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“Paradise on Paradise Island”

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Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Paradise Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 20, 2014

We have been coming to the Yoga Retreat for many years. It is a true authentic Yoga Ashram located on the beach on Paradise Island. If you are looking for a yoga resort then the Ashram is not for you. The food is all vegetarian and you will receive two meals a day, served Buffet style. The food is always great and a change from the usual holiday restaurant fare. Yoga is twice a day for two hours and there is daily medication, chanting and lectures. The rooms are very basic (no TV, telephone but there is good wifi throughout the ashram).

If this appeals to you then this is the perfect place!

Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
2  Thank teedee1198
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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360 - 366 of 706 reviews

Reviewed February 20, 2014

This is a minimalist yoga retreat. No to little customer service, rooms that have not been updated since the 60's and simple buffet family style meals. Once you make a few like minded friends you will begin to understand what people like about this place. Bring a book and leave your cell phone.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank vicente_F60763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

I loved the whole retreat but I've decided to write my review about the Yoga for Beginners course:

I took this very basic course and loved it. I had just started yoga before coming down to the ashram and thought that I did not have any bad habits. My yoga teacher had recently completed her yoga teacher training at the Bahamas retreat before I started working with her. So she was fresh off training, extremely eager to start her practice and very attentive to all her students. I got more than my fair share of instruction and support at her classes. But I thought since I am already here at the Sivananda Retreat, why not take this course?

And WOW my appreciation of yoga went from black and white to not only colour but HD. My yoga practice was basically promising but there were huge omissions in my basic understanding. There was no time for any breathing practice, no discussion about diet, the philosophy or the spiritual nature of yoga during my one hour sessions at home. A new world opened up for me, the practice of yoga made so much more sense. The whole ashram experience was enhanced for me with this five day course. I believe that the grounding I received during the fifteen hours of the course will assist my personal home practice.

As an older beginner, (sixty year old woman), I found a lot of comfort being told that I did not always have to do what everyone else in the group was doing. There were so many alternatives presented that I feel that I can continue my growth through yoga for many years ahead. The individual attention I received to my asanas greatly helped me fine tune my positioning, and even got me over my fear of attempting the head stand.

The teaching was first class, extremely professional and genuinely kind and supportive. The group was small and we all had a great deal of fun.

I would encourage anyone new to yoga to take the course to get the most out of the yoga retreat experience.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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2  Thank Urbane Cyclist W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2014

I was looking for a place, where I could get back to a healthy sense for myself physicly and spiritually. And I found much more: friendship with others and myself, silence and solitude as well as sharing and laughter, the loving kindness of the sourounding nature, the beauty of the garden, the sea, the sunset and sundawn, the stars and the moon at night and the wonderfull sound of the sea when falling asleep and waking up, the healing power of silence and singing, beathing und moving. If we would have had organic food it would have been close to paradise.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
1  Thank Birgitta H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2014

Good food, great location, lovely people, interesting talks/events and awesome beach..
but discipline and obligations not suitable to everyone. Wish we had had some more time to breathe and enjoy the beach... overall happy with the experience and looking forward to sharing what's been learned. Enjoy!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Shafika5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2014

I came to the Sivananda Yoga retreat for the Teacher Training Course and ended up staying 10 days extra for a little vacation. It is not a resort on the beach, but rather a haven from the chaotic world, that has rules, rituals and an existing way of functioning according to the principles of non-dual yogic philosophy. This ashram is not the place for everyone. But if you let it, it will change your life.

The accommodations are not fancy and most people live in tents. If you choose the tent option, my suggestion is to bring a big tent if you are not used to camping. The maximum they allow is around 9x9 or 10x10. Also, bring an air mattress or a therma rest and a pillow - you will be happy about that. It is a very secluded spot right on the beach and minutes away from Atlantis resort (5 minutes walk).

The schedule is rigorous for the teacher training course. You wake up at 5:30 and don't stop moving until 10:30. You eat 2 lacto-vegetarian meals a day - meaning they have dairy. No coffee. And what I figured out throughout the month is that the strict diet is not just for cruelty, but rather designed based on traditional yogic principles. I followed the crazy rules and turned out that I felt healthier and more energetic than usual.

The yoga is Sivananda style yoga, duh! It is traditional hatha yoga and the classes follow a specific sequence of postures designed specifically for maximum mental, spiritual, and physical benefit. I think it is amazing! Usually the classes are taught by new students so it helps if you are familiar with the Sivananda style yoga. If you find the classes too slow, you can practice on your own overlooking the ocean pretty much any time throughout the day.

