Adannaya Nzeogu United States
January 2018, BookMeditationRetreats
I loved how brilliant the instructors were. they genuinely wanted to help me through all the poses and make sure I was safe while doing it! they both have great personalities and it was very easy to feel like I had known them for a long time and not just a week!
the only thing I wish they did was a bike tour of the town. I think that would have been a fun activity!
Alex Duncan United Kingdom
Casa Om sits about 200 meters away from the beach in Puerto Morelos, a quieter town between Cancun and Playa deal Carman in the Mexican gulf. The property, purposefully remodeled for yoga, is attended to by Jorge, Lerika and Melissa, who are friendly and helpful and do everything they can to make you feel at home. Yayo the chef and his team prepare the most wonderful breakfasts and dinners and serve them under the Palapa (thatched roof) at the top of the property. The food is vegetarian with some fish, and might be inspired by Mexican, Italian or middle eastern cuisine. There are fresh juices at both meals and breakfast might have eggs or beans alongside generous helpings of fresh fruit. If you like a little heat the chili is never far away. Yayo's food is so good that when we had the 'opportunity' to eat out on his night off, the resounding view was that we'd sooner be eating Yayo's. More than one of my fellow yogis took home a copy of his recipes, in a small book for USD 20.
The accommodation at Casa Om ranges from double en-suite rooms to dormitory style (I got lucky as the only single male and had a room to myself). All the rooms have with air conditioning and ceiling fans as well as access to fridges and coffee machines. There is an endless supply of delicious drinking water. A large enclosed sitting area occupied the second floor, forming a great social space later in the evening when it is too cool to sit upstairs. The property is decorated with Buddhist, Sikh and Mexican art. There is a small swimming pool (ideal after practice cool-down!) and a fish pond with a resident Terrapin and a small lounging area behind.
The yoga studio is on the third floor. It has capacity for about 40, with mirrors along the front wall and windows to the rear and right hand side. The studio uses propane heaters to produce heat and the sun also provides direct warmth in the morning and late afternoon. The floor is concrete with a wood-effect vinyl which works well, and there are only a couple of pillars that are thin enough not to be an obstruction. Being close to the sea makes the air heavy and ionic and the studio is very humid as a result. There are 6 ceiling fans which help to relieve the effects of this, but I still found myself sitting down more than I would in my home studio.
The property is very popular, deservedly booking up more than a year in advance. It is owned by Hargobind and Siri Om Khalsa who own the Pure Om hot yoga studios in Virginia, and they have clearly taken great care in establishing Casa Om as a premier retreat location. I joined a retreat run by Ian and Jenny from Detroit Bikram; the day after I left Mary Jarvis was arriving to run a retreat. A quick look down the list of upcoming events shows just what a wide range of studios are now using Casa Om.
The location at the edge of Puerto Morelos means that you can tailor your retreat to be truly abstemious ( ignore town and turn left on the beach) or to be more of a yoga-holiday (or holiday-with-yoga?) The beach is long and sandy, and in my experience safe to walk before dawn or after dark. Having come from the UK, it was quite natural to wake before dawn, and one of my favorite pre-practice routines was to walk on the beach as the sun came up, watching Pelicans and terns catch their breakfast. There are a few places on the beach that offer massage or alternatively you can book treatments through Casa Om. While I didn't take any treatments, the breath work and re-birthing was talked about very highly in my group, and there were also classic massages and even a workshop extolling the virtues of the kao-kao bean. If you thought that Chocolate and yoga don't mix then you've missed out on all of the medicinal benefits of the pure bean! We were fortunate enough in the last night to be led through a gong meditation by Jorge. My recommendation would be to jump at it if you get the chance - the gong amplifies the natural energy of the n overseas and penetrates deep into the body, producing a deep restorative meditation.
If you prefer a holiday-with-yoga approach then the staff at Casa OM can help with the latter by arranging a range of activities. Various of my group took part in snorkeling, Cenote visits (try zip-wiring into a Cenote in the jungle!), diving, cultural trips to the Ruins of Mayan cities of Tulum and Chichen Itza and retail therapy in Playa del Carmen or Cancun. For a more relaxed holiday there is a beach club just across the road (turn right on the beach instead of left) with chairs and umbrellas to hire and a broad range of drinks and food.
