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Italian Yoga? The Art of ‘Dolce Far Niente’

in YD News

Search no more yogoombas. For the true nature of yoga, finding the state of just being, why would we look any further than old I-talian men? Boh?!

Introducing Italian Yoga, which may be shocking to learn has nothing to do with final resting pose at the bottom of the ocean or king sleeping with the fishes pose or meatballs. Nope, what other thing are Italians known for being really good at? Doing nothing. There’s even a saying for it – il dolce far niente – meaning ‘the sweetness of doing nothing.’ Or, as the Italian Yoga “movement”s founder Peter Catizone explains, is the fine art of the moment, “sitting at the corner cafe with espresso, cigars, cannoli and good friends.” (see photo above)

This practice requires no exercise at all but involves telling stories, jokes, lounging, chillaxing and doing anything to distract from the idea of work. And they need your help to make a film about it.

Via the Italian Yoga kickstarter page:

Sitting at the corner cafe with espresso, cigars, cannoli and good friends is the natural habitat for old Italian men everywhere. A select group of enlightened retirees, including Tom and Ray of Car Talk, spend an abundance of spare time at the cafes of Harvard Square in Cambridge – our fair city – MA. Enjoying the perpetual weekend, these men do lots of crossword puzzles, tell jokes, share stories, and laugh hysterically together.  By kickstarting this web series, you too will be able to avoid work and share our humor and relaxation via the Internet.

Specifically, Italian Yoga is yoga without the exercise. Instead of stretching and sweating, we sit at the cafe with friends, sip espresso, and enjoy a moment together. In our tradition of Mediterranean mindfulness, we find peace in what Italians call “dolce far niente.” Rather than grabbing a vat of Starbucks coffee and running off, we linger at the cafe and enjoy ourselves without a single thought of w-w-work.

Why contribute now? Well, they’re old and they want to do it “before decrepitude, dementia, or death gets in the way.” Fair enough. Besides that though it sounds like a funny and endearing project. AND they promise to try and invite other celebs and “not sleazy” politicians as well as “generally relaxed people” not to mention “local derelicts, ne’re-do-wells, and denizens of Harvard Square” to join for “caffeinated conversation.”

Right, so it’s not exactly yoga, but these guys find solace and peace in their customary practice and to that we lazily raise a glass from our reclined pose and say cin cin! Remind us to tell you about our cyber yoga movement where you “do nothing” by checking facebook and posting baby and cat pictures all day long.

They do have something going for them. “Dolce far niente” is a lesson Americans, and Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love have trouble learning.

Good luck fellas. Maybe a few yogis will drop by your tables for a spell. (hint. nudge. bring your smoking jacket. maybe limoncello.)

Where are the ladies you ask? Probably at yoga.



5 comments… add one
  • Ha! Italian Yoga is yoga without the exercise…love this…so all old Italian men are yogis then, eh?

  • Sarah

    Na, sorry, their wives are at home with the kids, cooking. It´s the same in Spain and Greece.

  • LA

    There are a lot of little bars and cafes in my area where the Portuguese seem to be doing this type of yoga as well……. But their style also involves all stopping talking and STARING at any female who walks by. Very awkward. I’ve actually crossed the street to avoid being gawked at on several occasions. Not my favourite type of yoga!!! 🙂

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