India is the land that birthed the more than 5,000 year old spiritual practice of yoga as we know it today. It has become a global phenomenon with around 300 million people practicing worldwide. This cultural and religious practice was designed to offer meditational processes for the body, mind and spirit. Journey back to its place of origin and find true serenity when you indulge in the rich history, culture and tradition of yoga in India today.
Rishikesh kicks off the list as one of the best places to practice yoga in India and here’s why. This northern Indian city is also known as the yoga capital of the world because it is thought to be the place where yoga originated from. Rishikesh has also attracted famous names like The Beatles, who helped put the yoga capital on the map during their visit in 1968. But beyond this, Rishikesh has long been a popular destination for yogis, saints and explorers alike to seek enlightenment and deepen their knowledge and engagement in the spiritual practice of yoga and meditation. Rishikesh welcomes all to alleviate their body from stresses and strains and become one with self in the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River - the holiest river in Hindu tradition.
This stunning western Indian state is where western and traditional culture blends. Home to some of the most spectacular beaches, flavoursome seafood and spiritual yoga retreats, Goa welcomes backpackers, yogis, hippies and explorers of all kinds from all over the world. Every form of yoga is practiced here in its natural, laid-back and detoxifying surroundings. Along with eco yoga tours, yoga is popularly practiced on beaches such as Agonda beach, Anjuna beach, Palolem beach and Arambol beach. Do Warrior Pose 1 (Virabhadrasana I) as early as sunrise and Child’s Pose (Balasana) as the sun sets.
Take an intentional trip to Himachal Pradesh, India’s spellbinding northern state which sits on the edge of the Himalayas and is surrounded by regal snowy mountains. Yogis flock here to the charming city of Dharamshala to find centeredness through special yoga techniques in the quiet and tranquil atmosphere of the secluded and picturesque forests. Ashrams are plentiful in Dharamshala and will provide you with an incredibly grounding experience. Be void of any outside distractions and breathe in the natural beauty all around you.
If you’re looking for an enchanting experience of yoga and meditation visit Kerala, located in the south of India. Feel a deep spiritual connection in the luscious rural lands of Wayanad. Be amongst regal palm trees and an incredibly enriching natural environment to help you reach deeper within for inner-calm and peace. Wayanad also has other interesting activities to stimulate your mind when you’re not practicing yoga. Discover the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary which features animals like leopards, elephants and tigers. Or visit the Gopalaswamy Temple for further exploration of history and culture.
Many yogis come to the west-central state of India, Maharashtra, as a form of pilgrimage. The second largest city in the state, Pune, is cherished just that little bit more as it is where BKS Iyengar and Osho are from – two prominent members of the yoga community. Find remarkable yoga retreat centres like Ayurvedic or go to the Kaivalyadhama Ashram for an array of spiritual, healing programs. Mahararashstra is also conveniently located to Mumbai, making travel to other major cities a lot more accessible.
Head on over to the glorious southwestern state of Karnataka and be amongst history and remnants of the Wodeyar dynasty. Find one of the most popular yoga destinations, Mysore, where the much-admired yoga teacher and Sanskrit scholar, Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, created and made popular the original style of Ashtanga Vinyāsa yoga. It’s no wonder why decades later the city of Mysore is spoilt for choice when it comes to Vinyāsa yoga centres, allowing guests to stay for as little as a few hours or as long as a few months at a time.
Fancy yourself a retreat to magical India? Chat to one of our friendly humans today who can tailor-make a trip for you