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Mario Thanavaro
Mario Thanavaro

Ashtanga Yoga Vipassana retreat.

Embark on a journey within yourself from Nataraja to Buddha in the Noble Silence.

Mario Thanavaro


28 March – 01 April 2024

Description of the retreat

At Yoga In Salento, we are excited to present a unique proposition: a fusion of two ancient disciplines – Vipassana Meditation and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the art of meditation in motion: every body movement occurs within the breath, which is the foundational element of the discipline.

Vipassana is the art of sitting or walking meditation.

What unites these practices? Both originated in ancient India, both are inner journeys, and both are practices that respect the Noble Silence. Ultimately, they are rooted, in different ways, in the profound and transformative power of meditation.

It is an unprecedented opportunity to immerse oneself in introspection and a deep connection with one’s inner world through the lens of meditation. During this retreat, we will abandon our daily routines to embrace a journey of reflection and awareness.

We will give ashtangis the opportunity to experience the essence of meditation in its entirety, the magic of harmonizing these two worlds. It is a 360-degree meditation experience, bringing the transformative benefits that result from it.

For this powerful experience, we have chosen two outstanding teachers: Master Mario Thanavaro for Vipassana and Master Elena De Martin for Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

Both teachers have been invited to lead this Paschal journey due to their genuine dedication, having accumulated over a decade of practice and teaching in their respective disciplines.

You can participate in the retreat in two ways:

A. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga + Vipassana

B. Vipassana only

The retreat begins on March 28, Holy Thursday, at 6:00 PM.

A. Starting from Good Friday until Easter Monday (for those already familiar with Mysore style), Elena will begin the day at 6:00 AM, guiding the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in silence, Mysore style.

B. At 8:45 AM, after breakfast, Vipassana begins under the guidance of Master Thanavaro until 9:45 PM, with meal breaks.

On Easter Monday, the practice will continue until lunchtime. The Easter Monday lunch will mark the end of the retreat, concluding the experience of silence.

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The YIS retreat centre is located in Zollino, in the heart of the Salento. Twenty minutes from both coasts and from cultural centres such as Lecce, Otranto and Gallipoli.

Our yoga retreats are also an opportunity to get together, share good moments, pamper yourself and enjoy the beauty of the Salento in a peaceful environment. Give yourself an energetic recharge through vegan and vegetarian organic food, eco-sustainable tourism and relaxation in our spaces.

Our staff are at your disposal for the entire duration of the retreat to advise you about the must–see places in the Salento, organise excursions, guided tours, gastronomic tours, transfers, rentals and anything else to make your stay enjoyable.

For all information, call +39 0836 600284 or send an email to



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The Location

Our retreats take place at Agricola Samadhi, a unique organic farmhouse because it proposes something more than just recreation.

In this charming oasis, the lifestyle revolves around well being: you can combine your stay with a SPA, Ayurvedic consultations and treatments, and a wide range of massages and more.

You can regain your well being through a variety of top–level yoga classes. There is also a SPA Healing Centre and the HQ of YIS, Yoga In Salento, a European leader in yoga retreats, for years a favourite destination of the best internationally renowned teachers in the world.

An energy recharge and psycho–physical well being will be the most precious gifts of your stay that you’ll take home with you, together with the new friendships you’ve made during the retreat.


7 nights

6 brunches

7 vegetarian dinners

1 breakfast

double, single or shared rooms

A very wide swimming pool and beautiful gardens

Spa Healing Center. Treatments and massages on request



Authoritative meditation teacher and author of numerous books, after eighteen years of monastic life, of which the last six saw him engaged as Abbot, meditation master and president of the U.B.I. (Italian Buddhist Union) decides to continue his path as a layman. He is currently interested in studying the various themes of spirituality and meditation in the scientific field. He collaborates as a teacher on the Master’s in Meditation and Neuroscience promoted by the Faculty of Psychology La Sapienza, in Rome and with the University of Udine.

He holds conferences and seminars on meditative practice and leads Vipassana retreats, profound vision, throughout Italy. Together with Dr. Enzina Luce Franzese, psychologist and psychotherapist, on 10 March 1999 he founded the Association AMITA – Luce Infinita ( Since 14 September 2021 he has been president and guiding teacher of the Buddhist association MAHA BODHI (www.mahabodhi .it) Driven by a strong interest in the arts, Mario Thanavaro studied judo, music, dance and acting from a very young age. At eighteen he left Italy and went to England to follow his aspiration as a musician.

This experience led him to approach Indian music and its spirituality. Having returned to Italy to fulfill his military service, he continued to study and practice meditation as a self-taught man. At the age of 22 he felt the need to be guided by a Master and returned to England in search of a monastic community. He meets Ajahn Sumedho, abbot of the community of ‘Thai forest monks’ of Theravada Buddhism and recognizes him as his teacher.

After twelve years living abroad, in England and New Zealand, where he contributed to the foundation and growth of some monasteries, in 1990 he founded the Santacittarama (The Garden of the Serene Heart), the first monastery of the Theraváda School. In September 1995, during an evocative ceremony at the Maháyána monastery of the 10,000 Buddhas in California, he received the transmission of the Bodhisattva precepts. For further information on the Maestro:




Elena De Martin has been practicing and teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga for 25 years and is the founder and director of La Yoga Shala in Milan.

She encountered Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in the late ’90s through her first teacher, Lino Miele, whom she followed for several years as both a student and an assistant.

In 2001, she met Sri K. Pattabhi Jois for the first time at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, which he founded. To deepen her practice, she returned passionately in the following years to study with him and his successors, his daughter Sarasvati and his grandson R. Sharath Jois. She received authorization from the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute to teach Second Level Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

During her years in India, she delved into the philosophy of Yoga, scriptures, the basics of Sanskrit, as well as chanting and mantra, under the guidance of authoritative Indian masters of philosophy and Sanskrit language. The proximity to these extraordinary teachers and intensive studies in India were extremely significant in her personal transformation journey and her understanding of Yoga as an intrinsic value to apply in everyday life. Elena constantly returns to Mysore, where she continues her studies.

In 2010, she met Richard Freeman for the first time, with whom she began an intense period of study, recognizing in him a profound understanding of the message of Yoga and a rare ability to interpret it according to Western thought.

In parallel with her Ashtanga studies, in 2001 she also embraced Vipassana meditation, following the teachings of the master S.N. Goenka. To this day, her ongoing practice contributes to bringing greater awareness to her life and the path of self-discovery she has embarked on through Yoga.

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