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“Profound insights. Blissful surroundings.”
Review of SWAN Yoga Retreat

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SWAN Yoga Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 November 2015

One of the reasons I chose to travel through India was to develop my spiritual knowledge. After extensively researching where might be best for me to fulfill this desire to learn, I found SWAN Retreat and decided to stay for 8 nights.

Set on an exuberantly lush hillside in the jungles of North Goa, SWAN is a Yogic eco-village where students from around the world come to rejuvenate their bodies and reset their souls.

The retreat is ran by a group of Indians who’re comprehensively schooled in the ancient science and philosophy of Yoga. Founder Gyanmitra and his fellow teachers, Om & Shivendra, radiated a positive and calming energy from day one thus allowing me to completely relax and engage with their teachings.

The daily program started at 6am at the temple where myself and a group of fellow devotees would participate in the sacred Havan ritual. Directly following Havan, we’d enter into a 30 minute meditation under Gyanmitra’s guidance.

After meditation, our group would reflect together in the dining area. Here we’d drink herbal tea and eat organic fruit that was often grown on-site, usually consisting of papaya, pineapple, mango and pomegrante. At 8am we’d practice Yoga Asanas with Om at the Yoga shala. Located at the top of the hill, the Yoga shala is a spacious open air build, bound by mosquito nets and perfectly suited to practice whilst being immersed in the jungle.

As somebody who’s always suffered with stiff joints and muscles, particularly around my hips and lower back, I struggled with many of the Asanas. My body simply wouldn’t allow me to get into some of the postures Om prescribed for us.

However, after practicing Asanas & Pranayama every morning and evening of my stay at SWAN, I detected a tangible improvement in the range of movement throughout my body. As my tension released and stiff joints unlocked, I invariably left Asana sessions with a gratifying sense of openness and serene energy.

At 10am and 5.30pm we’d meet at the dining area to eat. The food at Swan was a delight and far exceeded my expectations – the best cuisine I’ve experienced anywhere in India so far, and that’s no mean feat!

Food is regarded as medicine within the ashram. Using only fresh seasonal herbs and organic vegetables from regional farmers or their own garden, SWAN’s Ayurvedic meals are designed to support the healing of the body and enhance the Yogic purification processes. Personally I found the food to be extremely clean, full of natural flavour and wonderfully nourishing.

In the mid-afternoon we’d normally attend an hourly ‘Yoga philosophy’ class where one of the teachers would give a lecture on any number of wide ranging topics relating to the five thousand year old science that is Yoga. This was always a great opportunity for us to engage in open discussions to further deepen our understanding of the spiritual approach being taught.

The insight I gained at SWAN was profound and my gratitude for the wisdom I’ve been provided runs deep. There is a definite new-found sense of awareness flowing through me and I’ve been inspired to act more often out of love, out of joy and out of service.

For anybody wishing to discover more about the Yogic lifestyle: I can’t recommend SWAN highly enough. The team have created an accepting, trusting and relaxing environment; they all live within the ashram as a family and are waiting to welcome you with open arms, provided you come with an open heart and willingness to learn.

  • Stayed: November 2015, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank thescousenomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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41 - 45 of 110 reviews

Reviewed 20 November 2015

I have just returned to London having spent 15 wonderful days at SWAN Yoga Retreat. It’s hard to sum up what an amazing experience it was, how much I learned or how much I miss the beautiful peaceful environment.

This was my first trip to India and the first time I have ever been to an ashram or on a retreat. I am a 61 year-old man with no experience of yoga but I have been a meditator for many years and always been interested in Eastern philosophy. My greatest anxiety before setting off was my lack of flexibility and being able to sit cross-legged, something I haven’t done since I was 10 years old! I was also travelling alone and I wasn’t sure how I would fit in with the other guests who may be a lot younger and may have many years of yoga experience.

Within minutes of arriving at SWAN all my anxieties disappeared and I entered a tranquil and supportive place where I was warmly welcomed and shown to my own cottage and offered food. I soon got to meet the other guests who offered me help and advice and shared their own experiences.

The day usually began with the beautiful and very spiritual Havan fire ceremony followed by meditation and a light breakfast. The rest of the day provided opportunities for Yoga Asanas, philosophy classes, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama, Karma yoga and on one occasion Trataka (candle gazing). I loved the variety of classes on offer, no day was exactly the same and at no time did I ever feel under pressure to participate. Some Yoga Asanas were more challenging for me but I always felt supported by the teachers who offered me alternative postures where appropriate. I also appreciated some of the built in rest periods where I was able to select a book from the SWAN library and read or simply relax and reflect.

I really enjoyed the vegetarian food, beautifully prepared by the SWAN chefs, constantly inventive, plentiful, and nutritious and never the same.

The other guests were such great company, intelligent and widely travelled from different parts of the world. During my stay I met guests from France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, South Africa, Canada, Austria, Sweden, USA and the UK. We had many hours of conversation and laughter.

I was very fortunate to visit during the festival of Diwali and share this lovely occasion with teachers, staff and guests. One of the many highlights for me was the opportunity for morning meditation on the beach followed by a swim in the warm Arabian Sea.

It would be impossible to write this review without mentioning Gyanmitra, Shivendra and Om. SWAN is their home, where they welcome guests from all over the world and where they teach and share their knowledge, experience and wisdom so generously.

