We just returned from an amazing retreat on the Amalfi Coast last week - it was our first retreat at this location as it was a special request from a private group. It was a group of friends - many who are past guests, and just a big celebration of life, activities enjoyed together, and a small reunion of sorts. It was a joy to work with them for over a year on the exact details of what they were looking for - from scouting their preferred location (which is what led to adding this new locale to the EPM roster), to narrowing down the type of pace they wanted to have during the week, and being sure to include what activities they wanted to do while they were there!
I say this all the time, but it's one of the best parts about EPM to be able to see relationships formed over the years and so not only was I excited to lead this new retreat, visit a location that I adore, share yoga and my love of Italy, but also it filled me with such happy anticipation leading up to the trip knowing that I was getting to see familiar faces and meet even more of their friends who I know we'd all have a blast connecting with throughout the week.
One of the big passions of the group is wine - so it was a great draw to visit the rocky coastline of "extreme wines" and get to partake in the unique viniculture in the regions. We had several wine tastings, winery tours, and wine pairings throughout the week. It was incredible to learn more about how the first people in this region actually created agriculture from volcanic cliffs - carving out the stoney terraces and working hard carrying harvests up and down by hand. Many of these techniques are still used today - whether it be with grapes or lemons (one of Amalfi's prized products). It was a great week filled with good food, hands-on experiences like a lemon tour and cooking class, plus wellness incorporated with daily yoga (overlooking our infinity pool!) and even one of the most breathtaking hikes in Italy on the "Path of the Gods".
One evening was spent under the full moon walking around Ravello and viewing the famous gardens, listing to a live jazz concert, and eating a Michelin-starred dinner. I think there was a point during that time that each of us just looked at the view in silence and it became this moment of true mindfulness - being present - and being grateful to be alive at that very second. We ended the week on a private boat to Capri for the day - passing a family of dolphins on the way, taking a funicular to the top of the island, and just letting our face hit the wind as we rode through the water back to our villa. Genuine toasts were shared around the farewell dinner table and I don't know if I could describe the immense sense of gratefulness I felt getting to sit there, sharing, living, being.
I really could go on and on about our full week of fun, adventure, laughs, connecting, and plenty of wine...but I'll just say that I left feeling even more connected with what I like to share on retreats - that being mindful is being present, being present is being grateful. And I am so grateful for our EPM family, the life I get to live, and those who paths I get to pass alongside.