Rejuvenating yoga retreat in an immaculate Puglian farmhouse
Come for 6 nights, 7 days every week from mid-April until the end of October (closed 4 weeks in August).
From £925 per person in a shared twin room or from £1075 in a room alone including 6 nights full board, twice daily yoga and specified activities.
Best for: Anyone looking for a relaxed but effective yoga holiday
Not for: Lovers of hardcore exercise
In a nutshell: Kaliyoga’s six night yoga holidays in Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot) take place in a splendidly converted 18th century farmhouse with views of rolling green countryside and shimmering Baroque hilltop villages. A week here is an opportunity to reach a deeper level of inner peace, with four hours of yoga classes per day, cleansing vegetarian cuisine and plenty of time to truly relax in hammocks, on bikes, by foot or by the pool. There’s a full menu of massage and holistic therapies, and you can come for a week dedicated to their house style of mindful vinyasa yoga or one that combines yoga with cycling or a raw food cleanse.
Yoga teacher Tashi Dawa is a series three authorised ashtanga vinyasa yoga teacher who can beautifully coach all abilities from beginners to experts. Kaliyoga’s in-house therapists are a cut above your average therapists for their intuitive style. Bicycles are freely available for local jaunts.
Those allergic to pets should know that the farm is also home to cats, kittens, a dog and two donkeys, though they all live outdoors and are not permitted to enter the living areas. The outdoor Jacuzzi is not open during cold spells in order to conserve energy.
Choose to come for a dedicated Mindful Vinyasa Yoga retreat or to combine yoga with Cycling or a Raw Food Cleanse. On each retreat you’ll usually have two yoga classes a day and access to lovely food, treatments and the great outdoors.
There are five yoga and cycling holidays during the season, during which you’ll have two Mindful Vinyasa yoga classes each day. On two days there is a guided cycle ride with knowledgeable Italian cycling guide Daniel. Routes take you along quiet country lanes, perhaps following a disused viaduct through hills, valleys and vineyards, or through sand dunes along the east coast. Bikes, helmets and picnics are provided. Re-fuel on Kaliyoga’s gourmet vegetarian food with delicious vegan and GF options.
There are four Yoga & Raw Food Cleanse retreats each year. On this retreat you can experience raw living food with two completely raw meals per day, plus a lightly cooked or steamed supper on this cleansing retreat. You’ll give your body a rest from processed foods and learn how to prepare delicious raw meals at home. By the end of the week you can expect to feel physically cleansed, energised and clear-minded. Chef Alessandra, radiantly raw-food goddess, changed her life completely with raw food and shares her healthier and happier self, and her raw recipes, with you. On Raw SuperFood weeks she create healthy cuisine without using any heat and guests are invited to practice making dishes during a kitchen workshop.
There is a large choice of therapy treatments on offer, and there are some quite esoteric choices included alongside traditional favourites such as hot stone healing, ayurvedic Abyangam and Indian head massage. Therapists are carefully chosen and get rave reviews - try reflexology and Reiki with Julie and massage by Alessandra or Jola. Spots fill up fast, but there is no need to book in advance. There’s also time to wallow in the open air Jacuzzi to soothe any tender muscles.
In addition to practicing three and a half hours of yoga a day plus half an hour of meditation (phew), you can take bikes out for cycle rides in the countryside, walk Tommi the friendly bear-like dog and Wednesday afternoon is set aside for time-out, when a trip to the beach is arranged in the summer or, if it’s not sunbathing weather, a stroll round the white piazzas and Trullo architecture of nearby Ostuni. On Wednesday evening there are options for dining out in one of the local restaurants if you so choose. Alternatively, a light supper is available for anyone who prefers to stay home.
Bedrooms: You can opt to stay in the farm’s mansion house, with its grand staircase, balconies, two airy double rooms on the first floor and three double rooms on the ground floor. Or, in one of the iconic Trullo cottages with their distinctive cone roofs, traditional to this part of southern Italy. There are six Trullo pads in total, and for us they are other-worldly, magical places. Most rooms are either en-suite or have a private bathroom close by. A few rooms have shared bathroom facilities and are priced accordingly. Soap and towels are provided with a mid-week change, or more frequently if required.
Other spaces to be: There are other spots to hang out in too - in hammocks under olive trees, or at tables and chairs dotted around, on trullo roof tops, on balconies, and a snug with comfy sofas in the dining area.
The labyrinthine town of Locorotondo is a short cycle away and ideal for an afternoon escape (with a naughty cappuccino) if needed. Bring a shawl or warm pullover for meditation. Kaliyoga provides bathroom basics like soap and towels, the rest is up to you.
When to Go
In Italy the weather is usually balmy from April to October with temperatures ranging between 15C to 25C. All rooms have central heating and the thick stone walls afford natural cooling in summer.
With the exception of the Raw Food Cleanse week, on all other retreats you’ll eat three healthy meals a day based on a light, gourmet, gluten-free menu. Chef Alessandra makes mouth-watering raw food treats like chocolate tart and chef Marici loves to provide for vegans and those who are allergy-sensitive.
Kaliyoga’s in-house cuisine is totally vegetarian, mostly vegan, and alcohol-free with a distinctive local influence. Melt-in-the-mouth buffalo mozzarella, local olives and even pizza feature on the menu, but with a healthy, gluten free interpretation. Post-yoga breakfast comprises freshly sliced fruits, bircher muesli fortified with abundant nuts and home-made yoghurt. There’s a late mediterranean lunch every day and the evening meal is a three-course event, preceded by appetisers and a non-alcoholic aperitivo.
Kaliyoga is a zero-alcohol retreat. Not because they disapprove of drinking, but because detoxing from alcohol during a yoga retreat programme will support and benefit your mind and body in myriad ways. If you find yourself missing a tipple during the week, there are cafés and bars in the local towns, but 99% of guests discover that a week without alcohol at Kaliyoga is remarkably enjoyable.
On some evenings they serve virgin juice mocktails before supper (cost included). Self-service hot and cold drinks are available all day.
Kaliyoga’s Italian staff are all from the local area, and Kaliyoga offers a limited number of work-exchange places for anyone looking for opportunities to deepen their understanding and experience of yoga in return for full board, yoga classes and benefitting from living in a friendly retreat atmosphere.
Herbs for the kitchen are grown and harvested on site, and food waste is composted or given to the chickens. All other types of rubbish are recycled locally. Your lovely hot shower water will be heated by solar panels.
Near Martina Franca in the region of Taranto, Italy
Transfer time: 1 hr 15 min