I recently spent a lot of time in the wonderful region of Puglia (Apulia), an area that is easily identifiable as the heel of the Italian boot and that I totally fell in love with.
I haven't found a lot of Yoga around, at least not in the way I would have liked to, e.g. yoga studios open for walk ins that focus on daily asana practice, meditation, kirtan, and inspiring workshops to raise spiritual awareness.
I noticed that often the difference between Yoga and Pilates is still not clear, and often Yoga is treated as a fitness practice and offered within gyms with the sound of dropped weights in the background or maybe in shared spaces like school gyms or public buildings but only a couple of times a week. No real Yoga Shalas there!
Once I got over the fact that I was basically alone practicing my Yoga around and people would look at me with curious faces, I realized that there was a great opportunity there and that I could be the one creating the Yoga Studio I would have liked to be part of!
So I spent the summer offering yoga classes on the main pier in Otranto and in local resorts, collaborating with local associations and like minded people, while I kept nurturing this vision, and now it seems it may become reality in Otranto pretty soon!
In the meantime I want to share few of the yoga offerings I found.
- Il Sole, Scuola Arti Orientali, Lecce. They offer Iyengar Yoga but need a monthly commitment and a medical certificate.
- YIS, Zollino (LE). They offer Yoga retreats and classes open to public, mainly Ashtanga, but schedule is not very clear and it varies all the time. I don't personally like the way the center is managed and their attitude, but the yoga classes I attended were good.
- Ratna Yoga, Maglie (LE), I've been told about this but no info on their site, you have to call them, which by the way it's pretty common.
- Namaste Yoga, Ostuni (BR) I've been told good things about it but didn't try.
This summer I've been exploring Eco Communities and Ashrams in Central Italy, and I'm actually surprised of all the offer I found.
- Citta' Della Luce, Senigallia: it's an eco community based Reiki principles. located aroind a traditional Italian country house on top of a hill, and surrounded by olive trees and sun flower fields. Gorgeous and very inspiring. They offer regular workshops such as Usui Reiki, family constellations, and permaculture. They also offer Yoga classes every week, for guests only. Communal meals, delicious abundant food.
- Tribe Wanted Monestevole, Perugia: it's a 40 hectare farm working to become completely self-sufficient, they offer excellent hospitality options in terms of dining, lodging,and atmosphere. They invite all their guests to get involved in the activities of the farm and in the kitchen. They offer regular Yoga classes and workshops as part of their program, but for guests only. Communal meals, delicious abundant food. Very inspiring.
-Ananda Ashram, Assisi. On top of a hill behind the town of Assisi, this Ashram follows the teachings of Yogananda, who was the first great master of yoga to make his home in the West, coming to the U.S. They offer a regular program of yoga, meditation, kirtan, and satsang for guests staying few days. The Yoga classes are very gentle and meditative. Communal meals, delicious abundant food. Very inspiring.