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Healthy aspects of an active lifestyle

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Head to Italy Next July on a Yoga Retreat

July in Italy is at the height of tourism in the country. Instead of fighting crowds, we suggest a rejuvenating yoga retreat with our good friend, Checka Antifonario, a talented yoga instructor and owner of Yogaway Retreats. From July 6 to 12, you’ll be staying just east of Rome in the small coastal village of Molise, where you’ll participate in daily yoga and meditation on the grounds of a lovely working farm that doubles as a 20-room inn with views of the sea. When not doing yoga, you’ll enjoy their olive oil and wine tastings, tours of the farm, excursions into the historic seaside town of Termoli, and inland to the charming village of Sepino. Pricing is $1950-$2800 per person and includes 6 nights lodging, 9 yoga and meditation classes, all meals including local wine, two excursions, the olive oil tasting, and transfers to and from Rome’s international airport. ActiveTravels can check availability and happily design a pre- or post-tour of Italy that can include Rome and Florence or south to Naples and the Amalfi coast. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/10/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 26, 2019

St. Lucia’s BodyHoliday Offers Three Yoga Retreats

St. Lucia wellness resort BodyHoliday, one of my favorite properties in the Caribbean, has unveiled the year’s lineup of Yoga Retreats. The weeklong programs, all led by the property’s wellness advisor Hollie Bailey, will include a range of yoga and meditation workshops, as well as spa treatments, and a hands-on cooking class. Participants will meet with Bailey at the beginning of their stay, or talk with a BodyHoliday specialist beforehand if they want to maximize their time at the resort, to plan the retreat and tailor it to the them. During the week, guests can attend a yoga workshop or nutrition talk every day, with classes covering areas like hatha yoga, anapana meditation, vinyasa and more. Outside of these central classes, the Yoga Retreats provide sunrise and sunset yoga sessions and a daily spa treatment (yes, one massage a day). After the program ends, the resort will also provide post-retreat support. Dates for the Yoga Retreats are October 5-12, October 12-19, and December 14-21. The all-inclusive cost is $4,830 per person. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/26/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, August 31, 2018

For All the SuperShe’s Out There

Guest Post by Amy Perry Basseches

My daughter Sophie, recently sent me a link to SuperShe Island, and said, "You should go to this, Mom." I laughed and said, "Sure, I'm a SuperShe." Well, it turns out to be a real thing. "Have you ever wanted to run away to a deserted island, breathe fresh air, swim naked in the sea, and sleep under the stars?" That's what SuperShe founder Kristina Roth had in mind when she bought a private island, hidden-away in the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Finland, one hour from Helsinki. The 8.4-acre island is home to four newly renovated cabins equipped with fireplaces, and it also has spa amenities, Finnish saunas, and facilities for women-only retreats. Vacations here include daily wellness activities such as yoga, kayaking, hiking, swimming, meditation, cooking and fitness classes, plus farm-to-table dining. Finnish beauticians are boated over for facials and massages. Not too shabby, although caffeine and alcohol are banned…A mere 4000 Euro for a week, at latest report. 
If you are interested in a health and wellness vacation anywhere in the world, let ActiveTravels know. We are currently assisting a member with one in Costa Rica!

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/31/18 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Kripalu Offers a Slate of Fall Retreats in the Berkshires

With fall foliage just around the corner, you really don't need any excuse to visit the largest yoga retreat in the northeast, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Located in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts, Kripalu is the ideal spot to relax and replenish in the midst of fall color. You decide how to spend your days to create the best experience for you. Choose from a variety of workshops, outdoor activities, and yoga and movement classes. Or jump-start your fitness routine and go hiking, learn nutrition tips, or savor a soothing massage. The retreat center is also offering a variety of themed events. "Hiking and Yoga" will be offered October 14-19 and November 25-30. Wannabe foodies seeking simple dining solutions should register for "Five Ingredients, No Time," September 28-30, and learn to whip up nutritious last-minute meals. For those who love to laugh, head to Kripalu September 14-16 for "Life Is a Playground." New York Times best-selling author, Kyle Cease, uses his 25 years of performing, creating, and letting go of what other people think to help his audience move past their old stories and into a new vision of what is possible in their lives.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/30/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Beach Yoga on Captiva Island, Florida

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches

A favorite activity of mine while in warm climates is the wonderful adventure of “beach yoga.” You do not need to be a yoga aficionado to enjoy it. All you need to like is the feeling of morning sun on your face, the sound of waves crashing in the background, the sight of birds flying overhead, and sharing a good laugh with others about how hard it is to balance on one leg in the sand, using only a small towel as a mat.
Ambu Yoga on Captiva Island is a great example. Founded by Yali Zawady several years ago, Ambu now has a studio at South Seas Resort, open to the public as well as to guests of South Seas, offering 2 to 4 classes a day, 7 days a week. But beach yoga is taught only on Saturday and Sunday mornings (as of now). 
According to Yali, “ambu” means water in Sanskrit, and represents the connection “between the flow of energy in our surrounding waters and the mind-body-spirit experience of yoga.” You live this fully on the beach.  In December, I brought my daughter, 2 nieces, a nephew, and my son’s girlfriend to class. At one point, Yali had participants  (around 30 people of all ages) stand in a circle and lean on one another for support during balance poses; that was a great time. We all wished there was more than one beach yoga class during our stay, but, alas, next year awaits. 
An important side note, Yali is from Santa Marta, Colombia. She says she first found yoga and self-inquiry at a very young age through meditation practices with her father in Colombia. Every year I look forward to connecting with her on Captiva. Her welcoming nature and calming voice are a respite from the hurly burly up North. She’s also been very helpful to me as I learn more about Colombia (my son lived there for 5 months; my daughter, my husband, and I all visited, at different times; and we’ve sent quite a number of ActiveTravels members on trips). 
Let ActiveTravels know if you’d like us to find a beach yoga class for you somewhere in your travels, whether on Captiva or elsewhere (for example, Martinique in late February or Panama in late April, with our friend Checka. Also know that Yali has offered advice to our clients headed to Colombia as well. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/09/18 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, April 07, 2016

