It is amazing what two days of nourishing your mind and body in a secluded sanctuary can do for your overall well being – from your outlook on life to your digestive system. Pawan Malik, an ex-banker and yogi based in London and New York has created a luxury yoga retreat just an hour away from Bangalore. With just 14 rooms within 25 acres of lush green gardens Shreyas Yoga Retreat is an intimate refuge, attracting a range of people from around the world, many of whom seek to come alone to benefit from the opportunity to self reflect and immerse themselves in the deep stillness, that in itself is cleansing.
Most people spend 4-7 nights at Shreyas Retreat on a specific program they have selected. I only had the opportunity to spend two full days at Shreya’s, and whilst it was short I left without the back pains I came with, and deeply rested and relaxed, ready to take on anything that came my way. My schedule was completely booked for me living very little room to make use of the gorgeous pool in the centre of the retreat, attend a cooking course or try my hand a cricket.
Awakened by the blissful mediation, my fellow yogis and I had breakfast in the cosy dining room. Guests are treated to a range of homely vegetarian breakfast options, from cut exotic fruits, idli – a South Indian breakfast staple, porridge and waffles. I loved the fact that breakfast was served to us from small serving bowls, as if you were a guest at a friends house. Masala chai is available, however I would choose one of the herbal teas that are lighter on the stomach, like Tulsi tea. I was a little disappointed I did not find my healthy staple options like chia seeds and almond milk; but instead I managed to get a program of fresh juices with every meal, designed specifically for me during my wellness session.
Keeping to my schedule I then indulged in a 30 minute group sound mediation, facilitated by Ramakant. 30 minutes sitting in the same spot, trying to disconnect is certainly hard, but Ramakant has a way of transporting you to another world. Later in the day I had a one hour one to one mediation session; which felt like a mix of a therapy session, a trance and deep sleep. Its hard to explain but I learnt more about myself and I left the session with a different outlook to my life.
Later in the day I also had a private yoga session with Balasundar – perhaps the best yoga teacher I have experienced. When you have a one to one yoga class you realise how the slightest change in angle can transform your yoga practise. Balasundar took every opportunity to correct my every move. With 10 more private classes I think I would be able to practise yoga by-myself knowing that I was doing it correctly.
Lunch much like dinner was a three course affair with a blend of Indian and European influences. Quinoa upma, chapati pancakes, pickled vegetables, and courgette spaghetti are some of the delicacies that were served to us. I enjoyed the fact that I did not have to make any decisions on what I should eat, but instead I was served a wholesome nutritious meal. My favourite meal included a beetroot and pineapple salad, tandoori mushrooms, sweet potatoes, bottle gourd kofta curry, black lentils, tandoori rotli, green peas pulao and to finish it off a carrot pudding.
My late afternoon and evening was filled with two Ayurvedic massages in the beautiful newly renovated spa. Large open spaces, relaxing grays, and minimalist furnishings is the backdrop to the many treatment rooms, which each have a different theme. Whilst the Ayurvedic massages are exceptional, I prefer deep tissue massages that really work my knots. If you know thats what you prefer then don’t get distracted by the many exotic Ayurvedic massages and go for what works for you. Shreya’s also offer colon therapy which I really wish I had tried – next time!
My day ended with a beautiful meal shared with my fellow yogis in the dining room, a herbal tea in the common living room and just some alone time in my minimalist room.
It is so rare to have uninterrupted time to yourself, to simply just be, to reflect and indulge in the calm and stillness of your surroundings. The roof of my room was covered by a canvas tent, so as I drifted off to sleep I could hear every drop of rain patter on the canvas and the birds shuffling from one end of the roof to the other. Ordinarily that would annoy me, but that evening I enjoyed listening to nature and being mindful of what surrounded me.
My second day at Shreya’s followed a similar pattern to my first day. I was not ready to leave after two days, but I was so grateful that I had the opportunity to experience this blissful haven. I can understand why so many people return to this luxury yoga retreat annually. More importantly I understand why people come here alone. My fellow yogis all had families and or partners, but they each had decided to come alone, to get dedicated time to themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and observing people who had come to Shreya’s on a silent retreat, but I would also love to share this experience with my mum. Shreyas Retreat offers luxury, delicious vegetarian food, outstanding spa treatments and excellent yoga and mediations classes at an affordable price and in stunning surroundings, making it the ideal yoga retreat.
Shreya’s Retreat, Santoshima Farm, Gollahalli Gate, Nelamangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka 562123, India