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“Yoga retreat experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat

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Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
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Paradise Island | PO Box N7550, 4777, New Providence Island   |  
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Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Paradise Island
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Yoga retreat experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

The yoga retreat experience at Sivananda Ashram is nothing less than life transforming. I arrived with expectations of a 'vacation' but the retreat is predominantly an education in the meaning of living in the yoga tradition. It is restful, healthy, enlivening and inspiring. A large part of the deep understanding I took home from this retreat was due to the course I took. It was called Beginner's Yoga Course. The title is misleading and I hope they change it. The course was an exploration of all of the branches of yoga: meditation, diet, asanas, daily practices, relaxation, spiritual practices, history of Sivananda, and bit of Ayurvedic understanding. Sivakami, our incredible teacher, guided the 9 of us in the group through a clear and thorough exploration of yoga. Our asana classes were enlightening. After 6 years of a weekly practice of yoga I thought I knew a great deal. I am astonished by how much more I have learned under Sivakami's guidance. I recommend the course very very highly.

The ashram is an ashram first and foremost. It is a place to relax and rejuvenate as a outgrowth of the yogic lifestyle. It is not designed to pamper you. It is designed to allow you to experience the life of a yogi. You awaken at 5:30 and meditate at 6am. This is followed by chanting, and a spiritual leader's lecture. Directly after the lecture is the first Asana class. The classes are held near the water, either the ocean or the bay. The classes and the settings are heavenly. The first meal of the day is at 10am, a vegetarian buffet. The food is ample and fresh and delicious. The setting is rustic: picnic tables under an awning or tables out in the palm trees. Lectures and workshops follow lunch. Generally there is free time between 2 and 4. At four the second asana classes begin. 6pm is dinner and 8pm is meditation, chanting, and an evening lecture. Lights are out at 10.

The rigorous schedule is part of the deeply satisfying experience. The pace of the day is reasonable and slow. The meditation and chanting are consistent reminders that sitting still is part of rejuvenation.

I highly recommend the Sivananda Ashram as a destination for any one who wants to engage in a deep Yoga experience. I strongly recommend enrolling in a course so that you are guided through the experience with a teacher dedicated to your learning process. I believe that if I had not taken the Beginner's Yoga Course, I would not have appreciated the ashram in the way that I do. I fully intend to return repeatedly.

Room Tip: There are many different kinds of rooms from beach side luxury rooms to dorm rooms. Call the ashram...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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411 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (141)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013 via mobile

The ashram is the most amazing place to practice yoga, whether you're beginning, intermediate or advanced. It has something for everyone! It's hard not to really feel like a part of life at the ashram. Adjusting to life there can be challenging, but is absolutely worth it! It's a very hard place to leave.

Unforgettable!!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Medford, Massachusetts
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

My stay at Sivananda Ashram.
I was there for a "Yoga Vacation" for 4 nights.
If I was to go back I would change the following things:
1. I would not share a room with a stranger. The woman I roomed with was staying there for 3 weeks and it felt like I was staying in her room. There was only one small window that opened to an outside hallway. My roomie was very afraid of being cold and therefore only cracked the window and didn't want the fan on. It would get really stuffy and smelly. Also, I've realized that I like my solitude. So, I would either pay the extra money for a single room (apparently they go quick and you have to book far in advance) or I would book a Tent Hut, or bring a tent.
2. I would go for some type of workshop. I apparently yearned for something that was not part of the regular Yoga Vacation. I can't put my finger on it, but something to work on my emotional well being. I'm still in a period of grieving the loss of someone close to me, and I was emotional. There wasn't any place to really talk about your feelings, unless you connected with someone over a meal.

I thought the meals were awesome. I'm a Vegan, and although there was not a morsel of vegan chocolate to be found anywhere, I ate very well. I brought some cookies from home, that helped.

Although they expect you to attend Yoga twice a day and Satsangs (meditation and chanting) twice per day, I found that attending about 1/2 that worked better for me.

The Yoga: I attended only beginners classes. All the instructors seemed knowledgable, however I found it to be repetitive. I know that some people find comfort in the consistency, however, I found it a bit frustrating. It wasn't my favorite Asanas that were being repeated.
There was a particular instructor that appeared to be a "big wig" within the Sivananda Community who's style I did not appreciate, at all. He verbally instructed the class, however, he had an assistant who would get into the poses to demonstrate for us. There was nothing gentle or helpful about his approach. Given my emotional state i was too sensitive for his type of boot camp style instructions. The one thing he did demonstrate was going from a seated position to standing, in one move with his arms stretched in front of him, and he instructed us to do it without telling us how. He insisted that we do balancing poses with our eyes closed, which I tried, and fell. So, I kept my eyes open and he kept telling us over and over to shut our eyes. I left at that point.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chapel Hill
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

