Usually, we hear that “everything happens for a reason”. And that’s exactly how I met Suzana Vićentić,
the creator of the yoga program “Journey to Myself”.
Journey to Myself
We connected thanks to Zorica, my good friend and ex-teacher of the Italian language. This summer, during the terrible fires in Rhodes I saw one of the Zorica’s comments on the Meta (FB). Many years after our last meeting, we met in beautiful Rhodos and we went to dinner.
And soon after that, Zorica and I met again in Belgrade. At the same time, her cousin Suzana came from Italy with her husband Matteo.
We met at the cafe, and we talked about many things. I was fascinated by their life story and what they are doing now.
So take a look at what I asked Suzana about her program “Journey to Myself”.
When did you start to practice yoga?
My first contact with yoga came from the desire to find a physical activity that would help me strengthen my back muscles and heal the inflamed sciatic nerve. But after the first class, I realized that yoga offers us much more than a strong and elastic body.
Staying in positions creates a unique feeling of massaging all tissues and organs. In fact, continuous contact with the breath calms our nervous system, and after a yoga class, we often feel “like new”. We have created space in the body and energy flows freely giving us a feeling of physical and mental lightness.
That feeling kept me on the path of yoga, and the desire to bring it closer to other people led me to enrol and complete a yoga course for instructors at Dragan Lončar’s renowned Vidya yoga school. Practising yoga “brings us back to ourselves”. It leads us to reconsider our own beliefs by not being reactive to what is happening around us, but actively choosing and making decisions from a calm perspective, which is a consequence of the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
How do you decide to live in Italy?
Yoga helped me make necessary decisions that irrevocably changed my life by opening new doors. My husband Matteo, whom I met quite by chance on a trip, walked through one of them. The intuitive decision to move to Belgrade from Italy is a narrative we meet in romantic movies. But with great certainty, I can say that we recognized each other and that our souls have known each other for much longer.
After seven months of living in Belgrade and completing the course for yoga instructors, we wanted to create and grow far from the metropolis. The site of Frontona at the foot of Mount Catria in the centre of Italy was a logical choice since Matteo’s family already owned a restored house and a small B&B business. Just 200 meters from that house, we found a space that met all our needs and could fulfil all our dreams.
So, after two years of restoration, a lot of effort, attention to detail, patience and support, our vision has materialized. We are now enthusiastically living all the possibilities it offers us. We have created a place where people feel supported, tucked away and free, a place where they can be in direct contact with nature and themselves. It is a place where they can awaken their creativity and strength by choosing the contents we offer them: Ai Piedi del Catria.
So how do you get to an idea to prepare a program „Journey to Myself”,
and what it is about?
The yoga retreat program „Journey to Myself“ is a program primarily designed for deep mental and physical relaxation.
We wanted to create a vacation that not only energizes us with energy and brings us back refreshed to routine, work and family, but also an opportunity for regular practitioners to deepen their practice. Also, it is a program for beginners to discover a method that improves their physical, mental and emotional health and to include it in their everyday life.
“Journey to Myself” includes visiting natural mountain beauties, walking and swimming in crystal clear rivers, visiting coastal towns and swimming in the Adriatic Sea. Also, we discover together Renaissance gems under UNESCO protection and taste one of the most delicious cuisines in the world.
Your husband Matteo travelled a lot, and he likes the music, right…
Yes, Matteo has been travelling for many years, staying for several months in countries such as India, Nepal, Thailand, Peru and Japan. From an early age, he loved music and folk instruments. In his private collection of ethnic instruments, he also has instruments that are used for meditative purposes, so he actively contributes to yoga classes in the final, relaxation part of the class.
By the way, Matteo also studied the traditional technique of Thai fruit and vegetable carving from the greatest masters in Thailand. As a certified teacher, he now teaches people this beautiful, artistic skill.
How important it is to “return to ourselves”,
to listen to what the inner voice that we often ignore, tells us?
There is nothing more beautiful than being who we are. But, we often feel disconnected from our bodies and emotions, entangled in a ball of thoughts that we recycle over and over again.
When I talk about how the practice of yoga can help us to know our essence and true nature, I speak exclusively from my own experience. I share only what I have experienced and what I deeply believe. The physical aspect of yoga, the postures (asanas) we practice, teaches us to listen to our body and recognize what it needs and how to provide it.
