Feb
26

My Experience at Yoga Vimoksha Retreat in Goa

By

Yoga Vimoksha Retreat, Goa.

(To read part 1/2, please go here.)

First Impression When I Arrived at the Yoga Retreat:

Pickup is included in the Yoga Retreat program so I was picked up in Margao, Goa, and the car ride was about an hour long.

As I arrived Yoga Vimoksha Retreat I was struck by how large the property was so my first impression was “Wow, this is really big, nice place!” as I walked towards the reception and saw the area was surrounded by nature and plenty of small houses and tents everywhere.

I didn’t get a retreat vibe though, more of a resort vibe and that was confirmed later on when I met some people who were staying here.

Not many were here for the Yoga (only 11 people and me) but for a holiday stay at the Dudshagar Spa Resort which the Yoga Retreat is sharing the space and area with.

So my first impression confused me little bit because you can’t tell the difference between what is what; is this a retreat or resort, a holiday place, .. what?

And what is the “Farm House” and how is that connected to Yoga Vimokhsa..?

I later asked for clarification and got it but I’m still not 100% sure I got it right.

As I understood it, the Sanda Hotels chain owns the property, and under them is both Dudshagar Spa Resort and Yoga Vimokhsa (two different businesses).

They share the space so to speak and only an open fence separates which part belongs to whom, but unless you know this you won’t be able to tell where each business/company works and operates because they all work in the same place, share reception and so on.

Under Yoga Vimokhsa is the Farm House and also the Beach House (located in Colva, Goa); the Farm House is located in the forest and the Beach House is at the beach (about 50 km. away).

They both offer Yoga but they also arrange wedding parties, birthday parties and other parties, so the area at the Vimokhsa Farm House and Dudshagar Resort is functioning as both a retreat and a resort at the same time.

I personally found this a bit strange since they are basically two opposite things (in my mind) and I got my feeling confirmed that first night when there was really loud music playing until at least 1 am and it was really difficult to sleep even with earplugs on.

So my thought was that this is not a retreat place, it’s more of a resort place, and that’s perfectly fine, but for people who are looking for a serene and peaceful ‘retreat’ type of place this might be disappointing to them.

There’s a lot of children running around here at times, families, and other people spending their holiday here. 

In my mind when I think of a Yoga Retreat I expect it to be a quiet retreat place, a “spiritual” place if you will, but I didn’t feel that vibe there.

I brought up the loud music situation with one of the Yoga teachers the morning after but he assured me that the partying only goes on in the weekends.

I believe it really depends on the Dudshagar Resort guests if the stay will be a quiet one or not since their guests seem to outnumber the Yoga Vimokhsa guests/participants.

Sometimes it might be nice and quiet and other times not. In the weekdays when I was there it was more quiet than in the weekend when I arrived. 

When I arrived at the Yoga Vimokhsa Retreat

I was taken to the reception, checked in and got a pink-colored welcome drink (herbal) and was then shown to my room which I right away noticed was nice and clean.

But after that I was pretty much left to my own.

It would have been nice to at least receive a leaflet with the retreat program but I had to seek the manager up myself and ask about it.

They didn’t have a leaflet or anything similar that I could bring with me but one of the Yoga teachers told me what times the Yoga classes etc are so I wrote them down myself. 

How my schedule looked:

7:00 – 9:00 Yoga class with meditation.

11:00 – 12:30 Yoga theory/philosophy class.

Lunch and free time. (I had my massage at 2 pm). 

16:00 – 17:30 Yoga class.

19:30 Dinner

Since I was the only one that was suppose to be at the Yoga Retreat I was put in the Yoga Teacher Training Course group and did everything with them; Yoga, philosophy classes, dinner etc.

The schedule for the Yoga Vimokhsa Retreat will not begin at 7 but at 7:30 am and obviously the Yoga classes that I did were more physically challenging since the group I was put in was only a few days from graduating.

According to the manager, Dr. Arun, the Yoga Vimokhsa Retreat schedule looks like this:

7:30 Herbal Infusion

8:00 – 9:30 Yoga session

9:45 Breakfast

12 -1 PM Theory session/posture correction class

1 PM Lunch

2:30 PM Spa treatment

4 PM Yoga session

5:30 PM Soup

7:00 Yogic Bhojan (Dinner)

7:30 Evening Talk

8:30 Meva Dugdha (Nut Milk)

What about the area?

