Jiva Healing, Goa, India
Admirable juice fasting and yoga retreat on Morjim Beach in Goa
Best for: Escaping a cold grey January in Western Europe
Not for: Anyone who can’t do without solid food for a few days
Healthy holiday experts Jiva Healing run juice fasting and yoga holidays each year at Devarya Wellness, a new-build, lush and lovely yoga retreat centre located directly on a deliciously long stretch of sandy beach at Morjim beach in North Goa. Come for a cleanse, good yoga, and lots of downtime for sunshine, swimming, sea and relaxation. There are two beautiful swimming pools, one of which is salt water, and the warm waters of the Arabian Sea are right on your doorstep.
Being able to detox somewhere reliably warm where you can hear the ocean waves from your room at night makes the process far easier.
There can be up to three groups doing yoga at Devarya Wellness at any one time, but your retreat will have its own separate spaces and the place is so spacious and comfortable that it shouldn’t present any problems.
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Hosted by Canadian nutritionist Rebecca Andrist, your week mixes a proper, well managed juice fast with healthy eating and nutrition classes, supportive yoga and downtime to sunbathe, swim and have treatments.
You will cleanse during your week with organic fruit and vegetable juices, and barley grass and vegetable broth, full of all the vitamins and minerals you need to nurture your body. Detoxifying herbs help shift things, and psyllium husks provide cleansing bulk and help stave off physical hunger. Self-administered enemas are done daily to help the body to eliminate toxins during the fasting process – explanations are easy to follow and the team will support you if you have never done this before.
Healthy eating and nutrition classes throughout the week will teach you how to put together meals that will be healthy, satisfying and fun to make after you’ve finished your cleanse so you can continue the good work back home. You will learn about macro-nutrient balance, high-antioxidant foods, times of the day for optimal digestion and assimilation, how stress affects digestion and why it’s important to relax while eating. Common allergens in foods and how to avoid them, and how to balance blood sugar, are also covered.
Daily yoga to support the cleansing process takes place morning and evening – there is a more dynamic class of 90 minutes in the morning, and a more restorative class in the evenings for 60 minutes around sunset. Yoga is taught by Helen Noakes, who teaches Scaravelli-inspired yoga, a revolutionary method that offers inspiring tools to deepen every style of practice and is also suitable for beginners. Focusing on how your spine moves, it helps you release tension slowly and safely and move better.
Thai Yoga Massage and a range of ayurvedic treatments are available to book (at extra cost) with hand-picked therapists. Devarya has several treatment rooms at one end of the property where these take place.
Devarya Wellness is located on a long stretch of sandy beach that is perfect for swimming and soaking up some much-needed sunshine to boost your vitamin D levels. The water is usually calm and there are no rip tides here. There are also two swimming pools, one salt water.
If you fancy some time off the beach, take a trip to see a little more of Goa, which is a lively and colourful blend of Portuguese and Indian heritage with lots of local markets and interesting sites. Named a World Heritage Status by UNESCO, beautiful Old Goa town has several centuries-old monasteries, churches and cathedrals that are worth a visit.
Bedrooms: There are 11 Chakra Suites, all airy, vibrant, filled with natural light and tastefully decorated to reflect the elements of nature and the chakras of the human body. The design vibe is a mix of traditional Goan heritage and Rajasthani royalty, and all rooms have an ensuite bathroom, a private balcony, comfortable beds, spacious cupboards, fresh linen, a ceiling fan, an air conditioner and a mosquito net on request. For extra luxury, book one of two Royal Villas.
Other spaces to be: Devarya Wellness is located directly on a very long stretch of beach in North Goa where you can walk for several kilometres in either direction so there is plenty of space to escape to if you want to be alone. There are also two swimming pools and four yoga shalas to hang out in and some beautiful gardens with loads of tropical plants.
The weather is great at this time of year in Goa so you won’t need to bring much apart from yoga clothes, a few swim suits and one or two long sleeved tops for the late evenings. If you want to come early, or stay on, after your juice fasting week, you can often book extra nights direct with Devarya or any of the other lovely beach hotels nearby.
When to Go
Jiva Healing’s retreat in January is a perfect time to get away after the Christmas and New Year rush and relax, unwind and detox in the sunshine. The weather is ideal: not terribly hot and never cold. Warm sunny days are great for being on the beach, swimming and sunbathing, and in the evenings you may need to wear long sleeves after 9 p.m. and even use a small blanket at night.
Devarya has several eating and drinking areas, one overlooking the beach and the others just across the quiet beach road, but Jiva Healing’s group will have their juices, soups and supplements in a quiet area set aside especially for them.
The menu will be a juice fasting menu so a variety of juices will be consumed along with fresh young coconut water and turmeric and wheatgrass shots. A large selection of herbal teas is available at all times and a vegetable broth is served every evening.
Some fruits and vegetables come from the retreat garden, where everything is grown organically and without any pesticides or herbicides, while the bulk comes from a local permaculture farm.
Devarya uses local villagers for most of its staff needs, and is creating a charity to work with local NGOs to help protect the environment of the local beach and the sea turtles that nest at one end.
Airport: Dabolim, Goa
Transfer time: 75 minutes