12 Replies to “Impressions”

  1. A fun yoga retreat. Great company, delicious food, good accommodation and a nice challenge to re enforce my ability to keep up with the much younger ladies. All in all a great week.

  2. Myself and my wife attended a 1-week yoga retreat in October of 2019. After a long day of travelling, we arrived late in the evening. We awoke the next morning to spectacular views from the balcony while enjoying a coffee. We then took a 10-minute walk to the beach in the village of Charlotteville and attended the first of our daily morning Yoga sessions led by Nirala. It is much easier to hold a difficult pose when there is a nice breeze and beautiful views all around. You are also able to use the sand to your advantage in many of the poses. After a quick swim, we headed back to the cottage for one of the many great meals we enjoyed during the week.

    The meals were prepared fresh each day. It was great to be able to savour some of the local cuisine such as buss up shut roti. Sabeta also made wonderful drinks such as soursop milkshakes and refreshing juice from just picked limes on the property. It took a day or so to adjust to the heat and humidity, but that meant more time sitting together with others on the balcony enjoying the soft breeze, stunning views, conversations, or enjoying a good book.

    I was impressed with the ruggedness and beauty of Tobago. No roads are straight, and everything is on a hill. The locals were very laidback and friendly. We felt very safe during our various hikes and outings. A highlight for me was the boat tour to see London Bridge Rock and Saint Giles island and the two-hour stand-up paddle boarding lesson, both of which we included in our retreat. We also enjoyed hikes and especially the views from the top of Flagstaff hill, Fort Campbelton, a hike through an abandoned cocoa plantation and we even walked to the next town, Speyside, and took public transit back. The neighbouring beach in Pirates Bay, accessible only by foot, is not to be missed and contains great snorkeling.

    I highly recommend this retreat.

  3. This trip is exactly what a doctor should prescribe to everyone!!! A week away from our hectic and often toxic lives to enjoy much needed peace, relaxation, meditation, plenty of exercise, great travel companions, incredible food, a quiet and sleepy community, endless lush green landscape, daily swims in the ocean and beautiful accommodation with panoramic views of Charlotteville and the ocean. I left alone, knowing only Nirala and returned from this trip a different person, gaining new friends. Yoga on the beach, day trips, hiking around the community topped off by the incredible food prepared by Sabeta, I found myself healing mentally and physically. This trip jump-started my metabolism. I came back feeling rested and renewed, toned and fitter than when I left. I even managed to lose a few pounds and inches. This is a trip I aspire to be part of on a yearly basis.
    In summary, I felt and continue to feel amazing. I’d like to thank Nirala for this opportunity. She is an incredible host and instructor! What an amazing experience this was. I’m sorry it had to come to an end. I’ll be back!!

