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Restful Retreats

by Webmaster Masala

Relax your body, mind and soul at four yoga destinations in India.

By Nivan Narula

Yoga was first developed in northern India more than 5,000 years ago by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit Yuj, which means the union of the individual consciousness or soul with the universal consciousness or spirit.

In today’s fast-paced and hectic world, taking a yoga holiday is growing in popularity. Many choose a yoga retreat as a holiday destination to get back in shape mentally and physically. India’s many yoga retreats are perfect for those seeking true body-mind relaxation, offering the perfect balance of peaceful surroundings, stimulating classes and indulgent treatments. So it’s time to plan your soulful vacation by choosing from these four yoga retreats in India.

Ananda in the Himalayas

Ananda is situated on the luxurious grounds of the palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is located above the sacred town of Rishikesh, known as the capital of yoga. Ananda is inarguably the most authentic and lavish wellness destination in India. A 24,000-square-foot spa includes 24 treatment rooms, a sauna, steam rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy facilities and a fitness centre.

The yoga practiced at Ananda is traditional, slow and meaningful. It stems from Hatha Yoga and is performed under the watchful eyes of the staff yogis. They offer various individualised classes, including Hatha yoga sessions, dynamic Gatyatmak classes, Kriya yoga and Pranayama breathing exercises.

Ananda also offers different wellness packages, starting from five nights. Signature all-inclusive packages are customised to suit each individual’s health goals. Some of the packages are: Dhyana Self Realisation, Ayurvedic Rejuvenation, Weight Management, Renew, Yoga, Yogic Detox and Stress Management.

The main philosophy of Ananda is to help rejuvenate the body, mind and soul through yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, Vendanta and international therapies, and this in turn leads to the improvement of one’s lifestyle and health.

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Isha Yoga Centre, Coimbatore (South India)

The Isha Foundation Center, founded by Sadhguru, is an international non-profit organisation run by two million volunteers. The center can provide a powerful journey towards inner growth and transformation. Meanwhile, the Isha Yoga Center, locally known as the ashram, is located in the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains. It’s about 40 kilometres from the city of Coimbatore in South India. This popular destination attracts people from every part of the world because of its unique offering of all the four main paths of yoga — Gnana (knowledge), Karma (action), Kriya (energy) and Bhakthi (devotion).

The yoga practised at Isha Yoga Center focuses on powerful, ancient yogic methods to help individuals develop their physical, mental and emotional well-being. This emphasis on well-being advances inner growth. The Isha Yoga programmes are offered throughout the year, with both beginner and advanced sessions available. The Inner Engineering programme is a simple but powerful beginners’ programme for a deep, inner transformation. The other beginners’ programme includes Hatha Yoga and Uyir Nokkam. The Bhava Spanda is among one of the advanced programmes where individuals get the opportunity to experience higher levels of consciousness by going beyond the limitations of body and mind.

Thousands of people go to the center every week, in hopes of obtaining inner peace and well-being. This makes the center a vital hub of spiritual growth.

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Jiva Spa, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh (Central)

Jiva Spa in Usha Kiran Palace at Jayendraganj Lashkar, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh is run by one of the premier hotel chains in India, the Taj Group. It features minimal design with luxurious touches, and at the same time reflects the fundamentals of nature.

Jiva Spa focuses on the practices of the Bihar School of Yoga, a holistic yoga form that incorporates physical, psychological and spiritual aspects equally. The main types of yoga programmes encouraged at Jiva are Asanas and Pranayama, along with Mudras and Bandhas. Asanas yoga can be defined as physical yoga, which helps improve core strength and balance. Pranayama Yoga is all about breath control, and when it is used with Mudras and Bandhas, it creates a powerful flow of conscious energy in a specific area.

Apart from yoga programmes, Jiva Spa also offers a range of Indian aromatherapy massages, time-honoured Indian treatments, body scrubs and wraps. All the products used at Jiva Spa are 100 percent natural. The treatments and programmes at Jiva Spa are designed specifically to maintain physical, mental and spiritual balance.

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SwaSwara Yoga, Gokarna (West)

SwaSwara, a wellness centre operated by CGH Earth, is synonymous with palm trees, coconut groves, warm breezes and beautiful shores. It’s located on a cliff overlooking the well-known Om beach on the outskirts of Gokarna, a temple town in Uttara Kannada, Karnataka. The resort contains 24 private villas, surrounded by hills and coconut trees. Each of the villas has both indoor and outdoor areas, with bedrooms behind glass and showers under the stars. The villa also contains a deck above the bedroom, designed for meditation and yoga practice.

SwaSwara focuses on Hatha Yoga principles to help improve individuals’ physical and mental health. The other type of yoga practiced at SwaSwara is Isha Hatha Yoga, which adapts Hatha Yoga principles to suit a modern person’s lifestyle. Some of the retreat packages at SwaSwara include a Yoga, Naturopathy, and Ayurveda Detox Retreat. These packages also focus on diet, meditation and body alignment. There is also a Silent Meditation and Yoga Retreat Package that concentrates on maintaining silence and shutting off the outside world. The Ashtanga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Retreat focuses on all the elements of Ashtanga Yoga.

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