Tales of self discovery, spirituality and meditation in India may take centrestage in films, but while Julia Roberts and other famous personalities have come here in search of their inner soul, how often do locals like us immerse ourselves in nature and healing that our own country offers? Take a break from the city and head for a holistic holiday, say Katha Nauriyal & Sara Shah for holistic treatment
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams, Trivandrum
Located in the heart of the city, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres and Ashrams is a magical place that takes you away from the bustle of the city. Tucked away in Thiruvananthapuram, it is among seven properties sprawled across the country, where tourists often gather to meditate, detox or embrace the simple joy of living. “Our programme is based on the gurukula system, where the staff and the guests interact while practicing yoga,” says Nataraj, director of Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams.
To give you a break from your daily life, the ashram offers a two-week long yoga vacation based on five points of yoga to promote inner peace and health. Nataraj adds, “While daily attendance is mandatory for guests, in addition to accommodation, the package comprises of satsang, lectures, asna classes and meals.” Also, they arrange day trips so you can visit places of interest as well. Their food is a complete detox, devoid of eggs, meat, onion and garlic. However, to help you devour the flavours of south, the food is cooked in the local Kerala style. If you’re looking for a healthier option, you could try their fresh juices, salads and snacks from Health Hut.
- Price Rs 350 to Rs 1750 per night
- Where Neyyar Dam, Trivandrum, Kerala
- Contact 04712273093
Shreyas Retreat is located a couple of hours away from Bengaluru International Airport and is a place frequented by visitors from across the world looking to relax and discover themselves. However, what makes this place unique is the experience of a traditional yogic life that it gives you, keeping in mind luxury and hospitality. N. Balaji, CEO of Shreyas Retreat, says, “We help our guests integrate the manifold facets and benefits of yoga into their daily lives. We give them a private, tranquil haven to pamper, nourish, detoxify and recharge themselves, and if they want to provide a road map to guide them down a spiritual path of self-discovery. The private and serene accommodation has been structured to make guests feel like they are living amongst nature.” Shreyas Retreat offers interesting packages including the silent or mauna retreat, which takes place for seven nights. Since it’s a silent programme, you’re given handbooks to you to pen down your thoughts. If you have any further requirements, you can convey them to the staff .
According to ayurveda, assuming silence when you’re eating not only aids digestion, but improves overall health. So, during the silent retreat, you are served food prepared with ingredients that help put you at ease and are digested quickly. They are organic, light and nutritious. You can also pick from a range of healthy options such as raw, vegan, gluten-free, low carbohydrate or dairy products.
For those suffering from ailments, Shreyas Retreat has not only been designed with the cleaning and breathing processes in mind, but also offers one-on-one consultations with yoga teachers and ayurvedic and naturopathy doctors, who will customise diet charts and treatments according to your ailments.
- Price Rs 1,45,586 and Rs 2,05,347, for single and double occupancy
- Where Santoshima Farm, Gollahalli Gate, Nelamangala-Doddaballapur Road, Nelamangala, Bengaluru
- Contact 8027737102
Osho Meditation Resort
Nestled in the city of Pune, Osho Meditation Resort makes relaxation fun. Guests are donned in comfortable, over-sized maroon or white robes and are often seen dancing or meditating. While you can kick-start your day with Osho Dynamic Meditation or dance mediations such as Osho Kundalini, you spend the Osho Evening Meeting in silence, which begins with 20 minutes of full power dancing, followed by ten minutes of silence. This is followed by an Osho videotape session. It also is a great place to meet different people from across the globe and learn about their cultures.
- Price Rs 760 (nationals) and Rs 1,560 (international tourists)
- Where Osho International Meditation Resort, 17, Koregaon Park, Pune
- Contact 02066019999
Yog Gram — Haridwar
Why is meditating across the Himalayas everyone’s favourite thing to do? Yog Gram in Haridwar has the answer! A place for people to escape from the city’s frenzy and into a substitute world of peace, yoga and Panchakarma, Yog Gram is particularly recommended for those seeking to cure ailments with natural or ayurvedic treatments. A picturesque view is not its only offering, it also provides a variety of therapies, some even unheard of! Their Ozone Bubble Massage and Water Wave Massage Bath require you to sit in a tub with ball-like bubbles! You can also pick Pranic Healing where various diseases are cured by transmitting energy from the sun, air and trees to the patient, to expel negative energy. Additionally, you can explore the beauty of the mountains with activities such as boating, camel and horse riding.
- Price Rs 2,000 per day
- Where Yog – Naturopathy – Panchkarma treatment & Research Centre, SIDCUL, Haridwar, Uttarakhand
- Contact 01334283522
Maa Yoga Ashram, Rishikesh
Uttarakhand is home to a host of different ashrams and retreats, Maa Yoga Ashram is one of them. Founded in 2012, guests can choose from their range of yoga, ayurveda and Panchakarma treatments, under the guidance of Yogi Dr. Amrit Raj. They specialise in helping people through the means of ayurveda, while trying to achieve a balance between mind, body and spirit. While you’re there, you can pick from their three, seven and 14-day retreat programmes. The packages include meals thrice a day, a daily Panchakarma treatment programme — which is a detoxification treatment, and a consultation with Dr. Raj.
- Price Rs 12,715 onwards
- Where Tapovan, Badrinath Road, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
- Contact 9719237373
Ayur Yoga Eco-Ashram, Mysore
Apart from its immense beauty, you can visit Mysore for a week of spiritual and holistic exploration at the Ayur Yoga Eco-Ashram. They have a wide range of body-mind spiritual retreats, trainings, yoga courses, ayurveda and detoxification treatment on offer. Situated by the bank of the river Kabini and spanning 18 acres of organic farmland, the ashram is enveloped in serenity. If you’re flying in from another country, they also offer an airport transfer service with additional charges. Apart from practicing yoga, they have a range of Yoga Teacher Training programmes, which will teach you the different styles of yoga, enabling you to become a certified yoga instructor.
- Price Rs 44,505 onwards
- Where AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, Village JP Hundi, Kannenur Post, Hulhalli Hobli, Mysore District, Karnataka
- Contact 9567442239
Ayurveda Healing Ashram, Trivandrum
The Ayurveda Healing Ashram prides itself on being a traditional healing ashram. With a backdrop of greenery and the pristine blue waters of the Arabian Sea, the USP of the ashram is its excellent service and ayurvedic treatments. A few of their healing packages include treatments such as Abhyanga, which is a body massage therapy, Kizhi which is used to enhance circulation and treating arthritis and other joint pain, Shirodhara and Udwarthanam. They also treat a range of different ailments such as thyroid problems, diabetes, depression and bulimia through the practice of yoga and ayurveda.
- Price Rs 2,494 onwards
- Where Thiruvallom, Pachalloor Po, Trivandrum, Kerala
- Contact 9447817174
The Art of Living, Bengaluru
Founded in 1986, The Art of Living ashram is situated at the top of the Panchagiri Hills and prides itself on teaching its guests and how to live. Apart from yoga and meditation, they also offer Panchakarma services, along with cooking and healthy eating workshops.
- Price Rs 2,000 onwards
- Where Panchagiri hills, Udipalya village, Bengaluru
- Contact www.artofliving.org