How to keep bad backs at bay, by Amy

Bad backs are the bane of Western living, caused often by our sedentary lifestyles Our lovely yoga guru Amy Rogg, who is mentoring a course in Bali at the moment, has just sent me this well-focussed yoga tip on ways to loosen your spine

She says: “Spinal opening and flexibility are essential to feeling good and pain free. The most important nerve connections are in the spine so here are some ways to prevent stagnation and compression and maintain fluidity and malleability.”

Here are the exercises:

1) Cat/cow (see top): find a table top position on your hands and knees. As you inhale, drop your belly and ribs towards the floor, looking up and flaring your tailbone. As you exhale round the spine and push into the palms to press out of your shoulders. Repeat this spinal undulation for 1-2 minutes, aligning breath and movement.

2) Anahata kriya (left): scross-legged and hold your knees with your hands.

Start moving the torso in a circular motion, taking the heart around in a circle in one direction.  Do this for one minute. Then switch directions for another minute.

3) Downward/plank (above): start in downward dog. Lift into the toes and round the spine like a wave towards plank pose. From plank, bend your knees and scoop your hips back to downward dog. Repeat these wave undulations 6-8 times.

Amy and her colleague Joanne Brohmer are running a wonderful yoga retreat at the Watermill this Summer. So close your eyes and dream of beautiful Tuscany, amazing food and restorative yoga. With their students using words like ‘joy’ and ‘magical’ about them, Amy and Joanne will help you to awaken and restore your true passion and self-worth. We are sure this is going to be one of our most inspiring retreats –a sun-filled, fun-filled week where we’ll nurture your mind, body and spirit.

Amy and Joanne’s week will run from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September 2018. The theme of the retreat will be Connection’ – to yourself, to others and to nature.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Amy Rogg is a yoga teacher and movement facilitator working on transforming the human spirit through holistic arts. She is based in San Francisco, California, USA. Amy helps people to awaken and restore their passion and self-worth, inspiring them to move towards their vulnerability and authenticity. She brings people back into their innate knowledge and wisdom, through a deeper connection to their body, breath, and personal expression.

As a healer, Joanne Brohmer offers a range of modalities that helps others enter into their own depth and set their anchor deeper, where they can begin to claim and feel what has been hard to reach. She helps bring what has been blocked forward into the safe home of acceptance and embrace. She facilitates bringing others to that soft, open, vulnerable place in a way that feels safe.

Participants on our yoga retreat with Amy and Joanne enjoy SEVEN nights at the Watermill, with full board. Everything is included in the cost of the retreat: workshops, accommodation (including all linen and towels), tours, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest! You can see a draft itinerary by clicking here.

Come and practise your yoga and meditation in the tranquil heart of rural Tuscany and let us nurture your mind, body and spirit.

Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer
25 August to 1 September 2018 – still places
Yoga retreat
To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

Yoga girl

 

Be inspired by the towering genius of the Renaissance in the Brunelleschi bedroom

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Continuing our notes of the Renaissance artists whose names grace the Watermill bedrooms and apartment suites, today we come to my great hero, Filippo Brunelleschi, to my mind the towering genius of the early Renaissance.

As well as designing and supervising the construction of the incomparable dome of Florence cathedral (above), Filippo invented linear perspective, designed the first new-classical building since Roman times, the Ospedale degli Innocenti and created the sublime space of the Pazzi chapel in the cloisters of Santa Croce. With his one-time apprentice Donatello (who re-created classical sculpture) and his patron Cosimo (Medici) the Elder (who led the re-discovery of Greek and Roman texts and promoted Humanism), Brunelleschi can truly be regarded as the father of the Renaissance. He’s the presiding genius of my detective novel A Matter of Perspective set in 15th Century Florence. You can see more about that by clicking here (UK)  or here (Worldwide).

The bedroom at the Watermill which bears his name is a superior double room, also available for single occupancy, with an en suite shower room. It enjoys a large roof terrace overlooking the courtyard and gardens and with amazing views of the mountains. Like all the bedrooms for our 2019 creative courses, Brunelleschi is pretty full this year, but he’s free for Sandra Strohschein’s painting week from Saturday 2 June to Saturday 9 June, for Terry Jarvis’ painting week from Saturday 7 July to Saturday 14 July and for Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer’s yoga retreat from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September.

Join us and Filippo and be inspired!

 Sandra plus picSandra Strohshein

Watercolours

Places left: 2-9 June AND 19-16 June 2018

Please click here to learn more about Sandra’s painting holidays at The Watermill. 

terry plus pic7-14 July 2018 

Terry Jarvis

Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

To learn more about Terry and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer
25 August to 1 September 2018 – still plenty of places
Yoga retreat
To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

 *** Why not bring your non-painting partner as well? There’s a generous £250 discount for him/her if they share a room with you — and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities suggestions by clicking here.

 

The rare and perfect talent of Fra Angelico to inspire your creative week at the Watermill

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.I had such fun yesterday writing about Lorenzo Ghiberti and his eponymous bedroom at the Watermill that today I thought I’d introduce you to Fra Angelico, whose bedroom is one floor below in the 19th Century Tuscan House in the main courtyard.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Fra Angelico is one of the great early Renaissance artists (my favourite period), perhaps best known for his amazing frescoes in the Monastery of San Marco in Florence. He also had/has a sackful of names!

He started life as (in 1395) as Guido di Pietro, but was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John from Fiesole) and, later, Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). A devout man, he was/is known in Italian as il beato Angelico (the blessed Angelic One) and in 1982, Pope John Paul II made if official by beatifying him. The English usage Fra Angelico means Angelic Friar. To the left is Giuseppe Simonelli’s posthumous portrait of him in a fresco in Orvieto cathedral.

He had “rare and perfect talent,” according to Georgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, who added: “It is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.” 

This is Fra Angelico’s Annunciation in Florence’s San Marco, in all its simplicity, harmony and purity. And don’t you just love the Archangel Gabriel‘s wings?

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

We hope the angelic friar and the other Renaissance masters after whom we have named our bedrooms inspire your painting while you are with us (and your knitting, writing, yoga and Italian language speaking, too, come to that.) But if you want to bond particularly with Fra Angelico, his bedroom is having a busy season too. In fact, his bedroom is only still available for three weeks all season. He’s fully occupied the rest of the time!

You can stay in Fra Angelico on Terry Jarvis’ painting course from 7-14 July, Jo Parfitt’s first Writing your Life Stories course, from 18-25 August and on Amy and Joanne’s yoga retreat week, from 25 August to 1 September.

Come and join us!

terry plus pic7-14 July 2018 

Terry Jarvis

Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

To learn more about Terry and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer

25 August to 1 September 2018 

Yoga retreat

To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page