Amalfi Coast, Italy
How many times have you said out loud… “oh, I have always wanted to go there”! Well, if you say that to Rose Maghdouri, owner of Shockoe Slip Yoga and Chase Adventure, she will be confirming dates and booking flights faster than you can say “Grazie Mille”. Hence, Chase Adventure hosted 17 beautiful souls in Southern Italy this October, as the Amalfi Coast was on her bucket list – and she dreams big! I was fortunate to be invited by Rose to join forces and team up to plan this grand journey to an ancient fishing village on the outskirts of Sorrento in the Monti Lattari Natural Reserve. After a year of anticipation and planning, we landed in Naples for the famously scenic and white-knuckled drive along the coastline to our destination in the municipality of Masse Lubrense. Our home for the next week was a renovated 16th century Franciscan convent that sat just above the marina where every room had a view of the sea. We were met with open arms and an exuberant “Buongiorno” by one of our retreat facilitators, Franz, who gave us firm instructions to immediately change into our swimsuits, jump in the Tyrennian Sea to abate the jet lag, and be dressed and ready for dinner by 6:30 p.m. He and his beautiful wife, Molly, took such great care of us, ensuring every participant’s needs were met and that we experienced the true magic and history of the coast and all it had to offer.
Each day began with meditation; a walking meditation was practiced in the grand hallways circling the interior courtyard of the convent which was truly heart-stirring on our first day. Yoga classes were held in the shala, also overlooking the blue waters of the gulf. Some evenings before bed, we grabbed our mats, pillows and blankets, and gathered in the grand hallways for a Yoga Nidra practice. Our private chef, Pia, prepared nourishing and wholesome vegetarian meals; but of course, what kind of retreat would it be without decadent Italian pastries and almond cake?! After Rose’s vinyasa classes and learning how to boost our metabolism and detoxify with Energy Medicine Yoga, we rewarded ourselves daily with gelato and limoncello, only as a digestive, of course!
“Dolce far niente” was our mantra for the week – the sweetness of doing nothing! This was the only challenging aspect to embrace. There were day trips to Sorrento, Positano and Pompeii. There was a hike to the point of the Sorrentine peninsula, Punta Campanello; or opting to tour a 4th generation family farm with groves of lemon and olive trees. A personalized tour of historic and sacred sites where our tour guide was given the key by the Mayor for only the third time ever, to visit a prominent church that sat high above the town. A stroll to a neighboring farm where “Mamma” taught us how to make homemade gnocchi and tasty eggplant “boats”. And last but not least, two private boats for a day trip to the Isle of Capri where we explored the grottoes and faraglioni before disembarking to hobnob with the beautiful people in town with its dramatic views of the bluest ocean you’ve ever seen!
Where have you always wanted to go? How about Greece with Chase Adventure in 2019? Stay tuned!
Skydiving & Yoga
As a lifelong sufferer of anxiety, jumping out of a perfectly good airplane for kicks might not seem like something I’d sign on for. Traffic makes me anxious, as do long lines at the grocery store and too many unread Facebook messages. Honestly, sometimes simply sitting on my sofa on a sunny day can cause a slightly panicky feeling.
Yet here I was, on a beautiful Sunday morning, preparing to skydive alongside my fellow Shockoe Slip yogis. Voluntarily. It was Shockoe Slip Yoga’s first Yoga and Skydiving Workshop, held at the No Limits Skydiving drop zone in Victoria, VA. We spent Saturday night around the campfire, scalding marshmallows and counting shooting stars. None of us admitted that we were scared. Perhaps the others weren’t. I was, very silently, a bit terrified.
It would be my second jump. You could assume that it would be easier the second time around. Logic, however, is no match for my mind—a land of a million dire scenarios and flower arrangements for my imminent funeral. I was more anxious this second time because I knew what awaited me. Sometimes, there is solace in the not knowing.
Sunday morning we awoke to muffins and a cobalt blue sky. The No Limits team prepped the planes while we Shockoe Slip yogis put our mats on the tarmac. There were a lot of distractions—plane engines, fellow jumpers arriving, and a pug with a fondness for eating shoes. None of this, however, seemed to distract us.
We moved through planks and down dogs and wound up in Goddess pose for a quad-burning dose of empowerment. At some point during all of this, I really looked at my beautiful students. With the plane behind them, they were the very pictures of the warrior woman spirit. In this moment, my nerves took a break and a wave of calm, safe energy moved through my body. My jaw relaxed. My mind ceased creating new, more terrifying narratives.
This feeling actually lasted until the plane took off and I realized that the door would soon open and I would be launched thousands of feet into the air. My stomach didn’t flutter, it howled. My fingers went slightly numb. My brain went back to its old soundtrack. But…I did what yogis do. I breathed deep and long. I set my focus—my drishti—on the skyline and the infinite green landscape of the earth I hoped to safely return to. When that door opened, I didn’t hesitate. I went into the free fall like I’d been doing it all my life. I even kept my eyes open.
I’ve always felt like my yoga practice is like a never-ending trial study of my brain and body. With each year that goes by, new challenges are presented. How does yoga help me navigate DC traffic? How do I react to the cancelled flight or the misfiled tax return? Can I get through Christmas without being an ass? Can yoga allow me to adapt to new phases of my life? To aging? To breakups? The answer is always: YES. Yoga hasn’t solved my anxiety problems, and it hasn’t made me an image of beatific perfection. It has allowed me to move through anxiety with a bit more grace, humor, and courage. I’m still the same girl who used to have panic attacks every morning in the last stall of the girl’s bathroom at Shelburne Junior High. I vividly remember the feeling of the cold porcelain beneath me, my eyes squeezed shut. Like a much younger child, I believed that closing my eyes would make everything simply disappear. I’m still that girl. Yoga hasn’t changed me, but my practice has changed with me. It’s allowed me to leave the stall and take to the skies. Yoga helps me go through this strange, beautiful journey with eyes wide open.
Yoga & Ride
A day of fun, fitness, and plenty of food (and wine!), as we partner with Richmond’s own Basket & Bike for an experience you’re guaranteed to love. We’ll start our morning with a leisurely bike ride from the beautiful Upper Shirley Vineyards to cozy Edgewood Plantation, followed by an hour-long yoga practice and meditation, and lunch. Then we’ll hop back on our bikes and return to Upper Shirley, where a complementary glass of wine will be waiting. Yogis (and cyclists!) of all levels welcome.
Yoga on the James
Check out the latest event in our Chase Adventure series! Chase Adventure: Yoga On The James helped mix up your regularly scheduled yoga routine with a day of fun, flow, and relaxation. We started with a 60-minute all-levels yoga practice at Rocketts Landing, followed by a short meditation and an afternoon of boating down the beautiful James River. Food, non-alcoholic, and alcoholic beverages were provided — and plenty of sunshine too! We can’t wait for you to join us next time!
Costa Rica Retreat
At Shockoe Slip Yoga, we recently returned from chasing an adventure of our own — in Costa Rica! Our 5-day Strength & Relaxation Women’s Retreat left us feeling stronger and more centered, empowered and rejuvenated, and totally grateful for our fellow yogis. And in case you haven’t heard, we’re gearing up to dive back into la pura vida — that’s the totally chill, laid back, go-with-the-flow way of living the Costa Rican “Pure Life” — in February!
Yoga at Upper Shirley Vineyards
This special 60 minute yoga practice outdoors on the beautiful riverfront of Upper Shirley Vineyard, included an all-levels flow complete with heart-opening backbends and lots of hip softening. There were lots of modifications for those new to the practice or those with injuries.
Roof Top Yoga at Kabana