It is early morning. The breeze, a refreshing susurration. It fills your lungs with restorative sea air. The sun is playing moonshine on the waves. And on a deck raised above the sand, to the tune of Sanskrit chants to the Sun God, a group of us perform the sun salute - looking towards the orb and in full view of the Arabian Sea. A scene can scarcely be more perfect.
Our daily yoga sessions at the Beach House Sanda Retreat Goa was an experience that has left an indelible impression.
During my week at the Retreat, every morning's yoga session was a serenade of the sea - in the climb of the water and the retreat of the waves and in the calming sound of its 'rush'. Practicing yoga with such a foreground, was a soul nurturing experience.
Located in South Goa, the Beach House stands on the shores of Sernabatim Beach. It is a luxury Ayurveda Retreat Centre. Combining the traditional ethos of Ayurveda - the ancient Indian science of well being, together with contemporary sophistication and comfort, it promises rejuvenation. I was there for a week long Ayurvedic Detox Retreat.
The retreat offers expert Ayurvedic consultation and guidance to help you achieve optimal wellness. Remedies are prescribed according to your body type. According to the science of Ayurveda, we are composed of a combination of 3 types or doshas - kapha, vatta and pitta representing the symbols and traits of earth, air, fire, water and ether respectively. Achieving a balance between the 3 doshas leads to well being. An imbalance is the root cause of 'dis-ease'. 'Ease' is restored using yoga, meditation, food, supplements, juices and ayurvedic massages and treatments using oils, herbs and spices.
My stay at Beach House Sanda Retreat Goa began with a comprehensive consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor and nutritionist. She was extremely personable and nurturing. At the outset, a measure was taken of my Body Composition Analysis (BMI, Body Fat, Subcutaneous Fat, Visceral Fat, Muscle Mass), with my Vital Total Body Measurements, Vital Signs Assessment along with a medical checkup (blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate).
My consultation also came replete with a pH Balance Analysis (increased alkalinity is directly proportional to better health). The ‘corrective’ aim of Sanda is for guests to shift to being more alkaline in their ph balance test by the end of their stay.
After an in-depth chat she diagnosed my body type posited on the 3 doshas. She then used her diagnosis to devise my diet chart so my food, supplements and juices each day would work to calm my most dominant dosha and accelerate my weakest.
The food was strictly and sumptuously vegetarian with a high protein content. Mornings would begin by drinking a combination of lemon juice and warm water for its ‘detox effect’. Breakfast was post yoga and comprised of different delights each day. Being simultaneously nutritious and delicious, they were among the best breakfasts I’ve had. My favourite was a homemade protein packed version of granola teased into yogurt and then garnished with a honeycomb biscuit (made on site) in a pretty glass. It wore the alluring look of an ice cream sundae. Superfood shots, including wheatgrass and aloe vera along with vitamin supplements – as prescribed by the doctor, were added to my food chart mainly during breakfast.
Lunch was usually a protein salad of sprouts, lentils and fruits like pomegranate downed with fresh coconut water from adjacent coconut trees. Dinner was mostly hot food from beautifully warming vegetable soups to innovative high protein dishes like stuffed cabbage cakes – a dish that was loved by all guests there, without exception. For bedtime, I was prescribed a small glass of freshly made nut milk.
Workshops on nutrition and myriad other aspects of health and well being formed the post dinner activity of each day. Daytime activities included a second session of yoga in the evening, meditation, private consultations with an NLP expert/hypnotherapist, one to one coaching on food types (which I found very informative) and cooking demonstrations. We got to choose the dishes we wanted to learn to cook and our first unanimous choice was the ‘çabbage cakes’.
Together with yoga on the beach, for me, the most extraordinary and exceptional aspect of the Retreat was the inclusion of 2 Ayurvedic body massages everyday. Strong yet nimble masseuses used traditional massage forms such as Abhyanga, Udwartanam, and Shirodhara among others that are proven to help with conditions ranging from poor circulation and memory loss to reducing cellulite and helping with weight loss. Most of all, the treatments were carried out in ecological huts – beautiful enclaves guarded by cloth perimeters (no concrete anywhere) and topped with straw roofs so the music of the sea comes in – relentlessly.
Almost the entire property carried the sound of the ocean – and that’s what I carried most back with me. It is the nurture of the sea that is welcomed into, and defines, the Beach House.
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Written byDr Priya Virmani
Dr. Priya Virmani is a Political and Economic Analyst and an International Speaker based in London. She is the Foundress and Director of Paint Our World - a humanitarian project that works to heal underprivileged children who have endured trauma. Together with her passion for her work, she derives her nurture from being in nature, horse-riding, writing, painting, classical music and travelling. Travel, in her words, is 'the best medicine and the best teacher'. She loves travelling to explores the souls of places