GUEST COMMENTS

What an amazing two weeks! We had a LOT of fun both in the Shala and outside of it. Philippa IS an amazing teacher – she pushes you in the right way and supports you when needed and is amazingly patient. She gives just the right amount of help and support allowing you to test your own boundaries. She is bothered about you as a person and has a very holistic approach to each individual. She is of course hugely knowledgable and experienced, but she is also very down to earth and certainly has a ‘work hard, play hard’ mindset. This meant that I have never laughed so much with a group of ‘strangers’ in my life – we had a great time and I have made some firm friends. It was easy, relaxed, laid back – you can absolutely be 100% yourself. If you are easy going, up for a laugh and want to work hard this is definitely the place for you. Mahesh is also a legend and with the help of some handy tips from the guests, is a brilliant cook (the food is insanely delicious, I ate my body weight on a daily basis) and he helps sets the tone for an easy and relaxed environment – he is very welcoming, thoughtful and laid back and makes you feel as though you have known him and Philippa for years, not weeks. I certainly learnt things I never expected to (like how to open a beer bottle with a spoon, as well as yoga philosophy…!)
– Alex Newton, UK
These two weeks were a proper yoga retreat, an unusual one, quite unique as a matter of fact.  First, the location is fantastic, authentic, and food is just delicious. Everything comes together beautifully and one feels welcome, comfortable, at ease in such a friendly atmosphere (from conversations, movies, music, yoga). Visiting the tea factory and Hassan area were a really nice plus, as I didn’t expect we would get to see ‘the outside’. A big thank you to Mahesh, for entertaining us and being such a genuinely lovely host and a great cook! Then, yoga… I found the shala perfect, such an inspiring place. I never thought I would be able to practise ashtanga with a view of the outdoors, feeling the surroundings but it worked really well, I loved it. Philippa, you are simply stunning, with bright teaching skills, constantly demonstrating poses, switching from primary to intermediate to advanced, as well as adjusting everyone, and basically pushing everyone’s limits.  PJ Harvey (forever the best!) said that writing music is like a muscle, it needs to work out as such, it is about constant practise. That is probably why I also was attracted to ashtanga in the first place, that idea of being in control and creating something out of regular practise. To me you took it further when you said ‘it’s all there’, I eventually got to understand what you meant and what I was looking for. It is indeed all there, you made it obvious. In short, the retreat encompasses all that a yogi and ashtangi can possibly wish for (at least to me!) – the strong practise with an exceptional teacher and the surroundings. You share your passion and it is contagious. I’m still on a journey with ashtanga but I feel privileged and lucky I was part of this retreat, all the more so as I’m only in Primary, which may be a bit boring for such an advanced teacher. I hope that somehow you get that fulfilling and thrilling feeling as much as we do.
– Elise Balme, France
I had the best time ever at Nirvrta! The combination of the best Ashtanga teacher Philippa Asher, best chief cook and talented photographer Mahesh and the wild nature of Western Ghats, guarantees it to be the best Ashtanga yoga retreat. I love it, of course!  Don’t hesitate to go there! 
– Katrin Bazanowska, Czech Republic
I visited Ashtanga Nirvrta this past March and words cannot describe what a great experience it was!  When we drove up Philippa and Mahesh greeted us with big hugs and from that moment on, it felt like I was staying at a home away from home.   The estate is a little piece of heaven, located in a remote area surrounded by coffee plants and untamed nature, the perfect place to connect with all aspects of the Ashtanga yoga practice.   This beautiful scenery is made even more enjoyable when accompanied by an amazing meal created by Mahesh himself.  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so well or so much!!!  (It’s totally OK to over indulge a bit in the tasty food, because in the morning you know you’re going to get your butt kicked by Philippa!  That woman doesn’t miss a thing!)   Which brings me to the best part of the retreat, yoga with Philippa, whom I can’t thank enough.  In two short weeks my practice changed so much, working out bad habits, finding new ways to strengthen and open, focusing on proper alignment, and most of all being reminded that yoga goes beyond asana.  I was given a chance to reconnect with myself and my practice and for that I’m very grateful.  Philippa your love and commitment to the practice is truly inspiring and I strive to bring that kind of joy with me to my mat every day.  You are doing a beautiful job carrying on Guruji’s legacy.  Thanks again to Philippa and Mahesh, I will definitely be returning!  
