Since leaving the corporate world, Sarah has been dedicating her life to health and yoga. However she shares with us how one can still enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer while keeping a healthy lifestyle. The way the French and Italians do: slow down, enjoy good local food. And what a great way to combine this philosophy with yoga in a retreat in Italy!
You have a yoga retreat coming up in Italy, tell us a little about it.
It’s FANTASTIC! The country side of Italy is very in sync with the yoga lifestyle. Everything is closed from 1-4pm so you can eat and rest. There is no takeout coffee, you sit, you eat, you do not multi-task!
You’ve led this retreat before, right? Tell us more about the wine & yoga combination.
Yes, this is our 7th year hosting the retreat. Wine is very much a part of the culture of Italy. The wine is local and without sulfites so easy to enjoy without that harsh feeling the next day. We learn about the grapes, how they grow and how the local people use the wine and olive oil as part of their daily lives. In fact, the villa is located on an olive grove. They sell their olives to be processed into one of the area’s best olive oils. We enjoy it all week in all of our meals!. The food is really what makes this retreat so special. Most food comes from the garden or the neighbors’ garden. It’s all vegetarian and you would be surprised how little pasta is served. The good quality food combined with yoga and rest heals many of the students in ways they had never thought possible!
We do leave the villa twice during the week. Once for a visit to Rome! and again to visit a small local hill down for dinner. Again, it’s FANTASTICO!
What is your favorite retreat place (as a teacher or an attendee)? Why?
This is a hard question. We love all our retreat destinations. Each is unique and different. Students (and the teachers) have very different experiences from destination to destination. My top two retreat places are the villa in Italy (InSabina) and our Belize retreat center (Ak’bol) on San Pedro
How many years have you been teaching? And where do you currently teach?
I have been teaching since 2004 and I currently teach at Devotion Yoga in Hoboken, NJ. Devotion also has a studio in Ship Bottom, NJ on Long Beach Island where I teaching during the summer.
What was your most profound moment while taking or leading a retreat?
When students have that “ah, ha” moment… Something becomes so clear to them and everything clicks. They have turned the corner and are now seeing things differently and become at peace. These moments are the greatest for a teacher. All we do is provide the environment for students to let go and to go deeper. Moments of clarity are by far the most rewarding.
Who were you mostly influenced by?
All of my current and past Yoga teachers have greatly influenced me. Even teachers that I have only taking a class or two with teach me in some respect.
Where do you live and what is a typical day like for you?
I live in Hoboken, NJ and have lived here for over 22 years. I love being so close to New York City. I don’t own a car so my day consists of riding my bike or walking to/from the studio to teach or run errands. I spend time in NYC also so you can pretty much find me teaching or on mass transit. I also am a certified Nutrition Counselor so in between teaching I see nutrition clients and host workshops and cooking classes.
What do you love most about teaching yoga?
Helping students relax and de-stress, helping students find their path in life whatever that means for them and helping students who want to live outside of the corporate lifestyle find a way.
Who are your typical students?
All levels & all ages but mostly highly educated single women doing it all!
What is the greatest challenge you have overcome because of yoga?
I quit my corporate job giving up a large salary to do something different with my life. If it weren’t for yoga & my nutrition practice I probably would still be working in a corporate job and would have been very unhappy. This unhappiness would probably have led to a decline in my health and well being.
What advice do you have for people who have never taken a yoga retreat?
GO! You don’t need anyone to join you, you can be whoever you want and you get to work on yourself whether that means just doing yoga or dealing with bigger issues!
What makes the retreats you lead special?
They are vacations as well as retreats. We don’t have any sunrise yoga or early morning yoga. We start our yoga at 9 or 9:30am to give students a chance to rest and enjoy the stillness of the morning. We include excursions to get us off the property and enjoy our beautiful surroundings! For Italy we do wine tasting and olive oil tastings too! For Belize we spend as much time as we can on the water doing activities!
What is a typical retreat day like?
Breakfast, yoga, lunch/free time, massage, excursion/exploring, yoga, dinner, activity.
Thanks Sarah for opening a window in your life! For more information on Sarah’s upcoming retreat, check out Yoga & Wine in Italy! Sept 29th – Oct 6th 2012