The 5 Best Yoga Retreats in India for Beginners
As the birthplace of yoga there couldn’t be any better place to learn yoga or take a yoga retreat than India! There’s a multitude of reasons to consider yoga retreats in India, its the birthplace of yoga so you’ll go straight to the most authentic, traditional teachings and at the same time you can fully immerse yourself in the unique culture and spirituality of India and dive deep into the yogic way of life at the very source of where these teachings began. Yoga is so much more than just the physical asanas (poses), it is part of the Indian culture and way of life, and this is something you really get in touch with when you choose to do a yoga retreat in India.
India has very diverse and picturesque landscapes too, and there are endless options for locations of retreats, from the beautiful beaches of the southern coastlines to the wondrous Himalayan mountains. There are many Holy places in Mother India and the land itself holds a very profound spiritual energy that is difficult to describe but life changing to experience.
Yoga retreats can be found all over India but the best places to practice yoga in India are:-
- Rishikesh – the yoga capital of the world situated on the banks of the holy Ganges river
- Kerala – laid back, luscious backwaters and the birthplace of Ayurveda
- Goa – a popular beach holiday destination
- Dharamasala – the home of the Tibetan government in exile in the Himlayan mountains
- Mysore – colourful town in South India famous for Ashtanga yoga and it’s flamoyant palace but most yoga schools here require 1 months commitment and only take experienced yogis.
Click on the links above to read other articles and travel guides on these places that I’ve written. My top tip would be to consider what style of yoga you want to do (go for traditional Hatha if your unsure) and then decide which destination you’d like to visit and then start your search there.
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Other positive reasons to consider exploring yoga retreats in India include the affordability aspects of courses and travel expenses, ancient Ayurvedic teachings which can often be incorporated into the retreat, meeting people from around the globe, and not to mention experiencing the Indian culture and tantalising cuisines! There’s really no better place in the world to take a yoga retreat than India! Don’t forget that you’ll need an Indian visa too – read this post on how to get an Indian visa.
I’ve travelled all over India for the last 5 years and am now based in Goa. My yoga practice has really improved so much since learning yoga in India. I know that as a beginner it may sound daunting to travel to India for a yoga retreat as there are many famous gurus and yoga teachers in India but some only take very experienced yoga practitioners and require commitments of a month or more.
Yoga has also become big business nowadays and sadly there are some fake gurus and awful yoga schools out there so its really important to do your research and make sure you find a reputable yoga retreat. I love using www.bookyogaretreats.com because you can check reviews and testimonials from real yogis who’ve already been there. You can also book and pay on here rather than wiring money to India so it makes payment easier and more trustworthy.
To make finding the perfect beginners yoga retreat in India easier I thought I would write a post with my 5 favourite yoga retreats to help point you in the right direction. Yoga has changed my life so much and traveling in India has been a transformational experience so even if you are just starting out on your yoga journey there’s really no better place.
Here’s my recommendations for the 5 best yoga retreats in India for beginners:
Top of the list of yoga destinations to visit in India is of course Rishikesh – the yoga capital of the world! My favourite yoga retreat for beginners is Yoga Vidya Mandiram in Rishikesh. The retreats at Yoga Vidya Mandiram are some of the best yoga retreats in India, perfectly suited for beginners who wish to learn the basics of not just asanas but also pranayama, mudras, mantra chanting, yoga philosophy and an introduction to meditation.
If you’re just starting out you can even just book in for a 3 day yoga retreat for less than £100 to see how you like it without committing to a full week like most yoga retreats. They also offer 7 day or 14 day retreats as well as excellent yoga teacher training courses if you want to take your practice to the next level. The retreat is located in Rishikesh, nestled in the mountains of Uttarakhand, also known as “the home of yoga” and “Land of the Gods”. Rishikesh is surrounded by beautiful, untouched nature, the holy Ganges and picturesque Himalayan mountains.
The yoga retreat also includes an excursion to nearby shrines, temples, caves and waterfalls as well as sightseeing around the town and a fire ceremony. All meals are vegetarian and are included in the price as well as modern, clean, comfortable accommodation. From the moment you arrive you can really feel there is a highly spiritual and special energy in this place. Click here to read Yoga Vidya Mandirams reviews, see pictures and book your place!
