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Your yoga retreat with Amy and Joanne
25 August to 1 September 2018

There could be few better places to relax and unwind than The Watermill at Posara, with its lovingly restored buildings set around a sunlit courtyard. Set in a gentle valley with mountain peaks in the background, the mill is a peaceful spot, surrounded by the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and The Regional Park of the Apuan Alps, home of the marble mountains of Carrara. This is the heart of Lunigiana, in the North-west of Tuscany, a truly unspoilt part of Italy. We have lovingly restored the historic buildings and created eight beautiful bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, plus two self-contained apartment suites, each with a double bedroom, bathroom and sitting room, ideal for couple or friends sharing. The bright and airy rooms are well decorated and tastefully furnished and m contain original artworks. All enjoy lovely views of the river, the gardens or the mountains.

Come and practise your yoga and meditation in the tranquil heart of rural Tuscany and let us nurture your mind, body and spirit. The theme of the retreat will be 'Connection' - to yourself, to others and to nature.

Participants on our yoga retreat with Amy and Joanne enjoy SEVEN nights at the Watermill, with full board. Everything is included in the cost of the retreat: workshops, accommodation (including all linen and towels), tours, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

Yoga retreat itinerary

This itinerary is very much an outline guide. Precise timings and locations will be flexible and dependent on the weather and the needs and desires of the group. Extra sessions may be arranged, as required.

Saturday

    Watermill garden
  • Arrival Day. Everyone is picked up at Pisa airport in the morning by air-conditioned minibus or car for the beautiful drive to The Watermill
  • Lunch (oven-roasted vegetables with feta cheese and couscous; spinach and ricotta tarts; fresh fruit) will be served in the dining room in The Watermill courtyard
  • In the afternoon you’ll have plenty of time to settle in, relax, get to know one another
  • 16:00 - Millstream and riverside walk for those who want to come
  • 18:45 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah before a short minibus drive to the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano
  • 19:30 - ‘Introduction to Tuscany’ dinner at the Elvetico caffé, sampling the freshly cooked delights of the unique local cuisine. Local wines
  • 21:30 - Transport back to the mill

Sunday

    Watermill garden
  • 08:00 - 20 to 30 minutes of guided Waking / Quiet / Reflection / Meditation / Intentional free time. This will include silent meditation, journaling prompts or free-writing, and light stretching/breathing, in the watermill studio, the walled garden or the riverside gardens
  • 08:30 - Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10:00 - 2 Hours. Yoga in the walled garden or in the mill studio overlooking the river and the mountains. This session will include: opening circle / introductions / intentions; somatic* breathing meditation; opening up/preparing the body (rotational movement/ light shaking); floor poses (heart openers); therapeutic touch savasana**
    (*'somatic breathing' means having a sensory awareness of your breath as it moves to various parts of the body. Example "bring your breath down into your heart and let it expand through your ribcage. Feel your heart growing softer on every breath," etc..
    **
    'savasana' is the final resting pose of a yoga practice that we lie in for five or more minutes. 'Therapeutic touch', which includes gentle shoulder presses, light neck massage, and temple/brow massage, is administered during this time. Sometimes light hand or head massage is also used. Somatic breathing is a way to connect the body with our deeper emotions, to gain awareness about what is being held, and to facilitate release. Therapeutic touch complements the process..)
  • 13:00 - Lunch in the Watermill dining room: Sample menu (all menus will vary according to the availability of fresh local produce): fennel baked in white wine, cream and parmigiano sauce, topped with fresh breadcrumbs; panzanella al mulino, a traditional Florentine salad brought up to date by the watermill chefs: olive oil, bread, onions, tomatoes from the garden, capers, olives, fresh basil from the garden; songino (lamb’s lettuce) topped with fresh nasturtium flowers and or borage flowers, with a honey and mustard vinaigrette; bresaola (air-cured Italian beef) with parmigiano shavings; fresh fruit in season (possibly including Watermill figs). Local wines
  • 14:00 - 1 Hour. Yoga session in the walled garden or the riverside gardens. This will include: outdoor stretch + connect to nature; walking meditation/sight (exploring soft and hard focus, color, texture, gazing)
  • 15:00-19:00 - Free time to enjoy the gardens, maybe even a cheeky nap in the sunshine! Individual massage sessions available (extra, at cost). Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen
  • 19:00 - Join everyone for a refreshing aperitivo on the Vine Verandah
  • 19:30 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: gorgonzola soufflé, Tuscan lentils and Tuscan sausage (there will be a vegetarian option) with fresh vegetables and garden potatoes; home-made torta della nonna (made by our own Italian grandmother!)
  • 21:00 - 1 hour. Evening session in the candlelit, watermill studio. Cooling stretches (spinal openings); restorative + reiki. (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Monday

