Top Ashrams For Yoga And Meditation In Rishikesh
‘Yoga’ is a means to ensure that we have a healthy mind and body. It is a disciplined practice that enriches our physical, mental and spiritual state of being. The benefits of yoga are endless and recently the world has awakened to the need to incorporate yoga in daily life.
Why practice Yoga?
In recent years, yoga has gained wide popularity amongst people from all age groups irrespective of their religion, nationality, or faith. It helps us relax and subsequently energizes our body and mind to withstand and perform under stressful and demanding circumstances.
This practice has been passed down generations and India has emerged as a popular destination on the global map for ‘Yoga Tourism’; particularly Rishikesh in the state of Uttarakhand.
This holy place on the banks of river Ganga close to the mighty Himalayas boasts of numerous ‘ashrams’ and yoga centers nestled in its serene, sublime, and divine environment. It is a place with clean air, peaceful environment and is located far from urban hustle-bustle; a perfect mix for a fruitful experience and rejuvenated body and mind.
Some prominent yoga centers at Rishikesh
Some come here to learn yoga as beginners while some others come to perfect this practice so as to become qualified instructors. With subtle differences, ashrams and yoga centers practice different types of yoga including Hath, Iyengar, Vinayasa etc. From among several centers delivering the same knowledge; the top ten yoga centers are listed below:
- Parmarth Niketan: It is regarded as the best yoga center where one can choose from various courses and also be part of, the ‘International Yoga Festival’ conducted in the month of March every year.
- Sivananda Ashram: This ashram is well-known for using yoga as a tool to inculcate discipline and inner-cleansing.
- Omkarananda Ganga Sadan: The ‘Patanjala Yoga Kendra’ which teaches ‘Iyengar Yoga’ is housed in this ashram. Accommodation is priced reasonably and one can witness ‘aarti’ performed on the ghat and participate in the daily ‘satsang’ as well.
- Sadhna Mandir: It is one of the oldest ashrams where trained instructors teach yogic-meditation; a major attraction to many who visit Rishikesh as part of yoga-tourism.
- Sanskriti Yogpeeth: established recently, this center is popularly called ‘Yoga Hotel’. The practitioners teach ‘Hath Yoga’ but the cost of undertaking a course here is slightly higher as compared to many other centers.
- Yoga Niketan: This center is spread over seven acres and is a distinctive yoga ashram. Many tourists from overseas come to learn at this center which recommends people to enroll for a minimal period of 15-days for best results.
- Swamy Dayananda Ashram: This center is most suited if one wishes to learn yoga along with Sanskrit and Vedanta. It boasts of an extensive library. English is the medium of instruction. With paucity of accommodation, one has to book well in advance.
- Phool Chatti: Yoga classes are conducted at this center in an ethnic atmosphere. Accommodation here provides modern amenities for visitors. Their 7-day course is most popular for which one has to book in advance.
- Anand Prakash Ashram: this ashram offers courses in Hath yoga, Akhanda yoga and kundalini yoga for relaxing and uplifting one’s body, mind and soul.
- Osho Gangadham Ashram: This ashram is more of a meditation center than yoga center. Preachings of Osho which aim at helping humanity to lead a happy life are delivered here. Although, the ashram does not provide accommodation, many hotels in its near vicinity offer a comfortable stay at affordable prices.
About courses and cost
A course in yoga is available at the centers/ashrams for beginners, through intermediate, till the advanced level. Some centers offer complimentary services including trekking, massage sessions, river rafting, and sight-seeing around the place.
Booking for any course can be done online by logging onto the website of the specific ashram or yoga center.
All programs fees includes costs for the course, food, accommodation and other complimentary services mentioned earlier. Discounts for courses like couple-package, early-booking etc are also available.
Some centers also offer 200-hours of teacher-training courses with packages include single/shared accommodation, meals and teaching kits too.
Which is the best time for a yoga trip?
You can opt for any period between March-April and September –October as the weather is great in Rishikesh during this time. People wanting to escape heat-waves back home can visit during May-June since the weather here is definitely cooler. However, Rishikesh is best avoided during monsoon.
What clothing should one carry?
Any unrestrictive clothing including t-shirts, tights, shorts, leggings, tank-tops, etc would be just fine. Since this practice is done barefoot, you can carry any footwear of your choice. A yoga-mat is a must-carry with clothing. This will allow individuals to move to other locations like the lawns of the ashram, river banks, etc. to practice yoga. In case one opts to undertake a course during early winter or winter season, light woolen, or warm woolen clothing respectively will have to be carried.
Learning yoga in a center/ ashram will ensure that the individuals learn not just yoga, but also gets a chance to experience and learn all about the lifestyle in an ashram. This experience helps one cultivate happiness, good health and stress-free living which can be incorporated in one’s daily life.