There’s a restaurant at the property called “Wild Mushroom Restaurant” but we didn’t eat there since the food served at the Yoga Retreat is Satvik (Yoga food) and the food in the restaurant is normal food.

Overall (90%) of the food was delicious, I loved it, but some of the dishes were a bit too tasteless since I’m used to more spicy food, but it felt good for the body to eat really pure and clean food for a few days.

The restaurant and the SPA and the area where children can play, volleyball court etc, they are all open to the public so anyone can come here during the day.

There’s monkeys, ducks, and cats living in the area too and they were all friendly and oftentimes the ducks came outside my room to say hello and the monkeys weren’t aggressive as they were in for example Rishikesh.

(But still better not let them too close as with all monkeys here in India!). 

Treatments and My Room

Included in the Yoga Retreat is a daily massage and steam sauna and I had a female masseuse called Navanja and she was wonderful.

I had a different type of massage everyday (you can choose what you want); Swedish, Balinese, Sport, Deep Tissue and a few other types of massages as well and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. 

As I shared in my previous article about Yoga Vimokhsa Retreat my room was nice and clean but there were a few things that I should mention since this article is about my experience with them:

  • All the channels on the TV wasn’t working. I didn’t mention this to the staff since I wasn’t really interested in watching TV but maybe this is important to other guests.
  • The AC didn’t go lower than 18 degrees C. so it was sometimes really hot at night especially since there were no ventilation except from one small window in the room. I mentioned this to the manager and he told me that Indian AC’s never go below 18 degrees C. Not sure what to make of that since I definitely have felt cooler AC’s in India.
  • The water shower stream wasn’t very strong and half of the time there was only cold water. I forgot to ask about this as I took mostly cold showers anyways since it’s very hot in Goa at the moment.

On a positive not; a really great thing to mention is that there’s not much mosquitoes in the area, and the reception is very quick to respond to room service.

The few times I needed something they were at my door within minutes so I was very pleased with that. Same with the cleaning team, and the staff overall, they were all really friendly and helpful as well.

And the bed in my room was comfortable and clean so that’s a plus too. 

How About Internet?

The manager gave me a WiFi stick to use a couple of days before I was about to leave (after had asked for it every day) and it worked fine but not perfect (there were times it was really slow).

Others I spoke to in the area said that theirs are not working and that the Internet connection is pretty much nonexistent. But as I said, mine worked okay.

The Yoga Teachers at Vimokhsa Yoga

I met four of them (five in total) and they were Vinay, Naveen, Reejo and Joseph. The managers name is Dr. Arun but I’m not sure if he teaches Yoga. 

The Yoga teachers seemed very competent and knowledgeable about Yoga but I felt some of them were a bit ‘heady’, except for one; Naveen.

His heart is really into what he’s teaching and his classes were very enjoyable, I loved them and consider him being a great Yoga teacher.

All in all the Yoga teachers and instructors seemed very skilled and competent.

So, how about the Yoga Vimokhsa program, did I get what they advertise?

Let’s look at that: (***And please read my side-note further below). 

Luxury Accommodation.

The room was average and not luxurious.

Two Daily Yoga Lectures, Presentations, and Workshops.

One daily Yoga lecture/theory class, not two.

Daily Morning Yoga Practical Session followed by Guided Meditation.

Yes, we had this.

Daily Pranayama Session or Workshop.

We had breathing meditation techniques that we did together.

Daily Evening Posture Correction Session.

No, none of that happened, but the teacher corrected us in the classes.

Daily Holistic Treatments from Across the Globe.

Yes; one 40 minute massage and a 20 minute steam sauna session everyday.

Ayurvedic Consultation.

No, I didn’t get that.

Personalized Nutritionally Balanced Ayurvedic Vegetarian Meals according to your constitution.

No. We all ate the same food (Satvik), it wasn’t personalized.

Airport Pick up.

Yes, they picked me up in a nice AC car at the bus station in Margao, Goa.

Welcome drink.

Yes, I got that when I arrived.

Packed snack for departure journey.

