The global reach of India’s spiritual heritage continues to beckon travelers to its hallowed grounds and the ashrams—repositories of wisdom, learning and healing, both spiritual and physical. The country’s ancient treatises and scriptures are punctuated with references to the ancient practices of yoga and meditation revealing their intrinsic linkages with India’s heritage of spirituality and wellness techniques.
Vipassana—or Insight Meditation—has seen a resurgence in its country of birth. The Dhammagiri Vipassana Centre today has several branches spread around the country. A 10-day residential course introduces students to the basics of the technique. For more information, visit dhamma.org.
At Haridwar in the Himalayan foothills of Garhwal in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, the Patanjali Yogpeeth Ashram teaches yoga, in particular pranayam (free of charge). Optionally, a guest can attend one of the yoga camps held under the aegis of Divya Yog Mandir Trust. At Rishikesh, the Shivanand Ashram teaches shavasana (relaxation), dhyana (meditation) and positive thinking. The Parmarth Yoga & Meditation Centre, renowned for its annual International Yoga Festival, is also located here.
Auroville, a town known for its crafts, organic farming and community projects, is a serene retreat whose spiritual center is the Matrimandir—a new-age center for meditation. Lastly, The Art of Living Centre or the Ved Vignana Mahavidyapeetha—its official name—located near Bangalore, has created a global awareness of the power of correct breathing (Sudarshan Kriya) to transform one’s life. The technique has been promoted as The Art of Living by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in workshops around the world.
For more information on India, visit incredibleindia.org.