Yoga in Positano
What could be more idyllic than spending a week in an ancient villa overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea...doing yoga every day?
That's exactly what I've been doing this week.
It's a hard life, I know.
Nearly 10 years ago, I met Lisa Hampton, the founder of Mindful Fitness in San Diego. Since then, I've been on two of her yoga retreats: one in Tuscany and one in Provence.
She was surprised that I wanted to come to Positano, given that I live in Italy, but knowing how well she plans her retreats and the delightful experiences she curates, I knew it would be a fun week.
So here I am, sitting above the Amalfi Coast's azure waters in a villa built in the 1740s.
Lisa makes it clear that while we do lots of yoga on her retreats, we also do a lot of excursions to nearby towns and attractions. More on that in a bit.
I've been practicing yoga for 23 years, with varying degrees of commitment. Doing yoga nearly every day for a week, sometimes twice a week, has been so good for my body, mind, and soul. And Lisa doesn't push us to exert ourselves. It's gentle yoga, which, trust me, is what you need after climbing the thousands of stairs we've climbed here!
We're staying at Villa San Giacomo, perched above the town of Positano. It's an Instagrammer's dream come true, with well-curated antiques peeking from behind nearly-300-year-old columns. The tiled floor in the airy atrium has been our yoga home, and we have formed fast friendships at the dinner table that overlooks the sea.
The villa was built in 1740 by well-off merchants who wanted to keep an eye on their investments in the waters below. It changed owners over the centuries, and was updated to be a space where visitors could unwind and relax on the coast that has long been an attraction to people from all over the world.
Elisa, our private chef, has fed us the very best of modern and traditional Italian cuisine. Having grown up working in her family restaurant, she went on to work in four-star hotels and now gets to spoil visitors to the villa. She even gave us a very informative cooking class!
As I said, Lisa always finds the very best activities for her retreats. I'm actually amazed at all that we've fit in this week (some were optional, so I didn't do them all):
Capri (town and boat ride)
Valle delle Ferriere hike and nature reserve
Path of the Gods hike
Lemon Experience tour
Walk from Maiori to Minori
I'll write another post about some of these excursions. One thing to note if you're coming to the Amalfi Coast: you've got to get from point A to B, and that usually takes at least an hour, given the curvy roads and traffic, so plan accordingly. There are plenty of cars, vans, and buses you can rent if you don't want to brave the roads yourself.
You loyal readers know by now anything I write about Italy is going to include food! Not only were we blown away by our huge breakfasts and luxurious dinners at the Villa, but we also had great meals elsewhere. In Italy, even a caprese sandwich on a boat is mind-blowing.
The most memorable meal was at La Tagliata, a restaurant that sits high, high above Positano. It's literally farm-to-table, with a modest vegetable patch and menagerie of animals behind the restaurant.
At La Tagliata, you don't order what you want. You are served dish after dish after dish of appetizers, then pasta, then meat, and finally dessert. Because we were such a big group and Lisa knows all the right people, we had an amazing singer, Peppe Liguori, engaging the crowd by getting them to sing and dance along with him. Trust me: you've never lived until you've sung Barbara Ann with Italians!
By the end of the night, we felt like family.
Tomorrow, we sadly pack up our suitcases and head home or to our next destinations. Even though I live in Italy, this felt like my first true vacation since moving here. I can't wait to come back.