India is the home of Yoga, but how much Yoga does India actually offer travellers? Well, on my trips around India I must say that I have been a little bit disappointed and surprised by the lack of yoga classes in India. I thought that there would be yoga classes in all hostels in India and there would be signs in all cities but this really isn’t the case.
In fact, I only found yoga classes and places to learn yoga in India in a few cities and towns which are generally known for their ‘yoga’ and ‘hippy’ scene anyway.
Indian people may disagree with this list and say that there is Yoga on offer all over India and in many more places in India than in this list, however as a traveller and foreigner to India, one thing you’ll notice is that traditional Indian Yoga is very different to what we practise in the West, and personally, I prefer the Western-style of Yoga I have learnt.
Therefore I like having Western Yoga Teaches in India or Indian Yoga Teachers who understand that not all people can do headstands straight away! This is why I have focused on the best places to visit in India for foreigners and tourists that apply their lessons to us.
So, if you are looking to practise yoga in India, learn yoga in India, or even study yoga in India, be sure to keep these places in mind as the best places to do Yoga in India:
Yoga in India
SIM CARD FOR INDIA
I really recommend having a sim card in India as it makes travel in India so much easier! You may have heard that it’s hard to get a sim card in India but you can get a sim card in Delhi Airport, read this post to see how to buy a sim card in Delhi Airport or if you fly in elsewhere 3 ways to buy a sim card in India and you’ll be connected in just a few hours!
WHAT TO WEAR IN INDIA
If you are a woman, here’s what I recommend you pack and wear in India. Technically you can wear what you like in India in most places but to get fewer stares and feel more comfortable, read my post!
DON’T GET SCAMMED IN DELHI
Yoga in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is the home of Yoga in India so if you want an abundance of yoga, this is the place to go! In fact, I’ll be awkward and say that there’s actually too much choice of Rishikesh Yoga! Every other hotel has a sign outside it offering 3-4 Yoga classes a day and so do all of the Ashrams in town too so it’s hard to work out which is the best place to practise yoga in Rishikesh.
Hatha Yoga is the most popular yoga type in Rishikesh it seems but there is Kundalini yoga in India and Vinyasa on offer too as well as some Yin Yoga Classes. I would ask around and get some recommendations when you arrive as I can imagine teachers leave regularly so somewhere might have been good a year ago but maybe not now, or at least go to one class and if you don’t like it, go elsewhere the next day.
I did yoga at TAT Cafe and really liked it. His Vinyasa morning class was hard work but the guy who does the classes and runs TAT is a great teacher. After you can get a healthy breakfast overlooking The Ganga River!
The classes and locations vary too. I found that some of them are not the best locations aka in the back of reception of a hostel and the mats can be quite dirty so take your own or take a towel to put on top. Generally, classes are between 200-300Rs for 90 minutes and it can vary on the day as to whether you are there in a group or you are the only one there!
Either way, if you want to stretch it out once or twice a day in Rishikesh you definitely can!
The other option is to go to a Yoga Ashram in India because Rishikesh is a location with a lot of Ashrams nearby. I met some people who went to Phoolchatti Ahram in Rishikesh and really liked it. Going to an Ashram for a week in India is also a good way to do affordable yoga retreats India because they are affordable and much less expensive than a Yoga Holidays India.
It also goes without saying that Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh is very popular, not only because so much is offered but also because it’s a great place to stay for a few weeks.
For Meditation Courses in India, also consider Rishikesh as Meditation in Rishikesh is popular too!
Yoga in Pushkar
I expected to find Yoga in Pushkar as Pushkar is a very Holy and Spiritual place popular with backpackers, travellers and hippies.
There weren’t as many places as I thought but there are 2 main places to visit for yoga classes in Pushkar.
Pushkar Yoga and Meditation Temple– This 2-hour session is very much meditation-based, Swamiji is the teacher and extremely experienced. In fact, I felt honoured to be able to practise with him.