    Castle
  • 08:00 - 20 to 30 minutes of guided Waking / Quiet / Reflection / Meditation / Intentional free time. This will include silent meditation, journaling prompts or free-writing, and light stretching/breathing, in the watermll studio, the walled garden or the riverside gardens
  • 08:30 Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining
  • 10:00 - 1.5 hours. Yoga in the watermill studio: learning basic ujjayi pranayama: belly/heart breathing; breath and pose connection (foundation poses)
  • 12:15 - Pre-lunch historic stroll: We’ll take a short ride in a comfortable air-conditioned van or car to Verrucola (about 10 minutes’ drive). Short walk around the take our walk in the imposing castle and beautiful village, with notes on its history
  • 13:00 - Lunch at the Locanda al Castello trattoria at Verrucola. sample menu: pasta with tomato sauce; Stufatino alla Romana (Roman beef stew); fresh fruit; wines; coffee/tea
  • 14:30 - Transport to the watermill
  • 14:45 - 1 hour. Yoga session outside: outdoor stretch + connect to nature; walking meditation, exploring touch (feeling surfaces, self, earth, air). Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen
  • 15:45-19:00 - Individual massage sessions available (extra, at cost).
  • 19:00 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • 19:30 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: Farfalle alla primavera (pasta with fresh seasonal vegetables); cotoletta alla Milanese con tacchino (turkey breast escalopes) (There will be a vegetarian option); fresh seasonal vegetables from our gardens; pannacotta.
  • 21:00 - 1 hour. Evening session in the candlelit, watermill studio. Guided visualisation; restorative + reiki. (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Tuesday

    Market
  • 08:00 - 20 to 30 minutes of guided Waking / Quiet / Reflection / Meditation / Intentional free time. This will include silent meditation, journaling prompts or free-writing, and light stretching/breathing, in the watermll studio, the walled garden or the riverside gardens
  • 08:30 - Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10:00 - Trip to the local market in the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano: by minibus or car. Browsing around the local market stalls -- merchants come with everything from local produce – cheeses, hams, mushrooms, roast chicken, fish, vegetables, flowers -- to leather bags, clothing, bling jewellery and fabrics. Walks along the city walls
  • 12:30 - Lunch at the local pasticceria/gelateria: fresh panini with cheese or ham filling; home-made ice-cream
  • Minibus returns to the mill after lunch (some people might care to walk back: about 25 minutes)
  • 14:00 - 1 hour. Yoga in the mill gardens: outdoor stretch + connect to nature; seated meditation: exploring sound/going inward; witnessing thoughts
  • 15:00 - 19:00 Individual massage sessions available (extra, at cost). Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen
  • 19:00 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • 19:30 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: risotto con funghi porcini (the ‘king of mushrooms’); Arista (Tuscan-style roast pork) (there will be a vegetarian option); fresh seasonal vegetables from our gardens; fresh fruit salad with home-make amaretto mousse ice-cream
  • 21:00 - 1 hour. Yoga in the mill studio: candlelight gentle heart/hip opening with aromatherapy(mild essential oils); sound healing (with tibetan bowl and voice). (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Wednesday

    Lucca
  • Day’s excursion to Lucca
    Today we take a break from our daily schedule and take a trip together to the old city of Lucca, one of the treasures of Tuscany. You don’t need to worry about anything at all; all logistics are arranged so we can fully take in the day. The minibus will take you to the nearby station after breakfast and pick you up to bring you back in time for aperitivi and dinner.

    Lucca is our favourite Italian city, imposing dark red brick walls, wide enough to walk (or cycle: hire a bike) all the way round. The centre is wonderful with superb architecture, notably the San Michele church, the Cathedral, the medieval Piazza del Anfiteatro echoing the shape of the old Roman amphitheatre, the classical splendour of the Piazza Napoleone. And there are shops where you’ll find great shoes and leather goods, and there’s an elegant pedestrian shopping street, the Via Filungo.

