BY VRITIKA JHUNJHUNWALA
The word ‘Yoga’ radiates peace and tranquility which is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ that means to join or unite. This union means to unite the individual self with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit. India is the birthplace of Yoga, has always been a popular destination to grow spiritually and achieve tranquility of spirit. Between the craziness of home, work, and life, sometimes we all need a little me-time. From city hideaways to escapes in the hills, these spiritual centers are perfect for some serious head-clearing and soul-searching.
Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune
Located in Pune, the resort has a garden with tall trees, plenty of black marble and wide open spaces. Against this stark vista of green and black, one can spend their mornings in deliciously relaxing one-hour drop-in sessions of Tai Chi, Chi Gong, and Zen Archery. There are 10 meditation sessions every day, starting at 6am. There’s an Olympic-size pool, spa, gym, cyber café, tennis courts and three dining areas with everything from Asian mains to coffees and pastries. And as night falls, the place comes alive with meditations under the full moon, music performances, and movie screenings. Most of the courses offered here are directed towards healing from traumatic past experiences and inner development including Tantra, Zen, Sufism, Meditative therapies, Esoteric sciences, Creative arts etc.
Address: 17 Koregaon Park, Pune MS 411 001, India. Phone: +91 20 6601 9999.
Vipassana Meditation, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri
The world’s largest Vipassana meditation center, known as Dhamma Giri, is located at the Vipassana Research Institute at Igatpuri in Maharastra. Dhamma Giri is situated in the town of Igatpuri which is 45 km away from Nashik and 136 km away from Mumbai. It’s around three hours from Mumbai and the center offered its first course to the public in 1976 and now tens of thousands study there every year. Over 400 “cells” are provided for individual meditation, which is appealing for those who want to undertake intensive practice in solitude away from other people. The 10 days courses are in high demand and are held twice a month, all year round. Apart from the standard rules, such as abstinence from intoxicants and sex, the academy also demands complete silence, disallowing even non-verbal communication, except limited interaction with a teacher or the management.
Address: Dhamma Giri Igatpuri 422 403, District Nasik, Maharashtra. Phone: +91-2553-244076/86, 243712, 243238.
The Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore, Karnataka
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded this ashram in1981. It is famous across the world for its stress-elimination and self-development programs, which are based mainly on breathing techniques, yoga postures, and meditation. Some of the Courses offered are Art of living I and II, Art of living Yoga, Meditation, Happiness program, Corporate programs and workshops, Employee rejuvenation program, Vedic Math and Youth training courses. The Art of Living also takes various initiatives that aim towards upliftment of humanity and betterment of quality of life. The foundation course at this ashram is 3-day program known as Art of Living Part I residential workshop where aspirants learn revitalizing breathing techniques to restore the natural rhythms of body and mind.
Adress: Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth, Kanakapura Road, Bangalore South, Karnataka, 560082. Phone: +91 80 67262626/27/28.
Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Parmarth Niketan Ashram Rishikesh is the largest ashram in Rishikesh and provides a clean, poise and pure atmosphere to the thousands of devotees coming from all corners of the world. It is open to all visitors with no discrimination o the basis of caste, religious beliefs, upbringing, and nationality. Frequent camps on intensive courses on yoga, meditation, pranayama, stress management, acupressure and other ancient yogic practices are conducted regularly. Parmarth Niketan Ashram also conducts one of the biggest Yoga festivals called International Yoga Festival every year in the month of March. A few Courses offered are a daily practice of Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Yoga Nidra. Activities like morning universal prayers, Meditation classes, daily lectures and discussions, world-renowned Ganga aarti at sunset are attended by hundreds of devotees’ every day. Nature cure and Ayurveda treatment and training are also part of daily activities.
Address: P.O. Swargashram, Rishikesh (Himalayas); Uttarakhand – 249304, India. Phone: 0135 2434301, 2434302.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala
Founded by Swami Visnudevananda, Sivananda Vedanta Ashram Neyyer Dam is one of the most popular ashrams in India to understand the Indian way of living. This Ashram offers ancient Indian lifestyle with an integral approach towards yoga including Raja yoga, Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga and Jnana yoga. Sivananda Ashram offers a yoga and meditation program for at least three days and wishes to adhere to the daily schedule of yoga and bhakti. Yoga teacher training courses for one month is also offered along with two intensive hatha yoga classes per day. Ayurveda wellness course, practical Ayurveda cooking workshop, fasting, and detoxification programs are an integral part of courses offered at the ashram. The natural beauty of Neyyar Dam Lake, the forested surroundings, the cool green coconut tree groves and colorful flower-filled views, all offer an ideal atmosphere for the practice of yoga and meditation.
Address: PO Neyyar Dam, Trivandrum, Kerala 695 572. Phone: +919495630951.
The township hosts about 2,400 people from close to 50 countries, who contribute to its welfare and help build a sustainable community. At its centre is the iconic Matrimandir, a giant gold-plated orb surrounded by 12 parks, which symbolises the birth of a new consciousness. This is a place for meditation and silent concentration to become aware of one’s own consciousness. It has an inner chamber, completely in white and some areas have internet connectivity. Aurovilians come from some 49 nations, from all age groups (from infancy to over eighty, averaging around 30), from all social classes, backgrounds and cultures, representing humanity as a whole. The population of the township is constantly growing, but currently stands at around 2,500 people, of whom approx one-third are Indian.
Address: Auroville town, 10km from Pondicherry and 150 km from Chennai. Phone: (0413) 2622204.
Vritika lives in India where she immersed herself in authentic principles of Yoga and meditation through intense study, reference reading and oral teaching. Having learnt and taught the benefits of meditation in modern life, she aims to bring peace and well being to people in innumerable ways demonstrated by Yogic wisdom. To read more of her writing visit her blog