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ParkoLife | The top 5 Yoga retreat destinations in Europe, and Why.

The Old Continent is home of some of the most attractive destinations for yoga practitioners all over the world. Yoga retreats in Europe might not have the same ancient yogic tradition as the ones in Asia, but they sure have learned how to organize a great yoga holiday that combines this millennial yoga knowledge with the characteristic European flavors, a very rich culture and the magnificent places of the territory.

Ready? Let's go!

1-Spain.

With 376 retreats currently available, Spain is by far the most popular yoga destination in Europe. Its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and an exquisite cuisine help Spain to gather over 75 thousand monthly searches online from people who want to practice yoga immersed in its folkloric culture. Ibiza, Alicante and the Canary Islands are some of the most recurred regions in the country.

2-Greece

At least 70000 people search online for a yoga retreat in Greece and every year the Yogi turnover increase tourism and awareness. In Greece you can choose between great island destinations, Kithira is only one of them, Paros, Idra and Skyros have great yoga facilities too.

3- Italy

This charming country is among the top 3 European yoga destinations. Famous for its cheerful population, exquisite food, and top-notch fashion, Italy also holds some of the best yoga retreats in Europe to make it a remarkable yoga destination. Over 60 thousand yogis per month look for a yoga retreat in Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany or any of the other regions that currently comprise a little less than 100 different yoga holidays available.

4-United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom might not be blessed with the more favorable weather of the previous countries, but it still offers lots of fantastic yoga retreats in England, Scotland and Wales! From the wide territory and endless possibilities in London, to the quaint villages and rustic houses in the countryside, thousand of yogis look for possibilities to spend a yoga break on one of the plenty programs available.

5-Croatia

Croatia completes my list of top 5 yoga destinations in Europe, and it doesn’t come as a surprise to me considering the beauty of the Adriatic Sea and its surroundings. The Croatian beaches might not have as many retreats at the moment, but it is an up and coming yoga destination that is gaining popularity as shown by its thousand engines searches in average.

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Stay tuned in case you want to know my next suggestion for yoga retreats..

Ehi, was this post interesting for your yoga knowledge?

If yes drop a like here or on facebook.

Namaste.


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ParkoLife | 5 Hatha Yoga most challenging poses

40 degrees Greek summer in Kithira, 7 o’clock Yoga class starts, day 5 of I Love Yoga retreat. Hundred of questions asked and a challenging pose arrives. My fear- “Nobody can do it”. Their fear- “After so many hours of intensive practice, I might can’t do this”. Many times during classes I saw/see people struggling with asanas. The borderline between challenge and failure is narrow, there are many ways to make peace with a difficult asana and (for sure) to feel great about your practice, in whatever level you are in.

On today blog post I want to share with you what are, in a yogi mind, the 5 most challenging Hatha yoga poses and why they are considered so. And, how to create softness around each of them.

1-Bakasana (Crow pose). Probably the most challenging one considering that it is all about shoulder strength.

2-Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose). This is a deep, no-kind-inversion.

3-Sirsasana (Supported Headstand). Shoulder and core strength, inversion and neck pressure, all in one. This is “the” asana that in a Hatha yoga class can divide the group in advance or not.

4-Utthita Hasta Padangustasana Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose).

Balance and flexibility pose usually beginners tends to do it by imitations, not caring of the-day-after consequences...

5 Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist ). Yes, it a spinal twist as its Sankrit name says, but it can be very challenging for hips and knees. The challenge of this pose comes from the way it is explained.

And now the solution.

How can you turn a difficult asana into a successful one, considering your entry level and your capacity?

A.Ask teacher for variation and preparation exercises. Usually it is a set of gentle (or not) fitness exercises to wake up energy and muscles.

B.Squeeze everything in. If you wonder the real meaning of this sentence just think at this “tight is light”. Internal organs, abdominals and mind have to be focused all in one point.

C.Don’t carry all the challenge yourself, ask the teacher the benefits and contraindications of each asana. And if you feel it is not right for you, then repeat point A to get customized.

Tune to yourself, as the first step forward for a great class. Surrened to your Yoga journey.