  4. WOWW!!!! Where to even begin. I’ve been wanting to go on a yoga retreat for a very long time, however, I was hesitant in my research as I worried about investing in one that would fail to offer an authentic and soulful experience (I mean isn’t that what differs a yoga retreat to your generic all-inclusive vacations?). Having practiced with Nirala since 2016, I have always admired her integrity and hard work in her classes, which definitely prevailed during this retreat.
    It was special experiencing a new country with a local who knows the ins and outs of the village. Charlotteville will forever be implanted in my mind as an untouched gem. By far one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The scenery there on one side you have the luscious depths of the forest, on the other is the beautiful crystal blue waters of the Carribean Sea and all around you is such a richness of wildlife. Just envisioning it in my head it was absolutely breathtaking.
    The villa itself was perfect! A very earthy atmosphere, with lots of space for everyone to enjoy time together or on their own. We would sleep early and wake up to the choir of roosters in the early am which was nice because that meant you had a full day ahead of you to enjoy! We would practice a Vinyasa flow in the mornings and reserve the meditations and Yin yoga in the evenings after dinner.
    Although, Charlotteville is a small village, it hosts an abundance of charm for anyone willing to go out and explore. There were two tours we got to experience, one being a 2 hour boat tour that took you about 4 miles out to explore around the island and a full day tour into the city. Both very different, both very fun! For anyone that gets motion sickness, Nirala will find you an alternative tour that would better suit you and your stomach (take it from me don’t leave it to surprise you later). On afternoons where we had the leisure to go galavant around the town, there were various places to visit. You could go for a hike up to Flagstaff Hill or Fort Campbellton and see the beautiful view from the top of the village out into the water. Enjoy an ice cream from the local ice cream shop or just go for a walk and take in all the LIFE around you (Its hard to put into words just how rich this island is in nature). It is a very safe town, the locals were very friendly as you pass by everyone greets each other, and want to converse about all the wonders that is Trinidad and Tobago.
    Now I save the best for last 😀 One of the main experiences around any travel is the FOOD!!!!! Let me tell you Aunty Sabeta a local to Trinidad delivered only that and beyond. When I say we were spoiled with how delicious the food was I MEAN IT!!!!! Trinidadian food is so rich in flavour. Her cooking was PHENOMENAL. Just describing it won’t do it justice, IT IS A MUST TRY!!!. What made it even more special is she truly cared to make sure we all had a good (so that added spice of love really went a long way). Her company on the retreat was such an added bonus, she is one of the funniest most loving woman I’ve ever met, It was such a pleasure!
    Overall it was a very fulfilling retreat. I would be lying if I said I didn’t come back with a different outlook on life. I believe that once in a while it is important to get away ( if not for the yoga) at least for the decompressing from the hectic, stressful, busy lives we get caught up in here in Canada. Being in nature for a week is seriously so grounding, you come back feeling so refreshed and focused. You surely won’t be disappointed by this retreat, especially if you know Nirala and know how passionate she is about yoga and meditation. She will always do her best to ensure the experience is authentic and fulfilling and I am so grateful my group and I got to experience it together. Until next time…..

    Namaste!

  5. I am so very glad I jumped at the chance to go on Nirala’s retreat. It was bliss – truly! I haven’t felt so relaxed in ages. There’s nothing like doing yoga on a secluded beach in an island paradise to help you let go and just enjoy the moment. Rinsing off the sand in the beautiful waters of the Caribbean and exploring the coral reef with a snorkel certainly added to that experience. Rounding out the day with Yin or guided meditation helped us relax even further and enjoy a rejuvenating sleep on the comfortable beds.
    The accommodations were beautiful. Bella Vista cottage is nestled along the hillside with a stunning view that we enjoyed every day. We were surrounded by lush flora, including a variety of fruit trees such as mango, papaya, lime, and the list goes on. Whatever time of year you go you’re guaranteed to enjoy fresh organically grown fruit.
    As a mother and homemaker, I found it such a treat that I didn’t have to even think about cooking! Meals were lovingly prepared by an experienced chef and filled with the delightful flavours of local Trinidadian cuisine. I had some of the best meals of my life here – thank you Sebeta!
    It was lovely to have plenty of down time to do what we liked. My favourite things to do were to explore the village down below with fellow guests, challenge myself with a vigorous hike, or just chill on the deck with a soursop smoothie in hand and watch the exotic birds visit the feeder. I would also highly recommend night swimming! The soothing warm water, the lights of the village, the stars, and the fireflies sparkling in the distance made it an unforgettable experience.
    A special thank you goes to Nirala for hosting this amazing retreat, putting in a lot of hard work to ensure we had a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Thanks also to my fellow guests for helping make the stay such fun. I cherish the memories of my time in Tobago and hope to return one day. Namasté!

  6. I share the sentiments of “Wow!” I had been doing research on yoga retreats for several years without luck. When I was attending one of Nirala’s classes and she asked if there were folks who would be interested in attending her yoga retreat. Immediately, my hand shot up. No regrets! Seven days of absolute paradise and as Nirala advertised it was yoga on the beach every damn day. The beauty about this retreat was that it allowed you to participate in 2 yoga/meditations per day and the rest was left for exploring. If staying quiet was more your cup of tea, reading or meditating on the balcony with the breathtaking view of the harbour was always an option. The food was lovelingly prepared by our onsite chef (Nirala’s Aunty Sabeta). This is where you come to taste authentic Trini food. Don’t worry about your weight because the hiking to the beach alone will burn off any extra calories.

