiet and feel good. Hope to see you there.