– Breanna Baranec, Canada
The biggest thank you to Philippa and Mahesh for having me these past two weeks. I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more – really great bunch of people, environment, structure of days, food (obviously!!!!), and above all – teaching! Thank you for all your help and efforts (and humour), I really had such a wonderful time.
– Freya Twigden, UK
I enjoyed my stay at NIRVRTA, Philippa’s classes and workshops were excellent, well structured and I’ll take so much away with me. The food Mahesh was just fab! I will miss this place in nature and being full of JOY, thank you!
– Chantal Kreiliger, Switzerland
The two weeks at Ashtanga Nirvrta were absolute bliss for me. Philippa and Mahesh have created a little piece of heaven in South India. The location is absolutely stunning surrounded by coffee plantations, bush and birds. I never tired of sitting outside enjoying the view in the sunshine. Everyday I was treated to the most amazing sattvic South Indian cooking. It’s worth the trip just for the food. Then of course there is Philippa, who is a very experienced and highly knowledgeable Ashtanga yoga teacher. She is incredibly passionate about the practice and beautifully honours the integrity of Guruji’s teachings. The whole experience was an absolute delight and I am looking forward to the next trip already. 
– Nea Ferrier, Australia
What is there not to love about Ashtanga Nirvrta! I loved being there and learned so much. Such a lovely group of people coming together to share a wonderful experience. Philippa Asher is a fantastic teacher and has given me such insight into my future practice, constantly reminding us to deepen our awareness and believe in ourselves. So much learning, laughter and kindness. Mahesh is one in a million! He has a fantastic sense of humour and is very generous in everything he does. The food he created was so good and gave us the nourishment we needed.
– John Jinson, Bangalore
My time at Nirvrta was very special. Special because it was authentic.  Authenticity today is hard to find.  Nirvrta is just as you describe it on the website, as you hoped it would be.  Philippa and Mahesh have achieved what they set out to do – which is quite amazing in itself.  The buildings, the interiors, the found and collected objects, the food, the shala space, the garden, the outdoor kitchen, the surrounding landscape, the nearby village neighbours – all honest and interesting.  There is no pretence, no special frills or performance.  The space is open, comfortable and welcoming.  Philippa – your rigorous approach, professionalism, in depth knowledge and admiration for the Ashtanga system made it a privilege to spend two weeks in a small group under your guidance.  “Hands, feet, try again … Execute the perfect alignment of tristhana and the posture will reveal itself.”  Importantly your kindness and respect for all of us individually, both in the Shala and out, was a humbling experience.  I hope you have many many years of pleasure and joy from what you have created at Nirvrta.
– Janis Baskind, South Africa
Thank you so much for everything Philippa – the last two weeks were a true treat. I feel incredibly lucky! Mahesh, it’s hard to find food anywhere near as good as your cooking!
– Emilie Atkinson, UK
My experience at Nirvrta has been exceptional in many ways. I was looking for a break from my busy life and at the same time, improve my yoga practice. Here I found a highly professionally-run homestay. The accommodation is perfect and the food fantastic. Mahesh runs the retreat in an impeccable manner. However … the yoga experience is the highlight! Philippa’s knowledge and ability to teach is truly impressive and I feel honoured to be able to learn from her. I will treasure this memory and apply what I have earned to my everyday practice. Precious, precious experience – thanks!
– Francesca Pellicano, Italy
Thanks for all your encouraging support and am trying to remember all you have taught me over the two weeks; “relax the butt” remains high on the list! I had a great time and hoping to be able to come back next year. Missing the yummy food so much.
