Jivamukti Yoga Berlin is pleased to announce The 2020 Jivamukti Yoga Sicily Summer Solstice Retreat, hosted on ancient and sacred Scilian grounds, situated in a historic villa located in the deep and wandering hills of South Sicily. Join us for the breathtaking expanses of landscape, sea, and sun. The villa is teeming with life in the summer, from fresh olives to wild horses, and there is no way not to share in this celebration of Nature. The retreat will be powered by Jivamukti Berlin Director and Jivamukti Global Teacher Training facilitator, Anja Kuehnel, and supported by select members of the Jivamukti Berlin teacher faculty. Fresh, local, and vegan dishes will be prepared daily by our Italian chef and Jivamukti Canteen head, Alessia Cecconi and her team. Celebrate a week of joy and abundance around the energetic apex of the year culminating with the Summer Solstice. Nourish your body, spirit, and mind in this hermetic location, hidden away from the world within almond trees and olive groves. Our newest discovery of rugged terrain and refined accommodation makes for the ideal summer retreat. The culmination of the year is ideal in this rebuilt 17th century villa, situated on the 40 acre Sicilian Masseria, which was intentionally laid out by ancient astronomers to be in optimal alignment with the daily and yearly solar cycle. Join us and fill your summer days with asana, great local fare, gelato by the sea, ancient ruins, and lounging by our pristine pool, all under the abundant Sicilian sun.
RETREAT LANGUAGE: English (Anja teaches in English but also speaks German for individual tips/assists/questions)
THE DATES: Saturday, June 20 until Saturday, June 27 with optional early arrival/slow start on the 18th or 19th of June
THE ISLAND: “Italy without Sicily leaves no image. Sicily is the key to everything.“ – Johann Wolfgang Goethe – A Trip to Sicily
THE THEME: As the Summer Solstice, in 2020 taking place right on the start of our retreat on June 20/21, marks the pinnacle of the sun and the height of the year, symbolically it represents the fullness of life and light. Yoga is a celebration of the Sun, the supreme consciousness that illuminates all things and makes them clear. We will deepen our practice by honoring the light and connecting to the powerful energy of the time. The same solar energy that brings seeds forth, can ripen our highest intentions into manifestation. In this celebration of life-giving fire and light, our goal is to give participants the opportunity to burn off any burdens, immerse themselves in the dynamic vastness of nature, to eat vibrant and nourishing food, and to enjoy the company of uplifting community with our Jivamukti Yoga community.
THE PROGRAM: Anja will lead a morning 3-hour asana practice, prededed by optional morning meditation, chanting, and scripture reading. These will be intensive “workshop style” classes focused around the theme of warmth, light, and abundance, preparing you for the culmination of this retreat, the summer solstice on Friday, June 21st. Anja will infuse her many years of experience from teacheing international Jivamukti Yoga retreats and Jivamukti Teacher Trainings to offer a distilled vision of the purpose of the practice. You will experience and explore different aspects of Jivamukti Yoga like asanas, kriyas, pranayama, and yogic scriptures. Each afternoon we will offer shorter asana sessions, led by one of our members of the Jivamukti Berlin teaching faculty. Afternoons will also be filled with trips to the sea, swimming in the pool, and lounging in the sun.
REGISTRATION AND PRICES:
Prices start at 963 EUR with SUPER EARLY BIRD (until December 21) and 1008 EUR with EARLY BIRD (until March 21). BASE PRICE: 1098 EUR. SIGN-UP DEPOSIT: 198 EUR.
Please check out the registration form for detailed prices, discounts and accommodation options.
THE 2-STEP REGISTRATION PROCESS FOR THIS RETREAT: For registering, we have a 2-step registration process:
STEP 0: Download the registration form (click on the little image to the left), and make sure the offering, dates, prices and terms are agreable for you.
STEP 1: Make the applicable non-refundable sign-up deposit to hold your spot in the retreat and initiate the registration process. See in registraion for payment options and instructions for the sign-up deposit.
