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Retreat in Umbria 2023

We just finished up our retreat in Umbria, and wow! It really was everything we imagined, and more. We had the most incredible group of women - every single one! From the moment everyone arrived at La Ghirlanda, they all instantly formed lifetime friendship bonds, and many plan to come back next year; same time, same place.

We were blessed with great weather, and to be outside in the breathtaking countryside of Italy, doing Yamuna Body Rolling, hearing the birds chirping, and looking at the clouds, while quietly tuning into your own body was nothing short of a truly miraculous mind/body experience. Pictured left to right: Kim, Jody, Kate, Connie, Pam, Jacque, Raquel (our beautiful tour guide), and kneeling, yours truly and Merilee.


The resort, La Ghirlanda is owned and operated by a real count and countess and being there felt like something out of a movie. In other words, total perfection in its combination of old-world elegance, yet very comfortable and casual. June is definitely a great time to be there. I don't think I've ever seen such a multitude of wildflowers all blooming at the same time. And then there is Jack the dog; I think I remember him from our 2019 retreat. He has a buddy, Mogley, and they always hang out together, mooching food from us, which we were more than happy to accommodate them.



Our welcome dinner at the resort began with appetizers and Prosecco, followed by an amazing dinner alfresco, with views of the hills, some of them topped with medieval villages, and one thousand different shades of green. We already felt so blessed to be there together, but with our opening blessing by Pastor Jacque (she's the one in the pink top) we were off to a GREAT start. Mike Doban, being the only male, was as my friend Lucy used to say, "the only rooster in the henhouse". He did a great job being our "ball boy", hauling balls and mats for us every day of the retreat.






We began the first day with a guided meditation courtesy of Pastor Jacque (party girl and pastor - great combination, right?)



We did a class focusing on the legs, followed by another class with some Yamuna breath work. What a great start!




The afternoon class was Yamuna Face balls. The weather decided to give us a big-ass thunderstorm, so we did this class in the cantina, surrounded by wine barrels. They had wines dating back to 1921!!! Wonder what they taste like?



Speaking of wine, can we talk? Above, we enjoyed a special wine tasting of the wines produced exclusively by La Ghirlanda. Great wines, all of them. And to be surrounded by the very same vineyards that produced these amazing wines made it even more wonderful!



Nothing like doing the Yamuna Foot Fitness walking test on grass. The difference from doing the test before the routine, and then again, afterwards, is profound. Barefoot walking in the grass if super-grounding!



After three days of body rolling classes, we had a morning class followed by a trip to Deruta, famous for their artisan ceramics. But first, lunch! With another fabulous Umbrian wine. One of the dishes was gnocchi served with gorgonzola and truffles - amazing.



The girls outside of the restaurant, and on their way to craft their own creations in ceramics. Mike and I had to miss the ceramics workshop because we had to meet with our contractor......Really sorry we had to miss it, because it looked like so much fun.









Here's Kim (on the right) creating her masterpiece tile. And Kate (below). After they painted their tiles, they were put in the furnace for a day. and then they were delivered to the resort as souvenirs to take home. How cool is that?





Pool time with the magnificent view beyond. We heard rumors about a water volley ball game.....I conveniently "forgot" my own bathing suit, because that would mean getting a bikini wax....


And then, an outing to a truffle farm in Trevi. Wow - I had no idea how this was done. I was used to just eating truffles and enjoying them. This was interesting. They are able to add organic stuff to the soil to encourage the growth of truffles, and then they had these incredibly talented dogs, led by Brunello, to find the truffles. Honestly, they look like doggy poo when they find them, but the fragrance is so earthy and rich. And they are delicious and delectable!

The truffle demo was followed by an amazing lunch outside, with a panoramic view of Umbria while we enjoyed a truffle-based luncheon.






And that evening, a visit to Ethos in Saragano to enjoy yet another meal prepared by Delfina (our favorite chef from the 2019 retreat). She never fails to please everyone!





Next day, a visit to the dramatically beautiful waterfalls, Cascata delle Marmore in Umbria. We took a little hike and tour throughout, and it was truly like an enchanted forest.




Here's Merilee and I having a "bunhead" moment.






A huge thank you to Raquel for arranging these fun and fascinating places to visit.


Some of our friends went on to visit other beautiful places in Italy. Heck, they were already across the pond, so why not make the most of it? Connie and Pam headed to Northern Italy to visit friends, Kim headed south to the Amalfi Coast to enjoy a culinary tour with cooking classes, Merilee and Kate went to Rome, Jody and Jacque came to our house for the night and we all went to Assisi the next day. I think, for everyone, this really was a magical experience, and I hope to see some of you next year!

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