A good yoga retreat to me is not about the intensity of the practice or well-known names on the teacher list. It’s about the atmosphere that can help me relax and be who I am, encouraging me to go within.
Golden palm-fringed beaches, hippy-like atmosphere and all kinds of well being activities come to a perfect unity in Goa.
Ashiyana (meaning “home” in Hindi), a beautiful yoga retreat center on a laid-back Mandrem beach, seems to do the trick. Lush greenery, comfortable and stylish wooden interior, lots of open-air space and non-invasive staff create the right environment for that journey within.There is just enough offered to help you go back to yourself.
To go back home.
Yoga classes twice daily, various workshops, Kirtan and meditation sessions, skillful massage and Ayurvedic therapists. If that’s all too much and you just need vitamin D, the beach is across the wooden bridge.
I could have spent the whole week swinging in a hammock listening to the whisper of palm trees, only coming out of my sanctuary for yummy vegetarian meals, and that would be totally acceptable. I so should have done that to work on my skill of “doing nothing”. Yet my schedule was far busier and included checking out neighboring Arambol, hiring a motorbike a few times, organizing a partner yoga workshop and doing dozens of other things.
That was my way of going back to myself.
I am a big fan of Ayurveda and was really happy to bump into Ayurvedic Natural Health Centre in Bardez. Whilst its location is not so secluded, the atmosphere inside is really relaxed and calming. The Centre was first opened to serve locals but soon became popular amongst tourists through word of mouth.
Three hours’ worth of Ayurvedic treatments with two experienced therapists took me to a different world. My heavenly experience consisted of: Abhyanga (full body massage), Pinda Sweda (massage with warm herbal bags), Shirodhara (constant pouring of oil over the forehead), Shiro Abhyanga (Head massage) and Sweda (a herbal steam bath).
Whilst I tried most of the treatments before, it was my first ever Shirodhara experience. I could literally feel my invasive thoughts being wiped off my mind as the therapist kept gently pouring the oil onto my forehead. Can’t think of a better treatment to release mental tension.
Those looking for a relaxed beach holiday with a strong eco-factor should head straight down to Bamboo Eco House. A real bamboo heaven with a chic, elegant touch and delicious food.
A set of ten spacious and tastefully decorated bamboo cottages sit between pristine sands of a secluded Mobor beach on one side and the meandering waters of the River Sal on the other.
Eco-friendly thinking goes a long way here. The cottages are made of 100% sustainable building materials. Local plants cover the whole area and act as a natural cooling agent. There is a solar water heating system and organic grass carpets. There are no artificial fertilizers used and eco-friendly composting and sewerage system are in place, beautifully in sync with Mother Nature.
The in-house restaurant has become very popular and attracts visitors from well beyond Mobor. The great variety of fresh seafood is particularly delicious.
Feel like a relaxing massage after relaxing on the beach? An Ayurvedic therapist with impressive records is right there, offering all sorts of massages to melt away your stress.
Having come back home after the trip, all I can think of is how do I incorporate this total relaxation into my daily life and when do I go back to Goa?
Ariadna was introduced to the philosophy of yoga when she was in her teens. Since then, well being has been her passion, hobby and a lifestyle choice. Over the past years she has been discovering and trying various tools and techniques that can help people live a healthier and happier life; from various types of yoga to Ayurveda and holistic massages to Reiki to flower remedies and super foods… and so on. She is a believer that small things can make a big difference and is interested in discovering how well being can be incorporated into a busy city lifestyle. For work, Ariadna does PR and communications specializing in holistic health and well being. Follow Ariadna on @AriadnaWell.
Editor: Carolyn Gilligan