Finding the Right Destination for a Yoga Trip to India
Many yoga practitioners put a trip to India on their bucket lists. A trip to the birthplace of yoga is the experience of a lifetime, and you want to make sure that you get the most out of your visit. When you head to India for a yoga trip, you want to find the best yoga teacher to make your experience truly memorable. If you are thinking about making a yoga pilgrimage to India sometime soon, first check out this list of the best yoga centers in India.
Ramamani Iynegar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune
This is one of the most highly regarded yoga centers in the world. This is not a place for beginners. Rather, this is a place for serious students of yoga who are already fairly deep into their yoga practice. The focus here is on in-depth instruction of yoga, and this instruction is of the highest caliber. Because the teachers here are so knowledgeable and respected, there is a waiting list that can make students wait up to two years to get in. Therefore, if you are interested in attending Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, you should plan well ahead of time.
Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai
If you want to learn about a gentler form of yoga, there is no better place to study than this yoga center in southern India. At Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, the guru is T. K. V. Desikachar. He teaches his students the gentle style of viniyosa yoga. There are three options for training. Twice a year, in February and September, four-week programs are conducted. There is also the option for a two-week, highly intensive course that is held in March. The courses book up at least six months in advance, which means you will need to book as early as possible to secure a spot.
Ashtanga Institute, Mysore
People who practice Ashtanga yoga are a pretty intense bunch, and most of them dream of heading to the birthplace of Ashtanga in Mysore. If you are an Ashtanga practitioner, there is no better way to go deeper into the practice than to visit the Ashtanga Institute. The instructors here are the daughter and grandson of Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois. Jois was the man who created the Ashtanga style, and he retired from teaching at Ashtanga Institute in 2009. Students who want to study here need to be very deep into Ashtanga practice. Only serious students are accepted, and they must be recommended by someone who is a certified teacher of Ashtanga. If you want to go here, keep in mind that the waiting list is a couple of months’ long. Classes are held year-round at Ashtanga Institute. The course lengths range from one month to six months.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Trivandrum
This place offers one of the most beautiful settings of any yoga school in India. Surrounded by lush, beautiful forests, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram is run by Swami Sivaswaroopananda. This Italian is a disciple of Swami Sivananda, and he teaches students the holistic art of Sivananda yoga. The school runs year-round, and it offers two-week courses to dive deeply into the poses, breathing, meditation, devotion and philosophy of Sivananda yoga.
Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai
The creator of modern yoga was T. Krishnamacharya. His grandson runs this yoga school. Students who wish to learn more from disciples of the godfather of modern yoga should make a pilgrimage to Chennai to attend Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram. The focus of this school is to teach students to use the poses and breathing of this style of yoga to create a customized path to meet each student’s unique situation and needs. The school holds two-week and four-week training courses. The courses each focus on one specific aspect of yoga practice, including breathing, poses and even Vedic chanting.
Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh
This is another yoga center that is located in gorgeous surroundings. Parmarth Niketan sits on the banks of the holy Ganges River in the foothills of the Himalayas. This is a huge yoga center, holding 1,000 rooms for students to stay in. The guru who runs Parmath Niketan is Swami Chidanand Saraswati, and he is a very unique figure in the yoga world. Unlike many other yoga gurus, he is interested in bringing together a wide variety of the healing practices from around the world with yoga. In fact, one of the most incredible events in yoga occurs here each March during the International Yoga Festival. During this incredible week, 550 attendees come together with the goal of combining many different forms of yoga with other healing practices like Reiki and massage. It is a truly special experience that is the opportunity of a lifetime for yogis.
Bihar School of Yoga, Munger
Students who are looking for a place to perfect their yoga poses may want to skip a visit to Bihar School of Yoga. The teachings here are not focused on that aspect of yoga. While students will do daily asanas, the focus is much more on the service and meditation channels of yoga. This is a great place for people to visit who want to experience a more spiritual side of yoga. Students who complete a course here at Bihar School of Yoga will develop a much more well-rounded yoga practice that will take them further along the path of yoga.
Yoga Institute, Mumbai
This is the oldest yoga center in the world. Founder Shri Yogendraji opened the doors to Yoga Institute in 1918. Today, the school is known for offering a wide range of classes that cover all the aspects of yoga. However, its most valuable courses are its therapeutic health courses. During these courses, students will learn how to use yoga to fight specific health conditions that they are battling, including things like hypertension, heart problems, respiratory issues and diabetes.
All of these yoga centers offer students amazing experiences. The key to a great yoga trip is to find a school and teacher that resonate with you. Do some research and talk to students who have attended the schools you are considering. When you have found the right school, you will know it.