How About Learning Yoga From The Best Institutes In India?
Yoga has always been a deep part of the Indian culture and psyche. With its recent boom and demand, thanks to the world opening its eyes to the advantages and importance of this art form, many ancient Indian institutes that teach and practice yoga have come into the spotlight. Here’s a look at the top 10 such yoga centres in the country, in no particular order.
A small bit of advice: Not all of these centres may necessarily come cheap or suit your standards of hygiene and service, but isn’t that the point of yoga? To let go of the material things, lower your expectations and ego to levels that help reach the promised union of mind, body and consciousness.
And if your goal is to lose weight from yoga then you can start here.
International Centre for Yoga Education and Research, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu
This gurukul, located in the hitherto French coastal town, teaches a classical style that involves bringing together all eight limbs of yoga. This centre follows tradition the most and ensures all its participants embrace yoga to the fullest. It is famous for the six-month teacher-training course, which means completing a year-long correspondence course before becoming eligible to apply. Remarkably, only ten students are taken in per year. So if you’re looking for someplace that does yoga for beginners, this may not be the centre!
Mysore Mandala, Mysuru, Karnataka
Image credits: Mysore Mandala Yogashala
Training from yoga teachers is given high importance here, what with a team of nine teachers providing classes in Ashtanga, Hatha, Shatkriya, Backbending, Pranayama, Anatomy and Ayurveda. Sanskrit instructions and lessons in yoga sutras are also available. What makes this ashram so charming is the century-old house it is located in, in this quaint but historic town, along with the cute little café that is run using material from the owner's organic farm.
Patanjali Omkarananda Yoga Kendra, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Someone who adheres strictly to BKS Iyengar and has excellently accurate but healing style, Swiss-born Usha Devi runs her own ashram just outside Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganges. Her teachings are practical and simple, while instructions come straight from the mouth of her guru. There isn’t any training by teachers or certificates given, but only drop-in yoga classes for beginners and intermediates - for which no pre-registrations are needed. For this too, there is the condition that you need to have practised Iyengar yoga regularly for three years.
Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai
Image credit: Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, hailed as the father of modern yoga, was a man who revolutionized yoga in the 20th century. His contributions led to a yoga centre being built in his name by son TKV Desikachar in 1976. Based in a city known as the Detroit of India, the mandiram focuses on viniyoga, ashtanga yoga and yoga therapies. There are different types of yoga courses for international students, offered twice a year as well, apart from a unique International Teacher Training Program.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, Himachal Pradesh & Arambol, Dharamkot, Goa
Image credit: Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Another centre brought up by an Iyengar disciple, Sharat Arora, who made a because of his dedication and seriousness to the craft. This ashram is special and the yoga courses are held in Dharamkot - a scenic Himalayan village above Mcleodganj - in the summers, while winter classes are held in the far reaches of North Goa, in the former hippy beach town of Arambol.
Every student has to finish a mandatory five-day course before moving onto teacher training and other specialized courses like yoga therapy, yoga for vipassana and yoga with Ayurveda. Apart from the yoga and its benefits you get from this centre, the fact that the summer location is near the Dalai Lama’s residence is a deal breaker.
Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, Bihar
This school is a place where yoga is more of a lifestyle, while karma yoga takes precedence over asana. This means that hours of seva (service) have to be completed, accompanied by cold showers and a humble diet. Seva includes gardening, kitchen work and toilet cleaning. A kind of happiness program where students often reveal that they have achieved a life-altering process after coming here, there is a wide range of yoga workshops that one undergoes here, including satsangs (discourses) and kirtans (mantra chanting).
The Yoga House, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai, Maharashtra
The first location came up in a modern but welcoming area of Bandra in Mumbai, where the aim is to link a contemporary health-conscious lifestyle with traditional Indian knowledge. Lessons include Hatha Vinyasa, Iyengar, and Ashtanga. What’s more? The Yoga House recently opened a boutique and shala in Varanasi, which is considered to be the holiest city in India.
Sivananda Vedanta Center, Trivandrum, and Rishikesh
Founded by Swami Sivananda and run by the Divine Life Society, this ashram is based on postures, breathing, relaxation, meditation and diet - the five points of yoga. There are also drop-in classes, apart from yoga and meditation courses, both of whose beginner lessons are popular. A stay at the ashram, yoga vacations and teacher training are also offered.
Purple Valley, Assagao, Goa
Image credit: Purple Valley
This place is perfect for the modern yogi, who wants the best of both worlds (fast WiFi access, the best of ashtanga training and detox juices). What makes this place a must visit is that it encourages and welcomes beginners, with the regular dose of yoga ashtanga accompanied by Mysore-style self-practice and special classes like philosophy, yogic living, pranayama and kirtan, which are somewhat similar to fitness courses.
This centre offers sessions with massage therapists and ayurvedic doctors, apart from two international and one ayurvedic chef. Once an abode to foreign students, it is slowly seeing a growth in Indian population as well.
Also read, Yoga asanas for overcoming constipation.
Phool Chatti, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Image credit: Phool Chatti Ashram
A 100-plus-year-old ashram located near the renowned Laxman Jhula suspension bridge, the ashram is a world away from the holy town’s chaos, while tapping into that same spirituality. There are meditation courses, apart from the usual kirtans, nasal cleansing, pranayama, asana practice, prayers and the additional discussions of yoga philosophy. Then there are the meditative walks, dips in rivers and hiking, which make it a must visit ashram.
If you’re looking to make a career in yoga, these institutes might be a good option.
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