Curated Expert Retreats

Vana , India
Exclusive to Healing Holidays

Experience a selection of curated retreats and programmes between May to October at Vana. The programmes, for the most part, can be done alongside your usual wellness treatments except a few which will require prior sign up. These fixed date retreats will be based on wisdom, arts, music, cuisine, literature and learning. Most programmes will run for 5 days and will begin either in the afternoon or evening of day 1 and finish by lunch on the last day. These programmes are optional and you can still visit Vana for one of their standard retreat types of Vana Ashram, Wellness and Lifestyle during the May-October period.  

Sharing from £0.00£0.00 pp
Singles from £0.00£0.00 pp

Pre register to attend these curated retreats from May - October for 5 days

5 Days

Date: Wednesday 1st May - Monday 6th May 2019

Ode to the Guru is a specially curated retreat, as a homage to the masters of wisdom, the people of charisma and weighty words. In India, across diverse geographies and ethnicities, the Guru is celebrated in literature and song. More than just a teacher, the Guru dispels the darkness and shows us the light. Through the program, we will explore the compassionate teachings of many masters, and explore their wisdom through songs, chants, film screenings and conversations to help deepen our knowledge and wellbeing.


The retreat will commence from the early evening of May 1st with some interactions and a formal musical invocation to 'Ode to the Guru'. Each day will be dedicated to a genre of traditional musical form, inspired by Guru-Shishya (Teacher-Disciple) tradition, including Sufism, Kabir Folk, Dhrupada, Gurbani, Tibetan Chants, Bhajans. The sessions will begin from the afternoon and include learning about music genre via discussions and facilitated conversations. Few videos and movies would also be screened to make learning more immersive. The evenings will pay homage to the tradition in the form of a devotional musical recital.

About the Artists

Our artist friends facilitating this retreat are amongst the keepers of a boundless oral knowledge embedded in the traditions of various religions or indigenous wisdom. These would include Dhruv Sangari, a Sufi practitioner and musician who will perform an ode to the Sufi saints, and share his wisdom about the origins of Qawwali, an indigenous musical art form of South Asia. We will also have in residence Anant Gundecha, a young keeper of the centuries-old temple music of North India, Dhrupada. He will begin with a lecture demonstration on the form and guide us through intimate musical sessions through the course of the retreat.

Practical Points

  • The retreat will begin from the early evening of May 1st, so you must arrive by lunch
  • To gain immersive benefit from this retreat, we suggest attending all the sessions
  • You can be part of this retreat while being on any of our regular retreats of Vana Ashram, Vana Wellness or Vana Lifestyle
  • This retreat will also be available for a few non-residents, including our friends and Vana Foundation Sangha members.
5 Days

Wednesday 7th May - Monday 13th May 2019   |   Wednesday 8th May - Monday 13th May 2019 

Wednesday 7th Aug - Monday 12th Aug 2019   |    Wednesday 4th Sep - Monday 9th Sep 2019

Each one will be led by different practitioners to give each a new and different flavour. The Silent Retreat in May will be facilitated by Jamyang Choden and Rinzin Wangmo, both of them are Buddhist practitioners and students of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. As Jetsunma Khandro Rinpoche recently said at a Talk in Vana, "It is silence and non-thought that will help us arrest the incessant movement of our mind, speech and actions."

What is a Silent Retreat

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche; "Ideally the ultimate retreat is to retreat from the past and the future, to always remain in the present." Adding the term as well as the action "silent" to the retreat, thereby "silent retreat" = Cutting through our habitual pattern of indulging in entertaining ourselves and applying antidote by trying to apply mindfulness to our thoughts and actions by speaking only when necessary, refraining from socialising or obvious entertainment. Or in other words, trying not to be distracted all the time.

It's Benefits

Usually, our time is occupied with thoughts and plans, distracted all the time. It's like muddy water. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche: "It lets the muddy water settle down" and at the mundane level, "How we react to situations change. What was important to us is not important anymore. What wasn't important to us becomes important."

By seeing things from a different perspective, expectations are reduced therefore less selfishness, therefore less stress, therefore more clam, more understanding, more compassion, more generosity in every sense.


