Sicily is the home of my Italian relatives... and this is my second time teaching here. Danena is a stunning yoga retreat center on the southeast coast of Sicily. The main location is a 19th-century farmhouse - La Masseria - situated in a luscious natural landscape surrounded by the breathtaking Mediterranean Sea. The nearby Greek town of Siracusa is one of the main attractions as are Noto and Vendicari nature reserves. Sicily is a land full of history; Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Norman, Greek, and Spaniard (my other relatives!) There is so much to explore on this incredible island; the beautiful beaches, passionate people, incredible food and the snow-capped volcano Mount Etna (seen above.) October is the perfect month to visit this sunny Mediterranean island.
I would encourage you to allow time before and after the retreat to see more of Sicily, including Taormina and Palermo. These two articles on Sicily were just published in the New York Times during our 2018 visit. The second article talks specifically on the side of the island that the retreat is held. Just click on Sicily for it and Palermo for the other.
Travel in The Age of Covid: No one knows where we will be with this pandemic by fall but we are hopeful. All of us should have been vaccinated by then, airlines will have their own updated protocol for air travel and Italy will have its own regulations. I have been vaccinated, as has my partner Dr Bill Greif who will be looking after temperatures and whatever else he can to keep us safe once in Sicily. Danena will serve meals al fresco, the studio is sanitized twice daily and has good circulation with doors open. If needed we will practice outdoors (not my preference.) Masks will be worn as needed. My greatest hope is that we will be able to share hugs and that I will be able to make physical adjustments during yoga. All participants will need to be vaccinated by September 1st. And, while Italy is currently experiencing its second wave of Covid, much like we did in California where after this spike the numbers have dropped, it should be resolved by May.
As of April 2nd, this retreat is 3/4 sold-- which is excellent this far in advance. I feel confident that it will completely sell-out. All single rooms are taken. For those of you sharing a room, the safest thing to do would be to share it with a friend or family member whom you have quarantined with. The only option currently for a private room is to book a shared room as if you are booking it for two people and to put your name on a waitlist, should something come available.
What To Expect
This week is both a yoga & meditation retreat and travel adventure. Our days will include two yoga sessions plus, Meditation, Yoga Nidra, Yoga Lab, Qi Gong, Authentic Movement and Heart Circles. We will enjoy two sumptuous and healthy meals daily, that are primarily vegetarian with occasional fish and other seafood options. There will be ample time for laughter, casual hanging-out, group sharing, along with time for self-reflection and silence, plus options for excursions to nearby towns and beaches. Registration includes a day excursion to the Greek town of Siracusa, all instruction, room and board. Space is limited to 21 students.
"Thank you, once again, for a wonderful retreat. I so admire your ability to galvanize a group of idiosyncratic humans (!) in a productive and compassionate community. A rare talent, for sure. I loved being part of it." Ashley - Richmond, Virginia
MEALS: We will have a hardy brunch each day at 10:30. Lunch is on your own as most will take day trips during this time. For those who stay on property, there will be plenty of fruit, nuts and tea available. Dinner (7: pm) is a big part of the evening activity and is graciously served by the staff. Wine is also optional, as is an outing to a local vineyard for a wine tasting. Dietary restrictions will be accommodated as much as possible with most meals being vegetarian with occasional fish and seafood.
"Dear David: Thank you so much for hosting such a marvellous retreat in an idyllic setting. I can’t wait to go back - count me in for the next one. I forgot to mention how much good the week away did for me. I came back with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. Ideas flowing and so much achieved since my return. Thank you!! You are a miracle worker. Ciao Bellisimo, Margarita -- Halifax, England
Sunrise to Brunch: Silent Practice
7:30 Meditation & Qi Gong
9:00 Deep Flow & Satsang
Free Time: Pool, Day Excursions, Naps, Bike Ride, Beach, Villages
5: Yoga Lab/Yoga Nidra/Authentic Movement/Yin Yoga/Heart Circle
"World-class Yoga Instructor David Moreno, ERYT 500, YACEP, has led international yoga adventures and retreats to Bali; India, Costa Rica, Jordan, and Mexico. This will be his fourth time teaching in Italy. David has also taught throughout the U.K, Germany, Thailand, Greece, South Korea, and Jakarta. "
Full BIo: https://moryoga.com/about-david/#bio
International Teaching: https://moryoga.com/international-teaching/
Yoga Props: Danena has plenty of yoga props including mats so you shouldn't need to bring any props with you unless you have that very special one that needs to travel with you!