    The retreat was a detox for the mind, body & soul. I rested. I reflected. I read. By the end of the 7 days my understanding of yoga deepened, my ability to hold a quiet mind was improved. I breathed. I laughed. I connected with others who themselves were also seeking a detox from their everyday world.

    This was the year I committed to doing new things. This yoga retreat was one of. Why not move out of your comfort zone in order to experience something so amazing!

  7. I was hooked on two words when I first heard about this yoga retreat: Nirala and Tobago! I thought, “Count me in!” 
    Both surpassed my expectations. 
    Nirala provided an incredible atmosphere and experience that brought the Tobago culture to life and gave me a taste of this beautiful space that I never knew existed. Not only did my love for yoga and the strength and grounded feeling it gives me grow leaps and bounds, the daily practices on the soft, sandy beaches gave me an extra chance to challenge myself, all while enjoying the incredible views of the sea. Pushing myself into new hand poses became a fun challenge as the sand made for an friendly and forgiving surface.

    Tobago was nothing short of spectacular. Nirala’s location on the hillside provided breathtaking vistas and sounds of the surrounding rain forest.  What brought this all together for me were the fabulous meals made by Sabeta, a wonderful woman and Nirala’s Auntie. Using fresh ingredients found on the land and sea around the island,  she whipped up mouth-watering dishes that left us all speechless as we savoured each meal brought lovingly to our table. I was never hungry, often too full, but still lost weight because of the balance of natural, healthy ingredients and the physical activity built into our daily routine.

    I had the chance to step out of my comfort zone by not only being in a foreign country but also with a supportive group of of individuals that were previously strangers. By the end of the trip we had become a tight knit group of friends who promised to keep in touch when we got back home, a promise I can gladly say we have kept.

    This was a once in a life time experience that I would recommend to anyone at any skill level.  

  8. I cannot stop talking about this retreat. It was such a unique experience – to get up at the crack of dawn to the sound of roosters, to do yoga with an amazing AMAZING view, to have a beautiful and quiet beach only a 5 min walk away, to experience the Tobagonian culture (food/music/people), end our days with mindfulness meditation, and best of all, meeting a group of lovely ladies whom I would have never met otherwise.

    To start off, the accommodations were beautiful, I was very comfortable there and the view is spectacular. There is a balcony that wraps around the outside of the house with a hammock – from here, you can see the entire village and the beach. While on the island, in any direction you look, you will see either water, or mountains, or forest. All meals were eaten together on the balcony with another amazing backdrop. You are surrounded by nature here, and you won’t ever get sick of looking around.

    I am honestly still dreaming about the food served on this retreat. The fish was freshly caught and bought from the market the day of. All the vegetables and fruit were freshly bought from the local market or picked from the trees outside (seriously). I’ve never eaten with just my hands, but this was such a unique experience and something that I quite enjoyed. I definitely ate my fill (believe me), but also never felt like it was heavy in my stomach because everything was vegetarian and so healthy. Beside – we were trekking up the mountains and hills during the day so we needed the fuel!

    There is no shortage of things to do on the island, and I believe there is something for everyone. Depending on the person/group, you can take it at your own pace. Our group hiked up the mountain that was nearby, which revealed a breathtaking view of BOTH the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean on both sides of the island. We hiked over to a different bay and enjoyed a full afternoon swimming in the waves, snorkelling, talking/laughing/drinking with the locals, and just lying in the sand with a book. We walked up the village and really got a sense of what the local people lived like, and snuck a peek at some of the trees/plants (pomegranate trees, beans, coconut, mango, lime). We hiked up a 5-tier waterfall through the jungle and were surrounded by all different types of trees and plants I have never seen before. We took a tour around the island and managed to stop by different beaches, tasted delicious soup, bought doubles from a truck, went to a cute little local bakery, saw a steel drum competition at a high school, stopped by a medicine man who grew his own herbs and dried his own cocoa beans, got handmade ice cream, and stopped by a man who carved different crafts out of wood.

