Spoilt by Yoga on a Shoestring in Puglia

Spoilt by Yoga on a Shoestring in Puglia

Yoga and wellness retreats are so ‘in’ right now and some of the more luxurious destinations and resorts can be eye wateringly expensive, run you ragged and starve you to boot! I love doing yoga in the UK and I had always wondered what it was like and if it was affordable for ‘normal’ budgets to go on retreat in the sunshine.

Yoga on a ShoestringCan you really find a great deal on a nice yoga holiday without the merest hint of detox, unless it is for the mind?

Luxury I can do but starvation no so I began to investigate how to do yoga in a cost effective way in the summer in europe.

One company kept cropping up and upon further investigation we chose a 5 night hatha yoga retreat in Puglia, Italy.  The first time I had tried either Italy or Yoga Nidra.

I booked with Yoga on a Shoestring who have over 13 years of experience and some of the best instructors and locations in the world, I thought I would be in good hands – as it turns out I was!

Yoga on a Shoestring offers affordable and luxury yoga holidays and retreats with inspiring teachers in wonderful locations around the world.  Yoga on a Shoestring was established in 2003 by Sue Pendlebury, its inspirational founder and director.

I packed my bags and left my troubles and headed off to Gatwick for my flight to Bari, Italy at a really rather civilised time of 9.30am – Easyjet actually took off on time on the way there……..the way back, not so much.

At Bari airport we were met by our driver and some of the other people staying at the retreat including the lovely Wendy Carnagie from Barnes, Natalie V from Streatham and lovely sisters Jenny and Julianne.

Another flight was coming in from Stansted later that evening with the rest of the yoga gang, 17 in all. and our yoga teacher.

We were taken the 45 minutes to a beautiful traditional country estate – Masseria della Zingara owned and run by our fabulous British host Jan.

I was delighted that we had a resident Italian Mastiff called Sofia there too, so that I did not miss my pooch too much.

The house of the gypsy, was built in 1710 and has been lovingly restored to suit all ages and tastes. The interior is stylish and comfortable and has been restored with the highest attention to detail.

Set in over 20 acres of land with olive, fig, cherry and almond trees, the views are stunning at all times of the year. The house has a swimming pool and wonderful sun terrace for soaking up the Italian sun and the calm of the countryside. You may choose to borrow the bicycles and explore the local region or just relax and unwind. Close to Polignano a Mare (also known as the ice cream capital of Italy) and Monopoli, this holiday offers not only yoga but the very best in Italian food.

Accommodation and Food at Masseria della Zingara

The accommodation at Masseria della Zingara is comfortable and of an extremely high quality – most of the rooms have en-suite facilities.

I shared a huge double room with a lovely French lady called Natalie (Natalie 2).  You can opt for a room of your own or a studio apartment for a few hundred pounds more but I winged it.  It was touch and go when I first met Natalie 2 as her opening statement to me was ‘I have nightmares and shout in my sleep, that’s the way it is’!

I didn’t know whether to upgrade or make do and as it turns out I must have taken her nightmares away as we both slept soundly all week and got on like a house on fire.

Camping is also possible for those on a tighter budget or loving the outdoor life. Tents are provided and facilities include a communal shower, toilet and wash basin nearby.

Prices included airport transfers for a designated flight to Bari, your accommodation, two yoga classes per day and use of the pool and bicycles. Meals are also included AND WINE (we drank poor Jan out of wine on more than one evening).

This was a Vegetarian retreat which we had not been told, but the food was filling and delicious for those who do eat meat or fish.

Yoga on a ShoestringBreakfast and a light lunch each day, unlimited drinks and dinner on three evenings. Plus transport on two evenings to and from Alberobello and Polignano (where you buy your own dinner).

You may also like to read: Summer Yoga Retreat Essentials

The daily yoga programme

17 of us joined the wonderful Jaya Jaks, our instructor, for 5 days of revitalising yoga. Jaya’s technique tends to suit students of varying abilities, as they can be both calming and challenging. Most important, Jaya creates a safe and nurturing environment that encourages self-discovery and non-competitiveness.

She is particularly skilled at one-on-one adjustments. As well as strengthening the body and increasing stamina and flexibility, Jaya’s teachings help create a more peaceful mind, a more open heart and a more grounded attitude, all of which can help no end in today’s hectic world.

I have a nagging injury in my hip and Jaya was very accommodating to all levels of experience and injury in our group.  And although a large group at 17, I always felt that Jaya offered personal coaching and help to us all during class.

Yoga on a ShoestringA perfect opportunity to relax your mind, rejuvenate your body and reawaken your spirit in beautiful Puglia Italy. woken at dawn we have 7.30 am yoga classes daily lasting 2 hours followed by a delicious breakfast will be served on the terrace.

The group meet again in the late afternoon/evening where the focus was more on restorative and relaxing movements which focused on movement, breath and relaxation.  I had never tried Yoga Nidra and I am afraid that I took relaxation to a whole knew level and was away with the fairies before Jana had a chance to finish the first paragraph!

Yoga on a ShoestringIt is not all about yoga and we had the daytime and 2 evenings to ourselves so we organised some trips to the beach and we along on the 2 meals out planned by our hosts.

The region of Puglia (the heel on the boot area of the map) is an enchanting part of Italy with many interesting historical towns to visit, fabulous walks and bike rides to go on and up to 50 miles of beautiful coastline to explore.

yoga on a shoestringYou can relax by the pool, explore the local area by bicycle or on foot and we took some trips to the beach and the local markets. We had refreshing Ayurvedic massages and mani pedi’s too so we really felt spoilt.