Car Rentals or Car Hire: Driving in Italy is an exhilarating experience and not that different from driving in the states except that stop signs and the laws of the road are more of a suggestion than something you can count on. I even learned how to not signal! Fortunately, there are plenty of open back roads with sparse traffic. I would suggest renting a car if you can so that you can get to and from Danena, or take day trips as you please. If not, I can hire a driver for transfers to and from Catania airport or for afternoon excursions for an additional cost. Riding with those who rent a car is also a possibility once I can coordinate this.
The cost of a transfer to or from Catania airport is about €90. each way, and takes about an hour to get to Danena. There will be one-afternoon pickup from the airport on the afternoon of our start date, October 2nd. If you arrive days early and what to get a ride you must get back to the airport at the designated time. (Time TBD.) There will also be one transfer from Danena to the airport on the morning of October 9th for the same cost.
The retreat starts on the 6th at 7: pm--there will be group welcoming and orientation at this dinner hour.
The retreat ends on the 13th at 10: am --after a lite breakfast.
Because Danena is booked back to back for the season, please do not arrive before 3:30 pm on the 6th and plan to leave by 10: am on the 13th. They are not able to accommodate pre and post-retreat stays.
If you are driving: From Catania Airport, follow signs towards Siracusa,then take the Siracusa - Gela highway towards Rosolini, come out Rosolini take the exit on you right towards Pachino, after 4.8 km you'll see a little white sign Contrada Belliscala, turn left, you will find us up the road.
“More than any other city, Syracuse encapsulates Sicily's timeless beauty. Ancient Greek ruins rise out of lush citrus orchards, cafe tables spill onto dazzling baroque piazzas, and honey-hued medieval lanes lead down to the sparkling blue sea. It's difficult to imagine now but in its heyday this was the largest city in the ancient world, bigger even than Athens and Corinth. Its 'Once upon a Time' begins in 734 BC, when Corinthian colonists landed on the island of Ortygia and founded the settlement, setting up the mainland city four years later. Almost three millennia later, the ruins of that then-new city constitute the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, one of Sicily's greatest archaeological sites. Across the water from the mainland, Ortygia remains the city's most beautiful corner, a casually chic, eclectic marvel with an ever-growing legion of fans.”
- Lonely Planet
“Situated on the southern-most part of Sicily’s east coast, Vendicari is a mixture of lagoons (pantano), sand dunes, rocky coastlines, and sandy beaches. It was instituted in 1984 and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The high salinity of the ground provides an ideal habitat for Mediterranean maquis, herbs such as thyme and rosemary and other prickly customers such as juniper bushes.
Thousands of migrating birds pass a few days here on their way to or from Africa. Flamingos, herons, storks and cormorants are regulars during autumn, while in the winter, ducks, mallards, pintails and terns take over. An ornithologists' paradise, there are several hides for those who bring their binoculars. For those whose interests are of a more active kind, Vendicari offers a wonderful environment for a good seaside walk with only the sound of the waves, birds and the wind for company.
Swimmers (and sunbathers!) will find it hard to choose between the numerous beaches and rocky coves that abound.”
- The Thinking Traveler
The majority of rooms at this location are shared, bring a friend or meet a new one!
Cancellations received 60 days or more prior to the departure date are subject to a $100 cancellation fee. Reservations cancelled 30-59 days prior to the departure date are subject to a cancellation fee in the amount of 50% of the journey cost. Reservations cancelled less than 29 days prior to the departure date are non-refundable. Full payment is due by 8/1/21
Single Occupancy is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Cancellations received 60 days or more prior to the departure date are subject to a $100 cancellation fee. Reservations cancelled 30-59 days prior to the departure date are subject to a cancellation fee in the amount of 50% of the journey cost. Reservations cancelled less than 29 days prior to the departure date are non-refundable. Full payment due by 8/1/21