– Yin Lam, China
It has been an eye opener, two weeks of practice and fantastic people gathered together to share yoga, space and loads of laughter. Really appreciate your tips and adjustments which made so much more sense for certain asanas. It’s helped immensely to see the practice in a new light – a kinder, less strenuous, but still strong one 😊
Alexandra Antsugai, Belarus
Thank you for the most amazing time. Loved every minute and it’s the ideal place to practise yoga, eat great food and hang out with with like-minded souls. This is an undiscovered gem and you’re doing a top job. I leave feeling refreshed and recharged and hope to be back soon. Pure dead brilliant!
– Jane McAteer, Scotland
Beyond all expectations with two fabulous hosts, treating us all like part of the family. Food was mind-blowing, tasty and nutritious. Chef Mahesh read our minds and prepared delicious vegan snacks and deserts. The whole vibe was very friendly and I felt at home from day one. Philippa is a fabulous, very thoughtful teacher, helping me every day to deepen my practice and understand my body. Not a regular retreat, but a life-changing experience, with lots of wisdom, laughter and putting myself back to gather again. Thank you Mahesh and Philippa, love you loads!
– Kristina Nagyova, Slovakia
I arrived feeling like a rather grey elephant and after two weeks at Nirvrta I feel lighter, with a spring in my step and my head held higher. I’ve learned so much from you Philippa. You not only know about the practice, but also how it applies and works for others and most importantly how to help them to find the practice for themselves. I watched a really great midwife work with different women, having really different birth experiences, in different ways. She truly worked to empower the women to find the strength within themselves to give birth. What you do in teaching Ashtanga is very similar – it maybe releasing a muscle, or making a muscle work; it maybe releasing an emotion long-held, or accessing an emotion that gives the courage or strength to go further, deeper and unlock more. It worked for me and I know how hard you’ve worked these last two weeks for our group and over the years to understand people and to create a joyful space where you can work your magic. It takes dedication and commitment, thank you!!! Mahesh, your vision and hard work in creating this space and providing the wonderful nourishing food has made life more colourful and beautiful. Thank you too!!
– Hilary Booth, UK
Thank you so much for being exceptionally lovely company!  Philippa – I am very grateful for your superb way of teaching and for sharing your knowledge so generously with us. Unforgettable experience and indeed looking forward to seeing you again soon. 
– Larisa Asprem, Russia
I spent the most wonderful two weeks with Philippa and Mahesh at their idyllic homestay NIRVRTA. They have created something truly homely and charming. It is difficult to pin down what I liked most as there was such an effortless perfection to the set up and all our activities were orchestrated with such ease and in such a carefree environment. Philippa, thank you so much for the dedication, patience, perseverance and kindness that you have shown us in your teaching. Mahesh, a big thank you for the masterful cooking you spoiled us with every day. And who could forget all the laughs we shared over our meals? Anyone whose main focus is Ashtanga taught in the traditional way and with a lot of personal attention, this is the place to be!
– Katerina Peskova, Czech Republic
Philippa and Mahesh bring ‘home’ in its true sense to Ashtanga Nirvrta. While Philippa’s extensive knowledge of Ashtanga and yoga philosophy was no surprise, her no-nonsense teaching style is really a breath of fresh air (competing only with the mountain air in Sakleshpur!) Mahesh, thank you for your patience, ideas and time. You and Sarojamma are a dream team in the kitchen, conjuring culinary delights at every meal. Thank you both for sharing your knowledge and opening your home to me.
– Rachna Sundararajan, Sudan
I had the best time – a perfect mix of work, play and great company. Your food is to die for, compliments to the chef and sous chef! You two have created something very special and I wish you continued success. Thank you for having me and treating me so very well. I will miss you and Ashtanga Nirvrta!
