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

 

A sinful monk but a sublime painter, the story behind our Lippi Suite

Continuing our tales of the Renaissance artists who have given their names to Watermill bedrooms and apartment suites, today is the turn of Filippo Lippi. Although a monk, Filippo was also a womaniser, a forger and an inveterate liar. He was also one of the great painters of his time.

Georgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists tells a typical tale: “He was taken into great favour by Cosimo de’ Medici, but being devoted to pleasure, he neglected his work for it. Cosimo therefore, when he was working for him in his house, caused him to be shut in, so that he could not go out and waste his time; but he, cutting up the sheets of the bed with a pair of scissors, made a rope and let himself down by the window. When after many days he returned to his work, Cosimo gave him his liberty, considering the peril he had run, and sought to keep him for the future by many favours, and so he served him more readily, saying that genius is a heavenly being, and not a beast of burden.”

Yes, he was a sublime painter, the teacher of Sandro Botticelli and the father (by a nun!) of the great frescoist Filippino Lippi. One of my favourite paintings is Filippo’s Virgin and childe with two angels in the Uffizi: 

Come and be inspired (artistically) by the Lippis. Our Lippi Suite has two bedrooms (the large, Filippo, the smaller Filippino!), so it is ideal for a couple or two friends sharing  That’s the sitting room above, and here’s the main bedroom — and you won’t need a knotted bed sheet to get out!

The Lippi Suite is still available for Sandra Strohschein’s painting course, from Saturday 9 June to Saturday 16 June and Terry Jarvis’ painting course from Saturday 7 July to Saturday 14 July. It is also free for Jo Parfitt’s Writing your Life’s Stories, from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August and Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer‘s yoga retreat from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September.

 Sandra plus picSandra Strohshein

Watercolours

Places left: 2-9 June AND 9-16 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.

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 

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 – still plenty of places
Yoga retreat
To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

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.