There are many places to vacation that are full of natural beauty, and there are many ways to use your time off to grow. And then there are those places where you can be immersed in beauty while growing spiritually. One such place is in the Himalayas. They are known as a challenge by athletes and a place of peace by ascetics. However, everyone can agree their towering heights and beautiful vistas are truly lovely.
When seeking a spiritual retreat, there are many different options. You can venture out on a solo trek, but this is rather dangerous. You could also go to one of the holy cities in the Himalayas or meditation retreat in Thailand and find someone with whom to study, but you run the risk of not speaking the language or wasting many days seeking a teacher. The best option is often to visit a spiritual retreat.
The best retreats offer:
- Teaching in a language you know well
- Food provided
- Learning that suits your level
Here are a number of retreats that offer a clean living space, good food that suits many diets, English learning and various levels of classes.
1. Ananda Retreat
Ananda is in Utturachal, in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. It is a palatial building on a 100-acre plot. The views from the retreat, which was once the home of royalty, are famous in the area. The views alone are enough to inspire inner peace! Of course, this is true of many Himalayan retreats.
The special part of Ananda are the palacial accommodations. This was once the home of a Maharaji. The rooms are well-appointed and very comfortable. The food, too, is delicious, and you don’t have to provide your own. This is not the kind of austere place meant for growth through self-deprivation. Instead, this is as much vacation as spiritual location.
Don’t think you won’t have an opportunity to grow here, though. Ananda offers daily classes to help you improve your yoga and meditation techniques. It also includes guided meditation both inside specially designated rooms with others, and outside on the estate. Morning meditations during the stunning sunrise are not to be missed.
Ananda is not cheap for all of this, though. Additionally, you might find yourself rubbing shoulders with the jet-set crowd. You can choose a lodging option of complete seclusion in the retreat’s “village,” though. If you are looking for a perfect combination of spiritual practice and comfort, this is it.
This retreat is set in northern India, in Himachal Pradesh. The area is famous not only for views, which most Himalayan retreats can boast. Basunti is also known for its wildlife. The retreat plays host to local animals of many types, but also some more exotic ones, like a leopard.
The retreat is not nearly as posh as Ananda, but has its own quiet charm. All of the food is made from produce grown on the property, and water is drawn from a well nearby. Simple rooms with twin beds and Victorian-style decor are a calm place to rest at night. In fact, after a few days there it is easy to forget you are still in India, known for its exciting clamor.
The retreat’s schedule starts with an early-morning yoga class for all levels. Throughout the day are times for meditation, study and reflection,as well as time for simply enjoying the grounds. You can see as much or as little of the other visitors as you want while you are there.
If staying in a simple place with only local vegetarian dishes doesn’t suit you, you can stay at the Ameristar casino and hotel, just a few hours away, and drive in to visit.
(Basunti does not disclose its location except to intended visitors)
Basunti | Contact
This retreat is unique in that, along with the usual offerings, aspiring yoga teachers can study from certified leaders. This is not a retreat for meandering around the grounds and relaxing, but rather a destination for those interested in growing and challenging their spiritual abilities. Each day includes a number of practices and classes.
The school offers retreats in three, seven, or fourteen day time spans, focusing on different spiritual aspects and specific yoga practices.
You can study:
There are also combined courses. Some courses to become a yoga teacher are longer.
Classes last most of the day, and the school provides all meals. The rooms are shared, but have balconies over the Ganga river and views of the mountains. As the majority of your time will be spent in classes, the shared rooms are mainly used only for sleeping.
4. Saptrashmi Yoga Retreat
B-11D, Rajat Vihar, Sector -62, Noida - 201301
Saptrashmi Yoga Retreat is focused as much on physical cleansing as it is on spiritual growth. They offer self-titled “Cleansing holidays.” These can include:
Harmonizing of bodily systems
Saptrashmi definitely caters to a more Western clientele. It uses naturopathy along with a light sprinkling of yoga and meditation throughout the day. You will definitely feel healthier when you leave, and probably more relaxed.
Accommodations are in lovely buildings styled in the unique architectural designs of the area. Bedrooms and personal bathrooms are a little run down, but are comparable to most in the area for the price. The shared rooms, spa-type areas and classrooms are much nicer, with locally made furniture.
The retreat provides simple vegetarian meals in keeping with your specific naturopathy program. It also encourages exercise, like nearby trekking paths. However, it does not guide these treks. You are on your own.
Saptrashmi Yoga Retreat | Address: B-11D, Rajat Vihar, Sector -62, Noida - 201301 | Phone: +91-98106-98061 | EMAIL
5. Sanskar Yoga Retreat
This yoga retreat focuses on Kundalini yoga. Making this retreat work with your schedule could be a little tricky, but is totally worth it. The retreat is only offered in ten day increments on a set rotation. Teachers are available at all hours during this time.
Interestingly, this retreat focuses on community with other visitors as much as personal growth and spirituality. Morning and evening herbal tea gatherings encourage conversation. Classes are often partner or group focused. If you are an extrovert, this is for you.