STEP 2: Fill in and sign the registration form you downloaded in Step 0. We highly recommend to use the free iPhone/Android App “Adobe Fill & Sign”! Alternatively, you can also print it out and fill and sign it and then either snail mail, or fax it to +49-30-48491950 or scan and email it to [email protected] Download Adobe Fill&Sign for iPhone/ipad here and for Android here
PLEASE NOTE: Your sign-up deposit is non-refundable, if you later change your mind and/or cannot come and/or cannot pay the full retreat price, however, you may find another person to take the retreat instead and who did not pay the sign-up deposit yet and transfer you deposit to this person.
MAKE YOUR FIRST STEP TOWARDS THE SICILY ADVENTURE: Secure your spot now by downloading the registration form and sending us your non-refundable sign-up deposit to hold your spot.
ANJA KÜHNEL has been a devoted student of Sharon Gannon and David Life since she first met them while temporarily living in New York. She has been directing the two Berlin Jivamukti Yoga Centers and their Jivamukti Apprenticeship Teacher Training program since 2008. After 15 years of study with Sharon and David, Anja is more than grateful for all she has learned and all that she is still going to learn. Anja has been practicing yoga with teachers of various yoga styles and has traveled the world to do so. But in her heart, Anja knew immediately after her first Jivamukti class, that it was where she belonged. She teaches at her two Berlin Jivamukti Yoga Centers, is regularly invited as a guest teacher worldwide and leads the 800-hour Jivamukti Apprenticeship Teacher Training Program in Berlin. She has also been a regularly invited to mentor and facilitator at the international Jivamukti Teacher Trainings.
“The only thing that gives me credibility as a yoga teacher is the graceful association with my teachers.” – David Life
THE JIVAMUKTI CANTEAM and its Italian head chef, Alessia Cecconi will be responsible for preparing local and vegan food to fuel your retreat. During an extensive and intense yoga practice, a healthy and nutritious diet is essential. This vegan selection with a high content of raw foods gives you all the vital nutrients in forms that are both delicious and digestible! We will use only super fresh, healthy and primarily local produce and products during this retreat, thus dramatically reducing our intake of toxins, providing a great stimulus for the natural detoxification of the body, and protecting the environment all at the same time. Experience how a super-healthy vegan lifestyle can offer so many colourful and tasty food options, and gain new inspirations for your own yoga and cooking practice at home! We will plan meals that are traditionally inspired, both classic Italian dishes and contemporary renditions. Celebrate the fullness of the season with the ripest local fare that is bound to keep you vital, fit, and satisfied.
THE LOCATION: Cloistered away upon a lonely hill in southeast Sicily between the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ragusa Ibla and the popular summer beach destination of Marina di Ragusa , our historic 17th century Sicilian Masseria is an oasis with lush gardens, vast patios, beautifully restored rooms, and a grand swimming pool. The entire complex is enclosed by restored ancient stone walls, featuring within them the central courtyard, the ancient villa, and surrounding suites. Situated only 10 minutes away from the Mediterranean Sea and close to a small town for shopping and exploring, the Villa is surrounded by a serene natural park with centuries-old olive, carob and almond trees, embodying the quintessential Sicilian countryside with all its historical hand cut stone masonry, pre-Christian caves, breathtaking views and hills leading to sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. During the peak of the year, experience coming to full flourishing with the Scilian hills as they abound with green and vibrance.
Our Masseria grounds and a brief history of the ancient Sicilian knowledge of mathematics and astronomy
The 17th century villa that we will be exclusively having as our retreat headquarters was designed to align with the sun, featuring the summer solstice sunrise at an approximate azimuth of 54 degrees and sunset at approximate azimuth of 305 degrees. The front of the house features a round holed stone window paired with an identical feature in the back of the house. These were constructed in such a mathematically precise fashion as to capture the intense sun on the solstice. The villa was built around these markers, and means that the sun will perfectly intersect and be directly over the grounds during the solstice. We should not consider these holed stones as a precise calendars or an instruments to observe the sun’s cycle, but rather monuments that provided information on the solstices for practical and agricultural purposes. The summer solstice is often considered to be a celebration of Apollo and the upcoming harvest. Thus it is a time of light, fullness, power, and abundance.
