Hey! Can you tell me the Best Meditation retreats in India?
India is known as the Land of Yoga and Meditation. The country has given many saints, gurus, or monks who have inspired the community and served everyone till their last breath.
Yoga or Meditation is not a new word for Indians; the country has been a dream destination for many yogis. While searching for a good yoga and meditation retreat, I realized that choosing the best out of so many is difficult.
While searching for the wellness retreat, the questions that came to mind were related to its cost, efficacy, easiness, and the way of treatment.
When I have decided to visit the one for myself, my people started asking questions like:
What is the wellness retreat?
Why should I need to join?
What do spiritual retreats offer?
Some even tried to scare me by saying that going to a retreat is unsafe, and you don’t know what happens on a meditation retreat?
Answering them made me realize that others want to know more about these retreats and what happens there?
Hence, here I am with my hand-picked few yoga and meditation retreats that can be enjoyed with kids and some of them without kids as well. But firstly, let’s quickly know the answers to few common questions.
What is a wellness retreat?
A wellness retreat is nothing but a travel to promote the mental and physical health of a person. No, this does not mean you are not well, but sometimes it becomes necessary for a person to rejuvenate themselves by pampering them with the goodness of nature. It offers short-term residential programs to address specific health concerns, reduce stress, or support lifestyle improvement.
How much do meditation retreats cost?
The cost of Meditation or Yoga retreat depends on different programs and places where you are visiting. Places like Dhamma Giri and Dhamma Bodh teach you Vippassana which is free of cost, and some places like Ananda in the Himalayas charge an actual high cost. You can choose as per your budget.
What happens on a Meditation Retreat?
For beginners, retreats are a great way to learn a new yogic and Meditation technique, and the regular ones can practice and learn the more profound value of ancient Yoga and Meditation techniques. Mediation/Yoga retreats offer customized plans as per the visitor’s knowledge and requirements.
What is a good place for spiritual retreats?
India is full of places for Spiritual retreats. Being the Land of Yoga and Meditation, you can easily find a retreat of your choice to go on aspiritual journey. In this article, I have penned down some of the best Meditation retreats in India.
7 Ultimate Meditation Retreats In India
Vipassana International Academy, Igatpuri
“See the things as they are” is the correct meaning of Vipassana. Probably the most ancient meditation technique, Vipassana has been a sure medicine for many illnesses for ages. Unlike other meditation techniques that require mindfulness, Vipassana asks you to accept the thing as it is and let the moment be. The Vipassana meditation technique works self-purification by eliminating the three causes of unhappiness: ignorance, craving, and hatred. One learns an essential technique in life, which is a non-reactive technique.
Generally, Vipassana offers a 10-day self -transformation course. Where day starts at 4 am and ends by 9 pm. Mobile Phones, Alcohol, Sex, Communication, reading are prohibited inside the center. At set timings, minimal communication with teachers is allowed during the course. It has many centers globally, but Igatpuri is the main center of vipassana meditation retreats in India.
One can register for the courses online by visiting the site. People looking for free meditation retreats in India with the best experience of life can consider Vipassana. As the entire course is free here, and centers do not even charge you for the food.
During one of the retreat days, a discourse is organized that explains the science behind Vipassana and stresses that it does not have any religious association, contrary to popular belief.
Art of Living Ashram, Bangalore
Stress-free minds bring us closer to world peace. They are enclosed within a 65-acre lush green land at the top of Panchagiri Hills, Bangalore. The Ashram has organic farms around the area; the peace at this place makes it perfect for people looking for a break from hustle-bustle city life.
One can also visit here for a few hours and live the moments of a lifetime by doing Seva in any work like cooking, cleaning, administrative or office work.
The setting is meant to promote the central idea of stress management, overcoming the personal barrier, and living life without any expectations. Unlike Vipassana, participants here are promoted to concentrate on a mantra, which relaxes the mind and the nervous system to a certain level.
Ashram also allows guests to experience the facilities of the Ayurveda Hospital; guests can roam around Radha Kunj, Sumeru Mantap, and take a unique experience visiting the Goshala and taking care of the cows.
Anyone over the age of 8 can register themselves online for the courses. Though. The Art of Living Ashram offers many courses based on the visitor’s knowledge, their entry-level programs Sudarshan Kriya, a Happiness program, and the Sri Sri Yoga and Meditation programs. The 10-hour workshop divided into 5 days is mainly helpful for beginners.
The day here began with yoga meditation and followed by breakfast and Seva. People can do any job of their choice as a part of Seva, and then everyone gathers for Satsang in the evening, where people meditate and celebrate life with songs and dance.
Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghosh, one of the greatest philosopher poets of India, has established this Ashram in 1926. It has been known to be one of the most renowned meditation destinations in South India. Here the emphasis is more on concentrating silently and becoming aware of everything going around.
The philosophy of Sri Aurobindo was deeply rooted in yoga and inspired many devotees, including a Parisian musician, Mirra Alfassa. She followed her Guru, and later on, under her guidance, Auroville, or the ‘City of Dawn,’ was established that witnesses hundreds of disciples meditating around the Matri Mandir every month.
Based on the idea of Shri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (known as the mother), this multicultural township has been established. The township hosts about 2300 people from around the world.
The structural design of the building is one of its main attributes; there is a crystal in the center of the meditation area upon which a lone ray of sunshine passes through and provides a magnificent visual display.
Entry is free at Aurobindo Ashram. If one wants to stay there, they have to make a prior booking and bear all the expenses.
Some cafes in this town serve various cuisines, and guests can also visit Auroville Beach.
Isha Yoga and Meditation
Situated on the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains, Isha Foundation was established by the founder Jaggi Vasudev, popularly known as Sadhguru. Known for its famous Mahashivratri celebration in spring that lasts for the whole night, Isha Foundation has a dedicated meditation area called Dhyanlinga. The architecture of this area is designed with modern technology while keeping the ancient tradition in mind.
As Sadhguru believes, neither meditation is accredited to any particular belief nor requires any worship. Just sitting quietly for a few minutes within the sphere of Dhyanlinga is enough to bring consciousness.
Spread around 150 acres, the headquarters of Isha Foundation hosts a community of full-time volunteers. On-site accommodation is also available for visitors: a gigantic meditation hall, pillarless structure with a dome. And an underground water body; Isha has everything worth experiencing.
The courses at Isha foundation are open for all and can be registered online. The philosophy of these courses has a combination of understanding and exploring the inner science with ancient Yoga techniques. Isha offers four paths of yoga —kriya (energy), jnana (knowledge), karma (action), and bhakti (devotion). Inner Engineering is the foundation course offered by Sadhguru, and that is open for all.
Yoga for children offers here too.
Ananda in the Himalayas
Nestled at the banks of the Ganges, the Himalayas, and Haridwar and Rishikesh’s ancient cities, Ananda retreats are one of the most luxurious and Authentic Ayurvedic wellness destinations. Set up in the Palace of Maharaja Narendra Nagar, Tehri, Ananda boasts of hosting highly influential guests like Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Deepak Chopra, and others.
The retreat has a true meaning of Ananda (extreme happiness). It is not less than heaven for people who are ardent fans of meditation and yoga.
It is indeed one of the best meditation retreats in India that offer several packages as per the guest’s requirement. At Ananda, you can choose your wellness program from the list of 13 well-researched packages. Short-duration packages of 2 days and less are also available at Ananda in the Himalayas.
Ashiyana Yoga Retreat, Goa
We all know Goa for its nightlife, beaches, and party scenes, but you will be happy to know that Goa also hosts one of the best Yoga and Meditation retreats in India at the unexplored and pristine Mandrem Beach.
People fond of beaches, luscious greenery, hammocks with the added advantage of learning yoga professionally should visit Ashiyana, Goa. Unlike other yoga retreats, Ashiyana yoga and meditation retreats offer all kinds of food to their guests. They serve fish or chicken a few times a week, and the vegetarian food is not banal.
Guests can also ponder in the spa services and relax at some quiet spots within the locale.
Home away from home, once formed as a Sanctuary and now converted as a yoga and meditation retreat, Ashiyana has become one of the best places to spend yogic vacations in Goa.
Swimming pool, six treatment rooms for spa therapies, and a Turkish sauna, Asshiyana offers many other facilities to their guests. Visitors can choose from a range of housing stays, including beach huts, lodges, shahi suites, raj luxury, raj double, and palm grove.
Osho International Meditation Resort
Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune, is one of its examples where Buddha’s teaching and meditation and luxurious state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Apart from Yoga and Meditation, the retreat offers many more activities for its guest, Starting from an Olympic-size pool, gym, cyber café, spa tennis courts, and dining areas with everything from Asian food to coffees and pastries. The campus also houses a small bank and a store (Galleria) where visitors can buy the maroon and white robes that are needed for meditation and more.
At night, the retreat comes alive with meditations under the full moon, music performances, and movie screenings.
Osho International Meditation resort offers many programs for their visitors, from one day to week. Anyone who has passed the HIV/AIDS test can visit the retreat.
These are my favourite, but I would love to hear which is your favourite Yoga and Meditation Retreat. Do let me know in the comment box, and I will try to visit there as soon as possible.