    The train heads slowly from the station at Aulla on the single-track railway, meandering through the Alpi Apuane regional park, taking about an hour and 30 minutes to get to Lucca (and about one hour and 45 minutes back, don’t ask why!), but the journey itself is worthwhile not just for the great scenery (the impressive marble mountains, sparkling rivers, hilltop villages) but for observing Italian life.
  • For lunchtime, we are very happy to give you the ingredients for a packed lunch, but most people seem to prefer to choose their own café or restaurant for lunch (we can make recommendations) and enjoy a leisurely Italian meal in the heat of the day.
  • Around 19:30 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • Around 20:00 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. (Sample menu: fagiolini (warm green beans with gat’s cheese) ; baked salmon (a vegetarian option is available); fresh seasonal vegetables; Torta della Nonna speciale.

Thursday

    Convent
  • 08:00 - 20 to 30 minutes of guided Waking / Quiet / Reflection / Meditation / Intentional free time. This will include silent meditation, journaling prompts or free-writing, and light stretching/breathing, in the watermll studio, the walled garden or the riverside gardens
  • 08:30 - Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10:00 - Short trip by mini-bus and car to a nearby privately-owned convent
  • 10:30 - 1 hour. Yoga in convent with walking or seated meditation. Time will also be given to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Vacuum flasks of hot water for tea-, coffee-making
  • 12:30 - Picnic lunch at the convent: light, delicious and nourishing, including farrò salad, frittata with fresh vegetables and vegetable tarts fresh from the local baker
  • 14:00 - 1 hour. Sensory Meditation using ear plugs then blindfolding the eyes. Transport to the Watermill
  • 16:00 -19:00 Individual massage sessions available (extra, at cost). Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen
  • 17:00 - Deep sound healing relaxation utilising Tibetan singing bowls and wind gong followed by a creative expression of the day's theme. This afternoon's activity will help bring some colour and fun into your life and may also bring something of interest to the garden at the Watermill.
  • 19:00 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • 19:30 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: an amuse gueule of endive leaves with tuna, olives and a hint of peperoncino; a special homemade lasagne with a ragú, made by our Italian grandmother Mirella (a vegetarian option is available); local pecorino sheep cheeses, served with fresh pears and drizzled with Lunigiana honey, the only honey in Italy to be DOP – denominazione di orgine controllato; green salad from the garden; Mirella’s home-made tiramisú (to die for!) Wines.
  • 21:00 - 1 hour. Yoga in the mill studio: candlelight restorative + reiki; vocal sound healing as a group (Om) (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Friday

    Monte dei Bianchi
  • 08:00 - 20 to 30 minutes of guided Waking / Quiet / Reflection / Meditation / Intentional free time. This will include silent meditation, journaling prompts or free-writing, and light stretching/breathing, in the watermll studio, the walled garden or the riverside gardens
  • 08:30 - Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10:00 - Leave for 1000-year-old village of Monte dei Bianchi in minibus and car
  • 10:30 - Explore village with stunning views over Apuan Alps mountains, vineyards and wooded valley. Walk (half a mile) to gourmet hill-top restaurant with fabulous views the setting for 1 hour of On-location yoga in the restaurant grounds, olive groves: simple/fun group yoga poses + partner poses
  • 12:30 - small closing ceremony at hill-top restaurant
  • 13:00 - Gourmet lunch at the hill-top restaurant. Sample menu: risotto with gorgonzola and pears; freshly caught San Martino fish (char), oven-baked on chestnut leaves, with rosemary sprigs from the garden; seasonal vegetables; a sorbet with prosecco and lemon. Local wines
  • 14:30 - Return to the Watermill
  • 15:00 - 1 hour of art therapy (drawing to music, emotional painting, coloring mandalas)
  • 19:00 - Prosecco on the vine verandah
  • 19:30 - Farewell dinner together in the Watermill courtyard dining room, celebrating local specialities. Sample menu: Insalata tepida di riso con pesto (warm pesto rice salad), Involtini di pollo (rolled chicken breast with cheese, ham, herbs), a vegetarian option is also available. Torta di cioccolato di Capri (chocolate cake made with crushed almonds instead of flour)
  • 21:00 - 1 hour. Closing circle with writing (reflection/connection/sharing) followed by short closing meditation in the candle lit studio. (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Saturday

Arriverderci e buon viaggio
After breakfast, we take off for the airport by car or air-conditioned minibus. Today you say goodbye to the beautiful retreat, but we hope that you will leave refreshed, renewed, rejuvenated, and nourished in all of your senses - and armed with inspiration and practical knowledge to help you carry your retreat experience into your daily life with you.