Top 10 Places to Celebrate International Yoga Day in India

Top 10 Places to Celebrate International Yoga Day in India

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word “Yoga” comes from Sanskrit and means “to join ” or “to unite”. It symbolizes the union of body and consciousness. As it becomes increasingly popular, it is practiced in various forms all over the world, providing countless benefits.

Recognizing the benefits and global appeal of yoga, the United Nations, on December 11, 2014, at the suggestion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, declared June 21 as International Yoga Day to raise global awareness of the many benefits of yoga practice.

“Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action … a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world, and nature,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly stated at the United Nations General Assembly.

The day is observed as a global celebration of the ancient practice of yoga that promotes physical and mental health. It highlights the unifying power of yoga across cultural and geographical boundaries.

This year, our celebrations revolve around the theme “Yoga for Self and Society”, highlighting the dual benefits of yoga practice in improving individual well-being and uplifting society at large. It recognises that inner peace and self-care are essential for a happy and healthy life.

India is the birthplace of yoga and therefore home to some of the most prestigious yoga retreats in the world. Being one of the most popular travel destinations, India has a rich yoga tradition. Whether you seek spiritual growth, physical wellness or both, celebrate this global event by immersing yourself in the ancient practice of yoga in its birthplace, surrounded by the country’s natural and spiritual beauty.

Here are 10 places to visit in India for yoga lovers in 2024:

1. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand:

Known as the “Yoga Capital of the World”, Rishikesh is located on the serene banks of the River Ganges. This spiritual city blends ancient traditions with modern conveniences, making it an ideal destination for yoga enthusiasts. Key retreats include Parmarth Niketan Ashram and Shivananda Ashram, which offer holistic yoga programs amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

2. Mysore, Karnataka:

Mysore is known for Ashtanga Yoga, attracting practitioners from all over the world. The city is home to the famous Ashtanga Yoga Institute, founded by K. Pattabhi Jois. Yoga practitioners here get the opportunity to immerse themselves deeply in the traditional Ashtanga practice in a historical ambience enriched by the city’s cultural heritage.

3. Kerala:

With its lush landscapes and tranquil backwaters, Kerala is a haven for yoga and Ayurveda. Kovalam and Varkala are popular destinations, with getaways such as Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort offering yoga, meditation and rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments.

4. Goa:

The pristine beaches of Goa provide a picturesque backdrop for a yoga retreat. Known for its vibrant culture, Goa is home to a number of yoga centers such as Ashiyana Yoga Retreat and Bamboo Yoga Retreat. These centers offer different styles of yoga, wellness programs and workshops in a serene beach setting.

5. Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh:

Dharamshala in the Himalayan mountains has a peaceful and spiritual atmosphere. The Dalai Lama’s presence further enhances his spiritual aura. Tushita Meditation Centre and Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre are renowned retreats offering comprehensive yoga and meditation courses against the backdrop of majestic mountains.

6. Puducherry, Tamil Nadu:

Known for its French colonial charm and tranquil beaches, Puducherry is a unique yoga destination. Additionally, nearby Auroville’s Matrimandir Spiritual Centre offers yoga and meditation programs for inner discovery and personal growth in a peaceful and innovative community, while Sri Aurobindo Ashram offers holistic yoga programs focused on spiritual growth and self-discovery.

7. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh:

One of the world’s oldest cities, Varanasi offers the perfect spiritual atmosphere for practicing yoga. Kashi Yoga Sangha and other local centres offer traditional Hatha yoga and meditation sessions, allowing practitioners to establish a deeper connection with the city’s ancient spiritual heritage.

8. Pune, Maharashtra:

Pune is home to the renowned Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute of Yoga, run by B.K.S. Iyengar, who founded the institute. The institute offers challenging Iyengar yoga training. There are also other renowned yoga centers offering different styles of yoga, such as Osho International Meditation Resort.

9. Bangalore, Karnataka:

The bustling metropolis of Bangalore is also home to tranquil yoga retreats, such as the Art of Living International Centre, founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The centre offers a wide range of yoga and meditation programmes to promote personal growth and wellbeing in a serene environment.

10. Haridwar, Uttarakhand:

Located on the banks of the holy river Ganges, Haridwar is a sacred city that offers a serene environment for practicing yoga and exploring the profound teachings of ancient Indian philosophy. It is home to numerous ashrams and yoga centres, including the Sivananda Ashram.

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