Top 8 Yoga Destinations in India to Rejuvenate Your Body, Soul and Mind
Do you dream of practicing yoga in India, the land of origin of this discipline of body and mind? It’s a great idea, but you still need to know where to do yoga in India, off the beaten track. Here is a helping hand for those who want to find the perfect place.
Yog means union. Why do we speak of Yoga and not of Yog? Simply because we adopted the very strong accent of South India. For a long time, the Indians did not want to transmit the sacred practice of Yog to Westerners. It is in the dampness of Southern India that the doors opened for obviously commercial reasons. However, the South Indians add aaaa everywhere at the end of words, so yog became yogaaa, asan became asana
Yog(a) means “union”, union with Reality, brahma, what really exists. It is a spiritual path. The goal of yoga is to free oneself completely from the illusion of form.
There are 4 ways to do this, which can be taken together or separately, and which all lead to the same thing
Bhakti yoga: yoga of devotion (devotion to purity)
Jnana yoga: yoga of knowledge (knowledge of the Self)
Karma yoga: yoga of selfless action
Raja yoga: yoga of control
The yoga postures we practice are a part of Raja yoga.
This one has 8 parts or steps that should normally be practiced in this order
yam: the qualities we want to develop, such as truth, non-violence etc.
niyam: the rules of conduct (purification, contentment, etc.)
asan(a): postures to purify the body
pranayam(a): breathing exercises to purify the energy channels
pratyahar: withdrawal of the senses
samadhi: the state of identification with the Self, in which one has passed the world of illusion
I purposely sum up a great deal. Indeed, I doubt that many of you would be interested in this information. Most people are interested in yoga purely as a health-promoting exercise. However, it seems very useful to me to understand what we do, and where it comes from. Yoga will never be a simple exercise, even if you limit yourself to the practice of postures (asan).
1. The Kalari Kovilakom ashram Kerala
Kerala, aptly nicknamed “Indian Green Paradise” is a land of abundance, favored by Mother Nature. This is where the Kalari Kovilakom ashram is located: a peaceful retreat surrounded by lush greenery. This place, particularly conducive to the practice of yoga, is also for meditation in a serene setting. Indeed, it is impossible to remain impassive to the serenity of the place, especially the house with typical Kerala architecture, surrounded by superb green gardens.
2. Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
What could be more authentic than a retreat, located at the gates of the Himalayas to do a yoga course in India? Indeed, the Parmarth Niketan ashram, located not far from the sources of the Ganges, also borders the sacred river. It is a vast estate, spread over 3 hectares (8 acres) and offers 1,000 rooms in its accommodation center. This is because it is an ashram well known to local yogis, who come in large numbers to enjoy the serenity of the place. The success of this ashram is justified by the extensive yoga program offered on site. Indeed, we practice hatha yoga, yoga nidra or even nada yoga. In addition, whether you are a beginner or a diligent practitioner, there are programs to suit you.
3. Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
The Isha Yoga Center, located in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, is a space dedicated to self-transformation, designed by Sadhguru himself. Remember that Sadhguru is a spiritual master, a mystical and visionary yogi who developed Isha Yoga. It is a form of yoga that best responds to contemporary lifestyles. The Isha Yoga Center, nestled at the foot of the Velliangiri mountains, is perfect for anyone wishing to experience spiritual elevation and practice yoga in India. In addition to the magnificent setting, special mention for the superb breathtaking Siva Subramaniya statue, the energy that emanates from this place creates an atmosphere conducive to the elevation of those who come to meditate there. As its name suggests, the Isha Yoga Center welcomes people who wish to do an Isha yoga course. Like other centers or ashrams, it also includes a lodging center offering superb rooms.
4. Art of Living Ashram, Bangalore, Karnataka
Are you looking for the perfect yoga retreat in India? Why not opt for the International Center Art of Living. This ashram, set on a sprawling 25-hectare plot, overlooks the Panchagiri Hills outside of Bangalore. The environment of this ashram, among others the lush gardens, the lake and the organic farm as well as the mountains, dying this place with a certain serenity, which makes this place the preferred retreat for yogis in search of peace to raise their spirituality. Note that the yoga classes offered at the Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore are free. On the other hand, the guests must carry out the activities and other tasks essential to the proper functioning of the ashram. Residents must therefore prepare to cook, clean or work on the farm during the time they stay at the ashram.