– Jacqueline Scott, UK
Nirvrta was my first trip to India. As a yogi who has taken practice as part of life for a few years, I had a lot of questions. I was curious as to why putting legs behind the head would bring peace to my mind. Above all, what I was looking for most, was a break from the fast-paced life I have always lived. I’m delighted to tell you why I found it all here… The teacher:  Yoga retreats can’t be a good, without a good teacher. Having heard that Philippa is one of the top teachers, spending two weeks with her I could simply see why…She is a gifted teacher. In our group we all have different levels of practice experience, age and various types of bodies. Philippa was able to tailor-make the practice to suit each of us as individuals. We were made aware of our body types, and how to work with what we have to its best. Philippa’s teaching through my eyes, is to simplify the intensive practice to suit our lifestyles. The place:  Two weeks at Nirvrta acts as a detox for everything I have ever known. Located in a small village away from the city, each morning I was awakened by the sound of birds chirping. I would either start the day having my coffee enjoying the breeze until the morning practice starts, or I would walk up the small hill for a mountain view covered in greens. Three words to sum up the place: Simple, beautiful and soul-soothing. The food:  I never thought that raw, organic, vegan food could taste this great. Using local ingredients, Mahesh was the person behind all the freshly made food and the dishes were all absolutely delicious! Two weeks of the retreat went by with lots of laughter, intensive practice, great food, fun and relaxed people. I notice a lot of changes within myself, both physically and mentally. Definitely a highly recommended place to be. 

– Nattanuch Plakornkul, Thailand
I have had such a wonderful time at Nirvrta and I am deeply grateful for this amazing experience. I have learned so much from you Philippa – you have opened a new level in my Ashtanga Practice (physically and mentally) – thank you so much!!
– Nina Servatius, Germany
I really appreciated my time working with you Philippa, such an amazing teacher with so many tricks and tips 🙂
– Andrea Gutierrez, USA
Spending two wonderful and unforgettable weeks at Philippa and Mahesh’s retreat was a great blessing for me. From the moment I arrived I had this feeling that I’m in good hands and being taken care of. Philippa is an amazing teacher who loves to teach and share her knowledge with others with love and generosity. She helped me in a perfect way to get rid of the injury I made a year before when I was doing my self-practice. She made me confident again and believe in my ability to do my daily practice, with right alignment in order to avoid injury.  Food, rooms and atmosphere are perfect and feel like home. I just can’t wait to attend my next retreat. Thank you Philippa and Mahesh for creating such a lovely space and for sharing it with all of us.
– Arezoo Bayat, Iran
Upon arrival Philippa and Mahesh made me feel so welcome. They are the perfect hosts, introducing our group and encouraging conversation until friendships were grown. “Nirvrta” is an absolute haven with such beauty. I will miss this peaceful country retreat. The food is amazing – Mahesh’s passion for creating delicious food at every meal is a special treat. As for the yoga, Philippa’s friendly character shone through in her teaching. She is kind and encouraging, but the toughest teacher ever! Try and try again until you get it – my new mantra! Philippa has helped me so much with my practice – every posture has improved. She has boosted my confidence, taught us perseverance and broadened our minds with yoga, way beyond the asanas. It has been hard work and unbelievably rewarding. Thank you Philippa and Mahesh for a wonderful two weeks, which I will never forget.
– Jenny Laycock, Australia
I’ve been on numerous yoga retreats, holidays and workshops, but the two weeks spent at NIRVRTA with Philippa and Mahesh, are by far the best. 
Jane Donaldson, New Zealand
Yoga: I feel blessed to have Philippa Asher as my Ashtanga yoga teacher. She is born to teach, to share her knowledge with love. Her teaching is about quality and focuses on right, perfect alignment and in this way you never injure yourself. She always corrects you with a smiley face and positive energy and never gets angry or exhausted doing it. She loves to teach. She is an amazing, generous, motivational, inspirational, ecstatic teacher who knows the limit of her students and that’s incredible. Sharing her experience along with historical and philosophical talks on yoga, on top of the hill is a great idea. Sometimes she’ll ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to, yet manages to get you to answer it. WOW! Meditation at the time of sunset helps to make sense of everything in life. Thank you my dear teacher.  Homestay: To be here for two weeks is a homely feeling, with home-cooked healthy, appetising, aromatic, delicious South Indian food. Pure fresh unlimited coffee, tea and chocolates for those who love it. Thank you Mahesh and cooking team. After brunch you can rest, read books, play bowls or games like Monopoly and after dinner watch documentaries or feature films. Day off is a trip around Sakleshpur (Kadamane Tea Estate, Manjarabad Fort). The climate is wonderful. It is a heavenly experience surrounded by nature where there are trees, mountains, birds, flowers and unknown creatures everywhere. Sounds of nature and twittering in the morning, the chirps and whirs at night. The homestay experience is only possible through the tireless job of Mahesh. He works so hard to make it feel like home for the guests. Thank You Mahesh!