If you venture into town (10 minutes walk) you can find a range of foods with both authentic and westernized Mexican foods, pizza and pasta, a wide range of seafood and Uruguayan and Argentinian cuisine. There is a variety of cafes and bars around the village square and a number of beach bar/restaurants between Casa Om and the village square. The square itself hosts an evening market, dances for the locals, community events and entertainers. Expect to be serenaded at dinner and to tip for the privilege, and look out for the group of Mayan artists who perform a fire ceremony, and in my opinion were best of the lot.
Some of the bars and restaurants have live music. I arrived on a Saturday night and, in search of authentic Mexican, sat down in El Sabor de Mexico. I had the best shrimp Ceviche I have ever eaten and washed it down with Dos Equis. The surprise of the evening was a great blues player and his band, enthusiastically supported by ex-pat retirees and snow-birds alike.
If you want to take home something for a loved one you can find a wide range of traditional Mayan crafts (think hammocks, dream catchers, woven bags and blankets), Mexican artisan products (for example chocolate, silver jewellery and natural beauty products) and standard tourist fair such as tee-shirts and hats. I bought a hammock (I went for cotton not nylon) and a woven bag, but waited until the airport to buy a tee-shirt for my 5 year old. However, since the town is a working town there is also a Pharmacy, a doctors and a number of small supermarkets.
Personally I would put my experience in the middle of the retreat/holiday spectrum. I drank less alcohol relative to a standard holiday, took 14 classes and only ate meat on one of Yayo's nights off when we took a trip to the Argentinian restaurant. My practice improved dramatically, I feel stronger and more connected than ever before. Taking everything together, this was the most relaxing holiday I had in over three years. While I know that a good part of that is down to the people on this retreat (our group was very well balanced and I have made some wonderful and special friendships) and while I can't guarantee your group I doubt that any yogi would fail to be happy with Casa Om. I would be first to sign up with Detroit Bikram next year but unfortunately they haven't managed to get the UK half term week this time. I expect I'll be gatecrashing someone else's retreat, in the knowledge that Casa Om will provide another great vacation.
Dharma Kaur Khalsa
Casa Om website
Casa Om, thank you for providing this beautiful space and amazing food, I feel refreshed, renewed and energized. I am so grateful for this time and space. Thank you.
Casa Om website
Casa Om is the perfect place in Puerto Morelos for a Kundalini yoga retreat. The food was delicious and beautiful, full of prana. The rooms are peaceful and clean, the yoga room very nice! Most of all the staff at Casa Om are attentive, kind, sweet, strong (Saibhang) Wahe Guru!
a traveler Virginia
Went as part of our Pilates' studio retreat. Far exceeded expectations. Location in a non touristy, beautiful, Mexican beach town. Gorgeous home with well appointed rooms. Jorge and Lerika were fabulous and took care of us all. Yayo's food was healthy and tasted divine. Had wonderful Pilates sessions and CasaOm provided exceptional yoga everyday, on the beach and in the studio. When we overbooked Britta for massages during the week, they brought in Fabienne so everyone could get the massages they wanted. They were both fabulous. Everyone was so friendly and I felt truly connected to the people and the surroundings. I can't wait to go back next year!! Highly recommend as part of a group, or even going solo for a weekly retreat. It is heavenly!
a traveler Virginia
It is hard to put into words what a wonderful experience I had at Casa Om. Our Pilates studio, Studio BE Pilates, hosted an incredible retreat at Casa Om. The staff is the epitome of efficient, professional and delightful. The food is unbelievable! A great place to recharge! Can't wait until our return next year! Thank you all for the wonderful care you took of us!
Anh Lyons United States
The retreat was perfect in every way! Beautiful property, perfect location, delicious and healthy meals prepared by chef on premise, wonderful instructors, and fabulous people! I was a hesitant going on this trip by myself but I have no regrets. Everyone is so friendly and makes you feel at home. I look forward to coming back soon!
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