Over 15 years as a travel writer, there are few places I’ve enjoyed so much, or visited so often as Yoga Magic, a unique eco and yoga retreat in Goa, India . From the first time I went there I felt at home and have delighted, on each visit since, in seeing it grow and evolve. Owned by two great indiaphiles Phil Dane and Juliet Leary, Yoga Magic is a true gem nestled in the tranquil paddy fields of north Goa.
Yoga Magic may have the name ‘Yoga’ in its title, but the first thing to realise is that this meditative space of organic gardens, Rajasthani hunting tents, and incredible swimming pool with its own waterfall is not merely for diehard yogis. It’s perfect for anyone seeking to chill out, lay in the sun with a good book, and enjoy the nearby sights of the north Goan peninsula. Plenty of visitors in fact do no yoga at all, though there are equally plenty that do.
If you are keen to further your yoga practice, however, Yoga Magic is a perfect place to do so. Attracting some of the world’s best teachers, it offers yoga classes in a rammed earth yoga shala, built in the traditional Indian style and open to the elements on one side. It is also situated close the famous Purple Valley Yoga, and Brahmani drop in centre for those wishing to study: Asthanga, hatha, iyengar, Vinyasa flow, or to further a pranayama practice. Ideal for long term practitioners or those who can’t even touch their toes, Yoga Magic has a deserved reputation as one of India’s premiere yoga retreats.
Accomodation is in bamboo thatched eco lodges which provide shade over a luxurious rajasthani hunting tent with two adjoining rooms. Built from mud, stones and coconut wood, colourful saris drape the elevated palm fringed roofs keeping the lodges cool with natural cross ventilation whilst a private veranda, hand moulded from baked mud and cow dung, has sunset views and lean back chairs for daydreaming, star gazing or moon bathing.
Food at Yogamagic may well the best in Goa. Organic where possible and increasingly home grown as their gardens develop. Everything is cooked lovingly by local girls with plenty of freshly picked herbs, spices and coconut milk. It starts early morning with chai or ground coffee delivered to your veranda.
Last but not least, no visit to Yoga Magic would be complete without mentioning Vishnu, a true master of Ayurvedic massage, and one of the most respected healers in Goa. Vishnu has practiced marma massage over many years and his extraordinary wisdom, good humour and smile draw many back to Yoga Magic year after year.
Check out the Yoga Magic website here The season runs from November to around April each year.