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“Yogic holyday, we want more”
Review of SWAN Yoga Retreat

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SWAN Yoga Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
Oslo
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Yogic holyday, we want more”
Reviewed July 8, 2015

We loved this place! For us, my husband and I, it was the perfect introduction to yoga, not only the physical asanas part, but the real deal with meditation, the fire ceremonies and chanting, the yoga nidra, the yoga karma, the food, so much more than just the "workout". And located in quiet and charming Assagao. Away from the busy beaches, but close enough to go in the afternoons. We are planning another stay. Want more, and miss it already.

Stayed February 2015
Helpful?
Thank VibekeVagabond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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110 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
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English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2015

Swan in nestled in the jungle of Goa. The setting could not have been more beautiful with an abundance of tropical plants, flowers and fruit trees right outside your door! The birds were also magical and the chirping is a beautiful way to wake up in the morning or to listen to while you practice asana each day in the yoga shala located perfectly on the top of the hill.
The daily schedule was ideal and included daily meditation, 1-2 asana classes and yoga nidra. I took advantage of the onsite Ayurveda facilities and received excellent therapies from the young woman including massage and shirodarma treatments.
Gyanmitra was an excellent asana instructor, leader of yoga nidra and meditation. He is also co-founder and is very helpful in making sure your accommodation, food and serves are to your liking. The food was delicious and Gyan arranged a special diet for me because I have many food allergies and medical conditions. I am extremely grateful for this extra special attention as I it would not have been possible for me to stay as long as I did if I could not have the specific diet that was very healing.
While at Swan I participated in a 2 week workshop where I learned a great deal. Ganga's asana and meditation classes were perfect to balance with Atma's lecture and yoga nidra sessions. But the best part was the morning chanting and fire ceremony each day at 6. I found the chanting and fire a crucial part of the healing process for me.
I miss being at Swan and hope to return some day to hear the birds and chant daily. The people are great.

  • Stayed February 2015, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank EAB814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pune, India
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 25, 2015

Heard about this place through a friend, decided to go there on my first anniversary and let me tell you one thing every plave in there every thing in there, every flower, every tree, every person, every real thing was just like a dream come true, beautifully placed forest of livinghood which will make you realise why our ancestors were so happy and energetic. Its a gega factory of recreation and rejuvenation, i had myself recharged for 12 months. The havan in there is to die for, i really touched the doors of heaven when i was in there, did not feel like leaving that place. GOD BLESS THE GUYS WHO MADE IT !!

  • Stayed February 2015, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank shiventapadiya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Morgantown, West Virginia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 24, 2015

Swan is an absolutely wonderful place. I went to Swan needing rejuvenated and I got that along with so much more. The staff is kind and generous, the classes are incredible, the food is spectacular and the campus is beautiful.

This was my first time to India and I didn't know what to expect. After my experience at Swan, I will now be returning to Goa almost certainly and hope to make Swan Yoga Retreat a part of my tradition.

Thank you to the staff at Swan for all you do! Hope to see you again soon!

  • Stayed May 2015, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alexandra F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gurugram (Gurgaon), India
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 23, 2015

i just wish to say that the experience i had during my brief stay at Swan was simply amazing. The moment i entered the gates of Swan, i was welcomed by the lush green and peaceful atmosphere and by a very open and welcoming set-up.

The cottage i stayed in was spacious, clean and had a nice little sit-out area with greenery around.

The day at Swan starts quite early and the morning meditation charge you for the yoga sessions later during the day.I had the opportunity to participate in the evening Havan or Fire-cremonry and that was mind-blowing. Even, being an Indian, i could feel that how the city and corporate life is taking us away from our rich heritage and spiritual culture.

The food at Swan is a must to be mentioned here and i had difficulty stopping myself from over-eating the delicious meals served there.

The overall experience at Swan was like back to reality, back to truth and it showed how to lead a simple but healthy and spiritual life.
I am surely going to come back for longer duration.

Thank you Swan!
Will come again !!!

  • Stayed May 2015, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank gpathak001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed May 22, 2015

I stumbled across Swan Yoga Retreat online, when looking for a place to spend a couple of weeks doing asana, relaxing and learning more about yoga.
And I am so happy I did! This is the most amazing place, hidden in the jungle of the beautiful village of Assagao. For me it was the perfect setting to just chill, and the environment is actually so relaxing that I kept falling asleep everywhere for the first couple of days:)
I could make a long list of the things that made my stay at Swan so great, but to sum it up:

-The yoga classes. I've been to quite a few yoga retreats, and I have to say that the classes here are one of the best I've been to. There was one class in the morning, taught by Daya, and one in the afternoon which was usually taught by Om. I really liked both of them, different styles and different levels of challenge. Daya is gentle but still really makes you work, and Om has so much knowledge about every aspect of yoga. Also outside of class, I could listen to him talking for hours!
-The food! The chef, Mukesh, made the most amazing vegetarian dishes. I usually eat quite a lot of meat, but I didn't miss it for a second! I also felt a lot better on this diet than I usually do (more energy, not hungry between meals). I liked that the food was mainly Indian. They also offer a cooking class, which I didn't join, but the people who did seemed very happy about it. (Now I'm regretting it because I already miss the food!!)
-The staff. Everybody is so friendly, and they all have a lot of knowledge about the different parts of yoga. They also have a great sense of humour, and don't seem to take themselves too seriously.
-The fire ceremony. Every saturday and sunday there was a fire ceremony (called hawan), where we sat around the fire in the temple and chanted mantras. This was such a new and amazing experience for me, and I almost recommend coming to Swan just to be part of this:)
-The other people staying there. I was travelling by myself, and I met so many great people from all over the world.