They served breakfast and they also drove me back to Margao, Goa. I’m sure they would have given me a packed snack as well if I had needed it. 

Access to a library of books and DVD’s on Health and Wellness.

There is no library, only a shelf in a tent with about ten books on it (about Yoga).

Complementary Dry-Skin Weight Loss Body Brush.

No, didn’t get that and when I asked about it one of the teachers said that it is an error on the website.

Yoga Workbook.

I didn’t receive one until I asked for it a few minutes before I was about to leave the retreat.

***Side-note:

Unfortunately due to some miscommunication between the staff and the CEO all involved were not aware that I was there for the Yoga Retreat.

Some knew it and some others thought I was there to write about the Yoga Teacher Training Course.

All this misunderstanding was cleared up right before I was about to leave.

I had an one hour long talk with Dr. Arun in the car on our way to Margao where I asked him to he explain and share with me in broad strokes about the Yoga Vimokhsa Retreat, which he did.

I also received the Yoga workbook (80 pages) just before I was about to leave (because I asked for it) and mentioned that it’s part of the Yoga Retreat Program that I should receive one.

The misunderstanding of course caused my supposed Yoga retreat experience to not actually fulfill itself fully.

And this of course influences my articles as well but I must be honest and tell you about what I experienced and not what is promised and promoted/advertised on their website.

Yoga Vimokhsa Workbook.

Yoga Vimokhsa Workbook.

So let’s continue.

Lastly;

Signature Progress Monitoring – Before and After Assessments of:

pH Balance.
Body Composition Analysis (BMI, Body Fat, Subcutaneous Fat, Visceral Fat, Muscle Mass).
Biological Age Assessment.
Vital Total Body Measurements.
Vital Signs Assessment – Medical Check Up (Blood Pressure, Pulse Rate, Respiration Rate).

I didn’t do any of this. I asked about it on Day 2 but it wasn’t mentioned again nor offered (I went through the whole list of everything that I was suppose to receive with one of the Yoga instructors on Day 2).

But after I had the talk with Dr. Arun in the car he explained to me that this is the normal procedure at the Yoga Retreat, and also that the food served indeed is personalized to each client according to their individual needs.

I found Dr. Arun to be very professional and helpful in his approach towards me as a guest and the talk with had in the car would have been so great to have in the beginning on Day 1, it would have changed everything.

But that didn’t happen; sometimes life moves that way and we can only smile to our human mishaps and misunderstandings.

Hopefully this will be a valuable experience for the Vimokhsa Team in terms of improving their communication between each other as it was pointed out from an outside observer.

Sometimes we don’t see those things ourselves and I’m sure that the Vimokhsa team will take this experience to heart.

Final Words About my Experience at Yoga Vimokhsa

I both enjoyed and didn’t enjoy my stay at Yoga Vimokhsa Retreat.

The Yoga ‘experience’, especially the physical classes were very enjoyable even if my body was sore at times (as you can expect from any Yoga classes) and I might take some classes in the future because of the introduction I got to the practice.

From a personal perspective when it comes to learning it; if I would want to learn Yoga or go to a Yoga Retreat, I would choose one that is more spiritually attuned.

I would choose a place that is not shared with a holiday resort to ensure that I got the peace and quiet that I enjoy (=my personal preference) and I would also choose teachers that are more spiritually connected (or heart-centered).

This is of course my personal preference as some people don’t want that aspect at all, or at least not very much of it.

All in all, it was a great experience and I wish the staff, management, all the Yoga teacher students I met and all the people working there and any future guests at Yoga Vimokhsa Retreat all the happiness they can contain and share!

Staff and manager of Yoga Vimokhsha in Goa, India.

Yoga teachers, manager and staff at Yoga Vimokhsha in Goa, India. The men are (from the left): Dr. Arun (manager), Joseph (Yoga teacher and in the sales department) and Yoga teacher (soon to get his ph.D) Vinay. The woman in the picture works in the SPA department.

ॐ ॐ ॐ

Part 1/2 of this article series can be read here:

mariaerving.com/vimoksha-yoga-retreat-goa-india

Photos of Yoga Vimokhsa and the Dudshagar Resort:

>> Go Here.

And lastly, here’s some pics from our Yoga classes:

>> Go Here.

Spiritual Teacher Maria Erving

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