5. Amma’s ashram in India, at Amritapuri in Kerala
If there is one place to do a yoga retreat in India, off the beaten track, it is Amma’s Ashram. Remember that Amma is a spiritual guide, a guru (e) venerated as a saint, known throughout the world for darshan. As for Amma’s darshan, it consists of a miraculous embrace that brings peace and love to those who receive it.
Amma’s ashram in Amritapuri is located between the Arabian Sea and the beautiful Karala Lagoons. This is the old estate where Amma’s family home once stood. Currently, this ashram, which has grown over the years, is not only the headquarters of Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM), Amma’s NGO, but it is also the residence of more than 3,000 spiritual seekers. , from all over the world. In addition to the meditation courses, scripture study and yoga classes offered at the ashram, residents are expected to perform seva (selfless service) for the benefit of the community.
Note that Amma is generally present at the ashram in August, September, from December to mid-January, and mid-April to mid-May. The rest of the time, she travels the world for darshan.
6. Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village in Goa
Goa, the Pearl of the Orient in India, is home to a superb retreat, favorable to the practice of yoga in India. This is the Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village in Goa. Nestled in a superb environment, made up of magnificent lush tropical gardens, statues and fountains, this setting rarely leaves visitors indifferent. People looking for a peaceful place to recharge their batteries fall under the charm of the Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village. Indeed, the serenity of the place and the architecture of the small wooden houses and the luxury eco-lodge are captivating. Those who decide to stay in this superb place can not only practice yoga, but also explore Goa, through other unmissable and unique activities.
7. The Shreyas Retreat Center, center for self-transcendence, in Karnataka
Shreyas is a retreat, located just one hour drive from Bangalore. It is an establishment between the luxury of a spa offering Ayurvedic treatments and the rigor of an ashram. Indeed, visitors can stay in magnificent modern pavilions, in the shade of frangipani trees. Two forms of yoga are offered in this center: ashtanga yoga, based on the practice of a series of dynamic postures and hatha yoga for spiritual awakening through postures. What makes Shreyas special is that all the staff practice yoga. Within the framework of karma yoga, a selfless action, the residents of Shreyas are also invited to participate in the community life of the neighboring villages, through agricultural activities.
8. Vana Retreat Center, Uttarakhand
This retreat center, located on the first slopes of the Himalayas, is a beautiful place, perfect for a yoga retreat in India. It is located in a green setting, made up of acacia forests, conducive to healing in calm and serenity. In addition, the ultra-design buildings are particularly welcoming. Residents can take advantage of many wellness techniques, such as watsu (shiatsu practiced in water), other traditional Chinese methods such as cupping, Tibetan massage, in addition to yoga sessions. Added to this is the possibility of visiting Haridwar, another Mecca of Hinduism.
How to prepare your trip for a spiritual retreat in India?
As you have seen, there are several magnificent sites to do your yoga retreat in India. However, for a successful spiritual retreat, it is not enough just to find the right place. Then you can prepare your trip as per your choice. For this you should take the services a reliable agency:
Finding a reliable agency: this is the best option, especially if it is your first time to visit this country. With an agency specializing in consciousness travel, you will be accompanied throughout your expedition. Thus, you will feel more comfortable and you will be able to fully enjoy your spiritual retreat.
The visa: without this document, you cannot enter India. So, once you have chosen the ideal place for your yoga retreat, find out about the Indian visa afterwards. Generally, it is enough to obtain a tourist visa which costs around $51 for a French citizen.
The time to do a yoga retreat: if you want to make the most of your retirement, you must also take into account the climate of the country. For your information, the best time to travel to India is between October and March. During this period, the weather is good and tourists can participate in some festivals like the celebration of Diwali.