Today, yoga is more popular than ever and the future looks even brighter. In the U.S. alone, 64% of yogis said they wanted to do more yoga in the upcoming year when asked about their New Year’s plans. While many prefer to learn the ancient technique by going to yoga studios and visiting online video tutorials of yoga. However, most serious yogis still prefer to learn yoga in India in the traditional way. Which, as a result, leads their path towards the land, which is the birthplace of yoga itself.
Why Go To India For Yoga?
It can occur to you, “Why should you visit India for best yoga experiences?” Well, it is not absolutely necessary that you must learn yoga in India to have the best yogic experience. Nevertheless, there are some good reasons why yogis prefer to learn yoga in India. Here, the list of reasons to learn yoga in India has been divided into two parts, ‘Spiritual Aspects‘ and ‘Travelling Aspects‘.
It is much obvious, spirituality is the way of yoga. Thus, to have a genuine spiritual experience is a must to learn yoga.
1. Birthplace of Yoga
Yoga was discovered in India which was believed to have happened more than 5000 years ago. In the North Indian town on the Ganges lies Rishikesh, it is often called “the yoga capital of the world”. It became world-famous thanks to the Beatles, who have had wonderful experiences there.
Historians state that the practice of yoga even dates back to the Indus Valley Civilisation (3000-1800 BCE), and the Quetta, Harappan, and Mohenjo Daro civilizations. Excavations carried out in these areas brought to light the Pashupati Seal, that shows a figure sitting in a yogic posture.
Thus, explaining how yoga was already known and practiced even then. Indus Valley Civilization, present-day Northern India is said to be the cradle of this tradition with a rich and glorious history. Owing to its origin in the pre-Vedic periodic, it gradually was transformed and refined over time by its practitioners; the Brahmin priest and the Hindu Rishis – the mystics. Read More
2. Yoga is a Part of Indian Culture
In India, the practice of yoga and its philosophy is not just a process to make oneself better. It is a vital part of the ancient culture and heritage of India. While those in western countries practice yoga relatively casually, for example as a simple part of their workout routine or as a means of relaxing after a hard day’s work, it is taken much more seriously in the Indian culture.
The yoga practiced in India is related or infused to the religious aspects of Hinduism, which is the Indian people’s most commonly practiced faith. Thus the fact that yoga is rooted directly in Indian religious faith systems, makes it likely why it is so important there.
Above all, yoga means union, the unanimous harmony of mind, body, and spirit. And the goal of yoga is to uplift one’s consciousness and lead them towards enlightenment. Certainly, the most positive aspect that the cultural practice India helps to walk on the path of yoga and leads towards the common goal. It is rare to find such aspects of one’s faith itself to have such positive effects on the human body along with the spiritual consciousness.
3. Great Yoga Teachers and Surroundings
Ensuing the first and second points, India is certainly the land of great saints and yogis. As a result, India also offers some of the best yoga gurus/masters in the world. Just as how it is more likely to find great footballers in Brazil and Argentina or great martial artists in China, Korea, and Japan as it is a part of their culture and tradition. Similarly, it is obvious to find great yoga practitioners in the land of India.
Thus, anybody willing to learn yoga seriously can find quality yoga teachers and also a favorable environment, here. We all know the effects of surroundings and environment on anybody’s lifestyle. As a result, most people prefer to learn yoga in India with a master. Thus, there are many wonderful ashrams in India where one can visit and learn yoga or sit near to the master or be in an appropriate environment.
Also, if you are traveling to India for teacher training, it is likely not your home base. Therefore, there is no time to push pause and go back to your usual routine. As a result, being fully immersed in your training and surrounded by likeminded individuals helps integrate the learnings into your life in depth.
4. Authentic and Original Yoga
Perhaps, not much need to be said on this topic. Today, yoga in the west has seen some weird, funny and embarrassing forms. The heights of marketing and commercialization of fitness and Yoga has become so much so that the practice has no relation to the original philosophy of Yoga. However, that is not the case in India, where the ancient practice is still regarded as sacred and is practiced in its truest form with total respect.
The Upanishads, a series of Hindu sacred treatises, literally mean “sitting near,” as in to sit as close as possible to the master. Like the classic game of telephone, things get lost in translation. Therefore, it is logical to learn yoga in India in its truest form and from the source of sacred yogic wisdom.
Developed over 5,000 years ago in India, Ayurveda is a system of preventative medicine and health care. Ayurveda identifies a person’s ideal state of balance and offers interventions to reestablish balance.