– Narendra Kumar, Delhi
Thank you Philippa for having opened the door to your house, heart and knowledge of Ashtanga yoga. I will keep a wonderful memory of you and I  thank you for your patience. You are undoubtedly a great teacher. So I’m very lucky to have crossed your path.
– Peggy Baudelle, Corsica
Absolutely incredible location.  Well done on finding this gem of land.  I have been on several retreats, but this is by far the most memorable.  The house is magical and we were made to feel at home as soon was we arrived.  The food is out of this world.  Thank you to the lovely ladies and Mahesh, who fed us like royalty for the last two weeks.  We have been spoiled!  As for the yoga, I cannot thank Philippa enough for being such an awesome teacher.  I have learned more than I imagined possible in such a short time.  Every morning I shall hear “straighten your arms, use your inner thighs” as I practise at my home shala in Dubai.  You are a born teacher with a passion for the ‘real’ yoga and keeping true to the tradition (which is super hard to find), so I will be ever grateful for the past two weeks.  You also gave me a kick up the arse, which was needed!  Mahesh and Philippa you have both been outstanding hosts.  I honestly could not have had a better time.  As soon as I know my holiday entitlement for next year, I’ll be back again to practise with you in 2017.  Thank you both for everything!
– Jessica Hellin, Dubai
If you’re reading this far down the comments page, maybe you’re still deciding whether to go or not go on this retreat. Why? You Go!!! There’s no decision to be made when you can immerse yourself in an idyllic safe setting; receive amazing individual tutelage (whatever level your practice); be nourished with delicious foods and leave feeling spiritually light and body refreshed. You Go! Like me, you’ll look forward to going back!!  thanks again for a wonderful experience!
– Debbie Jenkins, UK
Phil, thank you for the yoga teachings.  A door has opened for me, I feel more deeply connected with myself and my body, another layer has been revealed. I am so happy to have so much to work on until we meet again and that it feels such a natural path to walk upon. Mahesh, thank you for organising so much for us. The visit to the temples was beautiful and so much fun. Thank you for adding happiness logs on our fire every day, for the belly laughs, the wit, the spices, the photos and of course the amazing food. My head is full of bird songs, warmth, laughter, delicious smells, yoga thoughts, walks, contentment and calmness. My imagination is running wild as unleashed, fully inspired by the wonderful homestay you both have created and the kindness you have showed us all. The settings are truly magical.
– Caroline Gurney, France
It was a very pleasant experience to spend two weeks at Ashtanga Nirvrta.  Philippa and Mahesh were very warm and welcoming and treated their guests like long-time close friends and family.  Philippa is a wonderful teacher, very knowledgeable and skillful.  Her insights of the practice are great and I just adore how she uses the practice based on how Guruji taught her.  The location of Ashtanga Nirvrta is perfect. It is everything that I expected it to be: away from city life, quiet, serene, peaceful and relaxing.  I love that it is far from regular life, but still has homely comforts. The food is phenomenal. The local Indian ladies who prepare the food are the best.  The food I ate during my two weeks stay is probably the best food I have ever had. Everything about my experience at Ashtanga Nirvrta is just awesome.
– Lloyd Anthony Arandia, Philippines
Ashtanga Nirvrta is a fabulous experience.  The location is beautiful – no wonder it took them so long to find.  The weather was great and the sights and sounds of the jungle surround you all the time.  The yoga is exceptional, the workshops are deeply moving.  Our class size was small, so it was as if we each had a private 1-2-1 lesson each day for 2 weeks.  There is nowhere to hide from Philippa’s eye, she sees everything and adjusts and assists your postures.  I learned more in two weeks than I would have done in years of led classes back home.  When I got back to my usual classes everyone was amazed at how much I had improved.  The food is all freshly prepared and vegan, it was a constant surprise and delight.  Thank you both so much for my time at Nirvrta.
