5 Rejuvenating Yoga Retreats in Goa

Guest Post 

We Indians keep flaunting the origin of Yoga being India, anywhere and everywhere. But how many of us have actually experienced it? The calmness, the elegant poses, the oneness with yourself, the unity with nature, the continuous flow…

time-to-meditatePhoto by Betty Nudler, CC BY 2.0

Even if you haven’t, fret not. It’s never too late. Just pack your bags and head to Goa. Not for party scenes but for Yoga scenes. Surprised? Well, Goa has exquisite scenery and nothing beats the sea at tranquility. It’s a popular tourist destination and not every tourist equates holidays to going wild. Besides, the old culture of fishermen has always held meditation in high regard as you need to be really calm to be able to catch fish- for food or for the soul. So it does form an ideal destination. Goa also offers you great variety when it comes to Yoga centers. Each center has something unique to offer. The following are my favorites:

1. Art of Living
The program needs no introduction as it has proved its impact worldwide. The unique aspect of Art of Living is how natural they make Yoga feel. It’s not about the twists and bends of the body but about grace, poise, and control. Most of their programs are about helping you traverse through life rather than convincing you to opt out of it. They work towards helping people achieve harmony of body, mind and spirit and thus, happiness. They have a breathing technique known as Sudarshan Kriya which is about resonating with the rhythm of the biological system of the body. You may believe the theory, you may not. But it’s definitely a worthwhile experience!

2. Cyril Yoga Ayurvedic Centre
We all know about the peculiar way of schooling in the olden times – called gurukuls. Ever wondered what that experience would be like? Living isolated from the world, always close to your guru, doing chores to earn your stay and finally experiencing your own transformation. The Government might have moved on but the system sounds beautiful and the Cyril Centre gives you the perfect opportunity to try it out. Along with motivating and charming teachers, their Yoga program is aimed towards helping you make peace with yourself. Say goodbye to stress and strain physically, mentally and emotionally. They also offer Ayurveda and massage therapies to cleanse your body, mind, and soul.

3. Harmonic Healing
If the traditional Indian style is not your thing, Harmonic Healing is all about blending tradition and modern techniques. The most beautiful aspect of this place is the extremely well-chosen location – for everything! They use their Cliffside location splendidly well. You literally feel like you are sinking into nature. Their chanting sessions are mesmerizing. Coming to the modern aspect, they also offer Acrobatic classes, Vortex healing, a Chiropractor and a lot more. Their personality development workshops and the ones on Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction are recommended. The name is very apt as music forms a huge part of the culture there and that just adds another dimension to the experience.

4. Tao-Zen Meditation Centre
If silence is what helps you relax, this is just the place for you. And they have a melodious way of breaking the monotony too – the mesmerizing chant of Om Mani Padme Hum. Tao Zen meditation is all about this chant whose literal translation is the sound of silence, the diamond in the lotus. Understand it and achieve nirvana! Also, this place DOES NOT provide accommodation. It’s a place you visit. That’s the way they roll. And for the rest of the time if you want to explore the two schools of thought without being a philosopher, check out the books The Tao of Pooh and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance!

5. The Whispering Lakes
If you don’t know what school of thought you like but want to explore, go to The Whispering Lakes. Their specialty is their accommodations which are a perfect blend of traditional cottages and most modern amenities to ensure a comfortable, rather even luxurious stay. And they have a restaurant on the lake! It doesn’t get fancier than that. Besides, they have a special Meditational retreat called Samadhi if you wish to be alone. Their unique offering is sessions with gurus from any and every school of thought you can imagine. Go with an open mind and discover yourself!

Not only will you avoid the usual hangover phase after a Goa trip, you will come back knowing yourself a little better and being able to control your mind and body a lot better! Besides, the things that you learn, the places that you see and the feelings that you experience will remain with you forever.

Author Bio:
Rohit is a coder who has recently discovered the depth of traditions- especially Indian. He wants to understand the teachings of the old sages by experiencing as much as he can and then sharing them on his travel blog –  www.transindiatravels.com

Ask Stacy: What is my next action step?

Hi Stacy,

My name is Luke and I am a recent college graduate, yoga lover, and aspiring corporate rat race escape artist. I’ve been reading your blog and have loved your topics on lifestyle design!

As a newcomer in the lifestyle arena, I have one question that I feel could use your expertise. I would really appreciate your help with it.