While in India, learning more about Ayurveda from the source is a perfect complement to learning yoga.
Mentioned above were the spiritual aspects of the benefits of traveling to India to learn yoga. Now, here are the other aspects as per the view of a common tourist traveling abroad.
For a similar yoga retreat that can cost thousands of dollar can come for a quarter of its price in India. Well, yes there are many luxurious yoga retreats in India that are also some of the best in the world. However, you will also have ample options when you go to learn yoga in India in different affordable or traditional yoga retreats.
Moreover, it is not just the yoga courses and yoga retreats that are cheap and affordable but also everything else from food, traveling, and accommodation. You can be sitting outside looking at the Mother Ganga treating yourself to a delicious mango lassi (similar to Mango shake) with paneer tikka masala, all of which will end up costing your less than about 600 Indian rupees, i.e. around 9 US dollars.
The last thing you would want to have while doing a peaceful meditation session is to be angry at the people around you. Indians consider it a huge honor to have guests and would also often go out of their way to please them. There’s a saying in India, “Athithi Devo Bhava”, which means “the guest is God.” There’s nothing like Indian hospitality.
As a result of the growing popularity of homestays in India, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the cultural lifestyle of India. Thus, your stay when you learn yoga in India could be even more memorable with lovable people around and warm hospitality.
8. A Diverse Range of Yoga Retreats
If you cannot decide what kind of environment would you prefer to learn yoga in, you should just go to India. Here you will have the biggest range of options, from rivers, mountains, forests, desert, beaches to cities. India is just a beautiful country with diverse terrain.
To name a few, you can visit Rishikesh if you prefer to learn yoga in India near to rivers, mountains, and forests, or Mysore if you prefer to a traditional Indian city environment or Dharamshala for the Himalayan peaks or Goa to learn yoga next to breathtaking beach views. However, you should be aware of the time of year and the place you visit due to the extreme temperature during Summer and Winters in certain places.
9. Cultural Shock and Experience
As mentioned above, India is a place with its rich culture and traditions. Thus it is a great place to be if you want to witness something totally unique. Moreover, India is a country with 29 states and almost all of them have their unique culture and traditions. You will get to experience a different lifestyle and tradition while traveling to different places there.
If you directly go to Rishikesh, which is a holy city, where a vegetarian diet is a law and there is no consumption of alcohol. It would make you have a certain perspective of the Indian culture. However, if you visit a place like Delhi or Mumbai, you will experience a culture shock where clubbing, drinking, and non-vegetarian food is an essential part of most’s lifestyle. Thus, traveling even within India provided an opportunity to reflect upon the diversity of life and self.
10. History and Architecture
India is considered one of the oldest civilizations in the world. You can see this in the several monuments and heritage sites spread all over the country. After all, this land has got some of the finest and well-preserved monuments. One of the things visitors always marvel at in India is the magnificent architecture found all over the country, and it varies so much where ever you go.
Yoga sessions followed by a visit to Indian temples, forts, monuments, and palaces can be such an immersive experience you might never forget. The rich history of India and its lifestyle combining yoga refelt even in their historical architectures.
11. Diverse Food and Local Cuisines
If you call yourself a foodie and want to taste something more than Pizzas, Burgers, and Pasta, India is the place where you should be. Perhaps no other country can offer the range of cuisine that India does. Due to the fact that all the 29 states in India boast a unique culture, even their food is different and there is no such thing as typical Indian food.
Prepared with a lot of effort, aromatic cuisines dished out in Indian spices are something worth a try. Thus, to learn yoga in India can be a perfect holiday with amazing experiences of food as the cheery on the top.
One of the most important aspects of traveling can also be shopping and India has many irresistible items. The handicrafts are particularly eye-catching and well made. Each region tends to specialize in a particular industry that’s been handed down over generations. Moreover, it is relatively quiet cheap and affordable.
No wonder, most people who come to learn yoga in India return with some unique attires and items with them.
As a result, you can see the reasons why most people prefer to learn yoga in India. This is a decision not just affected by the spiritual attractions that India offers but also the rich and diverse tourist attractions of the state. If you want to visit India for such experiences here are some more articles you would prefer to read.
- Best Yoga Retreats In India – Luxurious and Elegant
- 10 Best Yoga Ashrams in India for Spiritual Awakening
- Top 10 Yoga Centers In India
This article – ’12 Reasons Why You Must Learn Yoga In India’ was written mostly based on personal experiences, having learned yoga and stayed in India for more than three years.(Last Updated On: May 10, 2020)