The Workshop offered recently with Dr Raymond Moody on Grief and Life after Life prompted me to visit this Ashram. I am a long time yoga and Qigong practitioner and Taoist in belief, and did not know about Sivananda yoga or the Ashram. I was pleasantly surprised at how much i enjoyed the yoga flow (pretty much the same every time, but teachers add a bit of differences), the meditation with chanting and satsang. Even though the chants included "hari krishna", it all added to the experience of a life of ritual and devotion and discipline.
The food was amazing - all vegan, home baked bread hot out of the oven and fresh made peanut butter - and abundant! Eating twice a day was not an issue since the fulfillment of spiritual nourishment made up the difference in the normal 3 meals a day.
I stayed in the OM huts in the garden and it was clean, basic, comfortable and it was all that was needed.
There were people from all over the world, each with their own story of why they were there. Some wanted to share and others did not, all were respected in their journeys. How wonderful to be around people who were there for various reasons, but all together in the need for spiritual growth.
The beach was beautiful with white sand and turquoise water and snorkeling right off the surf. The water was a bit chilly for me but many were enjoying it.
I will be back.

Room Tip: The tent huts are crammed together.Bringing your own tent would be better or Choose a garden hut or...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

Great stuff, healthy food and healthy spirit, on a the beach
can't be more peaceful and tranquil. people like you from all over the world - a dream!
Make sure you come in good shape, they are going to kick ....
What else can you ask for?

Room Tip: Book the rooms by the beach!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blacksburg, Virginia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

Don't even consider the tent huts. I have stayed at lovely ones in other places that were on their own floors with separation between the permanently installed tents for the same price or less. The pics on their web site don't show the rabbit warren nature of the accommodations - it's a long, two-floor building with 12 thin dome tens on each floor, so when anyone walks down the center aisle the whole place shakes. No acoustic privacy. In addition, right over the fence - maybe 30 feet away - is the sewage treatment tank, etc. for the huge Atlantis resort 1/4 mile down the beach and it makes noise like a generator 24/7. No ocean breeze, no sound of waves, and an undercurrent of sewage smell. And speaking of smell - bathrooms were inadequate and apparently needed to be cleaned more than once a day with the demands on them.

I was able to move to a double room on the beach which was much better - after all I came to the Bahamas for the environment as well as the yoga or I could have gone more easily to Satchidananda ashram closer to home. Some of the office staff were kind and helpful, others should not be serving the public. I assume they are doing karma yoga work and are not paid and it must not sit well with some of them.


Because some "enlightened" guy (Sivananda) gave a yoga form way back does not mean it is particularly good in light of longer experience, anatomical, physiological, and kinesthetic understanding over the years - there are many forms in which the sequencing builds on earlier poses and which make much better sense than the Sivananda flow. I was disappointed in the classes, which are mandatory twice a day, along with 2 two-hour satsang/meditation sessions daily. With a continuing education class to attend, I beg to differ with the reviewer who mentioned time to lounge around on the beach.

My continuing education hours were high priced and were bodywork oriented. The presenters had offered it before at the ashram and requested the ashram make provisions for massage tables, but instead we did the bodywork on picnic tables that did not sit level and which were outdoors - had it rained I'm not sure what we would have done. It seemed the facilities were over-booked as we had to change locations for class due to conflicts. And it seems the ashram will take everyone who will pay for tent space - I met people who kept having to move their tents due to over-crowding and conflicts over space.

The vegetarian food was good, but if eggs are not included as a source of protein, yogurt shouldn't run out before many folks can get some in the mornings, and more nut and cheese options need to be available.

Room Tip: Choose beach front accommodations
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Princeton, New Jersey
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

The Teacher Training Course (TTC) was one of the more vigorous, tiring, and gratifying experiences of my life. I learned more about myself in this one month than in my many years of schooling, and was able to reconnect with my spirituality in a way I didn't even realize was necessary. I was becoming a typical overly-driven, cynical student and this experience truly opened me back up again not just to the people around me but it also allowed me to truly remember what it means to love myself.
This course is definitely not easy and not a leisurely month-long vacation, but it gave me much more than a vacation ever could. I think everyone could use more of this kind of experience in his or her life. The most important advice I can give for gaining the most benefit is to keep an open mind, then the possibilities are endless. I saw true and amazing change in myself and the people in my course over the month, and would highly recommend this for anyone looking for something more, whatever that may be.
I also recommend staying for at least a few days after the course ends on vacation at the Ashram. It allows everything that you have gained to truly sink in and you can appreciate more completely what you have learned and experienced. You'll leaving shining on the inside and out.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat

Address: Paradise Island | PO Box N7550, 4777, New Providence Island
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > New Providence Island > Paradise Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Paradise Island
#1 Best Value Hotel in Paradise Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 60
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

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