The Western world can often morph yoga into a trendy, health accessory that bypasses ancient teachings, philosophical knowledge and important lessons. I have experienced classes solely based on the body or building your ‘six pack’ without any breath work, meditation or juicy insights. As I am sure you can tell I LOVE the asana side of yoga, it’s exhilarating and so important, yet it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Yoga isn’t just the movements you make on the mat, it is the way you interact with others, the way you deal with life’s ups and downs, it’s how you wash the dishes, it’s how you eat your food and the way you think about yourself.
It is exactly these principles that Swami’s Yoga retreat is built upon.
Swami’s yoga retreat isn’t fancy, it isn’t pretentious, nor does it try to be trendy. This sacred space is as authentic and real as they come. From the moment you walk under the wooden arch and meet the manager Sanjay (Swami’s son), your ego hits the floor running and you become YOU. No one is looking at the brand of your yoga pants, or cares if you can do handstands, the people here are only interested in healing, loving and learning.
‘We are not a business, we are a community.’
Says Sanjay as we discuss a new yoga program. My heart melted at this kind soul sat in front of me. His focus is solely helping the community, creating happiness and sharing the gift of yoga. I was in the presence of someone who lives and breathes the meaning of this ancient practice and I felt very lucky indeed.
Swami’s Yoga Retreat was built in the 70’s under the watchful eye of Swami herself. The retreat has certainly stood the test of time and continues to thrive and flourish. Swami was once a very influential yoga figure and she played a vital part in brining yoga to the West. Faithful students continue to return to this beautiful space and many guests told me they remember watching Swami’s yoga program on the TV when they were young. Meeting Swami was an honour and although she is very old and in retirement, this incredible women can still drop an inspirational insight over a cuppa tea any day!
“If people want what you have, tell them to take it…you don’t need anything to be happy.”
A typical day for guests includes a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner. If your lucky enough Aunty will make some authentic chai masala tea before bedtime, however if you don’t get to experience this goodness check out Aunty’s recipe here. Daily activities involve peaceful morning walks, Qi Gong, yoga, meditation, drumming circles, arts and crafts and much more. Sanjay often holds the evening meditation and I can personally testify they are so moving and beautiful. His soft, caring voice and knowable teachings left me oh so inspired. In your free time jump in the spa with a juicy book, swim a few laps in the pool or warm up in the steam room. But most importantly use your time at this delicious retreat to wind down and bliss out.
Thank you to all the incredible people at Swami’s Yoga Retreat for making our time there truly magical.