BESTFIT headed to the Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, to take part in their bespoke YogaCoreCycle programme. Leara Gabay visited the eco-friendly lodge to reboot her mind, body and soul
The YogaCoreCycle programme contains three main elements; yoga with meditation and breath work, core and strength conditioning and cycle-based fitness classes. With this carefully constructed programme, Samahita are able to offer a relaxing holiday along with a schedule of classes designed to work on the mind, body and breath of each participant.
Yoga, breath work and meditation
All of the classes are optional and so you are able to pick and choose which to take part in. By following the programme, we were able to gain a good understanding of how it had been designed and how each class compliments one
There are four yoga and meditation classes held per day, all of the centred flow yoga classes are based on classical yoga practice. The first yoga class of the day focuses mainly on breath work; this class serves to gently wake up the mind and body and focus on breathing techniques which will be utilised for the duration of the day. Within this time, you are given the opportunity to reflect on where you are mentally and physically, consider all that you are grateful for and reflect on any issues you may be disconnecting from at home. As many of us lead such fast paced, work-orientated lives, this really did feel like a luxury to us and helped to perfectly set the tone for the rest of
The following two yoga classes (one morning, one late afternoon) focus on sun salutations, foundation standing and balancing postures, all while linking breath with movement. The morning class is more centred on dynamic flow yoga, while the afternoon class, the final class of the day, is for more restorative purposes. All of the classes are small and intimate and the instructors are able to pay close attention and help guide each individual based on their needs and abilities. Time is also allocated each day for self practice in a private studio, with the option of assistance from any of the instructors.
After dinner in the evening, all guests are invited to a meditation class. This session perfectly rounds up a day well spent on self-care and sunbathing. As with all of the classes, a different teacher guides this class every day. The beauty of this is that every day you are taught a new meditative technique. People connect with meditation in very different ways and lots of people find it difficult to initially get to grips with it in practice, so it’s a great opportunity to be lead through different methods. Some teachers used tools such as candles or gongs to focus our attention, while others just their voices to stimulate relaxing visualisations. Each class offered a satisfying, new experience, each one effective in a different way.
Core and strength training
The equal focus on fitness and strength training really sets this apart from other yoga retreats. Anyone who has tried to do even so much as a plank in a beginner’s yoga class knows the vital importance of a strong core! Every day, a different afternoon class is held that combines functional fitness with strength and core work. During our stay, different instructors utilised resistance bands, TRX equipment, medicine balls, weights, balance balls and body weight training to challenge strength and endurance.
Cycle and cardio exercise
What makes this course truly unique is the addition of cardiovascular exercise in the form of cycle classes. Two contrasting cycle sessions are held each day. The first is a 7am silent cycle; the doors to the cycle studio are opened wide onto the beach front, enabling guests to enjoy the peaceful sunrise while waking up the cardiovascular system. The second class is held after the core session in the afternoon and this one is extremely high energy and high intensity, with the music turned up to the highest volume.
A personal highlight for us came after a particularly hot and sweaty HIIT workout, when the instructor kick-started our cool down by blasting out the Whitney Houston classic ‘I Have Nothing’. Every person in the studio, physically exhausted from the class, with literally nothing else to give, began to belt out the ballad in unison. A brilliantly funny experience for all of us involved and I’m sure for anyone else in the local vicinity who no doubt heard us too!
The food at Samahita is natural, fresh and delicious; they use local produce to create healthy Thai style food. They refer to dining at the retreat as ‘Sattva’, this is a Sanskrit term that means pure and light, and easy to digest. Three meals are served daily, with fruit and snacks available throughout the day and fresh fruit and vegetable juices made to order at the juice bar.
Breakfast consisted of fresh exotic fruit, homemade yoghurts, muesli, kefir, breads, pancakes etc and made-to-order eggs. Lunch and dinner varied between nutritious stir-fried vegetables, rice and grain dishes, noodles, coconut curries, soups and salads with homemade dressings and sauces.
For those enrolled on one of the detox or weight loss programmes or anyone wanting a lighter option, there are also various detoxifying options for each meal in the healthy light corner.
Samahita setting and accommodation
We stayed in a gorgeous eco-friendly apartment with a double bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom with wet room. The stay is luxurious, even down to the tiniest details such as the organic shower gel, shampoo and conditioner provided from the boutique shop on site. The staff are warm and welcoming, going above and beyond to ensure you have a comfortable stay. They do however, politely remind you not to be wasteful, and to consider the environment when using water for your shower, requesting new towels or bed sheets etc. It’s a gentle reminder to remain eco-friendly and conscious of the beautiful environment you are given the privilege to enjoy.
Additional options to add to your stay could include treatments at the on-site wellness spa, other yoga programmes and yoga teacher training.
Samahita Retreat and Spa is set on the notoriously beautiful Thai island of Koh Samui. The retreat boasts its own private beach area with white sands and crystal clear turquoise water, stretching out as far as the eye can see. It has been designed with open plan relaxation spaces, multiple eating areas and outdoor studios so that you can enjoy the picture perfect beach and private pool area all day long.