/ Compass: Our Top 5 Ashrams For Some Well Deserved "Me" Time

Compass: Our Top 5 Ashrams For Some Well Deserved “Me” Time

Jul 16, 2013

It is India's age-old spirit and spirituality that made the West stand up and acknowledge this land—the land of the vedas and the birthplace of yoga. It helped Julia Roberts find her balance in Eat, Pray, Love. And spirituality is the reason there is a balance in this world of odds. We have put together a list of five ashrams (or spiritual retreats) that you must visit on your next visit to the land of bling and Bollywood.

Tao-zen meditation centre

Not only has Goa put India on the world map, it has also awakened the spiritual side of many. That is exactly where the Tao-Zen Rama yoga and meditation centre comes in. Located on Candolim Beach Road in Goa, it’s a sea-facing meditation centre. The courses are designed for travelers and tourists at large, as they can be squeezed into a perfect beach holiday in Goa. It can be a great rejuvenation after those exhausting rave parties. As there is no provision to stay, they offer mostly short-term and drop-in classes on Tao and Zen meditation. They operate on two basic concepts, Tao and Zen, and use six techniques to achieve “the ultimate God,” (the divine power, the almighty), inner peace, consciousness and stillness of mind. Dynamic yoga, Prana yoga, Tibetan yoga, Pranayama, Tibetan prostration and Dhyana yoga, along with Tao-zen meditation, are practised to achieve enlightenment. Classes are held in the early mornings and evenings. Visit their website at www.ramayoga.com for further information.

Ananda in the Himalayas

Ananda means “joy”, so the name of this world-famous spa destination sums up the experience one has there—a joyful one. This multiple award-winning resort and spa is indulgent luxury meets blissful spirituality. Located in the foothills of Himalayas at a holy place called Rishikesh, overlooking the Ganges, it has the perfect scenic view to please the body, mind and soul. The guests, while staying at luxurious suites and villas, can indulge in wellness packages ranging from stress management and ayurvedic rejuvenation to tranquility, fitness and anti-aging. Personalized yoga sessions paired with a body scrub or Thai massage can make one feel no less than a king in Ananda, which was once a palace of the maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal. Spa treatments, yoga and meditation amidst nature at its best—with mountains and a river to soothe your nerves—can be the best holiday one can wish for. Do visit their website at www.anandaspa.com for any queries.

Teaching the art of living

Whether you are exploring temples in the south or simply there for a visit, be sure to take a trip to The Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore Ashram, founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Spread over 65 acres of green, it is the perfect getaway as it offers short courses over the weekend. First timers can opt for a beginner's course that concentrates on releasing mental and physical stress, and teaches the students how to handle negative emotions and situations. It includes stretching and low impact yoga for circulation, health and body stillness. It also teaches a breathing technique called Sudharshan Kriya, which heals and is very helpful in day-to-day life. People who have already begun their self-discovery journey can take more advanced courses. One can also enjoy the scenic lake and the nature that surrounds the ashram while taking a breather from his or her hectic and busy city life. More information is available on www.artoflivingindia.in

Spirituality in the scenic Himalayas

If you are a mountain person, nothing beats the Himalayas. Standing tall and graceful, they are the best way to beat the heat, and Chinmaya Tapovan, an ashram in the heart of the Himalayas, can ensure you come back with a cool head too. Ten kilometres from the popular tourist destination Dharamshala and in the land of Tibetan monks and His holiness Dalai Lama, the ashram is situated in the midst of wilderness on the banks of Bindu Saras. The ashram also houses a nine-foot high statue of Lord Hanuman, a Lord Ram temple, a meditation hall and a health and recreation centre. So if you’re seeking an atmosphere completely viable for introspection, chanting, prayer and spiritual fulfillment, you are at the right place. It holds short courses on the holy book of Gita. One could learn from this sacred book and its teachings, which hold relevance even in our modern lives. The peace and tranquility found in these magnificent mountain ranges would leave you completely refreshed and transformed. For additional information, go to www.chinmayamission.com


Yoga Vacation in the backwaters of Kerala

If time is the least of your issues and you are willing to take yoga and spirituality to the next level, then heading to Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in Trivandrum, Kerala may just be the solution. Spread over 12 acres, surrounded by forests, and located on the foothills of the western Ghats, the cool shade of the coconut groves makes for a perfect Yoga Vacation, a program they offer. This unique vacation will relax and rejuvenate you like no other. Short courses on yoga and shat kriya workshops (yogic cleansing techniques) are also available. They leave the mind sharpened and the body cleansed and purified. The two-week yoga vacation concentrates on proper exercise, proper diet, breathing, relaxation and positive thinking and meditation. And if you are a beginner, fret not, as special classes for beginners are also held. After this full yoga experience, one is able to take back a lot of learning and discipline into his or her day-to-day life. For further queries, visit their website at www.sivananda.org



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