First of all, I need to mention that am not a Yoga pro at all. Before my stay at Vikasa I have been practicing Yoga for about one year. Pretty unregularly and in waves though, not ever much going beyond a beginner’s stage.
Therefore, this post is not necessarily targeted to experienced Yogis and Yoginis only but rather for anyone interested in Yoga regardless of any prior experience. I staid 6 nights at Vikasa being it my very first Yoga vacation and it surely was not my last one.
1. Why did I decide for Vikasa Yoga retreat?
Actually I stumbled upon Vikasa during an overall online research for Yoga retreats on www.bookyogaretreats.com. The following reasons convinced me of Vikasa being the right choice and >spoiler alert< I was not going to be disappointed:
- The website & photos makes a professional and stunning impression
- The staff was friendly right from my very first inquiry
- The retreat has its own little private beach and pool
- The location is perfect right between Chaweng Noi and Lamai beach (best to be reached with a tuk-tuk or rented scooter)
- Many tours on and around Ko Samui are being offered and booked at Vikasa
2. What does a day at Vikasa look like?
Every day starts with an amazing ocean view with the retreat being built into the cliff of Ko Samui’s East coast.
At check in I got the yoga schedule for the upcoming weeks, which looked like following during my stay:
There are 4 to 6 yoga / meditation classes offered every day. They suit different levels of experience and styles of Yoga practice. I personally fell for the Yin Yoga style, which is about holding postures for a very long time (5-7 minutes) in order to open up and gain flexibility of the connecting tissues and fascia. The Yin practice sets free different kinds of locked away emotions at the same time. This led to an overall relieving and enlightening effect of the Yin classes.
The first meditation (7am) and yoga session (9am) are followed by a healthy and delicious brunch buffet. Again accompanied by the most stunning ocean view. Yoga starts again in the afternoon (4pm and 6pm), which leaves plenty of time to have a swim in the pool, a rest in the bungalow, a massage at the spa or the nearby beaches (Silver beach and Coral bay are within 10-15 minutes walking distance) in between. Dinner is offered afterwards in buffet style with a variety of different dishes, including salads, soup and dessert. All so healthy, Thai style influenced and very tasty.
On some days there are also 9pm meditations offered, which I can highly recommend as a perfect end of a Vikasa day to go to sleep with all the positive, mind-cleansing yoga vibe. Especially the Candle glancing was a very intense and purifying experience.
3. How is the atmosphere at Vikasa?
At the time I was there (second week in July 2016) the retreat was apparently quite booked out, but as the retreat is rather large I did not really notice being it especially busy during the day. It was rather the opposite. The retreats atmosphere is characterized by calmness and quietness. When you are looking for a backpacker adventure I would not recommend Vikasa.
Contrary, in case you are looking for a full yoga experience, getting the most of your practice for your body and mind, wanting peace, relaxation and full quality time for yourself, Vikasa is definitely THE PERFECT place to do so.
4. What are the Yoga teachers like?
As mentioned above Vikasa was my first ever yoga retreat experience. Therefore, I might lack the ability of comparison. However, the quality of each and every yoga lesson leaves me speechless. No matter what yoga style, teacher or level of difficulty – I enjoyed every single class. Beginners lessons were great to get into details how to thoroughly do poses and align correctly. It was always exactly the perfect level of challenge by learning about own edges and limitations.
Besides the physical effort it was especially a mental learning experience. The meditation and breathing practices had an amazingly inspiring and grateful impact on my feelings and emotions.
All of it to be thanked to the great teachers, who authentically embody and pass on the mindful yoga lifestyle. With everyone putting across their individual spirit and personality.
5. Would I recommend Vikasa Yoga retreat?
No doubt – absolutely YES!
In fact, I will be coming back myself next year and might even consider to take the teacher training course at Vikasa maybe some day.