I have just read the 4 Hour Workweek and am getting started with designing my own dream life. As someone who just came out of college with a biomedical science degree (was going to become a doctor) and switched to business consulting, I feel that I don’t have the tangible skills necessary to offer readers a worthwhile product. My hobbies mainly consist of traveling around the country on the weekends, meeting fellow hostel lovers, and doing yoga. In my shoes, what actions steps would be best?





Dear Luke,

Start writing. Everyday. You will begin to figure out what is important to you. It will lead to something.

Share your writing. It will make you better at it.

This skill will help you where ever it may lead you.



MORE Inspiring Books to Help Get You Where You’re Going!

Here is another set of some of my most recent, highly recommended reads:












The “Third Option”

A friend and I have been having a discussion this week regarding the concept we like to call the “Third Option.”

When we are faced with problems or challenges we explore a couple of options for the best solution. We explore the obvious options. However, quite often, none of the options we see before us really feel like the “best” option.

Then there is the “Third Option.” The “Third Option” is all of the options that lie just outside of our immediate knowledge, experiences, and awareness. Unlike the two choices of Robert Frost, the “Third Option” is not the road well-trod, nor is it the road less taken – it is all of the roads that have yet to be forged, hidden just behind the brush. The “Third Option” is where exploration, creativity, and critical thinking collide.

Today I invite you to seek out the “Third Option.”

* See Robert Frost reference

Compassion at Work

I invite you to practice compassion today. Towards your co-workers, your staff, and your managers.

Whenever we experience problems at work, we often point to someone else as the source. Yet as much as another other person might not be doing their job, is treating us disrespectfully, or is just plain behaving in a way we do not understand or agree with, the only thing we can really change is ourselves.

In any work environment there is a finite amount of resources with many people seeking to establish and protect their professional identity. Because of these things, it is easy to loose sight of compassion at work.

It is not uncommon to view our struggling co-worker, our manager with a different communication style than our own, or the person down the hall with radically different cultural perspectives, as being a threat to our resources and identity.

Instead, I invite your to practice compassion today by recognizing the fragility of the human experience we all share regardless of our differences.

By refraining from gossip.

By challenging your assumptions.

By reaching out.

Mindfulness at Work: Micro-inequities and Micro-affirmations


Micro-inequities (also called micro-aggressions) are subtle, sometimes seemingly harmless, comments or actions that devalue others. No matter how kind or aware we may consider ourselves to be, we all have the capacity to harmfully impact others by practicing micro-inequities. The challenge with micro-inequities is they often are not meant to intentionally cause hurt or harm, and they arise from a semi-conscious state. Here are a few examples:

Continuously mispronouncing or misspelling someone’s name

Rolling your eyes even when you think no one is looking

Cutting down ideas before they can be entertained

Sarcasm and disparaging jest

Interrupting or completing sentences for people

Acting disinterested in meetings


Aside from being aware of our own tendencies, the best way to combat our potential to devalue others through micro-inequities is to practice micro-affirmations. These are subtle, but high impact, words and actions that affirm another’s value. Examples include:

Holding the door for someone

Saying hello

Introducing people to each other

Listening without interrupting

Acknowledging and making sure you fully understand someone’s idea or opinion

Acknowledging someone’s good work to others

Sometimes the simplest things can be the most challenging, but keep up! If we continue to become aware of our tendencies and keep practicing positive behaviors then we will begin to notice the benefits we offer others as well as the benefits we receive ourselves. Let’s work together for better outcomes!

Top 10 Reasons You Need To Attend a Yoga Retreat Soon

Yoga Retreat

Going on a yoga retreat is a unique journey of self-discovery and improvement. Wellness is one of the biggest benefits of a retreat because the holistic experience is extremely powerful and allows you to grow exponentially. It is said, “Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being.” Yoga retreats are considered to be one of the most healing adventures because they encourage a lifestyle of health and extreme wellness upon re-entering the real world.

1. Escape the Stress

When you go to a yoga retreat you have absolutely no responsibilities, aside from enjoying yourself. This is the ideal time to focus solely on relaxation because this experience is all about you. Think about a yoga retreat as an investment into your wellness, and remember you’re worth it. In addition to your needs, this is a time to detox from technology. This technology detox allows you to gain independence from your phone, the outside world, and your eager family and friends.

2. Scenic Getaways

Yoga retreats are scattered all across the globe in enchanting and foreign lands. For example, Retreat named as one of the top Retreats in the world by CNN, is located on a beautiful beach on KohSamuiin Thailand (rumored to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world). You can even find retreats within the United States, which are nuzzled in the mountains, open fields, or even at the beach. The benefit about these scenic getaways is that it exposes you to new cultures and ways of life. If you’re lucky your retreat may even infuse local flair into the cuisine!