Compared to other retreats, this one is relatively cheap at $1000 even per person for the ten day visit. It includes accommodations, all meals and tea, and all needed equipment.
6. Rising In Yoga
Ward no 1, vill – Band Bihar, Bihar (248), Kangra, Deogram ,Palampur, Himachal Pradesh-176061
This is a fifteen day yoga retreat, one of the longest options. It is unique in that classes are taught in both English and the original yogic language, Hindi. Classes are almost all outside, so if you are travelling during inclement months, be prepared. You will venture out even on chilly days!
The retreat is organized as a journey through the seven Chakras. Much of your time will be spent learning basic knowledge about chakra work, so this retreat is great for beginners. Many classes also focus on breathing for spiritual learning and healing.
Rising In Yoga Retreat provides all meals, as well as tea and snacks. It also provides very nice sleeping and living areas, with light wood panelling, lovely decor and large beds in private rooms.
The area around Rising In Yoga is especially lovely, even for the Himalayas. Within a short walking distance are a large brook, a waterfall, and a steep hike to view the retreat from above.
Rising In Yoga | Address: Ward no 1, vill – Band Bihar, Bihar (248), Kangra, Deogram ,Palampur, Himachal Pradesh-176061 | Phone: +91.9823637054
7. Creating Space Yoga Retreats
Ambonstraat 78 Den Helder, Netherlands 1782 BE
This yoga retreat is crafted to fit your needs. Each person receives a personalized yoga plan, including:
Yoga (various forms)
Creating Space Yoga also offers the option for you to host a retreat. In this way, you can choose a group of good friends or family with whom to travel and relax. You can also work with their staff to create a specific itinerary for your group.
Like Ananda, Creating Space is a Western-influenced retreat and focuses as much on comfort as on spiritual growth. It can sometimes be busy with jet-setting types, but it still maintains a peaceful atmosphere with a focus on spirituality.
8. Om Sampoorna Yoga
“Airy” might be the best word to describe Om Sampoorna Yoga Retreats. Rooms and buildings are open-air, with sweeping views of the mountains and comfortable stylings everywhere. This is definitely an example of modern Eastern design.
Accommodations are in the Yoga Village, a collection of tiny huts with 2-4 beds each. The huts, like the rest of the retreat, are open-air but provide mosquito netting on beds and locking doors. Like other retreats, meals, snacks and tea are provided. Dinner, though, is only available at the restaurant on the property, and costs separately. All vegetarian food is served, although some milk products are used.
The only retreats offered here are those resulting in teaching certification, so stays are all at least three weeks. Certifications in various types of yoga are offered seasonally.
9. The Body and Mind Company
While this retreat isn’t one of the most picturesque (can any place in the Himalayas not impress, though?), it is still a great choice. It is one of the best trekking retreats available.
If you plan to attend this seven-day retreat, be sure you are in good shape. The high altitude of the Himalayas requires cardiovascular endurance. You will be at a greater risk of altitude sickness of you do not prepare.
That being said, the retreat is a wonderful place for the combined approach of body and mind (as the name suggests). You must wear out the body to truly tame the mind, as many athletes could tell you. Staff guides some classes outdoors, but ample time is provided for solo meditation.
As this is a trekking retreat, accommodations are usually colorful tents. You will carry some of your supplies, but meals are provided. There is staff to assist you with morning and evening preparations. Staff also guides the trek. It is important to follow their direction for safety in the mountains.
10. Isha Yoga Center
This retreat houses the Dhiyanalinga, an energy-rich sculpture under the central dome of the retreat. Isha offers retreats of different lengths in all of the four basic “paths” of yoga. You can study just one or a combination while you are there.
Classes are taught in Hindi or English, so be sure to check the schedule to see if the offerings suit your needs. Look over the schedule, too, as different weeks offer different types of lessons.
Meals are provided, with all vegan options. Accommodations are austere but in good shape, with little decoration. Several people stay in each room on twin beds.
11. Parmarth Niketan
This is an Ashram right on the bank of the Ganges. This retreat is pretty short, with stays ranging just three to seven days. There are a wide variety of courses to choose from, with various visiting yogis and swamis. Be sure to look and see who is teaching when you will be visiting. You will want to sign up ahead of time for classes on their website.
Accommodations are clean and nice, with a small kitchen area. The whole property is fun, bedecked in bright colors and paintings. Not all meals are provided, but as the retreat is located on the edge of town, there are many restaurants to visit if you don’t feel like cooking.
The retreats are a combination of social events and classes. You will definitely have a lot of fun at this retreat, as well as growing spiritually. Community, too, is part of growth.
12. Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama
This is literally called a “village of spiritual seekers.” Visitors focus on yoga as a form of spiritual meditation. Families are welcome, not just adults, which is a great option for spiritual families. Accommodations and meals are provided.
Choosing a yoga retreat in the Himalayas can be challenging given all the options. Think about what you need from your retreat and choose based on those needs. You might consider:
Whether you are travelling alone or with others
What type of accomodations you prefer
What lessons you’d like to learn
Whether you want to focus on meditation, breathing, knowledge, or yoga
Good luck, and enjoy your retreat.