by Suzi Overell

Samata Holistic Retreat Center, Goa

A soothing and holistic Ayurvedic retreat, peacefully tucked away from the bustle of Northern Goa, India.

Absolute Highlight

The pure serenity, with the spacious and lush gardens and protected Yoga Shalas. Samata is a deep contrast to the everyday experience of the streets of India. Quiet, protected, clean and calming, walking into Samata is literally like taking a deep breath of fresh air.

In a nutshell

No. of rooms
20 rooms, double or twin share.
The design aesthetic is...
exotic Indian shala.
The typical guest is...
Yogi / retreat goer / seeker of health, wellness, restoration and relaxation.
The sustainability features (ie. plastic free, recycling, green wall, garden) are...
at the very heart of Samata’s operation, starting with the restoration and permaculture of the surrounding land that was heavily damaged after years of chemical farming. Samata supports the local community by employing villagers to work in the organic gardens and the ingredients are used to create nourishing vegetarian ayurvedic meals for guests. Samata also funds the Dunagiri Foundation, dedicated to protecting Himalayan Plant Medicines.
The location is...
in North Goa, India.
Interaction is encouraged by....
a comprehensive retreat schedule, including Yoga, movement, workshops, shared meals and a luscious pool surrounded by rich green gardens, ideal for relaxing, laying back and chatting with guests.
You should stay here because
it’s the perfect escape to nourish your soul, deeply relax and unwind. Samata means Balance in Sanskrit, and this place is the ideal setting for just that, restoring inner-balance. Here you can take a break from the hustle and reconnect to the self.
What took you there?

My yoga teacher, Banyan Gallagher, was hosting a Yoga Teacher Training at Samata. This training was the primary reason for my visit.

What was your room like?

Rustic shala vibes, with a high wooden-shafted ceiling, mosquito nets draping over the beds and a granite stone-based ensuite with a full bathtub.

Samata offers private, twin-share and larger rooms for up to four guests. Another Yogi and I opted for a twin-share room, the layout was simple with two double beds draped with mosquito nets (very necessary), wooden cabinets and space to store luggage and hang clothing beside both beds. There was more than enough space for our luggage, and sufficient floor space for us both to lay out our Yoga mats and do some private practice outside the retreat schedule.

For me, the highlight of the room was its ensuite, with the granite stone basin, bathtub and earthy shower set-up. I spent a lot of downtime soaking it all in with a book and a cup of tea in the bathtub. Our bathroom was inside, but some rooms had outdoor ensuites (the added luxury of bathing in nature, with the potential downside of exposure to critters and the elements).

What about the venue

Samata is a genuine retreat – clean, tranquil, and rustic. The epitome of shoestring luxury. Samata is beautiful without being overstated and leads by example with a strong sense of environmental and social responsibility.

The architecture is open and the whole experience at Samata is very connected to nature**. I especially loved the early morning practice in the Yoga Shala, breathing the crisp air, hearing the birds chirp and experiencing the dawn shift into daylight.

In between the retreat schedule, I would laze on one of the daybeds or soak up the sun and swim in the luxurious pool.

The communal dining space at Samata is much more than just a place to eat. In the ancient healing science of Ayurveda, what you eat and how you eat is fundamental to overall health. The kitchen at Samata is founded on Ayurveda, and each plant-based meal is consciously curated to harness balance in the body and nourish the soul. Each meal specifically incorporates the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent), which create exceptionally delicious and satiating meals. I found my cravings for coffee or post-dinner sweets significantly lessened!

Aside from the flavour sensations, my favourite thing about mealtime was how the local female chefs would describe (in English) the health rationale behind the herbs and ingredient combinations in each meal. Samata is genuinely committed to sharing the wisdom to empower its guests to integrate this into their lives beyond the retreat.

** Note: Samata exists deep in nature and is designed to provide guests an opportunity to experience the elements. While this is especially appealing to some, the rawness and exposure to all that nature brings can be challenging for some guests.

If you’re ready to get closer to nature, my top tips for staying comfortable include using the mosquito nets, burning coils, applying insect repellent and being careful not to leave any food or rubbish in the room. Bring an open mind – Samata is in India, and while it is definitely luxury it’s not a 5-star western hotel experience.

Tell us about the destination

Goa is a hotspot in India for local beach-goers, global tourists and western hippies. There are mirco-groups of tourist and expat communities that cluster along the stretch of the Goan beaches. Samata is close to Arombol Beach, which is in North Goa and considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. Arbombol hosts a spiritual, hippie crowd with delights including Yoga, cacao, ecstatic dance, vegan food and kombucha. Many Western soul-seekers have landed here and never left, and this is reflective of the businesses, cafes and parties that operate along this section of the Goan coastline.

Who did you meet there?

Cool yogis, young and old, from around the world, (but mostly from Canada, USA and Australia). I also met a number of resident practitioners, world class therapists and experts in Acupuncture, Massage and Ayurvedic Health.

Goa, India
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Surrounding Activities

Ecstatic Dance

Dance it out under the giant Banyan Tree, at the weekly Ecstatic Dance The Source Arambol

The Source Arambol

The Love Temple

Feast, relax and enjoy the live music at the cafe at The Love Temple. Here you’ll find genuinely good and clean food at reasonable prices.

The Love Temple

Arambol Open Mic

Enjoy the musical talent from around the world at the Arambol Open Mic

Arambol Open Mic