    On the accommodations itself, we practiced yoga every morning, where Nirala guided us through a yoga session. With the gentle ocean breeze, the sun creeping up the horizon, the sound of waves crashing, and the exotic birds that came to watch us every day, it was such a unique experience that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. I have been going to Nirala’s yoga classes for the past 2.5 years, and she is very experienced and talented. She knows how to push her students to challenge themselves, and has a sharp eye for form. The yoga is more instructional in nature, meaning that she encourages us to pay extra attention to our form during the practice, and she will help you correct your form so that you are stretching/working the correct muscles. The yoga is also taken at your own pace, and Nirala gives different modifications so you can do the poses correctly to the best of your ability.

    There was also daily meditation after dinner, which our group was especially fond of. Nirala has a soft meditative voice which is perfect for guided meditation. She teaches us about what yoga is, and what it means to be present. We were guided through different types of meditation, including aromatherapy and using mantras during our practice.

    Going on this yoga retreat was the experience of a lifetime. We all joke that we are all going to go back, so book it before the 6 of us do again! You won’t regret it.

  9. I experienced my first yoga retreat in February 2020. This was one of my favourite vacations. I get so excited when I tell people about it because it was AMAZING for so many reasons.
    The accommodations were perfect. A cozy cottage set atop the hillside overlooking the ocean. A wrap around deck with open doorways and wind blown curtains. The view was majestic! The island of Tobago is stunningly beautiful, everywhere I looked all week long it took my breath away. The locals are very friendly, helpful, and chill.
    We started every morning with coffee on the deck absorbing the sounds and sights of our beautiful panorama. (Lots of roosters, peacocks, and other birds)
    Then morning yoga either on the beach or on the deck overlooking the ocean. Followed by breakfast on the deck…..and the food!!! Omgosh the food was SO delicious (if you are a picky eater then stay home). All fresh fish, vegetables and fruit, and the flavours were amazing. I wish I could convince my teenagers to eat this way all the time 🙂
    We had the day to explore, hike, swim, snorkel, relax, Nirala took us on two absolutely fantastic tours! Everyday we had a delicious dinner on the deck, and our group always shared the most enjoyable conversations. Followed up by evening yoga and meditation. And the sound of the ocean during our evening relaxation was fabulous!
    Nirala was so great at adapting her yoga instruction to our various levels of ability (or lack thereof. Lol). She always encouraged us to relax deeper into every pose, but also to listen to our bodies. She is a gracious host with a kind, sweet, calm disposition.
    This retreat was the perfect mix of delicious healthy food, exercise (love those hills!), breathtaking scenery, yoga, friendship, laughter, relaxation, beautiful beaches, meditation, and a beautiful culture.
    I came back feeling revitalized and relaxed. I think about the retreat daily and cannot wait to go again!

  10. Find a place that brings on calm, satisfies your adventurous spirit, allows you to be with some of your most favorite people and connect with others that you now consider family. It’s a tall order for a vacation but fulfilled in full ! This was the most amazing experience and yoga retreat I could have hoped for! From the moment we landed, every detail was attended to. The spectacular accommodations, to an indescribable view off of our beautiful private balcony. Waking every morning to the sounds of island music floating through the hills and roosters doing their part to encourage the sun to rise. The food – delectable. I agree with Karen. If you prefer to order off of a menu, sit up to a swim up bar or eat lots of meat, then please stay home! Has been a few weeks since our return and I still find it difficult to try to describe to others to the depth that it deserves what this week has meant to me. I will return. Thank you Nirala – and Tobago! Was incredible!

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