It is a quiet Sunday morning, cold, but the sun is shining brightly. Just a day after the longest lunar eclipse in the 21st century. ( at least that is what I was told).
I am trying to face my daily tasks, my to do list is excruciatingly long.
Suddenly my thoughts revert back to 6 month ago when I spent a week at Bagno Vignoni, meditation and yoga retreat. As I am recalling those feelings and memories, I remember that I promised to write a review. I promised it, because I was overwhelmed by my experiences and wanted to share it with others. But after my return from the trip, my daily life, the bills, the to do list has pushed my promise down on the priority list. I felt a bit guilty, but I knew, that once my life got into a bit of an order, I will write my review.
At that moment, a beeping sound from my phone, lifted me out of my thoughts and sense of guilt. As I glimpse on the screen, it is an email from ‘Book Yoga Retreats’….
OMG, did someone knew what I was just thinking? Was this a coincidence? Just another one of those coincidences that I had in spades when I was with Tanya and Michael Aprile enjoying my yoga retreat?
These coincidences, synchronicities, meaningful occurrences at the same time were not infrequent during my stay at Bagno Vignoni. My yoga teacher Tanya and her husband, Michael the Reiki master, thought that these coincidences were completely natural. For them, spending their life living their spiritual mission, of course it is natural. But for me, a busy, professional woman, specialising in science and surrounded by evidence based and logical and explainable facts, these were more than ordinary. As were the yoga sessions with Tanya, more than ordinary. Yoga withTanya was more than just attempting to create the physical poses or just manage my breathing pattern. They lead into a deep relaxation and meditation, where I was feeling more connected to my real self than I have been in years. The reiki sessions and water floating experiences with Michael made me experience the relaxed states of mind and body that I have been struggling to achieve prior. Following my daily meditation, relaxation and yoga sessions I felt grateful to be there.
My trip to Italy was not planned. It followed an unexpected traumatic life changing experience when I was searching for answers. I randomly thought, I will attend a yoga and meditation retreat, to try to heal my pain. I googled yoga and meditation retreats, chosen Italy, and the 4 day meditation-yoga-reiki retreat in Tuscany popped up. I emailed my enquiry, and within a few hours I received one of the warmest and most welcoming emails of my life. Tanya and Michael not only welcomed me, but offered to assist with my uncertain plans.
I booked my flight, flown to Florence, where I spent a few days before my private driver (arranged by the Apriles) picked me up, and took me to my hotel, Posta Marcucci in Bango Vignoni. On arrival, after my refreshments and a swim in the beautiful pool, Tanya met with me in the hotel lobby, and introduced me to their program. It all sounded inviting and positive but at the same time flexible. Every morning we would meet at 7 am, at the meditation room, overlooking the steaming thermal pools. The days followed a flexible but at the same time reassuringly routine events. Morning and evening yoga and meditation, and pre-booked reiki and water flotation sessions. I also added,my personal ritual of early morning walks to this routine, to which Bagno Vignoni village and surroundings provided a picturesque backdrop. In the evenings I would turn up to a delicious dinner at the hotel served by a professional but at the same time very friendly staff, who would great me by my name, lead me to my table and offer me a courteous and professional service. They would provide a three course meal, part of the half-boarding that I signed up for, or would accept if on some days I wanted to be in an out within minutes, just wanting a quick meal, before my midnight swim under the stars. And by the way, what a magnificent inforgettable experience that was, sipping Champagne, listening to Vivaldi, looking at the starts, floating in the warm thermal waters and replaying in my mind my daily experiences, so they stayed with me forever. I was full of appreciation.
So, If I just told you these, you would think, wow!!, Where do I find this magical place and magical people, because you would want to be part of it as well.
But, to be honest, this was not all. Tanya Aprile, also offers clairvoyance sessions. She gently asked me, if I was interested in having one. I thought, why not, I never had a clairvoyant session, so this might be an interesting opportunity. And what an eye opening and soul awakening experience that was!!!. During our sessions Tanya would not only offer me insight into my life experiences but would offer her clairvoyant view as well. I was surprised by the ‘higher knowledge’ she had access to. And to avoid any misunderstanding, her insights and knowledge were way more than just psychological advice or humanitarian wisdom. I myself have some knowledge of psychology, I am capable to offer insight and reflection to people, understand transference and counter-transference in therapeutic settings, but Tanya had more. I am still not quite sure how to describe it,
On our final evening, I was also lucky to enjoy a glass of the beautiful local wine and try the delicious local produce that was recommended by Michael. And of course, I had topped my experience by the never disappointing choices at the local gelato bar. During the evening I was able to ask a few more personal questions of my hosts, Tanya and Michael Aprile. I discovered that Tanya is originally Danish and Michael is Italian. I wondered how does a Danish woman and an Italian man run a highly spiritual course in Bagno Vignoni. They told me a bit about their spiritual journey in India, how they were influenced by famous yogi’s and how they live half of the year India and the other half in Italy.They feel deeply connected to the universal spirituality in India and they run their yoga, mediation and reiki session retreats in Goa, India and Bagno Vignoni.
I spontaneously asked Tanya, ‘Oh, you are Danish, what do you think about ‘hygge’, because I really like ‘hygge’ and tried to show them on my iPhone my hygge image collection. Along the pictures, there was this beautiful image of a winding road, Cyprus trees and red poppy flowers. I told them how beautiful that was and I wished I could see that place one day. Tanya and Michael looked at each other and exclaimed ‘but that is just around the corner from us’,’ tomorrow, you can visit it, it is only a short drive away’.
And there I was, speechless, gobsmacked, overwhelmed by universal connections, coincidences, spirituality. There I was talking to a Danish woman, about my personal interest in ‘hygge’, guided by an Italian man, telling me that the most beautiful scenic road that I had collected in my favourite image collection was nearby! What a coincidence!!! Or is it? Was this a coincidence? Or meaningful co-occurance? Or just universal connectedness? I don’t know for sure. But I would like to have more of it.
All my heartfelt thanks again to Tanya and Michael, their retreat, their chosen location and their team. I wish that they can provide us with more of these amazing experiences and help us recognise and reconnect with our very own spiritual journey. Because our spiritual journey is what really matters and the most real after all!
Andrea, A spiritual traveller