The session is based around Chants, lots of Om’s, Breathing techniques, Asana postures (but nothing too intense) and a lot of learning about the Chakra’s, the Elements and so much more, all in a very relaxing way in a relaxing setting.
Yoga Retreats in Pushkar are held in the building so most participates will be part of this but it is popular for drop-in sessions like I did too. The sessions are suitable for beginners and intermediates. I did the 3 class pass for 1000Rs which I thought was worthwhile and cost effective (for the most up to date times and prices visit their website here).
Related Post: 14 of the BEST Things To Do In Pushkar, India!
Pushkar Yoga Garden – I went here for a 90 minute morning session. Posters are displayed all over the Pushkar Town for Yoga here.
It’s slightly out of the centre if you’re staying close to the lake but not far and it’s nice to get out of the busy streets for a bit. Yogesh Yogi has been running Pushkar Yoga Garden for 14 years and practising Yoga for 30 years. Although guests do stay in the house it’s popular for drop-in sessions in the morning’s and evening’s (for the most up to date times and prices visit their website here).
We spent 90 minutes doing Hatha Yoga with a series of Asana’s. The classes are suitable for beginners and intermediates. We did the poses in ways I had not done before in the UK so it was good to see the real Indian side to Yoga. Yogesh Yogi also lives an Ayurvedic lifestyle which I found interesting and liked that he brought up a few Ayurvedic relatable points in the class.
Yoga in Dharamshala
There are lots of yoga classes on offer in the Dharamshala area, especially in McLeod Ganj, Dharamkot and Upper Bhagsu and the posters covering each of the villages are the best way to find out about which yoga classes in Dharamshala are on.
Be aware that in the low season aka winter, some classes may not be on so be sure to call in advance to check, whereas in Summer most classes will be on.
Dharamshala is also a great place to study yoga in India. In fact, in terms of the best places to learn yoga in India, the area of Dharamshala is one of the best I think as it has such a hippy vibe and lots of ex-pats that live in Goa and teach yoga in Goa during the winter go to Dharamshala for the summer so if you want to do your Yoga Teacher Training in India, look into options up here.. plus it’s beautiful.
I stayed at Ram Yoga House in McLeod Ganj and not only did I love it for the location and the hotel but for the rooftop yoga studio. Ram does offer classes but again in the winter, he stopped them. That was fine though as if you stay there you can use the yoga studio any time of day at no extra cost so if you want to practise on your own with an incredible view, this is the best place to stay in McLeod Ganj for Yoga!
For meditation courses in Dharamshala which incorporate some yoga, look into Tushita Meditation Centre in Dharamkot which acts as a Buddhist Meditation Course and is similar to a Vipassana.
How to get the best flights??
I use Skyscanner to book all of my flights! I’m a huge fan of Skyscanner because I love how easy it is to compare different destinations and different dates for the best price and route!
For example, I type in ‘everywhere’ in the destination if I have fixed dates and want to find the best flights on those dates on Skyscanner.
And if I have a set destination I’ll look at the ‘month view’ to check the cheapest days to fly in that month!
Yoga in Goa
Goa Yoga just goes together because Goa is so chilled and attracts the kind of people that enjoy yoga and wellness.
I experienced a good amount of yoga in Goa as I stayed at Earth Yoga Village in Palolem Beach for 1 week as part of their Yoga Holiday. If you’re looking for a yoga holiday in Goa or yoga retreat Goa I can’t recommend this place enough, it was so so good! And to see why you can read my full blog post here to find out more about it: My Magic Yoga Holiday in Goa at Earth Yoga Village!
As well as Palolem Beach in South India, I visited Arambol which is a popular place for Yoga classes. Again they are all advertised using posters around the beach and in the town.
BOOKING TRAINS IN INDIA
India is best travelled by train because its the quickest, cheapest and best way of getting to know the country. For an EASY option of booking trains in India use 12GO to search and book trains really easily. If you’ll be in India for awhile, you can use the local booking system, it’s a bit tricker but possible, here’s my post on how to book trains in India as a tourist.