After 5 days in our little part of Italy, I really did go home feeling happy, refreshed and re-energised with a few more friends.  Thank you to Jan and Jaya and Yoga on a Shoestring for this experience.  Love to Sofia. See you again soon.  Lisajane x

Book your Puglia retreat today with Yoga on a Shoestring starting at just £450 for the camping option plus flights.

Telephone: +44(0)20 7733 2996 or email Wendy at info@yogaonashoestring.com

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram

or why not get in touch with Jan direct to book your private rental, wedding or special occassion.  Check out the other course that are on offer at Masseria della Zingara

Email: info@masseriadellazingara.com or call Jan on 0044 (0)7967 003743

Website: www.masseriadellazingara.com

What did I pack?


Thule Subterra Luggage – £259 www.thule.com

A very spacious rolling duffel with wide-mouth access and divided main compartment to easily pack and organize your travel essentials.  This bag was perfect but did make me pack too much as there is room for a kitchen sink!  Perfectly filled with italian goodies purchased at the fabulous boutiques and shops of Puglia.

A really lightweight bag with strong wheels and lever mechanism.  I like the way it opens in the middle and also at the front allowing you to keep 2 separate and tidy compartments.  Perfect for keeping clean clothes apart towards the end of the holiday. #loveit

Sun Protection

yoga on a shoestringInstitut Esthederm Adaptasun Protective Tanning Care Body Lotion – Moderate Sun 200ml – £42.50 
For skin which tans easily, Institut Esthederm Adaptasun Protective Tanning Care Body Lotion – Moderate Sun stimulates, enhances and intensifies your tan. When used regularly skin is left velvety-soft.

yoga on a shoestring essentialsDead Sea Spa Magik SunSafe Clear Spray – 150ml RRP £15.95

No Sun burn for us! Dead Sea Spa Magik SunSafe Clear Spray SPF 50 spray provides advanced UVA + UVB protection. Helping to protect against sun-induced skin damage and the early ageing effects of the sun’s damaging rays.

The spray has a non-greasy, water resistant formula that leaves zero white marks, perfect for all the family!

Yoga on a shoestringMurad City Skin Age Defence SPF50 – £45.00

This revolutionary, ultra-light 100% mineral sunscreen goes beyond just sun protection to shield skin from five factors that cause damage every day: UVA, UVB, infrared radiation, blue light from electronic devices, and pollution.

An advanced polymer matrix slows down the penetration of toxins from the environment whilst high-performance Vitamin C helps reveal a luminous glow.

This advanced product also contains a colour-correcting tint to even skin tone and boosts radiance. A nourishing blend of Argon Oil, Comfrey Extract, and Vitamin E help protect against environmentally induced UV damage while conditioning the skin to improve overall appearance.


Summer Yoga Retreat EssentialsOlverum Bath Oil Travel Set – £18.00 www.conranshop.co.uk

After 3.5 hours of yoga a day along with the odd cycle ride we were really in need of our #TAMAG favourite Olverum.  with it’s restorative and aromatic bath oil.  These are a concentrated blend of beautiful essential oils which helps to relax, restore and revive tires muscles and congested sinuses.  #tamagrecommends #olverum

Yoga wear, swimwear and cool pants!

yoga on a shoestringPerfect for the 35 degree classes we too USA Pro with us. They have everything that you need for cool fitness.

Wear it, work it, love it! USA Pro are leaders in women’s sports wear and sports equipment. Made for women who are serious about fitness, the high quality brand provides an innovative range of women’s fitness wear. Our core values really centre on feminity and functionality.

The USA Pro collection includes sports bras, ladies t shirts, leggings, pants, vests, sports accessories and sports equipment. Spanning from yoga to running, the USA Pro clothing and equipment provides the right sports gear and sports clothes for the right activity. The women’s fitness clothing and ladies sports wear is comfortable and stylish for a more enjoyable workout or training session.

summer yoga retreat essentialsYou gotta love the Skimmies from Jockey – £14.00 www.jockey.co.uk

Jockey® Skimmies™ slipshorts smooth like a slip and cover like shorts. We love the comfortable, seamfree finish under all your clothes, from yoga pants to flowy skirts.

Yoga on a ShoestringWe also took Magic Active Wear  from £20.00 which really does keep you cool and hold you in in all the right places.

I loved my MAGIC Active Wear. The double layered waistband will prevent the pants from sagging, and the hidden pocket will hold your keys and gym pass. These garments are made out of a seamless humid-wicking material that feel soft, clean and comfortable on my skin. The shaping effect of the material will slim your tummy, hips and legs – thank the lord!

Aqua Sphere Muriel ladies swimsuit – £30.45 

This costume is so comfy that you forget it is there. Offering comfort and confidence in and out of the water, the Aqua Sphere Muriel ladies swimsuit has a tankini-inspired design and ensures a supportive fit thanks to shelf bra bust control. The swimming costume features a medium-high leg for unrestricted movement and perfect amount of coverage and boasts special Body Control System and a tummy panel for a slimming effect. It is chlorine-resistant and has been manufactured from VITA fabric with LYCRA® XTRA Life™ for enhanced durability and great elasticity. #lovedit

Book your Puglia retreat today with Yoga on a Shoestring starting at just £450 for the camping option plus flights.

Telephone: +44(0)20 7733 2996 or email Wendy at info@yogaonashoestring.com

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram

or why not get in touch with Jan direct to book your private rental, wedding or special occassion.  Check out the other course that are on offer at Masseria della Zingara

Website: www.masseriadellazingara.com