The tropical beaches of Goa are another of the best places to take a yoga retreat in India. I’d recommend South Goa over North Goa as its much more peaceful and less built up. Beautiful, laid back Palolem is one of my all time favourite beaches in Goa and the best place to take a yoga retreat. Anand Yoga Village is an unpretentious and inclusive yoga retreat that offers many different styles of yoga and is perfect for beginners.
The yoga village is situated under tranquil palm trees just 2 min walk from the beach and offers comfortable accommodation in newly built cute wooden beach huts and healthy, wholesome, vegetarian food from around the world. Anand yoga village offers hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, restorative and yin yoga asana classes as well as meditation, pranayama, chanting sutras, yoga nidra, Ayurvedic massage, sound bath and more. There’s also plenty of time to relax on the beach, take a boat trip to spot dolphins and explore beautiful and serene South Goa. Click here to read the reviews, see photos, more details and to book your place!
Laid back and luscious Kerala is a world away from the hectic cities of North India and is also the home of Ayurveda (the world’s oldest holistic healing system) and some of India’s best yoga retreats. I love the Bodhi Ayurveda and Yoga Retreat as it offers a unique program of Hatha yoga sessions, pranayama, meditation, Ayurveda therapies and holistic healing. As well as yoga, a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage and steam bath are also included. There are also sessions on the theory and philosophy behind yoga, cookery demonstrations and bhajans (devotional singing) or you can just relax or swim in the pool and enjoy the tropical gardens.
Bodhi offers 3 day retreats, perfect for beginners wanting to give yoga, meditation and Ayurveda a try, and also 7 and 10 day retreats for those wanting to go deeper. The Indian instructors are all experienced, authentic and welcoming. Comfortable, air conditioned accommodation and delicious homemade sattvic and Keralan vegetarian meals and tropical juices made with love are included. The retreat center is situated in a traditional tropical Keralan homestay surrounded by 7 acres of lush vegetation and palm trees on the outskirts of Kochi. Don’t miss the chance to cruise the Kerala backwaters on a houseboat, visit historic and multicultural Fort Kochi and some nearby beaches while in Kerala! Click here to read the reviews, see photos and to book your place!
Dharamshala and the surrounding areas of McCleod Ganj, Bhagsu and Dharamkot are like my 2nd home in India and where I head to when it gets too hot in Goa. This beautiful mountainous region is an amazing place for yoga and meditation, trekking in the Himalayan mountains and soaking up the Tibetan culture. Om Yoga Ashram in McCleod Ganj is a non-profit organisation founded by Dr. Rashpal Yogi. It’s a great place to learn about yoga, Indian culture and Indian spirituality and is specifically aimed at offering a gentle introduction to yoga and the ashram lifestyle for beginners with trekking and local sightseeing.
Om Yoga Ashram offers morning and evening Hatha yoga and meditation classes, an introduction to yogic cleansing techniques and a daily Aarti (traditional prayer ceremony) and bhajans (devotional singing) There are also classes on anatomy, philosophy, mantras and chakras as well as trekking and local sightseeing to waterfalls and Tibean monasteries nearby. The accommodation is clean and comfortable ensuite rooms in a newly built comfortable with views of the mountains from the balcony and 3 vegetarian, Ayurvedic meals daily are also included. Click here to read reviews, see photos and more details to and book your place!
If you are just starting out on your yoga journey and don’t know which style you prefer yet then taking a multi style yoga retreat at Fusion in Rishikesh could be ideal. Fusion offers a 7 day course in one of the best locations in Rishikesh great for beginners who get the chance to try Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga and even Aerial yoga! Ariel yoga is super fun and this is one of the few places in Rishikesh that offer it. There’s 2 daily yoga classes as well as pranayama and meditation sessions. Fusion offers a good balance of yoga classes and activities and also plenty of free time to explore the temples, cafes and shops of Rishikesh, go trekking in the mountains or rafting along the river Ganges.
This is one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating multi style yoga retreats in Rishikesh. The location is in a quieter area of Rishikesh but still with easy access to everything the town offers. There’s several accommodation options from budget rooms to AC rooms with a view. 3 tasty and nutritious ayurvedic, sattvik and rajasik meals daily are also included. Click here to see more details, dates, prices, reviews, and book here!
Have you been on a great yoga retreat in India? Do you have any more tips to share?
Leave a comment below and your recommendations can help out other travellers 🙂
Btw – I have used affiliate links in the post. So if you find my recommendations for the best yoga retreats in India useful and want to book through the links I’ve provided then I can earn a small commission which helps to keep this site running at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support! 🙂