Tuscany Yoga Adventure with Cooper Chou

When: 2 Jul 2016 - 9 Jul 2016 (Sat - Sat, 7 nights)
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Il Borghino Retreat Centre in Lucca, Tuscany

Literally meaning “small village”, Il Borghino offers a secluded setting in a hill top position with magnificent views overlooking forests, vineyards, olive groves and mountains in the distance. Located just 10 km from the charming medieval city of Lucca, Il Borghino offers an opportunity to truly relax and unwind in a unique location whilst experiencing the best that Tuscany has to offer.


The retreat centre has been designed to maintain the original character of the village while still being both comfortable and modern. Meticulously restored with energy efficiency and a concern for the environment in mind, it has been completely restored using natural materials such as wood, marble and terracotta. With 11 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, our centre can accommodate both small and larger groups.


Il Borghino retreat centre is ideally located 15 minutes from Lucca, 35 minutes from Pisa, 1.5 hrs from Florence and 1.5 hrs from the breathtaking Cinque Terre region, making it the perfect base to explore Tuscany and Liguria.


Accommodation: Il Borghino comprises three separate houses and can accommodate up to 16 retreat participants plus two teachers. There are five twin bedrooms with private bathrooms, two twin bedrooms sharing one bathroom, two double rooms with private bathroom and two single rooms with private bathrooms. The rooms are large, simple and furnished tastefully in local Tuscan style, each with fabulous views from every window. There are fly screens on all windows and electric fans in every room. As the building is old, the walls are very thick which means the villa stays cool in the summer months.


Each house is fully self-contained and offers every facility to meet the needs and privacy of both yoga teachers and retreat guests. Tea and coffee making facilities are also available in each house for use by retreat guests outside meal times.


The large communal area, “L’Olivo “, is the hub of the retreat centre – a place for retreat guests to gather during the day, enjoy meals together, share experiences and of course, practice daily yoga.


There is a wood-fried pizza oven which we make use of during the retreat, and a gorgeous outdoor terrace with panoramic views for al fresco dining. Drinking water comes directly from a spring. There is also salt-water swimming pool with Jacuzzi that retreat guests can relax in whilst soaking up the views and a Turkish Sauna to help cleanse and detoxify during the week.


Yoga & Meditation Facilities: There are several indoor and outdoor spaces for practicing yoga – each with a unique atmosphere of peace and tranquillity for centering the mind and body. The indoor yoga room is located downstairs in the communal area with glass windows looking into the swimming pool. Constructed with wooden flooring, the yoga room can accommodate up to 16 participants plus 2 teacher(s) and is fully equipped with yoga mats, blankets, bolsters, belts and blocks. There are also several grassed terraces with views overlooking the hills and olive groves which can be used in the warmer months for sunrise & sunset sessions, where one can fully savour the serenity of the Tuscan countryside.


Meals: Our retreat menu is vegetarian and we have a wonderful local cook who prepares deliciously fresh dishes based on what is in season and the region’s specialities. As we are in Tuscany, we do indulge in local cheeses, pasta, breads, wines and other delights, so although our menu is not a strict cleanse, we do offer plenty of healthy choices with nuts, seeds, legumes, plenty of vegetables and salads, rice, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, fresh fruit and yogurt. We source our food from local producers and wherever possible, we use organic grains, fruit and vegetables. We also make our own fresh fruit and vegetable juices and cleansing herbal teas using fresh herbs from the garden. Organic wine, olive oil and honey is produced in the surrounding agricultural area near Il Borghino and is served during our retreats. Upon request, we can cater for gluten free and other special dietary requirements.


Optional in-house Massage + Healing Art Therapies: Massages and holistic treatments are available in-house during your retreat with our team of experienced therapists. We offer Body Massage, Reflexology, Reiki and Energy Healing – all of which will help participants relax, unwind, release tensions and improve well-being. Treatments can be booked upon arrival

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Cooper Chou

Cooper Chou E-RYT 200 founded and created SMARrT™ Yoga, practicing yoga with an emphasis and intention on: Stability, Musculoskeletal foundation, Alignment, Resistance,refinement, and Therapeutics.


Cooper loves being part of a community that is deeply rooted in self-reflection, growth, and service. And to him, yoga is truly a transformative process that has helped him assess what is important in life. This journey has brought forth much insight, confidence, and self love—all of which he takes to the mat and hopes to impart to his students.


His SMARrT™ Yoga is powerful, athletic, and well-sequenced, with a strong focus on alignment and refinement. Influenced by B.K.S. Iyengar, Cooper’s yoga classes strengthen, rehabilitate what is out of balance, and prep the body for sports and weight training.  


Cooper completed his 200-hour Hatha/Vinyasa teacher training in 2012, followed by the Apprenticeship Program at Om Factory, under the guidance of mentor Sasha Bahador in 2013. He completed his 100-hour Ayuverda Training with Alison Cramer; is certified to teach MELT Method®; and studied Conscious Embodiment and Anatomy of Yoga under Zach Dacuk. Most recently, Cooper completed Kula Yoga Project’s 75-hour Advanced Teacher Training with Schuyler Grant in October 2015.


The biggest thing Cooper has learned on his journey so far is that yoga can either hurt you or heal you. Cooper feels truly blessed to find people in his life who look at the practice as an authentic way to heal the body. For that reason, he will always strive to surround himself in the tutelage of those teachers who heal through their own humility. Cooper thanks Nikki Costello for opening a new lens to his practice; Jillian Turecki, Magi Pierce, and Nikki Vilella for inspiring him to think outside the box; Schuyler Grant for giving him the courage to feel like “he belongs,” and last but not least, all the lovers of Iyengar who motivate him every day.

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