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

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.

 

A Yoga Retreat to Help You on the Road to Recovery

If you’re struggling with an addiction, you’re not alone. In the US around 22 million people are believed to be dependent on alcohol or drugs, but, encouragingly, a similar number have managed to overcome these problems. Although traditionally addiction was managed in a medical manner, it’s now known that a holistic approach that encompasses a range of therapies is more effective. The benefits of yoga to help in the recovery process have been acknowledged and taking part in a yoga retreat could be just what you need to support your rehabilitation; particularly as the 12 Steps program to recovery encourages a spiritual approach, including meditation. As an activity that can be maintained once you’re home, something that most people can take part in even if they have other medical problems and one that offers a range of additional health gains, yoga offers great promise.

Benefits to mental well-being

Yoga has been shown to be an effective adjunct to treatment for the management of addiction to tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Participation in yoga encourages mindfulness which increases self-awareness allowing you to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. This is helpful as if not managed appropriately negative feelings can contribute to substance abuse; when the mind and body work together it provides you with the discipline you need to be strong to resist a relapse. However, this isn’t the only benefit. Yoga is well-known for its ability to induce a state of calm and encourage relaxation, helping to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is otherwise associated with anxiety; drug and alcohol use are frequently used as a means to manage stress, so this offers a natural release for stress. Practicing yoga is also linked to increased production of serotonin, one of the body’s feel-good chemicals and may explain why participants report improved mood. When you have a brighter outlook, this helps to boost your self-esteem and belief in yourself so you are more likely to be successful in your recovery. Continuing with yoga once you have beaten your addiction may also reduce the likelihood of relapse or turning to other addictions owing to its ability to keep anxiety and low mood at bay.

A means of coping

Yoga can additionally be seen as a positive activity and one that you can turn to during your journey of recovery and even once this is complete. One of the themes of drug and alcohol rehabilitation is that you find new hobbies and activities to engage in – those that you don’t associate with substance abuse. Not only can this help to fill your spare time, when you might be tempted to relapse if you have a lot of time on your hands, it can help you to form new friendships with people not connected to your old habits. Particularly owing to yoga’s ability to boost your mental well-being, it is the perfect activity to take part in when cravings set in. Usually if you can distract yourself with an activity this will help your alcohol or drug cravings pass without you feeling the need to act on them. This helps to offer you life-long coping strategies.

Specific benefits of a yoga retreat

A yoga retreat offers additional advantages with regards to addiction recovery above and beyond attending yoga classes in your local area.

Firstly, a change of scenery helps to remove you from the factors that may have led to your drug or alcohol abuse. While problems at home, your social circle or money worries will still be there on your return, having developed your focus and with a greater commitment to recovery you will be better prepared to develop strategies to manage these.

Retreats are more often than not located amidst beautiful surroundings, which in themselves can have a positive impact on how you feel and your outlook, particularly if you live in a built up area with limited access to green open spaces.

You will also have the chance to meet others, possibly forming close relationships, and this will provide an additional source of support; they may not be in the same situation as you, but will be able to draw on their own experiences.

Besides practicing yoga when on retreat you can develop other healthy strategies such as eating well, which will hopefully help to spur you on to adopting an all-round healthier lifestyle once you have returned home. This will support your recovery efforts as nourishing your body is important for your mental well-being as well.

Yoga Adventure Retreat – Travel Consciously

 

Do you want to travel to exotic places, but feeling a little nervous about traveling on your own?

Do you love yoga and want to start traveling for the first time, but don’t know where to start?

Do you just want to travel and do yoga ’cause both are awesome?

Do you want to travel with totally  fun, kind and experienced leaders and a welcoming and diverse community? (I can wholeheartedly vouch for them!)

SOUTH EAST ASIA ADVENTURE TOUR
Thailand, Laos & Cambodia
with Tyler & Annie Langdale

DEC 28, 2013 – JAN 12, 2014

Experience the beauty of Southeast Asia. This region is rich in culture and religion and is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The countries on this tour have it all: a tropical climate, warm (or hot!) all year around, rich culture, gorgeous beaches, wonderful food and last but not least, low prices. While its history and modern-day politics are complex, most of it is also quite safe for the traveler and easy to travel around in. Join Annie and Tyler Langdale as they return to this region for a two week adventure. Their knowledge and experience in this region make this a wonderful opportunity to travel and learn.

Activities Include:

• 3 yoga classes
• New Years Eve celebration
• Temple tours in Thailand, Laos & Cambodia (Angkor Wat)
• Thai cooking class
• Elephant rescue park day
• 2 day cruise down the Mekong River
• Hikes to see caves & in Laos Waterfalls
• Museums

The Itinerary:

December 28 – January 1, Chiang Mai

• Hotel: Tamarind Village
• Meals: 4 breakfasts, 2 dinners
• Relax & explore Chiang Mai, yoga class w/ Jonas + Thai massage w/ Jonas
• Cooking class
• Sunday Market
• Elephant Rescue

January 1 – January 3, Travel to Luang Prabang

• 2 group dinners
• 2 night, 3 days  to Luang Prabang
• Bus to Hauy Xia (border of Laos 5hrs), stay overnight
Mekong River slow boat to Phac Being, stay overnight
• Mekong River Slow boat to Luang Prabang

January 3 – January 7, 4 nights in Luang Prabang

• Laos Hotel: Vialla Chittadara, Woodhouse Villa, Sok Dee Residence
• Meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 dinner
• Arrival at Luang Prabang
• Free morning/bike tour
• Free evening, free morning
• Waterfall adventure, yoga
• Departure to Siem Reap

January 7 – January 12, 4 nights Siem Reap, Cambodia

• Hotel: TBA
• Meals: 4 breakfast, 3 dinners
• Arrival, free eve
• Orphanage, land mine museum & national museum
• Angkor Wat, group dinner
• Departure day

* Includes commitment for fundraising for the organizations that we will be supporting

* Includes double occupancy in 3 & 4 star hotels. All Breakfasts & 6 group dinners. Transportation within the tour dates & locations: bus, boat, plane.

Retreat Leader:

Tyler  Langdale, Co-Owner of Yoga Shala Sacramento & Founder of Radical Retreats

Tyler has been teaching, leading, and coaching for the past 15 years. His passion for holistic health and spiritual wisdom has led him to yoga as a profession and way of life. He views his teaching as “platform for possibility”, and in addition to weekly classes, he facilitates experiential trainings and leads retreats all over the world. He believes in collaboration and community, and has worked with many world renowned teachers and artist. He co-owns Yoga Shala Sacramento and is the co-founder of The California Spirit Festival. He is committed to bringing the world to Sacramento and getting Sacramento out into the world through conscious community and positive connection.

Cost:

$3200 per person (Not including airfare to and from your destination. DOES include transportation within the tour dates & locations via bus, boat, plane.)

Registration/Deposit Info:

Deposit: $700
50% of the total cost due by Sept 15
Pay in Full By: November 1, 2013

Sign up online with Radical Retreats
brought to you by Yoga Shala >

Oh and hey…tell them The Wandering Yogi sent you, cause that would be a pretty nice thing to do! Thanx!

 

P.S. Speaking other languanges in foreign countries is super fun! You might want to check out Southeast Asia: Lonely Planet Phrasebook