Although short (5 days), my stay at the Sivananda Yoga retreat has proven to be one of the best experiences I have had in the last 10 years. I enjoyed everything: the yoga classes twice a day, taught by experiences instructors, the meditation and chanting done early in the morning and in the evening, the food prepared with care by the staff, and the communal atmosphere reigning at the ashram. The staff is composed of those who are at the ashram on a more or less permanent basis and those who participate in the karma yoga program for a variable number of months; they are all great people, fully devoted to make life at the ashram for the guests an exquisite experience, on the mental, psychological and spiritual level.
Even if the day is quite structured, starting at 6AM and ending at 9:30/10PM, guests have some hours for themselves in the afternoon, during which they can enjoy the beautiful beach adjacent to the ashram. This is not your typical vacation at the Bahamas—for typical I mean getting up late, drinking, dancing, partying etc.—so do not go to the Sivananda Yoga retreat if you are looking for any of the things I mentioned above.
Being at the Sivananda Yoga retreat allowed me to find a physical and psychological equilibrium that I had tried to achieve for quite some time. It also provided me with insightful tools for keeping my equilibrium once immersed back in the hectic New York life, in the form of interesting informal conversations with staff members and other guests and of reflections offered by the permanent staff members at the end of each satsang. I sincerely look forward to going back to the Sivananda Yoga retreat soon, and I wholeheartedly suggest it to anyone who is interested in gaining physical, psychological and spiritual advantages from a full yoga experience.