Three travel routes through India for yoga lovers

Yoga’s an integral part of Indian culture. It seeps into our cardio workouts, our morning stretches, our school annual day programs even. If you’re here to get a feel of the Indian life, yoga’s a great place to start.

Yoga Course at a Spice Farm in Goa – Smriti Yoga

If you’re a beginner, there’s a dozen great drop-in classes (a short class for 40-45 mins) in every city. You can try it out and even make new friends. If you already have a background in yoga, opt for a tougher course. Set yourself some new goals, maybe even take home a teaching certificate.

We’ve mapped out three great routes for you. Go to places whose natural beauty will facilitate the liberating expression of yoga. You’ll also get some great sightseeing after your morning class! And don’t worry about the difficulty level, the options are exhaustive. Yoga is for everyone.

Along the Southern Coast


Fly into Mumbai and skip the rush of the inner city for the suburban leafiness of The Yoga Institute in Santacruz. It’s primarily a retreat centre. It’s a great place to just step out of the chaos even if you’re not ready for a full course.

Next stop—Goa. Tall swaying palms, soft sand underfoot and dozens of yoga classes popping up on every shore. Try the Lotus Yoga retreat or Kaamakethna to really slip into tune with the universe. More dedicated practitioners can try Smriti Yoga at the gorgeously lush Tanshikar Spice Farm.

South Goa is a great place to relax. If you’re looking for daily Yoga classes, warm seas and great food, here is a blog you would enjoy.

Gokarna, even quieter, will set your morning stretches to the gentle roar of the ocean. Spiritual land adjusts each class to the level of its drop-in students. Swaswara hosts all your yoga, Ayurveda and spiritual needs on one vast, ecologically sustainable campus. Finally, head down to the soft, quiet sands of Varkala.

Catch up with the good folks at Soul & Surf for some old fashioned yoga at dawn. Calm the soul and then crash through the surf to kick yourself back into gear.

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Yoga by a waterfall in Goa Yoga by a waterfall anyone? Photo Credits

Mountain Trail


Where better to seek out peace than in the mountains that have sheltered Shiva himself?  Delhi is obviously the most convenient starting point, and also home to Seema Sondhi’s Yoga Studio. Seema herself took up yoga after a severe spinal injury. Her studio is a judgement free zone that preaches applying yoga to the abilities of your body rather than the other way around.

From there you can move on to the mecca of yoga practitioners—Rishikesh. Combine the breathtaking natural beauty of Rishikesh with its ancient yogic heritage at Phool Chatti. It literally means ‘Land of the Flowers’. Courses can be demanding, so if you’re just here for peace and calm, check into Osho’s Gangadham further uphill.

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In Dharamsala, you can explore Buddhist spirituality. Take a course on their own brand of meditation. If you’re still looking to come back to the yogic trend, visit the Himalya Iyengar Yoga Centre. It brings to life the traditions of BKS Iyengar in an open space lit by the sharp mountain light.

There’s a wide variety of courses offered varying in focus, degree and length, so you’re not going to leave empty handed. The route from here on focuses more on sights and cultures. None of these cities will leave you wanting for yoga. If you’re unsatisfied, hit up Art of Living in Agra, Pushkar Meditation Temple in Pushkar and the Dynamic Yoga Studio in Udaipur.

Yoga in the Mountains!

The Way Down South


You’re starting from Mumbai again, so let’s change it up a bit. Head away from the interior to the crashing seaface of Marine Drive that defines the city. Nestled up against this gorgeous view is Kaivalyadhama, an institute that combines Ayurveda and Yoga to promote health and wholesomeness.

In Hampi you can turn your back on the paddy fields and your face towards the sun as you arch up and up in greeting the dawn across the river. In a city that reverberates with the wisdom and beauty of the ancients, a city outside of time, sink back into the arms of this age-old science.

Here, and in Mysore, just ask your hostel manager to hook you up with a local class. Most hostels and hotels arrange one on the front lawn in busy months. In Mysore you could also opt for a more in-depth study at the Ashtanga Yoga Centre which promises to impart the classic yoga style.

In the old streets of Trivandrum’s West Fort, you will find the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, which along with the five basic principles of yoga, also practices karma yoga, that welcomes people of all walks to lend a hand at the centre in whatever capacity possible and become a deeper part of the centre.

Finally, in Coimbatore, try out the Isha Foundation, a centre whose yogic philosophy bubbles up over a simple fitness routine into a complete way of life, one that they try to spread globally through their volunteers. Even if your body isn’t up for it, it’s a great place to visit just to expand your worldview.

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Someday you might return to India to do a Yoga Teacher Training Course

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