BodyScience at St. Lucia’s BodyHoliday

I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Barnard last night at an event in Boston. His family has owned the BodyHoliday and Rendezvous resorts on St. Lucia for 50 years. Barnard, an endurance runner, was experiencing gastrointestinal problems on his runs until he consulted a doctor at BodyHoliday who did a detailed analysis of his health, only to discover that he had a severe allergy to eggs. Avoiding eggs these past two years, Barnard told me that he feels better than ever. Now he’s helping his guests. In 2014, BodyHoliday implemented a BodyScience program that combines western medicine with the Indian practices of Ayurveda. Complete a detailed questionnaire at home and send it back to BodyHolday along with DNA samples. Once onsite, each BodyScience guest consults one-on-one with a physician who tests heart rate, blood pressure, body fat, lung capacity, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, cardio and arterial fitness, hormone levels, and food allergens. Based on the results, BodyScience doctors will provide a unique nutrition and lifestyle plan to help the body handle stress and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Already a leader in the field of active lifestyle resorts, it seems like BodyHoliday is now setting the bar even higher with this wellness initiative. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/07/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Faith-Based Travel Story in Crux

Earlier this month, my family was in Cappadocia, Turkey, visiting the fascinating underground cities Christians built in the 2nd century to avoid persecution from the Romans. Tunnels were carved into the soft volcanic rock that venture a mind-boggling 7 and 8 levels underground. They lead to rooms that were used to sleep, eat, pray, along with advanced ventilation systems and a well to retrieve water. Cappadocia is one of the many inspirational locales I mentioned in a recent article for Crux, a special publication the Boston Globe publishes. I also included the rock churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia; the island of Patmos, Greece where St. John the Divine was banished; the Tuscan hill town of Assisi, best known as the home of St. Francis and the Franciscan monks; and the legendary Spanish hiking route known as the Way of St. James. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/28/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bring Your Yoga Mat and an Open Heart

New England is known for its abundant number of private retreats where you and your group of friends can rent out the entire enclave for a weekend of yoga, meditation, and hiking and biking in the outdoors. Yet, the list of these retreats can be overwhelming so it helps to have friends who do the research for you. I was excited to be included on the guest list for a momentous birthday this past weekend at Spirit Fire Retreat Center in the remote hills of Leyden, Massachusetts, just north of Greenfield. What a find! We were hosted by Steve, a talented cook who served us tasty organic meals like a hot and sour soup with turkey sausage, leek frittatas, salads topped with ripe avocadoes and tomatoes, and much more. We ate meals around a large wooden table. Sunlight and the sound of wind poured into the large meditation room (can fit up to 16 people), only enhancing the poignant words and direction of our cherished yoga and meditation instructor, Checka Antifonario. When we ventured outside, we were treated to an hour-long hiking trail in remote woods, wine and cheese along a raging river, and seeing the twinkling night sky around a fire pit while roasting marshmallows. Do your body and mind a favor and splurge on a weekend here. You’ll thank me for the recommendation. Better yet, hire Checka to come along! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/14/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Marijuana Tours Start to Bud in America

In the November election, residents of Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, DC, all voted to legalize marijuana. Excited to hear that news were a growing number of travel companies from Colorado and Washington that are already offering tours to cannabis lovers, comparable to visiting wineries or craft breweries. Kush Tourism offers the Colorado Highlife Tours and Washington Evergreen Tours, where clientele visit the local marijuana growers, discuss the varietals, delve into the medicinal qualities of the cannabis, even visit glass blowers that specialize in bongs and glass pipes. Cannabus is a mobile marijuana lounge stationed in Seattle and likely to hit the road to Portland, once pot stores open in Oregon in 2016. TravelTHC compiles a list of pot-friendly homes and apartments where you can spark up no problem. With the Denver Post hiring a marijuana critic to taste all the varietals (recently profiled in this New York Times story), pot is no longer a joke reserved for Cheech and Chong. It’s serious business and I see more active travel companies like Backroads joining the fray, similar to their Napa or Loire Valley trips. A culinary tour would be agreeable to older, high-end travelers who wouldn’t mind getting stoned, then feasting on a four-course Oregon farm-to-table dinner. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/18/14 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Soaking in the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s version of climbing the Eiffel Tower or taking the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building, a site primarily reserved for tourists. Icelanders will simply go to their local pool to lounge in the hot tub at a fraction of the price. That’s not to say I would blow off the Blue Lagoon. Several of the writers I went with to check out the place made a second stop at this geothermal spa before their outgoing flight, since the lagoon is located near the airport. Step into the warm, milky waters, engulfed in a cloud of hazy steam, and your travel weary body instantly feels relieved. You can grab a drink at the bar or apply a white mask of silica mud to your face, known to exfoliate and energize your skin. I initially blew off the silicon mud portion, until some Icelandic babe wandered over to me and asked if I wanted to try. “Sure, why not?” I said as she applied the creamy concoction to my face. After the silicon mud dried and I washed it off in the water, she gave me the royal treatment by then applying an algae mask, an anti-aging cream. Now you understand why my friends wanted to return to the Blue Lagoon. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/23/14 at 10:00 AM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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