‘Yoga’ is not an uncommon term for most people across the globe and the ancient system of physical and meditational exercises has stemmed into a wide array of practices, belief systems and schools. With its origins dating back to Vedic India (1900 BCE), the word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, which is a verb for ‘to join’ or ‘to connect’ used in a figurative sense. Hence, ‘to yoke’, ‘to harness’, or ‘to concentrate’ are the most widely accepted translations for the word.
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Being the birthplace of Yoga and other mystical arts, India has no dearth of schools and institutes that teach the ancient art to people from all around the globe. It might be hard to believe, but Yoga training courses offered in India are major contributors to the amount of tourists who visit the country. Based on their widespread popularity and the high quality of training provided, I have compiled a list of some of the best Yoga Training places you can visit in India.
- Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh)
The Ashram or retreat is located in the Northern state of Uttarakhand in the holy city of Rishikesh. Paramarth Niketan is the largest Yoga and meditational ashram in Rishikesh with over a thousand rooms with food and lodging facilities for the visitors. Located on the banks of the much revered Ganges River, the ashram is characterised by the giant statue of Lord Shiva that overlooks the premises. Daily yoga trainings in various disciplines, morning prayers, meditation, lectures along with Ayurvedic treatments and training are few of the most sought after activities in Paramarth Niketan.
- International Meditation Centre (Bodhgaya)
Yoga is not simply aimed at physical well-being but is also meant to provide mental healing though meditation. One such institute where you can learn the ancient art of Yogic Meditation is the International Meditation Center in Bodhgaya, Bihar. Bodh Gaya is an ancient site that is related to the life and times of Lord Buddha and is known for its famous Mahabodhi Temple which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The institute offers courses in the specialized Vipassana form of meditation which is aimed at ‘mental purification-through self observation’. The institute was set up in 1970 and mostly runs on donations making it highly affordable for the tourists as well as the locals. Don’t be fooled by the cheap prices as the courses are conducted by highly trained professionals who have learned and practiced the sophisticated art for years.
- Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari (Trivandrum)
Yoga training in India not only makes you more familiar with the various schools and ideals of Yoga but also helps you explore the best of places. Located in capital city of ‘God’s Own Country’ or the state of Kerala, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantri is another renowned Yoga training place in India. The retreat is located at the foothills of the lush green ‘Western Ghats’ of southern India and was established by Swami Vishnudevananda in 1959. Covering a vast area of 12 acres, the ashram is famous for its yogic teachings and trainings that are based on the principles of Vedanta, a system popularised by Swami Vivekananda. The surrounding nature and the serene environment make it an ideal place for seeking inner peace.
- Sanskriti Yogpeeth (Rishikesh)
Also nicknamed as the ‘Yoganagari’ owing to the high number of meditational and yoga training ashrams located here, Rishikesh is one of the holiest places in the Hindu religion. Sanskriti Yogpeeth located near the famous ‘Ram Jhoola’ is a rather modern addition to the plethora of ashrams located in the pilgrim city. It is dubbed as the ‘Yoga Hotel’ and offers several modern amenities like Air conditioning, 21 luxury rooms with attached bathrooms, high speed internet, restaurant, café and a team of high trained yoga teachers. The place is perfect for people who want to learn the ancient discipline without the strict and disciplined schedules followed in other ashrams.
- Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (Mysore)
Located in the southern state of Karnataka, the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute was founded by K. Pattabhi Jois in 1948. The guru along with the ashram, helped popularise a special discipline of yoga known as the Ashtanga Yoga. The discipline is a modern take on the ancient principles of yoga and is preferred by the international visitors due to its simplistic approach. The institute is equipped with several modern facilities and rooms with attached bathrooms and hot water. 24 hour medical and laundry service are also some of the exclusive facilities provided in the ashram.
Despite of its dispersion through the different schools influenced by religious beliefs such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Shaivism, and Jainism, Yoga provides a body with several benefits. If you’re aware about the benefits that yoga offers to the body and mind then why not learn from the best.
Rohit is an architect by profession but also loves to write and travel. He likes to wander off to various locations to find the best places to visit. He often talks about his journeys in his blog - Transindiatravels.com.