The Rules are for you! The yoga vacation program enables relaxation, mental clarity, spiritual growth, and access to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But as I said, they ask that you respect their beliefs and practices. At first, I was really frustrated by the overall slowness of the place. Everyone who works here is doing it as a form of selfless service and are not receiving salaries (except for some of the cleaning staff). Lots of them have just arrived themselves and are not quite sure about the way this whole thing works. Eventually, I took these experiences as opportunities to learn about myself. For example, trying to understand why I was SO ANNOYED that I couldn't get an answer to a question immediately. It tests you and if you are willing to go a little deeper, you usually get what you need.

Then there is the chanting...every night you are invited to attend something called satsang, which consists of 30 minutes of meditation, chanting, and a pretty interesting lecture. At first I really did not know what to make of the chanting. It seemed weird, cultish, and looonnnggg. Unless you are doing the teacher training course, you can leave! The point is not to freak you out or make you uncomfortable. This tradition definitely does not want to force people to do things the way they do, but they are welcoming in the event that you want to learn something different from what you know. And honestly, now I think the chanting is fun and invigorating, because I took the time to understand what it was about.

And then there is the wellbeing centre! They offer Ayurvedic consultations and treatments, therapeutic massages, thai massages and other things. The practitioners are really knowledgable and talented. The staff here really know their stuff about Ayurveda (Lalita and Isvari). Definitely worth trying out.

So overall, I had a fabulous time and would definitely recommend it for someone who is looking for relaxation, healing, spiritual wanderings, or even fun! The people that come here are from all over the world and that is pretty cool too. My only real criticism would be that perhaps the ashram should focus a little bit more on properly welcoming their guests to the retreat and helping them get acquainted. I was definitely a deer caught in the headlights when I arrived too, and if I had not stayed for as long as I did, I think I would not have fully understood or appreciated what this place is really about.

Room Tip: They have nice rooms with their own bathrooms, they are a bit more expensive. Dorms are tough. Tent...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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3  Thank Jessica H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2014

"Come for the booty, stay for the bliss" -Swami Sivananda

Just kidding! Swami Sivananda definitely did not say that, but I do!

Just completed the month-long teacher training course. I stayed in a tent on a small patch of ground that was barely available because the whole ashram was full. I had a great time anyway.

Was it very easy? No. Was it worth it? Yes!

Other questions:

Are the teachers knowledgable? Yes -- the spiritual teachers, the swamis, have a lot of interesting and valuable teaching to share. They truly love the yoga traditions and sharing them with students. The asana (yoga poses) teachers are also very knowledgable and some of them are genetically modified to be part pretzel.

How is the course? Rigorous but well thought-out. They keep you very busy but do not waste your time or teach things at the wrong time. Eating comes after asana practice, and all the painful floor-sitting ends up strengthening your hips and back. They will discipline you -- so if the ego is not ready for that, watch out! But it all seems to have a rhyme and reason, which they happily explain if you question. And somehow there's still some time for the beach :)

Is it comfortable? A great question to ask and to answer you need to be able to accurately gauge your ability to adjust. You can stay in the dorm (heat/AC, fans, electricity, beds and pillows, outlets, shelves), the tent huts (beds and I think they have outlets too),or in your own tent (whatever you bring, plus using sparse public outlets for your electronics). The weather was great for the most part. They spray for mosquitoes which helps but still got bitten sometimes. The food was vegetarian of course, and they had some milk products but vegan options, and you have to wait for it sometimes in a line. Part of the program is volunteering chores, like doing dishes or taking out garbage, so that's not always comfortable either. Then there's the twice daily two-hour satsangs, non-optional. I (mostly) found they framed the day in lovely way but it's good to know if this is your cup of tea or not beforehand.

I've never been to another yoga retreat or ashram so I can't compare, but I found the people hear to be mostly kind, spiritual, disciplined and focused. I liked learning about the two gurus and their lives. I found the evening programming AMAZING and unexpectedly high quality -- the kind of music and speakers you'd pay $20-50 a ticket for at an event hall. It was a great experience and I'm thankful for it.

Any negative points? A few of the facilities are a little dangerous or inconvenient. Someone fell off the satsang platform and hurt their leg badly and the next day one of the karma yogis built a handrail but it probably should have been done before that. The dining area gets a little clogged with people, especially when it rains. Also, some of the permanent staff seem kind of cliquish or shy and never really approached students or guests, but others were very social and open.

Overall very happy with this ashram! It's one-of-a-kind in a great way!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank New_Yoga_Teacher
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: 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 Best Value Hotel in Paradise Island
Price Range: $69 - $158 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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