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Things I want to remember (among others) about our Sardinia 2024 Yoga & Pilates Retreat

Updated: Jun 23

In June 2024, I spent the most amazing, fun, relaxing and motivating week in Sardinia, my homeland, with a group of 28 wonderful women and my friend and colleague Brendan Reid.

There are so many things I want to remember about our Sardinia 2024 Yoga & Pilates Retreat that I cannot write them all here, or the website will explode, but here´s a selection:

“The One with Fiona´s Deceit”

The participants discovered that the osteopath who provided treatments and massages at the Galanias Hotel, Tomaso Moro, was incredibly skilled and kind, and started competing to book slots with him before they were all gone. This all culminated in a hilarious scene in our beautiful Shala 1, where Fiona, who obviously needed another massage, tried to convince Joy, who had just booked one, to give up her spot, by inventing horror stories about massages that I cannot quite repeat here. After a moment of shock, followed by general laughter, Joy copped on and held on to her appointment. Better luck next time, Fiona!

“The One with the Turmeric”

A participant I shan´t name told us a story about being granted an audience with a guru, to whom she asked some profound questions. At the end, he asked her if there was anything else and she said no. “Are you sure?” he insisted. “I think there is something else.”

“Well,” she admitted, “Actually, there is. I wonder if there is a man on the horizon.”

“Aaah,” he said knowingly, “you need to make a paste with turmeric and oil and rub it on your nipples. He will arrive within 3 months.”

We cannot help but wondering how she will get the bright yellow circular stains out of ther tops....

“The One with the Chocolate Meditation”

On the second last day, at the end of a Hypnoga workshop, I decided to invite the participants to try a chocolate meditation. The idea is that you break off a piece of your favourite chocolate, then hold it in your hands and close your eyes while I encourage you to feel the weight of the chocolate in your hand, to smell it, to visualise it, to imagine what it is going to taste like, and to then open your eyes and study its shape – all before putting it in your mouth. This meditation is used to encourage mindful eating, so we appreciate our food and express gratitude for it instead of eating mindlessly to fill a void or fend off anxiety.

Unfortunately, before I even started speaking, someone (you know who you are!) had already broken off a huge piece and was proceeding to scoff it all down while I was distracted!!

“The One with Mitch from Baywatch”

On the last day of our retreat, there was a wind and the sea was quite wavy, and unfortunately one of our participants was experiencing difficulties in making her way out of the water. Two of our lovely ladies ran over to give her a hand, but the undertow was proving too strong. At that point, I am told, the Sardinian version of Baywatch´s Mitch Buchannon and his strapping friend intervened and gallantly assisted the lady out of the water. We were afraid she would be shaken, but at lunch, over a glass of wine, she let us know that “those pecs were in play and worth a tumble”. Unflippable!

Sardinian hunk to the rescue

“The One with the Toaster”

Sorry G, but I have to share this! Breakfast was one of the best moments of our day, as you could basically eat lovely food for over an hour and then just roll yourself downhill to the beach ... Being fond of warm pancakes, G decided she would toast one. Unfortunately, her war with the weird toaster had already been going on for days, and the pancake was the last straw. The toaster started smoking ominously, a smell of burnt spreading throughout the breakfast room and seeping out onto the terrace, until a member of staff ran in worried and unplugged the toaster. Unrepenting, G enjoyed her warm pancake and declared, I quote, “I do not regret it, it tasted great.”

toaster on fire
G trying to burn the hotel down

“The One with the Flamingoes”

Some adventurous participants took the initiative to rent transportation and go to visit Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, for a day. Enterprising Gwen packed them all into a very large taxi and off they went. I had recommended having a look at the flamingoes that nest in the Molentargius saltpits, but they did not know if the driver would have time to drop them there. During the day, as they send photos of Cagliari in the WhatsApp chat, they also shared an incredible picture of a group of flamingoes photographed from very close up. It looked like something out of a BBC nature documentary and I was truly impressed and not a little jealous. Incredible is right ... when I commented on it, a mischievous glimmer came into Gwen´s eyes ... that picture was the first Google showed you when you searched for flamingoes ... the reprobate!

Fake flamingo pic!

"The One with the Near Miss"

We had a wonderful time on the boat (and on the amazing beaches we visited) and thankfully we all came back in one piece, thanks to the ladies sitting beside Breda. Indeed, when her hat flew off as the boat sped back towards the Orosei Gulf, Breda bravely jumped to its rescue (twice) and for a moment we thought we were going to have a woman overboard!

Justine, Doreen and Brida with her hat!

“The One with the Aperitif”

I told this story in the previous post, see here. It is all about our wonderful Wendy shouting orders for aperitif through the hatch in the boat and then starting to pass glasses and snacks around the upper floor like a consummate barwoman. We had such a laugh but I tell you, everyone got their aperitif!

ladies having a beer
Wendy & Breda

“The One with Felix the Sausage Dog”

My friend Rita Piludu, a talented photographer with an extensive portfolio in Vogue Italia and other magazines, came over to take some photos of the retreat. In the afternoon, while Brendan taught his class, we went down to the beach to take some pictures, then walked back as I was due to lead a meditation. We saw a cute little sausage dog on the road and went to say hi. The doggie was very frisky and funny and started following us ... we kept telling him (it was definitely a “him”, what shocking behaviour!) to go back to his house but he would not ... we ended up going to reception to ask what we could do, and of course he – who in the meantime had acquired, from Rita, the name “Felix”, like the hotel chain we were in – bewitched all the staff, who came out to pet him. He followed us all the way up to the shala. Imagine Brendan inside the shala, getting everyone to relax, and on the lawn just outside Rita and I trying to stop Felix from running around crazily and courting every female (human or otherwise) he could see! I ended up having to grab him and hand him to Stefano, the lovely maintenance guy who ended up finding the owner. Apparently, his real name is Ross, but he will always be Felix to us!

Felix and I

I am sure more stories will come to my mind the very minute I publish this post, but this was just to say that I am so grateful about this amazing experience, thankful for experiencing so many moments of complete presence and fun, for being surrounded by wonderful people, for being born on the shore of the most beautiful sea, for being loved!

Namaste :)

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