This immersive 5-night retreat will begin on Wednesday, 8th May with an evening session at 6:00 pm followed by dinner. Therefore, please arrive by the early afternoon of 8th for you to settle in before the first session. The next 4 full days will have an immersive schedule as below:

Time                 Session

07:00 - 8:00    Sitting Meditation

08:00 - 9:00    Breakfast

09:00 - 12:00   Sitting and Walking Meditation

12:00 - 13:00    Lunch

13:00 - 15:00    Rest

15:00 - 17:00    Sitting and Walking Meditation

17:00 - 19:00    Rest

19:00 - 20:00   Dinner

20:00 - 21:00   Video Screening

The retreat will conclude on Sunday 13th May with the same schedule as above till lunch.


Source of the retreat will be based on Buddhism and inspired by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's teachings and books. The retreat will be practice-oriented, with some audio and video instructions on meditation. The sessions will include techniques like sitting meditation, with few minutes of absolutely no movement sitting to help us break through our habit of applying the antidote to our 'discomfort' or boredom. While the retreat will be primarily silent, the retreat leaders will be facilitating mindful interactions during the breaks.

Practical Points

  • The Retreat must be attended in its entirety
  • To respect the immersive nature of this retreat, you must book your retreat under Vana Ashram and not Vana Wellness and Vana Lifestyle, as the schedule allows time for one treatment a day

Healing holidays were able to match me to Vana as a result of careful listening to my needs. Often hard to articulate, even though a seasoned destination spa healing holidays customer, this time my holiday needs where different.

I wasn't "on my knees" physically and emotionally exhausted in the same way I have been pre Kamalya in December. However I was searching for a place to prevent this, develop my early belief in meditation key to thriving in my busy corporate job, and to secure a deeper connection with my self-confidence and focus for the future. I knew that the Ayurvedic diet suited me for improved energy but also didn't want to trade off pure Ayurvedic ways in India with a lack of comfort and luxury.

On arrival to Vana, I felt truly handpicked to be part of the experience. The assault on the senses from travelling via Delhi was quickly left at the main entrance of Vana.

The entrance to Vana, you later come to realise, is so far from from the areas that you spend your days, it was designed to scoop up all the unwanted emotions, thoughts and feelings as you arrive, and gently let them evaporate away into the Himalayas as part of the Vana service!

During my 9 nights I've never experienced such incredible, discrete-elegance, perfection and deeply authentic guest-centric care, compassion and hospitality.

You immediately find the slowest gear you didn't think you possess, and are encouraged to flow with the melody of Vana. Strictly no phones, careful volume control and placement of your conversations mean that you and your fellow guests forget about invasion of each other's space, technology, cross fertilisation of life's junk on each other.

The purity of the Spanish designed estate, puts Vana into its own league. It feels like you are the first to use everything, like no one else has been before you, anywhere.

Surrounded by perfect green trees, immaculate gardens you have no option but to be mindful throughout your days. I would encourage you to do the Eco trail walk into the Himalayas, not only to experience the landscape like no other but for the deep connection and spiritual influence it may have on you. It's a time to lock down all that you have practiced and promised during your days at the Vana Estate.

Pre-thinking your Ayurvedic consultation will give you more than you could hope for. At the very least you will be in peace of mind that the final agenda is truly personalised, with the perfect food, treatments and the way you spend your days is worked to respond every little niggle in your head about your health and wellbeing. Be ready to have repeat treatments and try new experiences. The blend of the Tibetan, Ayurvedic and more well known spa treatments will deeply rebalance you. Some more luxury, some more functional, but each with rituals and carefully mastered traditions by the amazing (handpicked) practitioners, who all show compassion and care.

I've made connections with myself that are sustainable, I've connected with 5 people around the world who shared the space with me at Vana. This is helpful to reaffirm what you learnt and practiced weeks later. I have left fear and anxiety behind and breath better than I've ever done.

A true investment in your long term wellness. I'm back next year and have achieved more in my 7 weeks post-Vana than for the last 3 years in my life, thanks to letting go to unwanted energy and maintaining habits from Vana that I now couldn't live without. 

Vana is a life experience, part of your life's journey. 

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"After the point of sale - up until I paid for the holiday - all was great and then it was like I was deserted: I was told that I would be sent the package with all information necessary for the trip but instead I had to ask for the itinerary and note about the airport transfers etc. The airport transfer 'service' provided in my first airport transfer was not good and there was no provision made for a transfer service on my return."
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