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 Yoga

May 2011
The World of Yoga
  Mukesh Khosla

Though no one is certain about its exact origins, yoga dates back to the pre-Vedic times and is a union of the mind, body and soul.Practised for thousands of years, the science of yoga has now gained universal acceptance.


Ashrams, resorts and retreats have sprung up in all parts of the world offering a variety of mind-body healing techniques. Though there are far too many to catalogue, here is a list of ten of the leading yoga retreats in India and abroad …

5 Best Indian Yoga Destinations

Auroville’s Sounds of Silence
Legend associates ancient Pondicherry (now Puducherry) with the great Hindu sage Agastya. After paying homage to the saint you can head for Auroville—the City of Dawn—on the Chennai-Puducherry highway. This is an abode of peace where meditation and yoga are a way of life. Soak in the sounds of silence as you commune with your inner self.

Buddhist Chants at Lamayuru
The surreal Gompa (monastery) perched atop a mountain in Ladakh is hidden from the world. And that is precisely the reason why it is a perfect getaway for yoga and meditation. Yoga enthusiasts come to Leh and take a taxi to Lamayuru 200 kilometres away and stay in small resorts or camping sites for yoga and a divine Zen experience.

Ananda in the Hills
For eons, the holy men of India meditated and chanted hymns to the mighty Himalayas on the banks of the holy Ganges at Rishikesh. The sylvan Ananda Resort near Rishikesh, spread over 100 acres, is a retreat for those with jaded nerves. Here one unwinds to the deft technique of Ayurvedic massages and yogic exercises that relax the body and mind.

Height of Yoga
Nothing prepares you for this.Nothing ever can.The Wildflower Hall Spa Reasort near Shimla is perched at a height of over 8250 feet.It is spread on 22 acres of pine and cedar forests.The resort offers amazing sessions of yoga,meditation and pranayam.From Gentle Yoga to Beginner's Yoga,Intermediate Yoga and Advanced Yoga,the resort has something for all.

Retreat to Unwind
The Swaswara retreat in Gokarna in Karnataka offers more than just a holiday. People come here to detoxify and purify with yoga and Ayurvedic practitioners in an ambience that bespeaks of tranquility and close-to-earth peacefulness. Set amidst acres of swaying coconut palms and rolling hills, it helps you connect to your inner sounds. Swa (‘self’ in Sanskrit) and Swara (‘sound’ in Sanskrit).

5 Best International Yoga Retreats

Yoga in the Rainforest
This has to be one of the world’s best yoga retreats. Situated in the rainforests, the Jangala Yoga Retreat is in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. It offers Hatha yoga along with pranayam and relaxation techniques. The very fact that you are performing yoga in one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems is itself an elevating experience and helps you connect with your inner self.

Baron Baptiste Bootcamp
Founder of the Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga, Baron Baptiste is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA where he offers a week-long bootcamp where attendees focus on a mind-body combination of asanas and yog mudras. Baptiste’s Vinyasa yoga is a fine balance between power and mental yoga and establishes a strong body-mind connection.

Yoga for Life
At the Chiva Som resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, yoga is a way of life. The retreat offers ‘Yoga for Life’ packages from 3 to 14 nights, hichw includes private yoga sessions, Ashtanga yoga classes, detox massages, pranayam, chanting, meditation and shirodhara. In short, a complete yoga holiday that guarantees to heal and de-stress in luxurious surroundings.

The Great Outdoors
Perched at a height of 7,500 feet are the Big Sky Yoga retreats in Montana, USA. They are perfect resorts to meditate and commune with nature through yoga. Most people who visit these retreats, usually built with locally grown timber and natural river rock, say it is a life changing experience where you discover a deep spiritual connect with yourself through yoga and meditation.

Yoga on an Island
The Clare Island Yoga Retreat Centre, in Ballytoughey on the west coast of Ireland offers a blend of Ashtanga yoga, meditation, organic diet, nature walks and yogic breathing to usher in inner peace, first by de-stressing the mind and then by freeing the body of its ailments. Because of the popularity of the place, it is best to book much in advance.

 


    
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