I am finally back in Toronto after a 12 hours bus ride from NYC and a good 14 hours sleep ( just so much fun in NYC).
Will definitely share all my joy and love for NYC soon but for now, lets rewind a little.
Ever thought of visting India?
Here’s what I got to say about my first even solo trip.
Too stressed out in life.
Felt I had it all.
I had enough.
I need a breather.
There’s just too much going on.
I want to leave everything behind and give myself a break.
I just want some ME time.
My well deserved ME time.
I want to go away. Far away from everyone. Far away from crowd
BUT! Where to go? What to do?
I just want to get away – IMMEDIATELY. Anywhere is fine, so long I can leave like NOW!!!.
Don’t we know know that with an abrupt trip, it can mean some hefty spending. Flight is going to be more expensive that usual (unless you plan it in advance). Hotel will cost you much higher too.
I know I want an IMMEDIATE trip but I don’t want to blow my money away.
So what I did?
4 years ago.
I took that soul searching trip.
It was my first ever solo trip.
After watching the movie “Eat,Pray,Love”, Bali immediately came to my mind. The picturesque of the rice padi field in the movie, look just so amazing. And then I went to Goggled the price for Bali. My heart sank a little. The price I saw online is almost as “amazing” as how beautiful the place look, “Hefty”.
And then my next option came. India.
(In the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”, Gilbert was staying in an Ashram in India.)
I knew I wanted a peaceful, rejuvenating and soulful retreat for myself. But Ashram is kind of too hardcore for me. So I did more research on the ever trusting TripAdvisor. (I use TripAdvisor for almost every country I visited.)
Criteria for my search
- Somewhere quiet and pleasant so I can have a peace of mind.
- It needs to be affordable and fits my bill.
- Safe for a female solo traveler.
Then I came across a yoga villa on TripAdvisor.
- They are available on the dates I’m traveling
- The price of the villa is only a fraction of what I would be paying if I’ll be going to Bali.
- They had many good reviews on TripAdvisor (means it’s safe)
- They will be providing all my meals! 3 meals a day for my entire stay!
I’m thinking to myself, this must be a really good deal.
And to this date, I still think it is. So if you are REALLY IN NEED for a soulful retreat, you don’t have any time to plan the trip, yet you still want to have quality ME time with no partying, No booze, No nonsense, check out my review below of the villa.
It is call Ayurveda Yoga Villa.
Bavali PO Ayurveda Yoga Villa Kartikulam, Kuruva Island, Kalpetta 673121, India
The villa is located in Kerala, facing the backwaters. Kerala is also known as God’s own country.
Apparently they said every corner in Kerala you will see Hindu temples, Muslim mosques and Christian Churches; and unlike many other parts of India, people live happily without communal riots and great religious tolerance. Hence it is called God’s own country full of worship place.
What’s the price? And what is included?
The price Includes:
- Airport pick-up and drop at Calicut (ccj) Airport
- Accommodation in single bedroom with attached bathroom and private balcony (no aircon, as the place is cold enough)
- Yoga, pranayama & Meditation sessions
- All food & drinks (No meat, fish, eggs, alcohol)
- All Ayurvedic treatments & Oral Medication prescribed by Ajarya (Doctor)
- Daily Consultations & Check-up with Resident Ajarya (Doctor)
- Health Profile & Body Constitution consultation
What do they do?
They have various programs depending on your needs.
- Panchakarma Detoxification
- Rasayana Rejuvenation
- Stress Management
- Weight Management
- Herbal Beauty & Skin Care
- Yoga and Meditation
- Wellness Vacation
- Ayur-yoga Treatment
Who goes there?
Most guests are above 30 years old. (I would figured you need to be pretty mature to come to a place like that for soul searching or health.)
All the guests are from various countries and background but there is one thing in common. Everyone was searching for inner peace, or for medication reasons.
I met an elderly couple from Argentina, who had stayed there for 2 weeks before my arrival. They came to the villa solely for medical reason. The husband’s health condition was not too good, so they were there to sort of sorting his health out. Most people stayed for at least a month.
My Stay at the Villa:
On my arrival, I made some interesting observation of the villa.
- There is only one computer available for use, and they suggest not to use the computer for more than 30 mins a day. It kind of really take you away from the world, and really have some ME time to search for yourself.
- There is a small library just beside the reception. You can feel free to borrow any of the books. Most of the books are about yoga, relaxation, food, Ayurveda and all.
- At the dining table, there is this small note that says, “Do not talk while eating. Pay attention to what you are eating.”
You could really see everyone keeping quiet during meal time and take time to really savoring their food slowly. Apparently, the purpose of that was to be more aware of your surrounding. Oh, By the way, since it is a yoga villa, all the food provided were vegetarian food.
- They also have a recommended timetable that is placed in your room.
The recommended timetable states the time for waking up, pooja, yoga sessions, breakfast, lunch, dinner etc. As there are usually more than 10 guests staying in the villa. They will usually advise you your allocated time to see the doctor and/or treatment session.
Most people are there for Panchakarma. (cleansing of the body.) and majority stayed for over a month. For my case, I just want to go to a place where I can relax my mind, body and soul, and as i only have a week there, there was no medication given to me, however, there is stress management/ relaxation treatment (massage) that they performed on me on a daily basis.
What the daily routine like?
- Every morning, I attended their Pooja session. I did it not for religious sake, but just to get into the routine of following their recommended timetable. It did set me feeling lighter and more relaxed and appreciating more of my surrounding.
- Everyday I have my stress management treatment. It is quite an interesting experience as this is the first time I have 2 masseurs instead of one massaging me. They first had me lied down on a wooden bed frame and then they proceed to chant/sing some prayers. Then they start pouring lukewarm oil over my body.
Are you are thinking about the heavy jasmine smell? Yes, it does have herbal smell, but not the heavy jasmine flower sort of smell.
What I love most about the relaxation massage, is when the oil was poured or dripped in a slow measured motion over my forehead from left to right and back. When I had my mind focus on the movement and momentum of the warm oil dripping over my forehead, I could feel the chain of relaxation feel, moving through the body. A very different kind of vibe I have ever experience compared to other massages.
Depending on the purpose of your trip, treatment may differ.
- I took walks down the backwaters and just listen to the water and sound of nature.
- I read.
- I walk down the village. Went to village school and spend some time talking to villagers as well.
- Almost all guests who went to the villa are like me, in search for inner peace. . And almost everyone have a story to tell. There’s always something new to learn from anyone you met. Over at the villa, I am blessed to have make some amazing friends from around the world. Thanks to Facebook, we are still keeping in touch till this day, including the yoga instructor and the Owner of the Villa.
If you have been skeptical, give India a try the next time. (TripAdvisor)