By Sonali Ahuja
Finding the Roots
The treasure trove of nature, architecture, and culture, India never fails to amuse! It is one of the most preferred yoga destinations of the world with home to the international yoga capital – Rishikesh, where millions of tourists visit every year to rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul.
Yoga is one of the most ancient Indian things—the practice of which started with the very dawn of civilization. Its history can be traced back to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India, where Lord Shiva is believed to be the first Yogi or Adiyogi. Well, we are not here to dig deeper into the history of yoga, but list out a few places where you can gain endless life-enriching experiences!
The Way of Life
At present, yoga is being practiced by millions of people in different parts of the world. It has become an escapade from the maddening city lights, deafening crowds, and chaotic lives. When we cannot go outside, owing to the current pandemic restrictions, we can definitely go inside with yoga.
As the pandemic wreaks havoc, more and more people take yoga as the gateway to achieving inner peace and stability. It is a way of life, practicing which helps in uniting the individual consciousness with that of the universal consciousness—tuning aptly with the idea of ‘aatma ka parmatma se milan’.
Clearing the misconceptions, it is not only about the impossible pretzel poses like headstands or handstands but the subtle idea of settling of mind in the essential nature. Rather, the true essence of yoga is in achieving a perfect balance between an individual’s mind and body as well as the man and Mother Nature.
OffBeat Yoga Destinations in India
Whether you want to sit under a tree to meditate or practice yoga beside a flowing river, or on the beachside with winds humming soulful tunes in your ears—India has it all! Perhaps, this is what makes India the ideal destination for a relaxing yoga vacation. Having said this, listed here are some super cool places to visit and have a spiritual rendezvous with inner self and nature.
The melange of places in Uttarakhand lets the tourists get hold of their inner self by practicing yoga and meditation sitting in the lap of nature. They can disconnect with the world to reconnect with themselves and channelize their yoga, and perhaps this is what the international yoga capital Rishikesh is known for! Soothe your spirit in Anand Prakash Ashram where they teach about Akhanda Yoga. Or for a more awakening holiday, there are other ashrams such as Osho Ganga Dham Ashram, Himalayan Yog Ashram Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, and more.
God’s own country – Kerala – makes an ideal destination for a relaxing yoga experience. Yogis get the benefit of the sun, the water, and the sand, which idealizes a supreme three in one. It is home to some of the renowned yoga ashrams like International Vasishta Yoga Research Foundation, Amrutham Yoga and Ayurvedic Center, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, and many others.
This enchanting Union Territory of South India is an amazing potpourri of its French colonial architecture, pristine beaches, and bright coloured buildings decorated with pretty flora. Wait till the monsoon and you’ll be amazed by the serene ambiance of Pondicherry. You must visit the internationally-famed yoga center at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram located on Rue de la Marine and dive deeper into spirituality and yoga.
Goa is on every traveler’s bucket list, but did you think of Goa as a yoga destination? Yes, you get it right! The serene and balmy beaches of Goa, captivating landscapes and perfect weather make an apt getaway for yoga vacay and let you soothe your body, mind, and soul. The experiences keep on getting a notch better every time you visit the place. So it is time for you to ditch those old beach resorts and cliché hostels and stay in Goa’s mesmerizing yoga and wellness resorts. You can plan your stay at Ashiyana Yoga Centre in Mandrem if you are looking forward to a detoxifying holiday or for a secluded getaway, visit the Beach House in Colva. Other popular places that make for a good yoga holiday in Goa are mostly located in south Goa, such as Little Cove Yoga Holiday Retreat in Cola and Kranti Yoga Village Beach Resort on Patnem Beach.
- Himachal Pradesh
Covered with charming towns, gleaming rivers, and majestic snow-clad mountains, Himachal Pradesh has a bounty of nature that spellbinds travelers. It bundles many alluring places to visit including Shimla, Kasol, and Manali, and the most loved yoga destination – Dharamshala. Or we can say that “this is what you came for?” You can visit Shiva Yoga Valley situated in the upper Dharamshala, Mcleodganj and, learn the special techniques of kriya yoga, hatha yoga, power yoga, kundalini yoga, etc.
Bodhgaya in Bihar is one of the important destinations of the Buddhist circuit in India. It holds a refreshing retreat for yoga enthusiasts—Bihar School of Yoga located in Munger. It is a famous and one of the best yoga learning centers since it believes yoga to be a lifestyle and not a practice. What’s exciting about this yoga school is that it offers special hours for seva including cleaning the surrounding and gardening, thus creating an altogether interesting experience.
- Tamil Nadu
The home to an awe-so-pretty bunch of west coast destinations and serene ambiance, Tamil Nadu has one of the best yoga centers – Isha Yoga Center. This center is also located in three major places including Chennai, Madurai, and Coimbatore. You can relax off the city in the midst of the Velliangiri Mountains in the lap of nature and attain inner peace.
One of the sisters of the seven sister states, yoga centers in Sikkim proves to be a brilliant cool environment. The Sahaja Yoga Centre in Gangtok teaches about the spiritual awakening and different forms of yoga, you can obviously not afford to miss it! Besides, this center is also located in other Northeastern states such as Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh.
This yoga day channelize your inner yogi to embark on a spiritual journey and seek solace amidst the chaos. So, the next time you plan to hit the road for a journey; do not forget to devote a week or two to a yoga retreat and immerse in the enriching experiences of spiritual tourism. As PM Modi says, “Yoga remains a ray of hope during COVID”. It also helps in making the “One world, one health” motto successful.