Your Dream Sicilian Summer Yoga Retreat
May 13, 2019
How I made my dream of working in Scoglitti Sicily (Italy) come true
Something fairly significant happened in my life last year and in all honesty, I beamed in gratitude and awe for nearly six months after.
About a decade ago, a dream popped up in my consciousness. I had the idea that I wanted to travel back to my hometown of Scoglitti Sicily for work. At the time I had absolutely no clue what that could look like, or what service I would provide. All I knew, was that it seemed like a perfect idea. At the time I was a newbie to Oregon, living the Portland dream, broke and having a grand ole time. It seemed like a far cry from reality.
Now let’s fast forward to 2016 when I traveled back to Sicily as part of my honeymoon. I had since changed careers almost entirely and transitioned into a whole new path that included teaching yoga. Bringing my husband, Greg, sometimes better known as Don Rosso, back home was its own dream come true.
during that trip, the same fantasy from years before was felt, although this time I had a clearer vision. I decided that I would host my very first yoga retreat in my beloved Sicilian hometown of mine. Still, the idea seemed farfetched. I felt insecure in my teaching and organizational skills, and completely unsure of how I could ever pull something like that off.
Meanwhile, that tiny seed that had been planted several years prior was now an itty bitty seedling taking on its own life-force. It felt more tangible, still very scary, yet achievable. I spent the following year and a half nurturing, honoring and watering this seedling of a dream, truly not knowing if or how it could ever grow. Deep down, despite all the fear and insecurities, I believed it in so much that the trust in the dream is what kept me going.
After several more months of coordination and planning the time came to announce this Sicilian Summer Yoga Retreat. Mind you, nothing like this has ever been done in my hometown. The locals thought I was crazy. I was expecting no more than nine people, if that, to be interested. To my complete and utter shock, we sold out and had to upgrade our transportation, which allowed me to add additional spots, to which we sold out again.
What this meant, was that I actually had to do the thing… with 21 people while being 4 ½ months pregnant! There was no turning back. I poured my whole entire heart into the process. I answered over 200 participant questions, helped people buy their plane tickets to Sicily, emailed back and forth with countless Sicilians, and spent hours and hours of my days considering every last detail imaginable.
It seems silly to me now, but there were many nights of lost sleep worrying about liability coverage, whether people would like my town, if the group would get along, how to get 15 yoga mats to Sicily, etc, etc…
The time finally arrived and on the Summer Solstice, we commenced a week-long yoga retreat in my treasured hometown of Scoglitti Sicily. Everyone arrived without difficulty, bags in hand, and ready to eat!
For the next seven days, I had a perma-smile tattooed to my face. It was nonstop fun. Our morning view of the Mediterranean combined with a perfect Sicilian espresso and croissant was enough to make me giddy, but it just kept getting better. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun teaching yoga than on the sandy beach I grew up on with a warm sea breeze blowing in.
No one went hungry. We ate the most delicious meals of pasta, risotto, local fresh caught fish, homemade breads, pizza, and caprese salads. Afternoons were filled with cafes, gelatos, ocean waves, baroque city explorations, interesting conversations, laughter, sunbathing, and reuniting with my friends and family from Scoglitti.
Our retreat cadre became a family. Solo travelers were taken in as part of the gang and everyone was so kind and welcoming to others.
My intentions for the retreat were for individual and collective healing, sweet connections, and rest and relaxation. Every day I made time to take stock of all the things, people, and experiences that made me feel gratitude. Despite being 4 ½ months pregnant and tired from the nonstop fun I felt rejuvenated and refreshed after our sacred week together.
We concluded the retreat on a bright and beautiful full moon with happy hearts and full bellies.
Several retreaters immediately asked to sign up for the next retreat which inspired me to keep this up.
Scoglitti Sicily is situated in a gulf of the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea. To me, its the most magical place on earth. I invite you to come with me to my hometown for a once in a lifetime experience!
When: June 28th-July 6th for 9 days and 8 nights of Mediterranean sunshine & yoga, Sicilian cuisine, new friendships, relaxation, and exploration!
Head to the website for more info: www.happymindfulpeople.com/workshops-retreats
Elissa Cirignotta is a writer, teacher, world traveler, and change maker. When she’s not teaching or practicing yoga in Des Moines, Portland Oregon or Sicily, you can find her growing plants, planning trips and writing stories. She founded Happy Mindful People to provide kids, teens, educators, and parents with the tools and support they need to inspire healthy personal changes and find more joy in the day today. For more info visit www.happymindfulpeople.com.