Conde Naste Traveller magazine Top 10 Yoga Retreats in India

Lauren’s Experience

This month we asked one of our guests to describe her experience at Bamboo Yoga Retreat. Yoga teacher, nurturing food lover, blogger and photographer, Lauren kindly agreed to tell us her Bamboo story. We also asked her to give us some advice and tips (as a pro-traveller) on how to make the most out of a yoga holiday experience.

Lauren India Adventure:

I love to travel – exploring new cities, spending time in nature, experiencing new sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Sometimes, however, when I get back home, I feel like I need a vacation to recover from my vacation. Travelling can be exhausting: the pre-planning, the stress of getting to and from my destination, getting over jet-lag (both while on holiday and upon return home), and trying to maximise my time in a new place by seeing everything it has to offer.

For my last trip, I decided to try and change this experience, so I asked myself, “how can I make this next holiday truly recharging and beneficial to my physical and mental health?” … to help me answer this, I, of course, turned to yoga. Yoga helps me stay grounded at home, so it was only natural for me to make my next holiday all about yoga: why not a yoga holiday ?

I decided to take a one month pilgrimage to the birthplace of yoga: exciting and exotic India. In order to get a good foundation for my journey, I started with one week of yoga retreat in South Goa, at Bamboo Yoga Retreat: relaxation, good food and rest.

My first step was to book flights. This part of the planning process couldn’t have been easier. There were loads of direct flights to Goa, and even more with a quick stop in Mumbai or Delhi.

Second step was a hotel transfer. I was apprehensive about getting into a strange taxi (especially with some of the stories I’d heard about the lack of safety on Indian roads, mostly due to crazy drivers), and I felt very relieved that Heidi (owner and manager) was able to arrange a safe and comfortable taxi ride from the airport to the retreat. I knew the holiday was off to a good start.

When the driver pulled up to the Patnem beach, a member of the Bamboo Yoga Retreat team met me and grabbed my heavy bags so I could enjoy the short walk from car to retreat (all along a beautiful beach with blue waves crashing and bright sun shining). Taking off my shoes and feeling the hot sand between my toes after a long flight grounded me and gave me a sense of bliss. I was greeted at the retreat by a lovely member of staff who cracked open a coconut. She showed me around the idyllic setting and I knew I was at home.

The retreat was beautiful – there were beautiful bamboo huts, two yoga shalas (one overlooking the ocean, which made sunset practices amazing, especially the evening that dolphins jumped through the water in front of a setting pink sun), and a great bar and chill-out area for reading, relaxing and meeting new friends. I unpacked and had a quick showers; it is so freeing and nurturing to see the sky whilst doing day-to-day tasks, like having a shower.

My week consisted of both powerful and relaxing yoga taught by wonderful teachers, grounding meditation sessions with experienced guides, and incredible massages by talented therapists. One of the highlights was a shiatsu massage which left me feeling open, at ease, nurtured, and full of bliss.

The whole experience left me feeling so recharged and nurtured that the next three weeks of Indian chaos – sights, smells, sounds and navigation of a foreign country – was easy to handle.

And, along the way, I learned a few things to make my next yoga trip as beneficial as the last:

  1. Minimise the number of activities you do each day. When travelling, it can be easy to jam your days full of stuff so that you don’t miss anything worth seeing. A yoga retreat or yoga holiday is about aligning your mind, body and soul… you need to let go with your daily “to do” or “to see” list.
  2. Pack light. Believe me you do not need that forth pair of shoes
  3. Enjoy new foods but limit over-indulgence. Definitely sample local delicacies and have a sinful drink, but limit the indulgence. Listen to your body.
  4. Drink lots of water or coconut water (if available). This helps keep you fresh and hydrated (especially in the heat), and flushes any toxins, leaving you feeling renewed and light.
  5. Take time for treats (like spa treatments). Holidays are a great time to indulge (especially when treatments are cheaper than back home), and taking the time for a restful day by the beach (including a massage or facial) can renew your outlook on life and leave you feeling nurtured and alive.

Keeping these simple tips in mind helped me to make the most of my yoga experience at Bamboo Yoga Retreat and while travelling afterwards. Instead of stressed and tired, I came home feeling rested, inspired and relaxed.

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