SWAN Yoga Retreat is a very special place and I hope to return again next year. I just must keep practicing crossing my legs!

Stayed: November 2015
5  Thank stevemoran3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2015 via mobile

Amazing place, amazing people, amazing food, totally exceeded my expectations, go with an open mind and heart,and listen, because these guys know what they're talking about, thanks again for sharing yer wonderful home, i loved every second!

Stayed: October 2015, travelled solo
1  Thank Mairead W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2015

I entered SWAN with no expectations and left with plenty of good memories and a happy mind & body! Nature is plendid, the food is gorgeous and the teachers very knowledgeable. All the SWAN employees are Indians, which I find important.
The rooms are tastefully decorated and very clean.
The ambiance is friendly and genuine.
The program is varied and well organised.
Unfortunately the ayurvedic centre was not open yet.

  • Stayed: October 2015, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank vini-vizit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SWAN108, Manager at SWAN Yoga Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 22 October 2015

Dear Blessed Self,

Thanks for your kind words.
We try to work with honesty and integrity to provide the best experience to all our guests.
Your inputs help us in making SWAN Yoga Retreat a place where people can experience yoga in it's totality. About our Ayurveda section being not operational, we are sorry. But you know it was just the beginning of the season and work was in progress to start it. We hope to see you soon in future, and we are sure you would love our Ayurveda treatments as much as you have loved the other things about the place. Sending warm regards to you from Team SWAN. We wish to see you soon again.

Hari Om Tat Sat

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2015

At the end of last year I started my search for a place where I could do some yoga and rest for some time, as I wanted a break from my stressed lifestyle. Since I was going to travel on my own for the first time ever to India, I have to say I was a bit nervous... Swan yoga retreat was recommended to me by some friends who had stayed there, and I also did quite a lot of research online before I booked the two week package they offer. I was really happy that I chose to stay for two weeks, because pretty soon I realised one week would have been too short! About my experience at this yoga retreat in Goa, I can only say it has been fulfilling on all levels (and trust me i am not so easy to please!)
Every day started with morning meditations while it was still dark, and by the time you finish the meditation and open the eyes you see the beautiful sunrise from the yoga shala located at the top level of the property. I am definitely not a morning person, but this experience made me get up early everyday!
The asana classes in were mostly led by a lovely Indian woman called Daya, and sometimes a really cool guy called Om (yes, that's his name!). They're both really sweet people; always helpful and with a lot of experience. My previous yoga experience was limited to attending some yoga classes back home, but here I realised what I had been missing out on... The yoga philosophy classes were very helpful&interesting, and the teachers made it all so simple and understandable. And at Swan I felt like teaching is not just happening in the classes but basically anywhere… Like over dinner, at the juice bar or the “fake beach”, there could be a spontaneous discussion about some really deep spiritual topic. So cool.
I really loved how they are all deeply rooted in tradition and yet free spirits embracing all the joys of life guilt free…
And I have to mention one other thing I will never forget: the fire ceremonies they had every saturday and sunday evening were really something magical! This was one of the reasons I chose Swan, because I think they would be the only retreat offering something of this kind in Goa. I later realised that they're free for everyone who wants to join, so people came from other yoga retreats as well (like Purple Valley, which is just down the road). These ceremonies are really worth joining, they were so special my mind was totally calm after the chanting of the mantras, and I experienced a sense of deep relaxation within.
Anyways, I could go on and on abut my experiences here at Swan yoga retreat, but to keep it short, I can only say… I felt really safe as a woman travelling on my own, the yoga was of excellent quality (probably the best I have experienced so far), the food was just amazing (a good balance of tastes and variety), and the juice bar was also great as you could just chill out there and have some fresh juices or coconut water whenever you want. The accomodation is also nice, I was on a decent budget and wanted to pamper myself so I opted for a deluxe hut which was really good value for money, the location was also really amazing as it was on the top level of the property, where I could look down at the whole retreat.
All in all, the atmosphere of the whole place is just great.

Thank you Swan for everything… I will be back!

  • Stayed: March 2015, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank bejamadrid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about SWAN Yoga Retreat

Address: 101 / 4 Bairo Alto, Assagao, Bardez 403507, India
Phone Number:
Region: India > Goa > North Goa District > Bardez > Assagao
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Assagao
Price Range: ₹ 1,000 - ₹ 3,500 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Namaste !!! SWAN Yoga Retreat is Founded, Run and Managed by highly experienced Sanyasins trained at World Renowned "Bihar School of Yoga", SVYASA & Sivananda Ashram. The idea behind SWAN is to create awareness about "Yoga beyond Asana" & to share the wisdom of Yoga as it is and in totality. Residential 1/2/3 week Yoga Holiday and Yoga Intensive is offered at SWAN besides many more Yoga and Ayurveda related retreats during October-May, each season. We offer three different type of eco-friendly cottages with private bathroom & sit-out area. Ayurveda at SWAN offers traditional and authentic Ayurvedic treatments, therapies, massages and Panchkarma treatment. We also offer consultation with an Ayurvedic Doctor. Please visit our website for detailed latest offers, retreat and packages. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
SWAN Yoga Retreat Assagao, Goa

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