There is something to say about diving into a yoga retreat overseas, in a place you’ve never been before and not knowing a single soul there. Living on a small island like St Barth, you can’t really go anywhere without running into someone you know (at the same time that’s part of the charm). As a new mom, I was excited, yet guilty about taking a seven day break away from baby Blake. This would be the first time being away from him at 21 months (Moms: I recommend FaceTime so they get used to you being away for this period). My husband and friends (especially other moms) encouraged me, ” take this break, you deserve it!” Okay, here we go!
Day 1: My husband, Chris and baby Blake flew with me to Roma so we could spend a few days overseas together before I headed off to the retreat. I then headed back to Fiumicino airport, were I met our organizers Elda Giardetti and Dina Franchi. When I met them and the rest of the group, it was as if I had known them from childhood or something (I was the only guest from the United States, so it was incredible to meet people from all over the world). I sat next to my new fashionista bestie, Dina on our bus trip to Sabina. We approached our humble abode for the next seven days, nestled on the majestic rolling hills and olive groves of Sabina. This magical setting spoke to all of us and embraced us with a wave of peace. We were immediately greeted by our host, Raphael who warmly welcomed us to In Sabina, a peaceful haven of repose, followed be a welcome dinner consisting of Wild Nettle Risotto, Grilled Fennel, Roasted Carrots, and a warm apple + pear crumble. Our group bonded immediately, we formed “Sabina Sisters,” a new tribe.
Day 2: The Sabina breeze gently woke me up. I haven’t slept this deeply in awhile, it felt amazing. I felt like I was in another world. I warmed up with a nettle tea and quickly walked down to the platform overlooking such a heavenly view of abundant hills that seem to go on forever. This was the way we started our day, sharing a yoga practice together, outside with our feet grounded in nature (I don’t think I even wore shoes for most of the retreat except for when we went on hikes or excursions). After sharing a beautiful yoga practice led by Elda, we heard the bell ring (every time a meal was prepared, they would ring this bell) so we got to enjoy a beautiful farm to table breakfast at a community table with local figs as the centerpiece. Porridge was our daily staple, prepared differently each day (my favorite version consisted of nuts, seeds and dried fruit). Afterwards we had free time to read, nap in a hammock, enjoy spa treatments, lounge poolside or whatever our heart desired. We enjoyed a sauna hike infused with our daily dose of vitamin D, then worked up a huge appetite for the following lunch consisting of the following: garden green baked falafels, mixed quinoa, baba ghanoush, carrot + fennel salad, organic garden greens with citrus dressing. After a restorative yoga practice we got spoiled by another decadent dinner consisting of pasta with local organic kale, walnut + sun-dried tomato pesto, grilled local organic eggplant, cacao-hazelnut bliss balls.
Day 3: I can get used to starting off the day with outdoor yoga, grounded in the heart of nature for my new daily routine. This beautiful practice was followed by another delicious breakfast. Afterwards we hiked over to a gorgeous waterfall, and practiced some fun yoga poses immersed in the water. It was purifying and awakening to our spirits. We then explored the stone wall town of Rocchette and quickly worked up an appetite. Our lunch consisted of a rice noodle soup, turmeric toasted chickpeas, orange + fennel salad, and an organic garden green salad. We enjoyed free time, so I started reading High Vibrational Beauty: Recipes & Rituals for Radical Self Care in a hammock. My Sabina Sisters took turns skimming through this book for amazing beauty tips! During sunset we enjoyed indulging in organic garden green chard soup, mixed bean + rocket salad, arancini (risotto balls), and locally produced sheep ricotta.
Day 4: 7:00am, time for some more heart openers! This doesn’t get old. It”s so nice to look forward to yoga, first thing in the morning. After sharing breakfast with the girls, I enjoyed my first Kobido massage. If you haven’t tried kobido, you must! It’s known as the “natural facelift.” This facial is performed by stimulating the pressure points of the face with quick and strong, rhythmic motions using finger tips. Kobido helps eliminate toxins, impurities and reduces wrinkles while rejuvenating the skin. It was so relaxing that I almost fell asleep. I woke up almost feeling tipsy, in total bliss. I recommend taking a cat nap after this treatment (which I did). After waking up, we enjoyed eggplant + mozzarella bake, millet stuffed peppers, grilled local organic zucchini, organic garden salad. After another beautiful hike I scheduled another Kobido massage for Day 7, to experience this incredible treatment once more! For dinner we had brown lentil moussaka, garlic bruschetta, steamed organic garden beans + chard, rosemary + orange polenta cake with honey mascarpone.
Day 5: Ahhh, a day of boutique scouting! After breakfast, we took the train to depart Roma to enjoy a day of excursions of our choice. I’ve been to Roma many times, so I thought this time I would search out local boutiques with a few of the girls from our group who were also into beauty and fashion. We had a blast! It was so much easier to try on clothes hands free, so I took advantage of this moment. We even found a cute smoothie and juice bar to enjoy a break from the heat. After about 15,000 steps of walking through our boutique trail, we met up with the rest of the group and took the train back to Sabina. On the train ride back I started my other book, “Whole Detox” which opened my eyes to what the word detox really means. Read it!
Day 6: After yoga and breakfast, we headed to Orvieto, a cute walled city located in the Umbria region – The Green Heart of Italy. This medieval umbrian city, is famous for the tufa outcrop, the Duomo, the Saint Patrick’s Well, and the whole ancient town center filled with narrow streets, beautiful churches, historic palace and the suggestive underground life: a maze of tunnels and caves. Source: Orvieto Viva. My friend Dina, Nancy and I discovered an amazing designer Federico Badia. We got to design our own purses and leather bags with him and most of them were ready the same day, with incredible attention to detail and quality. We then took a private bus home to enjoy restorative yoga. For dinner we enjoyed spaghetti with roasted tomato sauce + garden basil, roasted chickpeas with rocket, grilled local organic zucchini, locally produced cheese and olives, black bean espresso balls.
Day 7: Kobido day! I couldn’t wait to do Kobido again. After yoga and breakfast, I enjoyed Kobido so much that I fell asleep this time. My skin was glowing and seems to keep glowing from this decadent treatment. After this treatment I enjoyed a nice nap in the hammock, then we fueled up with “risotto con zucchinie, piselli e fion di zuccha, Caprese, verdura mista, insalata verde” for lunch. After a hike and shower, we enjoyed a night out for dinner and wine tasting at Il Terrebinto, a true farm to table experience. Afterwards, to keep the skin glowing, I introduced the girls to Glam Glow, the activated charcoal super-mud face mask.
What an incredible 7 days to reset, disconnect with the world, yet connect with new beautiful, nature-loving souls. I like this idea of maintaining time each day to practice yoga, hike and allow time for rest, even if its a few extra minutes in the morning after waking up, and a half an hour after tucking my baby in for bed to simple slow down and take in the beautiful moments of the day. Yes we are busy, bust there is always a way to make time for ourselves moms, it’s so worth the extra few minutes! Xoxo, Kristine