Chiang Mai Yoga Retreat 2017
I had been practising yoga for only 6 months before I joined Ompulence’s retreat, through a friend’s recommendation. So I had absolutely no idea what to expect!
Saraswati (Carol) is caring, nurturing and maternal. She helped me to practise the asanas appropriately. I have back problems but she made the practice very safe for me. The other teacher is Arjuna from Portugal. He is like our father figure at the retreat!
The programme is very well balanced. I will recommend this retreat as a good start for anyone who wants a holistic understanding of yoga. It is not just asanas, as practised in the commercial studios. We also spend time on breathing exercises, meditation and chanting. Saraswati draws from the Buddhist tradition and Arjuna draws from the Christian tradition. I am a Catholic but here we are, chanting in Sanskrit and Hindi! So they are not forcing any religious tradition on the participants. Rather, I found that these practices helped me to enrich my own religious experience.
The way the asanas are practised gives a lot of scope to individual needs. Options are proposed for beginners and more advanced variations are proposed for those who have a deeper practice of the asanas. So everyone was sufficiently challenged. But more importantly, I found that the retreat helped me to release a lot of negative energy, accumulated from the stresses and challenges of urban life. I emerged from the retreat, refreshed and rejuvenated.
Last but not least, the beautiful resort, the excellent vegetarian food and the wonderful in house spa helped to make this a relaxing retreat as well!
I am relatively new to yoga and this was my first retreat experience. However,I felt immediately comfortable with the teachers and fellow yogis. The group energy was great! Saraswati was kind and gentle in guiding us in the daily yoga sessions. She made timely adjustment to my postures for the Asanas and through her patient coaching I felt that it motivated me to deepen my budding practice. Arjuna was great too! He often made jokes which made everyone laughed and lightened the mood. He also provided a spiritual element to the practice as he conducted Satsangs and silent walks.
I particularly enjoyed the morning meditation walks out in the beautiful rustic Chiangmai countryside. The lush green fields and fresh air made the walks enjoyable. I was fully present in the moment and felt peaceful and calm. This sense of stillness followed me throughout the course of the retreat.
The venue of the retreat was perfect, a beautiful resort nestled in the countryside of Chiangmai providing great service. The highlight of the day was always the sumptuous vegetarian dinner at the end of the day. Although we are suppose to eat mindfully, some of us ate pretty quickly as the food was just too good and we were just too hungry after our evening yoga session.
But most importantly, from the retreat, I truly felt a sense of joy and companionship from being in a group which I have not felt for a long time. Besides finding our peace through meditations and yoga sessions, the day to day moments of interaction were equally important to me. As we shared our motivations, life stories, obstacles and achievements, I realized I have found a community.
This retreat was truly enriching and timely for me as I am currently also in the midst of self-discovery and charting my next step in life. I am glad I had the opportunity to be part of the retreat and meeting this lovey group of people.
Bing Yao, 31
Carol (Saraswati) and Arjuna make a great team as retreat leaders – they are warm-hearted, funny and genuine, and solid in their yoga practice. The result was a retreat that was a wonderful mix of contemplative, physically challenging, restful and joyful.
Chiang Mai Yoga Retreat 2016
The retreat was a great rejuvenation and a really good “break” from our routine life, to reconnect with our inner selves. The resort was perfect, quiet and nestled in the hills of Chiangmai, bathed in natural beauty. The classes, meditations, teachings, workshops were taught with so much passion, enthusiasm and detailed care. The yoga sala, the tranquil surrounds, as well as the encouraging voices of Saraswati and Arjuna really uplifted our spirits and determination to deepen our learning each time. The organization and preparation was flawless. What I also loved was how the great synergy brought all 12 individuals really close together, we laughed, we hugged, we chanted, we meditated and we exchanged life stories.
Both Saraswati and Arjuna have inspired me so much to start bringing my awareness to the 5 points of yoga in my daily life. Though the retreat spanned 4 days and we had to bid farewell, the life lessons and precious moments shared will span a lifetime. I couldn’t thank them enough for sharing their Sivananda wisdom and love with us.
The retreat conducted by Saraswati and Arjuna was the perfect length and intensity for a long weekend. There was an adequate distribution of time amongst group yoga practices, personal space and rest.
The number of participants was just right (10), as it allowed the teachers to offer personal attention when required.
Everybody, to the varying degrees of yoga experience, gelled so naturally with one another, with the teachers and with the space. This resulted in a group flow of energy I rarely experienced.
The hotel was a conducive space for the retreat in that it was set in nature, the food was healthy, the areas for yoga well equipped and the staff efficient, polite and discreet.
The stars effortlessly aligned and the result was a truly beautiful retreat.
Bali Yoga Retreat 2014
I was a beginner practising Sivananda Yoga for six months when I decided to go for the retreat. The yoga schedule was challenging for me but thanks to the teachings of Carol (Saraswati) and Arjuna, as well as the group energy from the fellow yogis, I was able to connect deeper within myself and discover progress in my asana poses.