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6 yoga retreats in India in the most tranquil setting

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While yoga has been around for thousands of years, 2022 marks the eighth edition of the International Day of Yoga, which began in 2015 after its inception in the United Nations General Assembly. Since then, June 21 is celebrated the world over as a day to highlight the several benefits of practising yoga regularly.

“Yoga retreats are a good way to introduce people to what yoga can do for their mind, body and breath. It is considered to be a holistic practice for one's overall wellness because it's not just physical, it also focuses a lot on one’s mental state through meditation, which helps calm one’s mind. The eight folds of yoga—yama (abstinence), niyama (observance), asana (yoga posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption) can help set a path for living a fulfilling life,” says celebrity fitness instructor and mental health advocate, Samiksha Shetty, who recently co-founded The Moon Village—a yoga cafe and wellness studio in Mumbai.

India has no dearth of yoga practitioners and studios, and its popularity has also given rise to wellness retreats incorporating yoga as part of their offerings. So if you are ready to adopt the yoga way of life, pay a visit to any of these properties:

Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, Kovalam

Perched on a cliff’s edge and flanked by secluded beaches, Niraamaya’s Kerala Ayurveda retreat in Kovalam is a luxury property offering traditionally-designed cottages and views of the Arabian Sea. The retreat has a host of Ayurvedic packages that range from three to fourteen nights, including yoga programmes that focus on meditation, pranayama and yoga asanas. After a consultation with their in-house experts, one can pick a package that is best-suited for them, and begin their yoga sessions following the Sivananda tradition. The tranquil setting plays the perfect host to be in harmony with oneself and nature.

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Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra

Image courtesy, Niraamaya Retreats

Dharana at Shillim

Image courtesy, Dharana

Dharana at Shillim, Shillim
An eco-wellness retreat surrounded by the Sahyadri Hills, Dharana is situated in the Shillim Valley, and offers healing practices in a wilderness-like setting. The wellness centre is housed in the larger Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, which is an all-villa property. Focused on overall wellbeing, it has a yogic life programme that starts from a seven-night stay and extends up to 28 nights. Consultations with experts, yoga sessions, nutrition guidance, spiritual healing, wellness rituals and more are a part of this holistic programme. When here, bamboo plantations, virgin forests and the sound of birdsong keeps you company.

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Vana, Dehradun

A wellness retreat in Uttarakhand, Vana, which translates to forest, focuses on improving one’s health, with therapies, traditional medicine, Ayurveda, yoga and sowa rigpa from Tibet. Each guest is a ‘vanavasi’ here and is encouraged to wear the kurta-pyjama attire provided to them. The food served is organic and locally grown with vegan, vegetarian and mindfully-sourced meat and fish options. A personalised wellness itinerary is crafted for each guest after their arrival consultation that includes yoga and meditation along with other practices. When here, guests need to adhere to certain rules like no photography, restricted usage of gadgets among others.

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Image courtesy, Vana

The Beach House

Image courtesy, The Beach House

The Beach House, Goa

A wellness retreat located on the Sernabatim Beach in south Goa, The Beach House offers all-inclusive programmes with a stay. Blending ancient and modern practices, it aims to create a balance between the three chakras in the body. Patrons can choose from different yoga retreats that are then tailored to address their health issues. From yoga and detox, ashtanga yoga, vinyasa flow yoga, meditation, yoga and spa, one has several options to choose from. A boutique stay, it has just 15 rooms but ample space for different activities. The access to the beach and secluded location makes it apt for a yoga retreat.

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Amal Tamara, Alappuzha

A holistic Ayurvedic wellness centre on the backwaters of Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, Amal Tamara offers several therapies and programmes, customised to suit  different needs. They are paired with balanced vegetarian meals for better healing, and rituals like raga therapy, singing bowl meditation, and more to soothe and engage all senses. Their therapeutic yoga sessions are designed using traditional yoga principles for mental and physical wellbeing. Before the session, they perform the vedic 'agnihotra’ ritual to purify the air and surroundings. Guided meditation, walks, traditional games and other such activities are also offered at the centre.

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Amal Tamara

Image courtesy, Amal Tamara

Ananda in the Himalayas

Image courtesy, Ananda

Ananda in the Himalayas, Tehri-Garhwal

A luxury spa resort at the foothills of Himalayas, Ananda is located on a 100-acre Palace Estate of Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal. Surrounded by sal forests, it overlooks Rishikesh and the Ganga River valley. Ananda integrates Indian concepts of Ayurveda, yoga and Vedanta with international wellness experiences, fitness and organic food, to curate a complete offering for its guests. Its yoga package ranges from five to 21 nights, while the yogic detox programme starts at seven nights. It uses hatha yoga cleansing techniques and yogic breathing to detox in a natural way. There’s also a meditation package offered. 

Book it here 

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