3. Take Your Yoga to the Next Level

Even if you are new to yoga are have been practicing for years, retreats are a valuable time to take your yoga practice deeper.During a retreat your main focus is yoga, which lets you develop a deeper dedication to the practice. In addition, extremely talented yoga instructors like Paul Dallaghan will surround and guide you.

4. Discover Healthy Eating

Most yoga retreats handle your meals for you, which is a huge stress reliever for many. The food is tasty, healthy, and usually incorporates some local tastes. After just a few days of detox eating your body will automatically begin to crave health food over junk food. At the end of your retreat experience make a commitment to healthy eating and incorporate elements of your new diet into the old.

5. Positive Vibes and Attitudes

At a yoga retreat an environment of healing and spiritual energy continually surrounds you. In addition to the positive atmosphere you are also surrounded by people with similar goals and attitudes, which further creates an environment of complete Zen. These people will serve to inspire and motivate you to achieve your various goals, and can become lifelong friends.

6. Self Discovery

During a yoga retreat you develop a new perspective on life and also learn about yourself. This happens through extreme mediation, whichwelcomes deep thought. It also occurs because you have more free time to just sit and reflect on your life, coming decisions, or even present problems. The retreat breaks the mold of your everyday life and ushers you into a space conducivefor personal growth.

7. A Healthy and Stress Free Vacation

After returning home from a vacation most people feel bloated and more stressed than ever. A yoga retreat is ideal because you are engaging in healthy activities and eating, which does wonders for your body. In addition, the retreat and atmosphere will be void of annoyances and items of stress.

8. TryingNew Things

For many people a yoga retreat is a completely new experience, but even if you are a retreat regular, each yoga retreat offers new and exciting things. As mentioned above the food will be healthy, unique, and locally influenced. Besides the new dining experience, opportunities for new yoga practices and mediation will also be present.

9. Fun!

In addition to yoga you have the opportunity to explore new areas and participate in exciting excursions. Some retreats offer additional side trips such as ziplining, snorkeling, horseback riding and hiking. Free time is also available during your stay so you have opportunities to explore the area or read the book you have been putting off for months on the beach.

10. Return Home a Better You

The yoga retreat will equip you with all the right tools to live a more active and well life. After doing hours of yoga you will feel a deep sense of calm and peace, which you can bring back to your stressed filled life at home. Also continue to honor your body by incorporating the healthy snacks and meals you grew accustomed to at the retreat. During your stay you began the process of detoxing and cleansing through mediation, diet, rituals, discipline, and practices. You have the ability to translate those lessons into your life to live in a healthier and more peaceful way.

For an irreplaceable life adventure, book your yoga retreat today. For optimal healing ensure it is the right retreat for you and your needs by doing some preliminary research. Then to ready yourself right before the trip pack the right things for your retreat and open your mind and spirit for the coming journey. Finally, prepare yourself to let go of the stresses surrounding your home life. Embark on a yoga retreat as soon as you can to experience the healing and rejuvenating benefits.

Bio: Meghan Greene is a vital part of the SEO and Content Development team at The Marketing Zen Group & Samahita Retreat. Meghan attends Elon University, double majoring in Marketing and International Business.



Bali Spirit Festival: A Global Celebration of Yoga, Dance & Music

Bali Spirit Festival: Save the Date! March 31st – April 5th, 2015

A truly global event, the annual Bali Spirit Festival, Southeast Asia’s premier yoga, dance, and world music celebration, will open its gates to the international community once again from March 31st to April 5th, 2015. Now in its 8th year, this spiritually charged event attracts nearly 6,000 visitors over 5 days to Ubud, Bali, to celebrate the synergy of global cultural collaboration through the sacred arts: from yoga, healing, and meditation to diverse, creative expressions of music and creative movement.

Named one of the “Top Yoga Festivals Around the Globe” (Yahoo News), Bali Spirit Festival features over 150 daytime workshops set in the stunning, tropical surroundings of Bali, led by dozens of top international instructors, inspirational speakers, and holistic healers such as Simon Park (USA), Janet Stone (USA), Michiko Minegishi (Japan), Nadine McNeil (Jamaica), Ronan Tang (China) and many more.

