International Yoga Day : Treat yourself these spiritual retreats

When was the last time you came back from a vacation with that feeling of giddiness? No, we are not talking about the times when you were ‘high’ in the hills!

On This International Yoga Day ixigo brings you the top destinations for a spiritual retreat, that rare feeling of enlightenment, a spiritual journey, which soothes your soul and body.

1- Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry -It’s, supposedly, one of the best places in India if you wish to practice internal yoga. One of the most ancient forms of yoga, internal yoga might lead you to an intrinsically spiritual experience. It aims to bring self consciousness to the practitioner both on mental as well as a spiritual plain.

2- Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram – This one is more for beginners, for it starts with the basic understanding of meditation, focusing on both practice and theory. A typical course is for six days with a class of 90 minutes for each day. Apart from the basic meditation practices, the chanting of mantras to ease focus while meditating is one of the main features of this place.

3. Phool Chatti Ashram, Rishikesh – Nestled deep in the Shivaliks at Rishikesh, this one offer beginners and intermediate courses in yoga. Usually running for seven days, there are two sessions of the same; one for spring and one for autumn. The courses here include yoga asanas (postures), meditation, breathing (pranayama), cleansing, chanting, yoga principles, mauna (silence), pooja (worship), kirtan (sacred singing) and more, while letting you experience the life of an ashram.

4- Ananda in the Himalayas, Narendranagar – One of the most sought after spas in the country, Ananda is also known for its yoga retreats. A group of yoga experts will guide you through the revolutionary practices of hatha yoga and Satyananda Yoga. The focus of the programmes here is to aid you in attaining a work life balance. The various forms of meditation that you can practice at Ananda are Psychic Sleep, Chakra Cleansing, Inner Silence, Chidaksha Meditation and more.

5- Yoga Vidya Spiritual Retreats, Kochi – This one started as an initiative by a group of yoga teachers to bring the benefits of yoga to the masses, while also allowing them the rich experience of Ashram life. While trained yoga performers help you bring in your sync your body and soul, you can pick from a number of programmes designed for beginners as well as experts, depending on your proficiency of the practices.

6- Ayurveda Yoga Meditation Resort, Coonoor – Ayurveda, yoga, reflexology, acupressure, or just strolling around amidst natural bounty, this one offers it all. Add to it the panchakarma detoxification programme, weight loss programme, advanced therapies to deal with depression, and you’ve a perfect getaway from the din of cities. There are some five packages to choose from, while you get to stay amidst tea plantations.

7 – Tushita Meditation Centre, McLeodganj – Apart from guided meditation and spiritual discourses, you can also opt for sessions on Buddhism. Located in McLeodganj, Tushita Meditation Centre exile of the Dalai Lama in India, there’s the added treat that comes as “movie days” and more, when you can join the other followers for interactive sessions. You can choose from personal and group retreats. Giving you company here are the usually snow laden Dhauladhars.

8- Osho Meditation Resort, Pune – Situated at Koregaon in Pune, Osho Meditation Resort is a hub of meditation. There are a number of workshops, courses, massage options and the much followed Daily Meditation Program. Spread over an area of 28 acres, it’s a perfect retreat for the people of nearby Mumbai. If not meditation, you can simply stay here or go for a swim in the campus pool. There are people from more than a 1000 countries coming in for meditation here.

9 – Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri – If Vipassana is what you are aiming to indulge in, Dhamma Giri is just the place for you. The course is for a minimum of ten days, presided by SN Goenka, one of the pioneers in the field of Vipassana. Considered to be one of the best meditation forms for self awareness, Vipassana is one of the toughest forms too. The meals served here are strictly vegetarian, while you can choose dormitories, single occupancy rooms and double occupancy rooms to stay here.

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