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Hatha yoga and ayurveda retreat in India with Sally Goldfinger

Azul’s hatha yoga instructor, Sally Goldfinger, is soon to make her annual trip to India to further her practice and to run a special hatha and ayurveda retreat in the green and tranquil state of Kerala. We catch up with her to find out more.

What is hatha yoga?

Hatha yoga is the oldest form of yoga, a discipline created in India approximately 5000 years ago. The word hatha comes from combining the two Sanskrit terms ‘ha’ meaning sun and ‘tha’ meaning moon. Hatha yoga attempts to combine the energies that are associated with the sun and the moon. It helps develop healthy digestive and reproductive organs and long lean muscles and it improves concentration. The relaxation exercises prescribed in hatha yoga reduce stress and can help those who suffer from depression, hypertension and insomnia.

How would you describe your personal teaching style?

I often hear people saying that hatha yoga is boring and too still. I like to show people that hatha yoga is far from that. The classical Sun Salutations in hatha yoga gives the whole body a complete energy boost. It strengthens the body, the muscles and the mind. I focus on giving my students a unique hatha yoga experience spicing up my classes with a variety of poses that focus on increasing overall body health, strength and flexibility. My style focuses on de-stressing the body and the mind in the practice and emphasises breathing and encouraging bodily awareness using developmental sequences to take students into the various yoga postures. My goal is to inspire my students on the mat but also to show them that the goal of yoga is to bring yoga with them when they leave my retreats and classes, being able to bring yoga off the mat when they are back home.

What is ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a complete health care system which has an explanation for most conditions or diseases, how they start, what cause them and what interventions may be taken to improve them. Each of us has a unique constitution, determined by the balance of three vital energies in the body, known as the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). Everyone’s constitution is governed by these three energies in varying degrees. Health is restored when all the doshas are in balance.

What can people expect from your retreats?

I would like people to experience a life of balance, inner happiness and openness. I want people to leave their ego at the door, to embrace the present moment and to show that it is possible to incorporate yoga and ayurveda in today’s modern lifestyle. This is what my students will experience on my retreats. They will learn how to deal with everyday stress, how to disconnect and unwind and how to listen to their body and its inner voice.

How did you come to choose India as a location for your retreats?

Being specialized in hatha yoga, yoga therapy and ayurveda I always wanted to show and inspire people the healing powers of hatha yoga and ayurveda. India is the birthplace of hatha yoga and ayurveda and to me it is a natural step to run health holidays in India – a country and culture I know very well, a place where I have studied, travelled and worked for the past 10 years and where I still continue my yoga and ayurveda path. I carry the tradition and spirit of both systems into my daily life and my aim is simply to help people live long, healthy and well-balanced lives.

What do you hope people will take away from the retreat?

I hope people will feel happier, healthier and complete. I hope they will feel overall health and wellbeing. I hope to give people a new insight to yoga and ayurveda – to show them how it can change one’s life, eating habits and health.

Sally’s India retreat runs from 5 – 19 January and takes place in Wayanad, Kerala, a place known for its lush green scenery and beauty. Contact us at

About the author

picture-3Sally Goldfinger teaches authentic hatha yoga around the world and leads specialised hatha and ayurveda retreats in India. Her unique teaching style focuses on stress relief, inner balance, and cleansing of the physical body leading to the purification of the mind. Find out more about Sally at IONYOGA.