Sting opens organic farm store in Tuscany

Is every little thing he does magic (sorry)? Mother Nature Network announced that Sting and wife Trudie Styler just celebrated the opening of their new farm store, on their 16th century Tuscan estate near Florence. The couple have quietly been producing wine, olive oil, acacia and chestnut honey, and salumi on the 900-acre property for a number of years. Until now, however, the products were only available at select outlets in the U.K. and U.S.. The property also hosts yoga retreats.

At Tenuta il Palagio, travelers, food lovers, Police fans, and…tantric yogists…can get a taste of these farmstead products. In 2009, Sting told ecorazzi, “I came here and I decided to stay and be a farmer…also because I wanted to nourish my family with genuine quality products in a healthy environment. Everyone knows about my environmental commitment, especially to the rain forests in South America. With this business in Tuscany I am trying to help myself and those who are close to me to live better in a natural context.”

Move over, Bono.

[Photo credit: Flickr user funadium]

Travel fitness: Top 10 spots for yoga around the world

You can run, walk, hike, climb, swim, surf, and scuba your way to new experiences, but even the most active traveler needs a brief moment of zen every now and again. For those who need more than a few seconds of “Om” to get through their day, check out some of these top spots of yoga around the world:

1. Present Moment Retreat – Troncones Beach, Guerrero in Mexico
If you happen to be down in Guerrero don’t miss the chance to visit the Present Moment Retreat for a yoga vacation you won’t soon forget. Complete with a private beach for meditating and yoga workshops by the ocean. You’ll have the privacy of a deserted Island and the accommodations of a five star hotel. With it’s diverse yoga, meditation and healing workshops this is the perfect place to reconnect your mind, body and soul.

2. Himalayan Institute – Honesdale, PA
You don’t need to be familiar with founder Swami Rama to benefit from the many programs offered at this retreat, set in the rolling hills of the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. You can choose to stay for a weekend, a week, a month or even a long residential stay, where you will encounter a serious approach to hatha yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, eastern philosophy and meditation. Expect zero luxuries other than vegetarian meals, a peaceful setting and authentic, carefully crafted treatments.

3. Esalen Institute – Big Sur, CA
The Esalen institute with its 400 plus workshops, is designed to maximize the human potential. Located in the Santa Lucia Mountains on 27 acres of Big Sur Coastline this retreat offer the perfect atmosphere serious retreaters. Esalen’s unique blend of Eastern and Western philosophies give it a dynamic insight that opens the mind and cultivates the soul. Most people experience Esalen through a weekend or five-day workshop, where you can pick form subjects such as Yoga, somatics, dreams, shamanism, biofeedback, hypnosis and more. You can enjoy the hot springs and bodywork by appointment.4. White Lotus Foundation – Santa Barbara, CA
Founded by the accomplished Ganga White, this mountain oasis sits on ancient canyon grounds-considered sacred by the original inhabitants, the Chumash Indians-overlooking Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean. Personal and group retreats are available year-round with themes like Spirit Dance, Yoga Retreat, and Sacred Breath. A retreat will include any or all of these: daily Hatha yoga classes, hikes in the oak and manzanita forests, meditation within canyon walls, breathing exercises, bodywork, dips in the waterfalls, massage, music, dance, philosophical discussions, a visit to the underground Hopi style “Kiva” temple and vegetarian meals.

5. Sivananda Ashram – Sierra Foothills, CA
One of several Sivananda Yoga Centers around the world, this Sivananda Ashram is on eighty acres of Sierra foothills in Northern California. Founded by Swami Vishnu Devananda, a pioneer of yoga in the Western world, this Ashram is open year-round to practitioners of all abilities. You have a choice to stay a day, a weekend or a month with daily programs and wellness classes that include daily yoga classes, the swami’s five points of yoga (proper exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet, positive thinking/meditation), women’s health, positive thinking, vegetarian cooking, Ayurveda, meditation or a silent retreat.

6. Shambhala Mountain Center – Red Feather Lakes, CO
This Tibetan Buddhism-centered retreat caters to both begins and in-depth practitioners with many programs on yoga, Buddhist meditation, Shambhala warriorship training and much more. Being located on 600 acres in the Colorado Rockies, your surrounded by seemingly limitless natural beauty and an array of animals you might encounter. Besides practicing yoga, you can enjoy a walk in the Botanic Gardens, or a evening massage, a morning Vipassana Insight meditation, or poetry reading. The Shambhala Mountain Center is also home to The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, the “largest and most elaborate example of Buddhist sacred architecture in North America.”

7. Kalani Oceanside Retreat – Big Island, HI

This island retreat has a lushes setting that borders the ocean and tropical jungle. Incorporating a healing and joyful spirit, guests can enjoy skilled instruction in yoga, healthy vegetarian, creative writing, and Dolphin Dance. There is a year-round Introduction to Yoga retreat offered for those who have wish to begin their spiritual quest. Accommodations cover all budgets, from the colorful Tree House with ocean and horse pasture views to the friendly cottage and the campsite.

8. Satchitananda Ashram – Buckingham, VA
At the 1,000-acre Satchitananda Ashram Yogaville in the Virginia countryside guests enjoy yoga classes, meditation, three vegetarian meals a day, Saturday evening satsang and a visit to Lotus (the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine), an oasis for contemplation and prayer dedicated to world peace and all faiths. The kind of Yoga you will find here combines various branches of yoga such as Hatha, Raja, Bhakti, Karma, Jnana and Japa, to form a scientific system that incorporates your mind, body, and spirit in a most efficient way. Guests stay in air-conditioned dorms, private rooms in two guest houses or campgrounds on a quiet, wooded area. Weekend workshops and programs on anything from Thai Yoga Massage to structural yoga therapy or vegan and vegetarian cooking are also available, as well as teacher certifications.

9. Ashiyana – Goa, India
Located in the land where yoga was born, Ashiyana is more of a personal growth center than simply a yoga hideaway. There are special silent retreats lead by a master that enable guests to look within to glean the nature of the true self. Regular clinics are scheduled throughout the year for various types of yoga-Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Motion Yoga, teacher training and more. If you prefer to practice at your own pace, you can also plan a yoga holiday that eliminates the structure of a formal retreat and group involvement.

10. Ibiza Yoga – Benirras Beach, Ibiza in Spain
On the northwest coast of Europe in a quiet corner of the island people will find an oasis of calm tranquility to practice Ashtanga-based yoga. They can enjoy vegetarian meals and the peace of mind need to ‘find themselves.’ The accommodations of Villa Roca, Villa Palmas, Benirras Beach Apartment and the Pagoda Garden are tasteful and down to earth, and you cannot beat the sunsets.