I spent 10 days at the Ashram in May, and had an absolutely wonderful stay. I think this is most relaxed and centered I have ever returned from a vacation.
The yoga classes are excellent. They are not as physically-challenging as the vinyasa classes I am used to at home, which is perfect because it meant I could attend 4 hours of yoga per day without too much trouble. The classes include a lot of meditation and breathing work, and focus on holding poses in order to achieve the maximum benefit from each pose. It was a bit too warm to use the beach platform (which is not shaded) during my stay, which was not a big deal because there are two beautiful platforms on the other side of the island (it's a very skinny island) facing the "bay" and Nassau. It doesn't get much better than practicing yoga with a steady ocean breeze.
I ended up liking the Satsangs (meditation, chanting, lecture/music/dance) more than I was expecting to. It is a very nice way to start the morning, and great practice at staying focused during a long (usually 25 minute) meditation. In many ways, the Satsangs were a cultural experience - it was interesting to gain exposure to additional components of the yoga tradition. The afternoon workshops were a nice complement to the Satsangs, as they provided an opportunity to learn more about these traditions.
I stayed in a tent hut (clean, relatively private, great to have a fan and bed frame). The communal bathrooms were generally very clean, and others on the tent platform were quiet and respectful. The food (all vegetarian) was excellent.
I am going to end with a quick reminder - I had a wonderful (5 star) trip, but this is not your typical vacation. The day is relatively regimented (although you have a bit more flexibility as a yoga vacationer), and most people come to have quiet, reflective, spiritual time. I do a lot of camping and traveling, so did not actually find the ashram to be too rustic (the showers have hot water, etc.), but keep in mind that the amenities are rather simple. If you are looking for a vacation that will help you take a step back, relax, and meet others with similar goals, this a perfect vacation for you!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Yoga Retreat is a spiritual center & retreat place offering courses and workshops and yoga vacation. The daily schedule includes two yoga classes, two Satsangs (meditation sessions) and two vegetarian meals. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Hotel Paradise Island
- Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas/Paradise Island