Yoga belongs to the world, but India is its home.
There is no place on earth like India to study and practice Yoga. India is a home for holistic yoga training courses and yoga retreats. Anyone travelling to India to study yoga possibly knows or understands the depth or the truth of this ancient art and science.
If you are serious enough to study yoga, sooner or later, you'll realise that India is home to this practice and with this brief guide, we are bringing some facts about Yoga in India.
What is Yoga… and what it is not.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word for union or yoke. Yoga connects. Yoga is an experience of connecting yourself and then nurturing your soul or inner you that you cannot separate yourself from. Yoga's main purpose is to calm the mind so that you can experience this connection. Yoga is considered as an activity in general, but you cannot 'do' yoga. It's an understanding.
A very few of the modern Yoga classes teach this around the world, but in India, as you proceed on your Yoga journey, you will find yourself chasing the original intentions of yoga, without the overlay of western thinking, ideas, and culture.
Yoga is not a hard and fast exercise, it's not weightlifting or stretching your muscles too much. Yoga is meant to strengthen the body, calm the mind, and soften the heart.
Yoga is not about the idea of getting in shape, looking good in yoga pants, or getting more flexible. An ideal yoga setup is not about fancy yoga clothes, props, or accessories.
Yoga is an intimate interaction in the current reality, it's about embracing the ordinary reality, the celebration of attachment. Yoga is an interior process where you calmly breathe into your body and experience the intimacy with the marvel that is YOU.
Yoga creates unity within and harmony with nature.
Yoga is a way to joy.
Yoga needs just a body and breath. Yoga is available for everyone at any time. You don't need to spare budget, skills, flexibility, special equipment. Yoga is about the right attitude and adjustment rather than anything else.
Yoga is to bring freedom and to believe & trust. Yoga makes a person fearless, blissful, joyful, and playful.
Where did Yoga start?
Nobody knows exactly when and where Yoga started in India. Although Hindu culture believes that Shiva was the first Yoga teacher who taught it to his wife Parvati. In the Bhagavad Gita, Shrikrishna taught Arjuna the philosophy of Yoga to get out of his dilemma. In ancient history, there are archaeological and textual evidence that suggests that Yoga is at least thousands of years old.
Maharishi Patanjali created Yoga Sutra. Patanjali is considered the father of modern Yoga.
The essence of Yoga and self-realization is found in the earliest Indian texts, the Vedas and Upanishads, and they give a concrete back up to the concept that Yoga Sutra might be more than 5000 years older. Bhagavad Gita mentions various types of Yoga such as Karma Yoga (service), Bhakti Yoga (devotion), and Janana Yoga (knowledge), giving people a choice according to their aptitude.
Yoga is different than what most of the world thinks. The idea of learning Yoga is new in India. Indians are hardly eager to learn it because it's deeply ingrained in the culture. But, Yoga in India is increasing its popularity because western culture is taking an active initiative for it. Since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi started International Yoga Day in 2015 and the resolution was supported by 177 nations at the United Nations General Assembly, International Yoga Day now takes place each year on June 21.
Yoga and Ayurveda go hand in hand.
Another ancient Indian practice is Ayurveda, considered a way of life. Ayurveda has now spread across the world. But, still, most people believe Ayurveda is just about medicine and massages. Yet, Ayurveda is so much more than that. The ayurvedic belief is that each individual has a mix of three major elements of nature - air, earth, and fire. Ayurveda suggests that maintaining a good balance of these three will help you find inner peace. Yoga has practices that also help you find peace, tranquility and brings you back to your roots.
What are the best places in India to learn Yoga?
Rishikesh is the Yoga capital of the world, and most foreign disciples tend to visit Rishikesh to learn and pursue Yoga. We have various ashrams where a multitude of programs are available, suitable for foreigners. But beware: there are many fly-by operators with Yoga schools to capitalise on the Yoga boom. You need to beware of scam artists in Rishikesh too.
Yoga is popularly thought to have originated in the Himalayas, and the Yoga tradition is still very strong in places like Uttarakhand, where Rishikesh is located. The further up you go into the hills, to places like Uttarkashi, the more authentic your experience of Yoga will be.
In the South, we have K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore. It's an amazing medium size town in Karnataka with many Yoga centers to choose from and a rising Yoga culture.
Chennai has Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, one of the most respected places to study Yoga in India. People find it an excellent school to pursue Yoga.
Traditionally, Goa was believed as a Yoga center. But it is not. Yet, Goa has very good Yoga retreats to cater to your demands.
And just like Goa, Dharamsala has Yoga retreats and centers springing up.
Some of the other cities in the ‘Yoga circuit' are:
What are Yoga ashrams like?
Yoga ashrams are full of solitude and surrender. Ashrams are filled with the environment to help you take a break from your daily routine, and live in contact with your inner peace. In this modern era, this is perhaps the greatest luxury!
Steps taken by the Government of India to boost Yoga Tourism in India
The International Yoga Day in its first year at Rajpath created two Guinness World Records in a day. The magnificent event broke the record for the largest yoga class ever with 35,985 participants. The event also had a record for yoga, even with the most globally diverse participants. People from around 84 different countries had been a part of it.
Ministry of Ayush and the Tourism Ministry are proudly presenting India as a Yoga Hub. People can visit India to heal their bodies. This is where the term 'India, Land of Yoga' proves. Yoga Tourism in India also refers to medical tourism in India and appeals to people to opt for overall health solutions.
The Government of India provides a list of authentic Yoga institutes and the publicity material with yoga postures, which are then distributed to the public through the Ministry of Tourism centers globally.
If foreigners want to pursue short-term courses in Yoga in India, the Government of India is providing tourist visas along with short duration medical treatment under Indian systems of medicine, recreation, and sightseeing.
People from around 150 countries are eligible for these benefits under e-tourist visas at more than 16 Indian airports. It means that people can now travel to India with just an email approval of their visa application and get it stamped at the time they enter the country. Indian also has a visa-on-arrival facility for Japanese which is valid for 30 days.
Why does Deshpee Group recommend Yoga?
Deshpee is a group of companies striving to make the world a better place.
We are a team of youngsters with a similar mindset of having a peaceful lifestyle along with creativity and enthusiasm. Yoga is a way to keep us active and thus, we support and promote what Yoga does. Almost everyone from our team practices Yoga and multiple times a year, we arrange Yoga events and discussion sessions for our team here at our facility in Pune, India.
Yoga is one reason why we feel we are passionate about what we do at Deshpee Group, and we believe Yoga is a way to self-realization, peace, to increase consciousness and connection.
Want to try Yoga at home? Start with simple postures and meditation activities today!