India is the home of Yoga, but how much Yoga does India actually offer travellers? Well on my trip around India I must say that I was a little bit disappointed and surprised with the lack of yoga classes in India. I thought that all hostels would be offering yoga for backpackers to India and there would be signs in all cities but that really wasn’t the case.
In fact I only found yoga classes in a few cities and towns in India which are generally known for their ‘yoga’ and ‘hippy’ scene anyway.
So if you are looking to practise yoga in India, learn yoga in India or even study yoga in India, be sure to keep these places in mind as the best places in India to do yoga:
Yoga is offered in Udaipur in a few places. I went to morning yoga at Nukkad Guest House which is on from 8:00-9:00am. It’s a bit of a make shift class and when I went there were only 2 of us. The teacher definitely knew his stuff but I get the impression the type of yoga he teaches is decided by him in the morning.
Another place to do yoga in Udaipur is Enteyoga, they hold two sessions daily depending on the bookings. 8:30-9:45am and 5:00-6:15pm and it’s common for these classes to be held in a temple by the river which is really special. You need to book the class in advance but you can contact Enteyoga by emailor by instagram.
I expected to find Yoga in Pushkar as Pushkar is a very Holy and Spiritual place popular with backpackers, travellers and hippies.
There wasn’t as many places as I thought but there are 2 main places to visit.
Pushkar Yoga and Meditation Temple– This 2 hour session is very much meditation based, Swamiji is the teacher and extremely experienced. In fact I felt honoured to be able to practise with him.
The session is based around Chants, lots of Om’s, Breathing techniques, Asana postures (but nothing too intense) and a lot of learning about the Chakra’s, the Elements and so much more, all in a very relaxing way in a relaxing setting.
Retreats are held in the building so most participates will be part of this but it is popular for drop in sessions like I did too. The sessions are suitable for beginners and intermediates. I did the 3 class pass for 1000Rs which I thought was worthwhile and cost effective (for the most up to date times and prices visit their website here).
Pushkar Yoga Garden – I went here for a 90 minute morning session. Posters are displayed all over the Town for Yoga here.
It’s slightly out of the centre if you’re staying close to the lake but not far and it’s nice to get out of the busy streets for a bit. Yogesh Yogi has been running Pushkar Yoga Garden for 14 years and practicing Yoga for 30 years. Although guests do stay in the house it’s popular for drop in sessions in the morning’s and evening’s (for the most up to date times and prices visit their website here).
We spent 90 minutes doing Hatha Yoga with a series of Asana’s. The classes are suitable for beginners and intermediates. We did the poses in ways I had not done before in the UK so it was good to see the real Indian side to Yoga. Yogesh Yogi also lives an Ayurvedic lifestyle which I found interesting and liked that he brought up a few Ayurvedic relatable points in the class.
There are lots of yoga classes on offer in the Dharamshala area, especially in McLeod Ganj and Bhagsu. I didn’t actually do any as I wasn’t very well during my time there but there are lots of posters and this is the best way to find out what is on offer.
Be aware that in the low season aka winter, some classes may not be on so be sure to call in advance to check. I can imagine in summer there are a lot more advertised and on.
I stayed at Ram Yoga House in McLeod Ganj and not only did I love it for the location and the hotel but for the rooftop yoga studio. Ram does offer classes but again in the winter he stopped them. That was fine though as if you stay there you can use the yoga studio any time of day at no extra cost so if you want to practise on your own with an incredible view, this is the best place to stay in McLeod Ganj for Yoga!
If you want to do your Yoga Teacher Training in India there is a lot available in Dharamshala and especially in the town of Bhagsu. I met a girl who did it in Bhagsu a few years ago and she really enjoyed it and it’s a great place to be based for a few weeks in nature, surrounded by mountains!
Rishikesh is the home of Yoga in India so if you want a complete abundance of yoga, this is the place to go! In fact I’ll be awkward and say that there’s actually too much choice! Every other hotel has a sign outside it offering 3-4 Yoga classes a day and so do all of the Ashrams in town too.
Hatha Yoga is the most popular yoga type in Rishikesh it seems but there is Kundalini and Vinyasa on offer too as well as some Yin Yoga Classes. I would ask around and get some recommendations when you arrive as I can imagine teaches leave regularly too so somewhere might have been good a year ago but maybe not now, or at least go to one class and if you don’t like it, go elsewhere the next day.
I did yoga at TAT Cafe and really liked it. His Vinyasa morning class was hard work but the guy who does the classes and runs TAT is a great teacher. After you can get a healthy breakfast overlooking The Ganga River!
The classes and locations vary too. I found that some of them are not the best locations aka in the back of reception of a hostel and the mats can be quite dirty so take your own or take a towel to put on top. Generally classes are between 200-300Rs for 90 minutes and it can vary on the day as to whether you are there in a group or you are the only one there!
Either way if you want to stretch it out once or twice a day in Rishikesh you definitely can!
The other option is to go to a Yoga Ashram in India and Rishikesh is a location with a lot of Ashrams near by. I met some people who went to Phoolchatti and really liked it.
It also goes without saying that Rishikesh is one of the most popular places to do Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in India, not only because so much is offered but also because it’s a great place to stay for a few weeks!
Goa is a good place for yoga in India because it’s so chilled and attracts the kind of people that enjoy yoga and wellness.
I experienced a good amount of yoga in Goa as I stayed at Earth Yoga Village in Palolem for 1 week as part of their Yoga Holiday. If you’re looking for a yoga holiday in Goa or yoga retreat in Goa I can’t recommend this place enough, it was so so good! And to see why you can read my full blog post here to find out more about it: My Magic Yoga Holiday in Goa at Earth Yoga Village!
As well as Palolem Beach in South Yoga I visited Arambol and Candolim in North Goa. Arambol did have a few yoga places advertised including This Is It Restaurant which is right on the beach. The best way to find yoga classes in Goa based on my experience is to arrive and have a look on the walls and in cool restaurants for posters advertising classes.
Aside from this, head to the beach in the morning on your own to practise. On each beach there were lots of people up and about just after sun rise- walking, running, swimming, stretching and doing yoga.
Mysore in South India in the state of Karnataka may be known for its grand buildings but it’s also a popular place for yoga and a good base for learning yoga in India.
The main area of yoga in Mysore is an area called Gokulam, here you will find many classes on offer a long with many healthy food cafes and plenty of travellers walking around in yoga pants with mats. It’s a totally different feel to the centre of Mysore where the Palace is.
I went for lunch at Chakra Cafe which also offers yoga classes so I would recommend heading there as it had a really good vibe and great staff!
I heard that Varkala is becoming the new Yoga spot in India and I’d have to say that I agree! The only place I have seen more Yoga being offered is Rishikesh which is the home of Yoga in India right now so Varkala offers a good South India Yoga Home.
There are lots of drop in sessions on offer from various schools and guest houses from 300Rs for 90 minutes, Hatha seemed the most popular style of Yoga, but I did see Vinyasa offered a lot too. There are also lots of places offering Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Retreats are popular in Varkala too!
In January 2019 Varkala is starting an International Yoga Festival. I heard that 2019 is set to be quite small but they intend to grow it into something a lot bigger so that’s something to look out for!
If you want some Yoga in Kerala then Varkala is a great place to visit!
After 4 months in India visiting many places these are the best places for Yoga that Ellie found however as she see’s more she will add to this list and if you know of any great places to do yoga classes in India, let us know in the comments!
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