It is fascinating to discover how our ancestors already thousands of years ago, were able to apply precise astronomical canons to their constructions and living quarters. They would plan the axis of their living quarters at the moment of the laying of the foundation. They would divide the arch of the daily itinerary of the sun through projecting on the ground the shade of the sun itself on a fixed pole in the style of the ancient meridian clocks. In Sicily, the sun was an object of veneration and people felt always in a position of inferiority to the Sun and all its related and inexplicable events. At the center of their lives was the Sun, the Morning star that dictated the rhythm of nature and conditioned their everyday life. It was certainly a reason of great anxiety for Sicilian people at the start of winter to see the Sun getting lower and lower on the horizon while the daylight would diminish and the dark night extend its duration. At one point the Sun seemed to fall into darkness and the fear that it might not come back was always a tragic experience that seemed to threaten life itself. With time, Sicilians noticed that on the occasion of the winter solstice the Sun would always regain its strength as an invisible force over darkness which they celebrated with rituals starting fires symbolizing their effort to give heat and light to the weakened Sun. The celebration of the returning sun continued until it reaches its pinnacle in June, where fires are burnt and the fullness of the cycle is embraced. To understand the level of mathematical and existential knowledge in the old days we need simply to look into the life and writings of some of the Sicilian people of the time. Especially to Pythagoras who founded a school on Sicily, in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a communal, ascetic lifestyle. This lifestyle entailed a number of dietary prohibitions, traditionally said to have included vegetarianism, although modern scholars doubt that he ever advocated for complete vegetarianism.
The teaching most securely identified with Pythagoras is metempsychosis, or the “transmigration of souls”, which holds that every soul is immortal and, upon death, enters into a new body. He may have also devised the doctrine of musica universalis, which holds that the planets move according to mathematical equations and thus resonate to produce an inaudible symphony of music. Pythagoras was credited with many mathematical and scientific discoveries, including the Pythagorean theorem, Pythagorean tuning, the five regular solids, the Theory of Proportions, the sphericity of the Earth, and the identity of the morning and evening stars as the planet Venus. In addition, to the astronomical markings, the Masseria features its own small cave cemetery or necropolis located to the west of the Villa itself in the Egyptian tradition of building cemetery and pyramids west of the village / living quarters. This cave is visible on the immediate north side of the hill halfway along the main driveway and it is aligned with the winter solstice sunrise.
As of 2020, your Sicily Summer Solstice retreat tuition already includes a carbon offset for the estimated CO2 produced by the retreat partic- ipants travelling to Sicily and back. For each 2020 Sicily Summer Solstice Retreat participant, JYB will have 3 trees planted. A tree absorbs approx. 11.7lbs of CO2 every year, or approx. 468lbs. of CO2 over 40 years, so 3 trees for each participant will absorb roughly 1,404lbs. of CO2 over this time, which is about the same amount of CO2 from a round- trip flight from Berlin to Sicily. We know this is a lot of CO2 and we commit to CO2 reduction whenever possible. As of 2020, we will try at the very least to offset the CO2-related travel costs of our non-local retreats through having trees planted. In no way do we want to white-wash the impact on the climate that our Jivamukti Yoga retreats have, and we are committed to offering more local yoga retreats going forward. It is not an exaggeration to say that Jivamukti Yoga has made countless yoga students worldwide aware of the benefits of a vegetarian and better vegan diet for the planet as a whole as well as for their individual yoga practice and their general well-being. Converting to a vegan diet has prominently been named by The University of Oxford, among others, “as the single biggest way to reduce your envi- ronmental impact on earth”, “reducing an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73%”.