Also, yoga teaches us to accept our body, its anatomical limitations and differences, and to take care of it while feeling grateful for everything it enables us to do. It is very motivating when we feel how our body changes, how it becomes stronger, more flexible, and lighter, and we can feel this at every age of our adult life.
Is there any particular time when we can start practising yoga?
It is not too late to start this practice even when we are mature. Our body is the most intelligent machine that exists in the universe and yoga helps us realize that. When we focus on our breath and practice yogic breathing exercises, we are actively changing our awareness and perception by staying in the present. A ball of thoughts that are focused on the past and the future just unravels. “When the heart aches, the thought is to blame.”
In one of Milan Rakić’s song, we recognize the main culprit for unpleasant emotions, which we try to escape in various ways. Yoga teaches us to bear witness to them, not to identify with them. It teaches us that we are also woven from that subtle layer, but that in our essence we are not those emotions. Yoga introduces the concept of santosha, fulfilment and self-sufficiency into our lives.
I would go a step further and say that yoga brings peace into our everyday life 🙂
You mentioned to me that you are preparing a special program for the new year.
What does the New Year’s “Yoga Retreat” look like?
New Year’s Yoga Holiday “Awakening” is an empowering and transformative five-day retreat in a natural and tucked-in ambience that invites you to awaken your own creativity and strength with daily yoga practice and creative, art workshops.
The New Year’s cooking workshop will be dedicated to preparing traditional vegetarian recipes such as gnocchi, passatelli, lasagna and the unavoidable tiramisu. Regardless of whether you are an absolute beginner or already have a passion for culinary art, this workshop is primarily a gathering in the warm, winter atmosphere of our kitchen with the sounds of bursting fire from the fireplace.
The “Cenone” New Year’s dinner is a meal that we will enjoy with pleasure, remembering every step of the creative process of creation and every crumb of love with which we spiced it.
Also, we will visit an art residency where we will be hosted by a creative family that lives art. They will organize two art workshops and a delicious lunch in a unique ambience that exudes creativity and love for nature. We will also have the opportunity to spend time in nature discovering the mountain trails of mountain Acuto, and if there is snow, ski slopes are available.
Culture and history are unavoidable stops of our yoga holidays, so we will also visit the city of Gubbio in the Region of Umbria, which has played an important role in the history of the Italian people.
It sounds great, I like the concept of the “Journey to myself”.
Will you have similar programs in the spring or summer…
Yes, seasonal yoga vacations are planned, which will have a different offer and thus provide an opportunity for people to return again and again and discover new places, activities and content. On our Instagram and Facebook pages, we will publish all news about these programs.
What can be visited more near your apartments?
The municipality of Frontone (1,360 inhabitants) is located in the district of Pesaro, at the foot of the Catria massif, whose main peak is Monte Catria (1,701 m). It is characterized by a healthy and mild climate throughout the year, with valleys and green hills ideal for walks and excursions.
Nearby is the Monastery of Fonte Avellana, an important 10th-century abbey famous for hosting historical figures such as Dante, who recalls his stay in the monastery in his Divine Comedy.
Our ideal location provides an outstanding blend of mountain and sea activities. In addition to walking and swimming in the mountain rivers, the beaches of the Adriatic Sea are close by, near the Konero Natural Park.
And nearby is another interesting tourist attraction: Urbino, one of the most beautiful Renaissance cities and the birthplace of Raphael, the famous Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance.
And how we can get to your place and Frontone?
Depending on the transport you choose, the airports in Bologna and Rome are available, from where you can reach the city of Marota by train. There is organized car transport from Marota to Frontone. It is also possible to arrive by bus. From Serbia, the Fudex agency transports passengers to Bologna, from where you can take a train to the mentioned town of Marota. If you decide to come by car, the distance between Belgrade and Frontone is 1,100 km.
Great, see you in the spring on the “Journey to Myself” program 😊
Well, our time brings a lot of stress and unexpected situations. That is a reason why it is essential to remain calm, to control our emotions and thoughts, and to understand what we want and what we can change.
So, if you like to spend a few days in a different environment, and if you like yoga, healthy food, and Italy, as well, then think about “The Yoga Retreat” program because it is the “Journey to Myself”.
Keep calm, and find your way to be healthy and happy 🙂