I feel so lucky for having discovered this place, and I will definitely come back if I get the oportunity.

  • Stayed March 2015, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank YoginiNi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed May 17, 2015

Yoga retreats are my favorite kind of holiday. Having been to several yoga retreats in the past (in Europe and North America), my expectations were that I would be in a positive, nurturing and supportive environment where I could deepen my asana practice as well as (this being India) learn about yoga philosophy. I decided to book a week at Swan based on their flashy website and the positive reviews I had read on Tripadvisor. However, my experience did not match up.

From the start, I found the environment at Swan to be dull and dead and the attitude of the owner to be negative and contemptuous towards his western clients. He claims that Swan offers a glimpse into the "yogic way of life", yet every sincere inquiry about yoga philosophy was answered in a weirdly reactive, preachy, ax-grinding, and almost angry manner. All we kept hearing repeatedly was that yoga is not about asanas and the west has totally misappropriated yoga.

So, of course, in keeping with the owner's hostility towards asana-focused western yoga, the asana classes were a serious letdown. Every single participant complained about the poor quality. Some were even in tears of frustration and boredom. The instructor who taught our classes had no prior experience of teaching, and none of the teachers advertised on their website were even present. As a side note, the yoga mats were old, badly frayed and filthy (and they were never cleaned once during our stay). Further, the meditation and yoga nidra classes were only marginally better - the instructions were either too loud or delivered in a way that was hard to understand. Not a relaxing or grounding environment.

As this was a holiday for me, I came here with the plan to indulge in a few traditional Ayurvedic massage treatments. However, upon arrival I learnt that the spa was closed, there were no ayurvedic practitioners on site, and therefore no possibility of any onsite massages or any of the advertised treatments. The spa had apparently been closed for months.The website, of course, makes no mention of this important detail.

The food was basic and repetitive, heavy on the cheap stuff like "chappatis" (Indian unleavened breads), plain white rice, potatoes, watery lentil soups and unimaginative, unappetizing salads. This would be totally fine at an ashram, but not at a retreat that charges $100 a night (in India!). Having been to yoga retreats in the past, I've come to expect fantastic, creative, inspired healthy food that varies from meal to meal. In fact, in my experience, being blissed out on delicious food is a big part of a memorable yoga holiday. Swan's attempts at serving the occasional western meal were also disappointing (think overcooked spaghetti with tomato sauce and limp green peppers). It was also common for them to run out of food. No desserts were ever offered, of course. Indian cuisine (one of my favs) contains a dizzying array of choices just in the styles of breads and rice dishes alone, but Swan, to their discredit, chose to serve the same old plain dry chappatis and plain rice in every meal.

Overall, I observed that corners were cut in every area of operation (food, staff, yoga teachers) and an attitude of "what's the least we can offer these western asana-loving idiots and get their dollars?" seemed to prevail. Various friends of the owners seemed to constantly float around chatting amongst each other. It was hard to know who is part of the staff and who is just a friend. There seems nobody in charge, nobody designated to guide us through the day's activities, or to even show us around the property on our first day. The activity schedule always had a number of errors which regularly caused much confusion. Nobody seemed interested in being involved in actually organizing and leading the retreat. The guests seemed to be an afterthought, and customer service was non-existent. In a nutshell, neither did I feel welcomed upon arrival, nor inspired when I left. I came away feeling that this is essentially a mercenary endeavor primarily interested in cashing in on the popularity of yoga holidays in the west.

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
20 Thank CocoLoco199
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about SWAN Yoga Retreat

Property: SWAN Yoga Retreat
Address: 101 / 4 Bairo Alto, Assagao, Bardez 403507, India
Phone Number:
Location: India > Goa > North Goa District > Bardez > Assagao
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Assagao
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Namaste !!! SWAN Yoga Retreat is Founded, Run and Managed by highly experienced Sanyasins trained at World Renowned "Bihar School of Yoga", SVYASA & Sivananda Ashram. The idea behind SWAN is to create awareness about "Yoga beyond Asana" & to share the wisdom of Yoga; as it is and in totality. Residential 1/2/3 week Yoga Holiday is offered at SWAN besides many more Yoga and Ayurveda related retreats during October-May, each season. We offer three different type of eco-friendly cottages with private bathroom & sit-out area. Ayurveda at SWAN offers traditional and authentic Ayurvedic treatments, therapies, massages and Panchkarma treatment. We also offer consultation with an Ayurvedic Doctor. Please visit our website for detailed latest offers, retreat and packages. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
SWAN Yoga Retreat Assagao, Goa

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