The articles featured on “Travel for a small planet,” in the April issue of Ode didn’t say anything about a yoga vacation in Switzerland, but they should have. For the fourth year in a row I’m travelling to Soglio, Switzerland for an amazing adventure centered around yoga and hiking in the mountains.

This retreat is so close to the ideal holiday described in Ode. It’s economical; it’s in a place that never swayed from being eco, organic, green and spectacularly beautiful. It features fresh, incredibly fresh clean water and air. In fact, in Soglio sound actually interrupts silence – that of cow, goat, sheep and church bells echoing through the valley. The inexpensive and mostly Italian cuisine never tasted as good.

Soglio is in a remote, off the beaten path village, with next to no traffic, in the Engadine, at the Swiss Italian border. Local residents are farmers who take their wisdom – not from the media or commercially driven trends – but from Mother earth. Always have, which is why they continue to use ancient farming techniques – despite (being Swiss) having all the latest modern technology at their finger-tips. And it’s why they look so gosh-darn healthy.

These people are yogis in the truest sense – without even knowing it. They and their children before them have not eaten anything resembling junk or preservatives or steroids or plastic or anything but fresh, organic, locally grown and prepared. And, my-oh-my, does it show. These are the most gorgeous sturdy people you’ll see anywhere.

The people of Soglio are natural and of the earth and because of it, they inspire the yoga vacationers to soak up all we can during our 1 week retreat. We are to be in the now, in the present – in the AAAOOOMMM, in order to re-create the magic of this place, and not back home, sitting at work in windowless cubicles or in fume infested traffic jams.

The cornerstones of yoga are “proper exercise, proper relaxation, proper breathing, proper diet, and positive thinking and meditation.” The people of Soglio don’t need a neighborhood yoga center or ashram to teach these concepts because they learned them in the womb. And from their parents, and their parents before them – dating all the way back to when my sweet husband’s family, the de Salis’ carried the stone (by donkey) up the side of the mountain to build this haven of a place. Hundreds of years ago they left, looking for a better life in the city.

That’s how I found this most beautiful place for a yoga vacation. It took me dragging my husband back by the arm into the splendor of this place, for him to actually see and feel the magnificence of what is there. Now, THAT is Yoga. Not the dragging by the arms bit, but the waking up enough to let go enough to actually feel, see and appreciate what IS there – along with waking up to what is actually inside of oneself. It’s a wower…an artists’ paradise, because of the unique, one-of-a-kind lighting. Soglio is an ashram, because of choices the locals have made generation after generation.

It is with such humble gratitude and love, that I say thank you to these people who epitomize generosity and who welcome Rupert and me with our growing “family” of yogis into the warmth of their expanded embrace.

Jody Tull teaches sivananda yoga in Ann Arbor, MI. She holds an annual yoga retreat in Soglio, Switzerland. To learn more about this rejuvenating experience or to join her get the Soglio Yoga Retreat report at her blog JodyTull.com.

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Categories: Yoga