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.
- 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