Ranked among “Asia’s Top 6 Music Festivals” (Travel Wire), the Bali Spirit Festival’s nighttime festivities include a “Bhakti Series” of devotional music, as well as “One World One Stage” line-up of world class acts who encourage conscious living and well-being for individuals, communities, and the planet. The Festival also celebrates the lush beauty and creativity of its island home with performances of traditional Balinese performing arts.

The entire family is warmly welcome, and “Hari Cinta Keluarga” (We Love Family Day) honours our youngest festival-goers with special classes and creative activities for children. A vibrant “Dharma Fair” offers a range of deliciously wholesome fare and wares by socially and eco-conscious vendors.

Pass-holders can relish the beautiful surroundings of Bali and the excitement of this global gathering knowing that their participation supports the Bali Spirit Festival’s “Karma” initiatives. The Festival’s founders are committed to giving back to the local community and have raised more than $75,000 for local charities and outreach programs for Balinese performing arts, HIV & AIDS education, and reforestation in Bali.

Passes are on sale now, and deep discounts are available to Early Birds.

Visit Bali Spirit Festival for a complete line-up and to purchase your passes.



Traveling Nowhere – Creating a Personal Retreat at Home

“Where ever you go…there you are.” Enlightenment is not found in some exotic temple on the other side of the world. It’s found in the daily mundane practices of life that slip by often unnoticed. Often purposefully ignored. Often pushed away. Traveling is great because it does help to open up a range of perspectives, as well as get us outside of routines so we can SEE our life. However, the true magic happens when you wake up in the same bed that you wake up in every morning. It happens when you go to work, when you laugh with your loved ones, when you move through arguments – and when you experience the inevitable suffering of loss,  sickness, and death that is simply a part of living for all sentient beings. It happens when you go grocery shopping, when you eat your lunch at your desk, and when you watch your kids play soccer. It happens on the inhale and it happens on the exhale. Sometimes, however, we need some distance to see what is right in front of us.

Though travel is a wonderful gift to be able to experience, you don’t have to break out your credit cards to go on a much needed personal retreat. It’s takes some commitment to practice a zendo/ashram/temple style retreat at home, but it’s doable and the benefits will be felt immediately. I recommend starting out with just one day the first time around, and then you can decided how a single day, weekend, or week long home retreat will fit into your life.

Follow these steps:

1. Pick a day when you can be alone. I know this can be a big challenge for some people, so you may really need to enlist some help in the endeavor.

2. Decide what your goal is, if any, and what forms you are interested in practicing, whether it is a certain kind of meditation, yoga, creative expression, or some blend there of.

3. Pick out any books, videos, podcasts, or supplies you will want to incorporate into you retreat day. (Meditation cushions, yoga mats, books, a journal, painting supplies, etc.)

4. Do as much as you can to create a peaceful environment before hand. Clean up a bit so you at least have room to move around or even one small area for minimal distractions.

5. Shop for and prepare clean, healthy food the day before.

6. Set up a fairly rigid schedule for the day like the one below. This will help you keep a flow, limit your decision making, and allow you to focus your attention fully on each part of the day. Note: Make sure you add in mundane activities such as household chores. This will help you bridge the connection between a calm, inward awareness during your retreat, and your regular daily life where you need it the most – the place where practice turns into to being. This is a practice that is typically incorporated into spiritual retreat centers.


Example schedule:

5:30 Wake up, quick shower, get ready

6 – 6:30 Meditation **

6:30 – 7pm Yin Yoga***

7 – 7:30 Eat

7:30 – 8:30 Clean

8:30 – 9 Rest and journal

9-10 Listen to Dharma Talk*

10-12 Read and rest, eat

12 – 2 Clean house, work outside in the yard or garden, etc.

3 – 4 Vinyasa Yoga***

4 – 4:30 Journal

4:30 – 5 Rest

5 – 5:30 Eat

5:30 – 6:30 Listen to Dharma Talk*

6:30 7:00 Journal

7:00 – 7:30 Meditation**

7:30 – 8:30 Yoga Nidra***

8:30 – 9:00 Prepare for sleep

9:00 Get to bed early


*Example: Free dharma talk podcasts from the SF Zen Center

**Free meditation timers (Bottom of page)

***Example: Yoga Videos from Yoga Glo

Note: You may find yourself using technology as part of your retreat. Avoid the urge for outside communications via social media. Keep the inward focus except for the knowledge of experienced teachers via, books, blogs, videos and podcasts (preferably ones that are ad free). Since there is no one else around to keep your daily schedule flowing, I recommend using a to do list app like Wunderlist, which you can utilize to setup your schedule with time reminders.