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“Take the Beginners Yoga Class!”

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Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Paradise Island
Certificate of Excellence
Portola, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Take the Beginners Yoga Class!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2013

I attended the 6-day Beginning Yoga class from Feb 25-Mar 2, 2013, led by Sivakami. There were 9 of us in the class. Having practiced asanas for about 8 months I wasn't sure I needed a beginning class but was I ever wrong! We covered the many aspects of a yogic life as well as having a 2-hour asana class each day. Being in a small group made the whole yoga retreat experience that much richer. Sivakami was a kind, non-judgemental teacher who made this rigorous program fun. Even if you are well into your practice, it is worth doing this class. Come with an open mind and a willing heart and you will have an amazing experience; maybe even transformative as happened to several people in our class! Om Shanti.

Room Tip: We stayed in Yamanu 2, on the beach. WOW.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Susan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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662 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (218)
Date | Rating
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English first
Tuusula, Finland
Level Contributor
63 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2013

We had our company trip to Atlantis resort and were looking for a place where we can relax and do yoga. We checked many reviews here and decided to stay here 8 nights as yoga holiday guests before Atlantis. We had no experience about ashrams but have been scout as a kid :) This is ashram where you have to respect their way of living. This is not for everyone but if you want to have restful holiday and you are openminded, this can be for you. The place is in the middle of nature and has very nice beach. We enjoyed yoga and the food was good. Rooms were clean and there is free wi-fi even the line is not very fast. We stayed 5 nights at Garden bungalow and 3 nights at Beach Front suite. We also liked this yoga style a lot even we have been doing ashtanga, bikram, flow and yin. There is people from all over the world and for us this was different but very nice experience. If you are looking for ordinary hotel or bungalow vacation. This is not for you.

Room Tip: Book the Beach Front suite if possible.
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Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank KatiGa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wildwood, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2013

I really wanted to like this place. I read all of the reviews here and thought that the negative ones must have been from travelers with high standards. Ha! Was I wrong!

Where to begin? Well I recently returned from a 4 night stay. I would have left earlier but since I didn't want to spend the money to change my flight and there are no refunds at the ashram I decided to stay. Upon checking in I found my "room" disgustingly dirty. Now mind you I checked in at 3pm. So I went to housekeeping and asked if they could change my sheets, remove the fruit that was in a bowl ( with small little bugs on it) and sweep up the bugs and dirt in the floor. My room was about 4 ft by 6 ft. I would love if they would post a picture of this room. It's NOTHING like the rooms on their website. I really don't mind small but dirty is another story. The following day I mistakenly left my towel in the bathroom and needed another one. Housekeeping was right next to my room so I went and asked. I was told that no towels could be given out except for between 1 - 2 pm. Ok. However, I was not around between that time. Hmm, what to do? So I waited until later that afternoon and tried again. Still no luck. So I went to reception and explained the situation and I was told there must be a misunderstanding. A gentleman went back with me to housekeeping and asked the girl for a towel for me. Success!

The day I was leaving I was taking a shower and slowly the water pressure got less and less until suddenly the water stopped completely. I was covered in soap and had conditioner in my hair. Ugh. So I wiped the soap off as best I could went back to my room put on my bathing suit and went up to the beach area where there is an outside shower for rinsing sand off. I started rinsing the conditioner out of my hair when the water again stopped. On the way back to my room I stopped by reception to alert them to the fact that there was no water. I laugh every time I think of this. The girl at the desk simply said "thank you for letting us know". This was the first and only "thank you" or any kind words during my entire stay. It winds up the entire place did not have any water at all. I would say it probably only lasted an hour or so. Just my luck during my shower.

Anyway, having stated all of the above the absolute worst part of my stay is the creepiness factor. There is a vibe there which is very difficult to explain. There seems to be more workers doing their karmic work than there are true visitors. They never look you in the eye and provide one word answers to any requests. All are very disconnected and cult like.

I took a shower when I got home to clean off my body but its going to take awhile to get rid of the creeps.

If you're going for yoga don't bother. It's more like stretching. It's only 2 hours because there is so much savasana in between.

Seriously, a waste of my money and precious vacation time. I thought yogis were kind and gentle souls? Apparently not at this ashram.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank Ddolan97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shankar B, Manager at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, responded to this review, April 12, 2013
Firs of all I want to apologize for the room dirtiness and for the towel episod. This should not happen here or anywhere else. I'd like to think that such things won't happen again. We've recently replaced the housekeeping management in the ashram, and the present head of the department has been a high profile manager at the hotel industry for many years. I believe that the level of service in the ashram is increasing by the day.
As for the water episod.... What exactly are you expecting? A main water pipe brock and stopped the water supply for the entire Island. These things do happen everywhere and there is nothing we could do about it beside calling the municipal authorities and report the problem. I can just sympathies with your inconvenience. And a little tip- Next time the water goes out, run to the other side of the ashram. The beach side is the first one to run out of water ;-)
But seriously, such things as water or electricity cuts do happen here because we live on an Island after all. Yet, the infrastructure on the island has improved a lot in the past few years, and it is fairly rare to run out of water or electricity.
As for the creepy vibe and the cultish feeling you mention, I don't really understand it. It seems to me that people who come here for a very short time with a very physical-oriented understanding of what Yoga is all about, and with fixed ideas of what an Ashram should be like, tend to use these complementing terms 'creepy', 'cultish', etc. While those who stay for longer periods usually tend to form a very different opinion about the place and its staff. Is it possible that people seemed to unfriendly because this is what they've got from you...?

Wish you all the best,

Shankar
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
regina
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2013

Had an interesting trip to the ashram.Course was amazing however the general vibe at this ashram is wierd.The yellow shirts are distant and aloof-no joy there.Karma workers seem sad and overworked.Rooms were fine-clean and comfy.Food was okay--heavy carbs and not enough fruit.First night at satsang could not believe the starbucks and all the coming and going.Yoga was okay--not enough personal attention for my liking.The overall satsang experience was a wee bit off putting as they have special guests who want to sell their books and websites--not my cup of tea at all.Did go ashore and to Atlantis--holiday for me.Made no connection with the yellow shirts even though I went for some healing.Did the vedic astrology reading--do not do this.total waste of $$--there were people i met who got the same reading as me--very scripted.I would go back and stay by the beach again---loved the ocean.

Room Tip: By the beach
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mojomerlin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank mossgarden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2013

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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Corinthi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Medford, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank VeganGirl99
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

Property: Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
Address: 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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