Between northern Goa’s beaches and coconut palms lies one of the world’s best yoga retreats. With a relaxed eco-chic aesthetic, this hidden luxury retreat has been recognised in The Sunday Times, Guardian Travel, and Conde Nast Traveller as a world-class wellness resort. Catering to novice and expert yoga practitioners alike, Yoga Magic Eco Retreat is a luxe transformation oasis. Compare Retreats heads to Goa, India, to experience this luxurious paradise for ourselves.
Located in north Goa within close proximity of the beach, Yoga Magic Eco Retreat is located approximately one hour from Goa International Airport (GOI). Flanked by a creek and rice paddy fields, the retreat lies within a lush coconut grove and has stunning sunrise and sunset views. Wild buffalo graze in nearby paddocks and exotic birds fill the trees that surround Yoga Magic, adding to its charming rural atmosphere.
The lodging choices at Yoga Magic fall into two categories: Eco Lodge Tents or Suites. While the word ‘tent’ may put some people off, keep in mind this is a luxury retreat so think glamping, not camping. Carved from locally-sourced, sustainable materials including mud, clay, stone, bamboo, jute, wood and palm leaves, each eco-friendly abode features solar-powered showers and lighting, natural ventilation, arched terracotta windows, village-crafted wood furniture and colourful silk Indian textiles. Bedrooms are light and airy and each ‘tent’ has a spacious living room replete with comfy lounge, private verandah and open-air ensuite bathroom.
Architecturally inspired by the traditional Haveli’s of Rajasthan, the suites are equally striking. Blending local Goan materials (stone and clay) with majestic design features such as oversized antique doors, swing bed sofas, sunken baths and recycled teak wood furnishings, the overall impression is that of an opulent lair. Along with its two open-air yoga spaces, the retreat also has a gorgeous lagoon-style swimming pool for dips between classes.
Wholesome, locally-sourced, plant-based cuisine forms the bulk of the menu at Yoga Magic. Brimming with vegetarian, vegan and raw options, healthy diets are catered to thanks to lots of tasty superfoods which are lovingly prepared according to ancient Vedic cooking traditions. Organic where possible, much of the fresh produce—including local fruit, veggies, herbs and spices—is home-grown in the retreat’s gardens, following modern permaculture principles.
Local Indian delicacies include flavoursome curries, nourishing dhals, spice-infused vegetables and buckwheat ‘dosas’ (crepes) and ‘poi’ (omelette), all served with fresh chutney. Masala chai, lemongrass tea, ‘Tulsi’ (holy basil) infusions, healing elixirs and healthy smoothies (all made with nut milk), compliment the food menu.
Based on the yogic principle of ‘shatkarma’ (body purification), the treatment programme at Yoga Magic revolves around cleansing techniques (kriyas) that help rebalance the nervous system, eliminate toxins from the digestive system, cleanse the nadi’s (energy channels), calm the mind, and increase healthy ‘prana’ (energy) flow throughout the body. Purification practices are complimented by yoga classes (various styles including Sivananda and Yin), pranayama (yogic breathwork) sessions, meditation classes and Ayurvedic therapies. The retreat doesn’t have an onsite Ayurvedic clinic but is affiliated with a reputable one close by which performs ‘panchakarma’ (cleansing) treatments.
Expect to feel like you’ve spent a week in a magical, healing cave. The retreat’s resident healer ‘Vishnu’ (uncle) performs ‘Marma Therapy Massage’ treatments and has true magic in his hands: he was trained by his guru over 20 years ago and has a gift for finding and releasing energy blocks in the body.