Did you learn something new? If yes, sign up with a lovely "Like" up here.

Chiara


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ParkoLife | Yoga Wish List

After a full month of window-shopping, now it’s time to refresh your Yoga wardrobe. I am in Italy, and while pushing the pram I came across some fantastic outfits. Buying all of them will turn my wallet green...

Save time (and money)-Sophia Kinsela would agree- and check here what I did for you....

The question is: “Where can I find great Yoga clothes without sacrificing the next SPA treat?” .

On line or not, now you can really find smart stuff and good quality fabrics, not always Made in Italy but for sure 100% craftly and whiz.

Usually I go for white but for this winter I go back to black, and my imperative is to be comfortable. .

This is my wish list:

-For your Ashtanga yoga class: seamless leggings and workout top.

-For you easy comfy Hatha yoga session: here you have my favourite seasonal leggings matching a loose 3/4 arm length blouse.

-AcroYoga and Aerial session: create your style with singlet and top and slinky leggings all available in different (dark) colours.

And if you really can’t fear to feel the freeze, here you go: some tosty oversize.. here and here!.

Let me hear your voice. If this post helped you drive your wallet syndrome, drop me a like.


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ParkoLife | What's AcroYoga?



On my last Yoga blog I selected the 3 most famous Yoga teachers alive at this very moment. Now, I focus on something different, keeping the attention on Yoga philosophy and lifestyle.

Funny enough, last Friday at the beginning of the first AcroYoga class of the season, the youngest student ask me:

WHAT'S ACROYOGA? It is pretty obvious that in a yoga world bombarded with new yoga styles and contemporary yoga models, young students (she is 13 years old) feel ungrounded and honest enough to go back to the root. I perfectly understand from where this question came from.

I reply to you as I replied to Sara’s quench for the truth. As European born, I can’t talk about a topic without mentioning its history. In this way, let’s set a easy comparison between Yoga and the world map.

Let’s pretend that the world is divided into Yoga continents. You have the oldest continents - Europe and Asia represented by Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga. America is represented by Vinyasa and Vinyasa flow Yoga. Africa contains all these kinds of Yoga such as: Bikram, Power, Hot, Kundalini, Schiavarelli and Forrest. And finally the newborn Australia is a nest for contemporary yoga styles, where AcroYoga, Aerial, Yoga on Sup, YogaDance (and many more) coexist in peace and love.

Australia was discovered later than America, but it doesn’t’ mean that it didn’t exist before. In the same way, the root of AcroYoga was found hundred of years ago, when Krishnamacharya- the father of modern yoga- was flying a student in 1938..

Then in 2006 Jason Namer and Jenny Klein made AcroYoga accessible by deconstructing its part into acrobatic, fitness and partner training. They founded AcroYoga.org and since then it became a success!

By now AcroYoga It is a young discipline that combines acrobatics and sequences of Yoga Vinyasa or Hatha to form figures, balance and harmony between two or more people. One of the elements that differentiates AcroYoga from traditional Yoga is precisely on the will to work together, to synchronize body and mind and to create team spirit. Sometimes it is this aspect that drives an amateur to go further, the desire to be part of a group. Personally it is my favourite bit! Obviously the acrobatic part is fundamental and as the practice extends, it becomes more pronounced. AcroYoga is now a method to know oneself in relation to others and to define personal will and determination.

AcroYoga is practiced by over one million people internationally, this tradition and social innovation is shared through movement, connection and play.

The more we move, the more we take this practice to the places that is needed the most. The more we connect , the more we understand each other. The more we all play, the more we are in the present moment"

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I did, and if you like to share knowledge this is your opportunity to drop a like on my blog page. See you in two weeks!


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ParkoLife | The 3 most famous yoga teachers in the world

Recently I came across this question “Who are the most famous Yoga Teachers in the world?” This question buzzes my mind few times, as I always refer to ancient gurus lived on last century, and not to contemporary teachers.

When I ask this question to yogi friends the answer is vague. Some of them choose gurus and Swamis, others Instagram yogi stars or celebrities.

But let’s make same order here.

