“Letting go is the hardest asana.”
Are you familiar with the theory of six degrees of separation?
It establishes that there are six or fewer social connections between a single person and everyone else on the planet. That said, there’ll be fewer connections between you and a yoga teacher.
Between meditation, relaxation, and physical exercise, yoga is a complete discipline with many benefits. Eric Neumand, a yoga teacher, mentions that you can reduce stress through the 4000 to 6000cm3 of air that passes through your lungs during a yoga session as opposed to 500cm3 normally.
So how is yoga done in the country where it was created?
In this article, we’re going to look at how to do yoga in India.
Choosing a Yoga Retreat in India
It’s quite easy to find a yoga centre in India; perhaps too easy. Of course, this also means that choosing which one can be quite difficult.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the retreats that you can find in India.
- Little Cove Yoga Retreat: In the Goa region, a state in the west of India. You’ll stay in little cottages and enjoy tailored yoga sessions.
- Shreyas Yoga Retreat: This yoga retreat is based on two types of yoga (Ashtanga and Hatha yoga) and taught in an ashram in Karnataka.
- Kalari Kovilakom: Hosted by The CGH Earth Group and certified by the NAHB (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers), this retreat takes place in an ashram in the south of India. With 19 rooms, it offers a great place for those looking to find balance in both body and mind.
- Yoga Vana: Located on the slopes of the Himalayas, this is far from your yoga lessons in the UK. It focuses on three fundamentals of yoga: Yoga and meditation, emotional intelligence, and conscious living. This is all brought together through ancient yoga practices.
Perhaps the retreat that will change your life is in this list!
Which Are the Best Places to Do Yoga in India?
India is a rich and varied country where you’re spoilt for choice in terms of places to go to. It’s even harder to find the right place for a restorative yoga class.
Of all the places to do yoga in India, here are some of the best.
Yoga in Rishikesh
How can you talk about India without mentioning Rishikesh?
This place is famous for being a renowned centre for learning about yoga and the discipline itself. Traditional yoga is a source of inspiration for everyone here, which is why the place is so popular.
The most famous ashrams to practise yoga include:
- Parmarth Niketan Ashram, great for all levels.
- The Himalaya Institute, perfect for beginners.
- The Vanamalai Yoga Centre, famous for its Hindu influence.
- Yoga Niketan, famous for its Hatha yoga lessons.
Of course, these aren’t the only ones as India has plenty of other places to practise yoga.
Yoga Elsewhere in India
There are plenty of other Ashrams in the heart of India across the different regions in the country. These include:
- The International Art of Living Centre offers free yoga classes on the condition that you do some chores in the ashram.
- The Kalari Kovilakom Ashram whose yoga lessons are taught by recognised yogis specialising in Nidra Yoga.
- The Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village, which combines getting better through yoga and being environmentally friendly. It’s located in Goa.
- The Ma Anandamayi in Almora, one of the most peaceful places on earth.
- The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in Trivandrum which focuses on order.
- And many others!
As you’ll have understood, each region in India has plenty of places to practise yoga. It’s up to you to choose the right place!
How To Plan a Retreat in an Ashram
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” - The Bhagavad Gita
More and more people are opting to go on a yoga retreat in an ashram. Unlike in a yoga centre, you can sleep in an ashram. But before you go there, there are a few things that you’ll need to do including getting a visa and choosing which region to go to.
Some places have been designed with Westerners in mind: the water is filtered and you can buy yoga clothing more adapted to our tastes.
So while October is the most popular time of the year to go on a yoga retreat in India, the ashrams welcome guests throughout the entire year and some even offer a shuttle from the airport.
Practical, isn’t it?
To go on a retreat in India, you don’t need to be a yoga expert; anyone can go. However, you often won’t be allowed to use your phone and if you are, you won’t be allowed to use it a lot. After all, that’s not why you’re there.
Finally, you’ll often be expected to eat in silence (and eat vegetarian food). However, different ashrams tend to offer different types of yoga so whether you’re young or old, you’ll be surprised at how much there is on offer in India.
What Are the Different Types of Yoga in India?
While there are many different types of yoga in the UK, the offering is even more interesting in India.
So what exactly are the different types of yoga on offer in its country of origin?
There are plenty of different types:
- Hatha Yoga. This is the classic yoga that gave rise to the other types of yoga. It became popular in the West in the 20th century and its name means “force” in Sanskrit. It combines breathing exercises and poses.
- Kundalini Yoga. This type of yoga was created by the Yogi Bhajan who focused on the spinal column. This is a type of yoga for those already familiar with yoga.
- Sivananda Yoga. This focuses on breathing, relaxation, and positive thinking. Through regular practice, you can align your body, mind, and spirit.
- Bikram Yoga is based on traditional yoga bur you do it in 40-degree heat! Its goal is to rid the body of toxins.
- Yoga Nidra, also known as “yogic sleep”, shares similarities with sophrology. You practise it seated or lying down and it’s designed to improve the quality of your sleep by achieving a special state of consciousness.
- Iyengar Yoga was created by B. K. S. Iyengar and focuses on aligning your body and chaining certain yogic sequences together.
- Ashtanga Yoga was created by Pattabhi Jois in the south of India and uses six series of poses and breathing techniques including Ujjayi diaphragmatic breathing techniques.
- Vinyasa Yoga is a sequence of yoga poses in a specific order that helps with breathing and balancing your emotions, body, and mind.
Now you should know a little more about yoga in India. Good luck in your search for yoga teachers and instructors.
If you'd like to get started with yoga, try the talented tutors on Superprof. There are plenty of tutors offering plenty of different types of yoga. Similarly, there are three main types of yoga tutorial available, too: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of yoga, tutor, and tutorial has its pros and cons so you need to think carefully before you pick your tutor.
Face-to-face tutorials are between you and your tutor, allowing you to benefit fully from the tutor's expertise every second you're with them. They'll put together sessions and courses that are tailored to you. Of course, this bespoke service tends to come at a cost but since it's all done with you in mind, it makes this type of tutorial the most cost-effective you can get. If you've got the budget for them, these are the ones to go for.
Online tutorials are also between just you and the tutor but your tutor won't be there in the room with you. Thanks to the internet, anyone with a decent webcam, microphone, and internet connection can get tutoring from anyone, anywhere. With fewer expenditures for travelling and the ability to schedule more tutorials each week, online tutors tend to charge less per hour than face-to-face tutorials. You may even get a tutor from India!
Finally, group tutorials are available for those that are happy to share their tutor's time with others. Whether you and a group of friends opt to practise yoga together or you start attending tutorials with a group of strangers, these tutorials tend to cost less per person per hour since the whole group is paying for the tutor's time and expertise.
You need to think about your needs and your budget before you choose your private tutor and remember that many of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of tuition for free so you can see whether or not you get along and whether their teaching approaches are right for you.