– Tim Goldsmith, UK
Ashtanga Nirvrta’s location is the perfect combination of nature, tranquility, calm and Eden and is an amazing place to escape to.  The home-cooked food is unbelievable and the local women’s attention to detail in their cooking, flower and rangoli decorations, teach you so much about this amazing culture and country.  Philippa and Mahesh are absolutely impeccable hosts, who make you feel as though Ashtanga Nirvrta is your home.  They open their outstanding homestay and share with you priceless moments.  Philippa’s love and knowledge of yoga is so powerful.  She has taught us with passion and I will always keep in my mind, her sound advice. Thanks for everything and see you soon.
– Francesca Bompani, Italy
Philippa is a wonderful wonderful teacher and we feel super lucky to have met her! The homestay was a truly special experience – Thank you Philippa and Mahesh for sharing your home with us and taking such good care of us! A beautiful idyllic spot in Karnataka, amazing home cooked food, and lots of chats and laughs:) We had such a lovely time that we’ve already booked our next stay them. Can’t think of a better place to practise yoga – counting the days till we go back – we’ve been searching for a place in India like this for years ! Thank you Ashtanga Nivrtra’
– Urvashi Aneja & Avinash Kumar, Goa
I came to Ashtanga Nirvrta to relax from working way too hard and to get back into my practice. It seems I got way more than I could hope for… In no particular order: Practicing with Philippa is amazing! Having someone with her experience and presence giving you this personal attention is unique. I learned so much in just two weeks! Philippa and Mahesh are the perfect hosts. They make you feel truly welcome in their home & there is a limitless supply of great coffee and good conversation. Three local women cook healthy vegan meals every day, all fresh, all locally grown, all super yummy and traditional cuisine! The surroundings are beautiful and quiet, very rural, offering great walks in between classes. Philosophy lectures on top of a hill are the best idea ever! All in all, I had a great time and truly did not want to leave!
– Darja Tjioe, Holland
Thank you both for being such amazing hosts and for such an incredibly unforgettable journey into the jungle and on my mat! I feel so honoured to have practiced with you Philippa – I’m really grateful for your direction – my practice has taken a new fuller, more fulfilling dimension under your guidance.
– Uossy Atytalla, Egypt
I absolutely enjoyed the retreat. Classes were really personalised, with great tips and adjustments. Thanks Philippa for all your caring, teaching and dedication to each one of us. I’m really grateful for all I’ve learned these past two weeks and never thought I could learn so much in such a short time! The food and staff were outstanding, loved each meal and also enjoyed watching and learning about it. The location is great to really disconnect! Thanks to Mahesh for helping us to get around and explore the Western Ghats and also for all the fun with music, Holi cerebrations etc. I’m taking with me the best memories! Thanks for all!
– Claudia del Puerto, Chile
My stay at Nirvrta has been amazing. The surroundings and homestay are stunning. Big thank you to the team for making us feel at home and cooking the best healing food for the body. As we worked with a small group of students in class, there was maximum attention which made it possible to advance my yoga practice. Looking back at these last two weeks puts a huge smile on my face. I’d love to come back!
– Tessa Mook, Netherlands
The retreat has been an amazingly great experience, it’s a really nice place! I didn’t expect to come, but am very glad I did. I discovered a great teacher, who I want to thank for sharing her knowledge and helping me so much in my practice, even though I’m still a beginner. Thanks Saroja for the lovely food. I want to keep working on my practice, so see you again soon! Besos!!
– Sandra Champetier, Spain
I was lucky to be part of your retreat. Thanks for your guidance for taking me miles ahead and deep in my practice. And heartfelt thanks for your warm hospitality. Looking forward to join next year’s retreat…😊 Namaste
– Lavanya Alney, Hyderabad
For Philippa’s anecdotal account of moving to India to build a yoga retreat CLICK HERE