AN IMPERFECT YOGI ON RETREAT
Updated: Jan 8
Finding yoga in the hills
I had the privilege of being invited to join the Equus team on their annual weekend getaway. So I journeyed with Swapan and Sreya Seth and their colourful, quirky brood to the fabulous Sitla Estate in Uttarakhand.
We boarded the Shatabdi from New Delhi to Kathgodam, briefly romancing the Indian countryside, and then proceeded onwards by car, wrapping our way around the hills till we arrived at Sitla, sleep deprived, rumpled, but bright eyed.
My first view of the Sitla Estate was of a beautiful, country-style cottage, complete with white walls and sloping roofs. In front of it was a stunning sit-out, crafted from stone and cushioned for comfort. But what blew me away was the view of the forest.
We were welcomed warmly by Vikram Maira, who is as charming and earthy as the place he calls home. And our hungry tummies were immediately treated to a simple but sumptuous lunch of rice, channa curry, veggies and salad.
Sitla Estate is a home stay. And it is as familiar and inviting as home. There is a lounge room, filled with books and cosy corners to read them in. The living room has couches and armchairs that are easy to sink into. And the dining room, flanked by beautiful Tibetan Thangkas, was laid to perfection.
My room had a rustic charm. It was comfortable, homely. I sank into the beautiful wooden bed, that could have been one I’d slept in for years.
Meal times at Sitla have a certain ceremony about them, whether they are sit-down dinners or buffet style lunches. Every dish, ever plate, is made with love. Both in terms of flavour and presentation. Unsurprisingly, we overate at every meal.
One of the highlights of our trip was the jungle hike Vikram Maira took us on. We walked, slipped and skidded our way through virgin forest, our human trails punctuated with narrow and sometimes heart-stoppingly unsteady ‘game’ paths. We caught glimpses of local birds and fauna. It was 3 hours of Animal Planet live, and experiencing a world where there's no place for things such as sunglasses and cell phones.
My post hike soreness was soothed away with a glorious massage. The wellness therapies are a new addition to the Sitla Estate offerings and worth indulging in.
I would wake up early to yoga. Just me, some sunshine, the birds and my mat. There is something about breathing, stretching and meditating in a place like this that just fits.
There is balance everywhere at Sitla Estate. Of sunshine and breeze. Of silence and sound. Of country and city. Of comfort and effort.
Some places are great for yoga. And some places ARE yoga. Sitla Estate is the latter.
For more information on Sitla Estate and to book yourself a getaway, visit www.sitlaestate.com