Every year, thousands of yoga practitioners flock to India to deepen their spirituality. Well-known yoga teacher Coral Brown describes India itself as a yoga teacher that’s led her to a string of life-changing experiences. There’s so much colour and meaning here, in the streets, in nature and in the faces of people that it is always inspiring. Being the birthplace of yoga, there is also a deep well of knowledge and tradition that you can take back home and pass on to your future students. Take a look at the top yoga retreats you can find in India.
Ashiyana Yoga Centre, Mandrem, Goa
‘Ashiyana’ is home in Hindi and it’s the feeling you get in this village. Every day is filled with chants, meditation and group practice. The goal is to detach you from your worries while at the same time create a deeper connection with nature and the people around you. Yoga was previously stated here on the Delhi blogger Newfangled Girl blog as a way of building awareness.
Mental clarity is a major reason that people get hooked on the practice and it’s actually one of the main goals of yoga itself. Meditation is all about eliminating the distractions in the mind, so you can focus on more meaningful tasks such as connecting to a higher Being. Set against the backdrop of Mandrem Beach, every moment in the Ashiyana Yoga Centre is certainly filled with solemnity.
Mysore Krishnamachar Yoga Shala, Mysore, Karnataka
For Ashtanga yoga practitioners, Mysore is the place to be. It’s the largest city in Karnataka where Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois founded the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. Mysore Krishnamachar Yoga Shala is an excellent place to learn where students of Sri K Pattabhi Jois also led classes. Unlike the yoga style that most Westerners are familiar with, Ashtangis follow the same sequence every time and practice depending on their own level and pace.
Because it is harder and more of a one-on-one type of practice, it is usually not as popular with beginners who need detailed instructions. However, several Hollywood celebrities have actually spoken about Ashtanga in particular and how it has changed their lives. Madonna has been an Ashtangi since the 1990s and fellow musician Miley Cyrus has been serious about getting in a daily practice since 2016. It is a style of yoga that requires long-term commitment to build your foundation of poses for more advanced sequences.
Rishikesh Yog Kendra, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Dubbed the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh is truly a feast for the eyes and the soul. Funny enough, Hindustan Times reports that it was The Beatles who put the holy city on the map, and some 80,000 visitors come every year to partake in the city’s spirituality. Rishikesh Yog Kendra is one of the highest rated schools in town and it focuses on 200-hour teacher training programs for those who want to become instructors. The main style being taught is Vinyasa Yoga, which is similar to Power Yoga.
It is about using the yoga poses to build strength, endurance and flexibility, which is why it is also a popular type of workout. In fact, many athletes have incorporated this type of yoga into their training. Barcelona’s star player Lionel Messi practices yoga to reduce stiffness in his muscles especially after matches. This aids in injury prevention and has put him on Ladbrokes’ list as one of the highest paid sports stars by enabling him to perform at an elite level with minimal injuries. NBA icon LeBron James also credits this style of yoga for his impeccable technique and strength, as it helps increase body awareness through proper alignment of mind and body.