Satsanga Retreat

»Home away from Home«

Zvx30n%7c15.5885434445,73
Badge-long

Tucked in between the main route from North Goa’s popular Anjuna beach and Mapsa, the nearest shopping town, Satsanga Retreat offers a respite from the chaos, dirt and politics of Goa and India itself. The center is run family-style by the owners Olaf and Emma who, with yogic dedication, provide true Seva (service) not only to their guests but also the greater community around Satsanga.

  • What we love
  • Friendly and caring local staff
  • Delicious ayurvedic food
  • The only shalas in Goa with wooden floors, very comfortable
  • What to know
  • Electricity cuts sometimes- bring a torch
  • Shared Rooms
  • Semi-isolated location
  • Free wi-fi
  • Why go
  • Intensive yoga retreats/trainings
  • Home-style care and attention

From the moment you enter the red gates, the lush self-planted growing garden, the friendly adopted dogs, the splashes of vibrant color and the wonderful smiles of the staff, everything about Satsanga shows how much care has gone into creating an atmosphere of tranquility and integrity..

Satsanga is not a drop-in center but rather plays host to a great many yoga retreats and teacher trainings from inspiring teachers around the world. These include Iyengar teacher Glenn Ceresoli, Ashtanga teacher Heather Elton and Hatha teacher and philosopher Emil Wendel. From October to May, the season for Goa, Satsanga is generally fully booked by visiting retreat-leaders and their students. It is still a hotel however, and there may be the off-chance that a room is available for people that are not part of any retreat. If you do get the chance to book a room, it is worth every penny.

Satsanga has 15 fully furnished rooms on offer with twin beds, private bathrooms with water heated by solar power, mosquito nets and a jug of purified water waiting for your thirsty lips. For those who have traveled India extensively, not having to worry about safe water to drink without having to buy plastic bottles is a relief!

Unless you specify a private room early on in booking your retreat, youré going to end up sharing your room with a new friend. However don’t get flustered already, there are enough chill-out areas for you to escape to during the day. That is, when you’re not doing your yoga or eating in the courtyard, be warned Satsanga can be a very social place! Where better to socialise than around the vibrantly painted pool? Situated in the centre of the property, the pool is the perfect place to cool off after your sweaty yoga class, although please shower before jumping in!

There are two wooden-floored yoga shalas: the Shiva shala, the larger of the two spaces which can easily fit 35 mats and features an amazing bronze statue of the Indian God Nataraja the dancing Shiva, and the Buddha shala, located on the first floor towards the rear of the compound. The Buddha shala has large glass windows overlooking the trees and can fit 15 mats for asana practice. An insider's tip - the Buddha shala is the space if you’re into your early morning pranayama and meditation! The shala faces the sun rise and as it is situated on the first floor the silence before the dawn is truly calming.

Another delightful aspect of Satsanga is the home-cooked food by the ever radiant inhouse Ayurvedic chef Mani, who by the way never stops smiling! Breakfast is western with a melange of fruits, yoghurt and muesli with local Goan bread. It is buffet style so you can lounge about leisurely enjoying your food before topping up on some more of that papaya. Lunch is a mini-meal of roti (Indian bread) and vegetables or salad. Dinner, a buffet feast of ayurvedic-inspired food, is usually around 7-8 different dishes. Don’t be worried about your stomach as the food is specifically made for foreigners - thoroughly cleaned and not too spicy.

Satsanga employs 27 staff, all of whom are from Verla Canca, the village next door. The staff are always ready to help and are a major part of the Satsanga community. Their help is often invisible, from the team of ladies that clean your room every day, to the kitchen staff who prepare the feasts. Without them, Satsanga could feel like another generic hotel. Smile and show your gratitude towards them and your friendliness will not go unnoticed.

Once inside the gates of Satsanga, visitors often feel like never having to leave. The center even offers inhouse massages by the resident therapists. Outside the centre however, the world does continue; there are beaches to explore, restaurants to try out and markets at which to spend all your money. If you have never been to Goa before, don’t be shy to browse through the bookshelf in the inner courtyard building or simply ask Emma. There are plenty of tips to go around and there is a notice board at the entrance to the courtyard where you can find useful numbers and flyers from local businesses. Satsanga Retreat is located around 1.5 hrs away from the airport. More often than not, guests arrange to be picked up by a taxi sent from the center. This is because it can be a little tricky to find for Goans not familiar with the exact area.

Satsanga Retreat is a perfect homestyle getaway with the gently exotic touches of India. Stretch out your mat, lap in the pool, munch on the delicious food and chat to your neighbor. That’s all in a day at Satsanga without having to move outside the compound, and thus many people find themselves returning here year after year.

About the area: Goa

Once a Portugese colony, Goa retains its feeling of being somehow separate from the rest of India. It’s not just that D’Souza is a common Indian name, or that the coastline is unique in its beauty. There is a far more relaxed attitude in Goa that does not exist anywhere else in India. Here is where the bright young things of the country come to play and are free to wear shorts, arm-baring tops and even bikinis, a radical departure from the pervading modesty in the rest of the country.

Since the 1960s, the beach culture of Goa has drawn international visitors in their thousands, and the abundance of nightclubs, markets and laid-back bars is a testimony to Goa’s comfort with a more liberal way of life. The ideal time to visit Goa is either before or after monsoon season (June - October) and it is not only the sparkling turquoise waters that are on offer for travellers. The Goan hinterland is home to a multitude of wildlife sanctuaries, with Sakrebyle being one of the most popular. Here, orphaned or injured elephants are nursed back to health and released into the wild. They often return for visits, and are happy to say hello to tourists as well.

For those brave enough to venture to Goa during the rainy season, be aware that many of the amenities (shops, summer guesthouses and the like) close their doors during off-season. This is the time that many locals take their own vacations, giving Goa a very different feeling. Also, when it rains here, it really rains. Walls of water that drench immediately and are sometimes heavy enough to be painful. Nonetheless, there is sometimes a certain charm to a rainy, abandoned beach as Goa-fans are quick to point out.

Image credit: Satsanga Retreat

Ask a question about Satsanga Retreat
Know folks who'd love to read this article, too? Share it with them!
Got something to say about this center? Leave your comment here!