BEST ACCOMMODATION IN INDIA
I always use Booking.com to book my hotels in India and Hostelworld to book my hostels. India has a great range of accommodation with brilliant hostel chains like Moustache, Zostel and Backpacker Panda as well as homestays to luxury hotels.
GUIDED TOURS IN INDIA
Many cities in India are best seen with a guide, even if it’s just a half day tour on your first day. Cities in India are chaotic and complex and what better way to taste the food and get to know the city than with a local. I recommend Get Your Guide & Viator for the best tours in India!
A lot of the ex-pats that live in Dharamshala during the Summer tend to come to Arambol during the Winter to teach Yoga, Meditation, Sound Healing, Ecstatic Dance etc so it’s a great place in Goa to visit for a hippy vibe!
Aside from this, on the beach each morning, there were lots of people up and about just after sunrise- walking, running, swimming, stretching and doing yoga.
Yoga in Mysore
Mysore in South India in the state of Karnataka may be known for its grand buildings but it’s also a popular place for yoga and a good base for learning yoga in India.
The main area of yoga in Mysore is an area called Gokulam, here you will find many Yoga classes in Mysore on offer along with many healthy food cafes and plenty of travellers walking around in yoga pants with mats. It’s a totally different feel to the centre of Mysore where the Palace is and it no longer feels like you are in a city here, more of a small town.
Mysore Yoga Teacher Training is popular so if you don’t want to study yoga in India in the mountains or by the beach, this is a good place to visit and I heard they have some of the best yoga institutes in India.
I went for lunch at Chakra Cafe in Mysore which also offers yoga classes so I would recommend heading there as it had a really good vibe and great staff!
Yoga in Varkala
Varkala is becoming the new Yoga spot in India and I’d have to say that I agree! The only place I have seen more Yoga being offered is Rishikesh which is the home of Yoga in India right now so Varkala offers a good South India Yoga Home.
There are lots of drop-in yoga classes in Varkala on offer from various schools and guest houses from 300Rs for 90 minutes. Hatha seemed the most popular style of Yoga, but I did see Vinyasa offered a lot too. There are also lots of places offering Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Retreats in Varkala are common too, so if you’re looking for the best yoga school India, have a look at the ones on offer in Varkala!
There is even an annual International Yoga Festival so that’s something to look out for!
Yoga in Udaipur
Udaipur is the only place in Rajasthan I saw that had a good number of Yoga classes on offer. I went to morning yoga at Nukkad Guest House which is on from 8:00-9:00 am. It’s a bit of a makeshift class and when I went there were only 2 of us. The teacher definitely knew his stuff but I get the impression the type of yoga he teaches is decided by him in the morning.
Another place to do yoga in Udaipur is Enteyoga, they hold two sessions daily depending on the bookings. 8:30-9:45 am and 5:00-6:15 pm and it’s common for these classes to be held in a temple by the river which is really special. You need to book the class in advance but you can contact Enteyoga by email or by instagram.
Related Post: 12 Things To Do in Udaipur, India!
HELP WITH YOUR INDIA ITINERARY
I’ve spent many months travelling India in the last few years visiting over 50 places around the country, here are my recommended itinerary posts for India to help you plan your trip!
What to wear in India to do Yoga??
This is something to keep in mind, in some places in India like in Goa and Dharamshala you can wear the type of Yoga Clothes you’d wear at home and in the west, but in some places you may feel uncomfortable. Or at least, you may not feel uncomfortable in class but you do walking to class.
I feel like I have much more stares on my legs in India when I’m in tight gym and yoga pants walking to class, once I’m there I’m ok, the same with wearing a small top, so keep this in mind and do pack some baggy tops and pants too that you can wear.
Now you know where to do Yoga in India, have a look at these posts to help you plan your trip to India!