After a break due to Covid, this year’s ‘Yoga Holiday’, an event that has characterized Merigar’s summers for years, returned from 1 to 5 August. This year’s theme was ‘Possible Paths: Yoga and Meditation Paths at Merigar’. Alongside the yoga and meditation sessions, organized for beginners and more experienced practitioners, a series of extra activities were offered, linked by a common thread: ‘the path’, understood in a spatial, temporal, sensory and other senses.
On August 1, at the conclusion of the first meeting, Stefano Costagli led participants in a tasting of products from his farm with the theme ‘Eating with awareness’. The characteristic aspect of this event was awareness of the production process. Each bite was accompanied by an understanding of how the food was grown, harvested and prepared. This added a surprizing depth to the act of eating.
On August 2 the day began with Yantra Yoga sessions, during which the beginner group was introduced to this ancient practice and its benefits for body, breath and mind, while the more experienced practitioners continued to refine and deepen their understanding of this discipline by exploring more subtle and advanced aspects of movement and breathing.
The yoga sessions were conducted by Laura Evangelisti and Tiziana Gottardi for the group of more experienced practitioners and by Dina Priymak and Letizia Pizzetti for the group of beginners. In the afternoon, the meditation session conducted by Gino Vitiello led participants to experience the effect of the full presence of mind in the movement of the body. Walking consciously allowed participants to find a harmonious rhythm that tuned movement and breath and led to a deeper contact between self and the surrounding nature. The day ended in the enveloping atmosphere of the Merigar Library where Francesca Sfondrini shared the fruits of her studies in a lecture entitled: ‘Journey to the Roof of the World: the tent of nomadic shepherds between microcosm and macrocosm’. Francesca painted a vivid portrait of Tibetan shepherds and their tents, simple but rich in meaning and symbolism. She explained how these tents reflect the symbol of the mandala and man’s connection with nature and the universe.
August 3 was also dedicated to Yantra Yoga and meditation sessions, after we visited the Museum of Asian Art and Culture which was reached via the path connecting Merigar to Arcidosso, to visit “On the Silk Roads”. Through the guidance of Jacobella Gaetani, participants took a step back in time, only to return to the present with a greater understanding of the importance of the interconnection between cultures. Jacobella painted a vivid portrait of the silk trade routes that crossed expanses of unknown lands connecting distant cultures.
On August 4, the day began with a meditation session and continued with yoga sessions. In the afternoon, a second cycle of ‘Library Talks’ took place, with speaker Fabian Sanders. This time the focus was on the doctrinal foundations of yoga. Through an analysis of the term ‘yoga’, participants embarked on a journey into the very heart of yoga philosophy and discovered the richness of its cultural and spiritual roots. The day ended with an aperitif creatively prepared by Monica Patino and Giorgio Minuzzo. Their skill is like magic, transforming simple ingredients into an extraordinary sensory experience. Parsley, mint, lemon and other ingredients blended into a symphony of taste.
At the last meeting, after the yoga and meditation sessions, we gathered again to share some reflections on these intense days spent together: all participants emphasized their appreciation for the course. Moreover, this final moment of sharing, thanks also to a questionnaire we proposed, allowed everyone to express their impressions of the experience and to contribute useful suggestions to further improve our offer. Many also asked for information on how they could continue, so we feel we have offered those who participated a valuable experience in their research and training journey.
The YY team of instructors