This is why I want to share my point of you, considering the practice, the social media influences and the accessibility. Accessibility is a key aspect, by it I mean their ability to share their job to a wider audience, to spread the Love for Yoga. In fact, there are many excellent yoga teachers that you can Like and Trust, but if you don’t know they exist, well, there is not much to do. Can you relate?

For ParkoLife the winners are:

Kino Mc Gregor. Despite her intense day to day schedule around the world (she can travel between Singapore and New York twice in ten days ), her Ashtanga practice is always LIVE on Instagram twice a week. With more than 18 years of experience in Ashtanga Yoga, she is one of a select group of people to receive the Certification to teach Ashtanga yoga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India and practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Kino not only is an excellent Yoga teacher to inspire and guide all student levels but also a contemporary Yoga Star for her popularity among social media. Well done Kino! You can find her on www.kinoyoga.com.

The second place goes to Dylan Werner. His formal practice is Vinyasa Flow. Dylan is famous for his movements and arm balancing asanas, he is relatively new to “the most wanted yoga teachers” as he started his career in 2011. Inspiring for his range of motion, Dylan yoga practice is for advance students who wish for new challenges and are seeking for hard core classes. I consider his figure as a turning point inside the world of yoga as he blends the borders between Yoga and Fitness. You can partecipate to his next workshop in Milan by checking his website at www.dylanwerneryoga.com.

I know her face-to-face and she is as magical as she appears on the web. Her name is Gloria Latham. Greek-Canadian (her family is from Kithira, the same island where I live) she re-launch the Kundalini yoga as no one ever did before. In people mind Kundalini belongs to the 70’, the yoga of the Hippies. It was very hard after that to remark Kundalini as contemporary and modern. Eventually she did it! Gloria teacher training’s, events and workshops praised great sequences, mindset meditation and positive thinking. Furthermore her followers just adore her, as a real Guru. You can find her on www.glorialatham.com.

I wish to share with you more about the contemporary yoga trend and teachers, I just love the topic! If you did it too, just share this post on your favourite social, or just drop a like on my blog page!

Happy to be back, close to you-Chiara


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ParkoLife | Why you don't need a guru to practice Yoga

For many years the practice of yoga was learned by dedicated students taught by their guru. Students learned yoga from one teacher or lineage and then either taught those same teachings or continued to study and live life.

Today, when we read texts about how to learn yoga, you will always find a statement about the importance of finding a teacher. Presented as fact, this statement leads aspiring yoga practitioners to believe they indeed need to find their “guru.” An ideal of the guru is romanticized and categorized in the minds of many as an “if-then” statement — if I find a guru, then I will become enlightened. The problem with this dichotomy is that the student becomes disempowered by the notion that she can never find success on her own. Students are unable to progress in the true practice of yoga when this idea of the guru guiding practice becomes all-encompassing.

At one time, following different lineages meant the equivalent of believing in completely different religions. Today the many lineages of yoga are based on the same, or similar, foundations. How the teaching is delivered has become disputed and controversial, resulting in “gurus” and their students insisting that there is only one RIGHT way to do a posture or a practice. This way of teaching leads to confusion for the students.

The context, history, culture, and life experience of person will drastically affect what and how they teach. All of those variables mix together to create a certain kind of resonance that either jives with your understanding of the world or not. This is why we can have so many yoga teachers in the world AND we can all prosper. What we have to offer is uniquely our own even though we’re all teaching pretty much the same thing. That does not mean that there is only one RIGHT way to teach or learn. There is only one right way for you, which may or may not match the right way for me.

A true guru or teacher empowers students to find their own right way. Often times that means finding a new teacher or doing something completely different. Really good yoga teachers are in the business of constantly putting themselves out of business. For this reason, yoga and business aren’t great matches. A teacher that creates dependency is not doing his or her students any favors.

Experience lots of styles of yoga, lots of ways of teaching, lots of teachers, and find someone who really speaks to you. When they no longer excite you, find someone else. It’s the greatest complement to a teacher when a student strikes out on her own. That means you really get it.

Study many perspectives. Experiment. Contemplate. Synthesize. And then go out in the world and be unapologetically you. Keep changing, smiling, thinking, and being.


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"True" ParkoLife