I love Yoga and even though I’ve been to India many times, I’ve never been to an ashram. I hope one day I will manage to spend at least two weeks to only think about Yoga and meditation. If you are lucky enough to be planning such a fantastic trip, here are some great tips on what to pack for a Yoga retreat in India given by a Yoga teacher, nonetheless.
There are many things to consider when you are planning a trip to India, from when is the best time to travel to how to avoid getting sick, as well as some essential items to pack. Alongside a packing list for a Yoga resort, Manmohan will also give you some useful insight on where is the best place to practice Yoga in India and why.
What to pack for a Yoga retreat in India
**Guest post by Manmohan Singh, Yogi and Yoga Teacher in India
While planning for an extremely important retreat program, we must make sure to reach the yoga resort fully prepared in order to enjoy its numerous benefits. Instead of wasting time and money on buying things during the course, we can immerse completely on learning yoga, just by packing our luggage after doing a little research beforehand.
Have you ever thought of the weekly Saturday morning yoga classes which you are attending for the past one year is not enough to fulfill the desire to delve deeper into yogic practices? If you are getting the feeling that something is missing, then you must start searching for solutions that can take you closer to this fabulous health science. Planning a yoga retreat in India could be one of the best options as only then you can expect a holistic knowledge of this age-old science.
Essential packing list for Yoga resort in India
During your stay in a yoga resort, you are likely to get extensive training in the various branches of yoga, lectures on Ayurveda, meditation sessions, site visits, recreation hours and many more activities. For a period of a fortnight or so (i.e. the standard duration of a yoga retreat in India), you have to come well prepared to stay comfortably here.
In this light, it becomes imperative to have a clear and concise idea about the list of belongings that you must carry to enjoy the retreat properly.
Essential Papers and Cards
If you’re an out-of-country national (foreigner) then you must pack the essential identification papers for a smooth check-in process at the resort. Apart from the passport and Visa, papers like health insurance are also important. Besides, you must make sure to carry the Credit Cards, Debit cards, and some walk-around cash.
Having 4-5 comfortable sets of yoga clothes will save you the effort to clean and dry that every day. Pick your favorite pants, tanks, tops keeping the weather condition of the place in mind and get in the mood of training from day one.
This item is going to be your best companion through the retreat program. Make sure to bring along a lightweight yoga mat of your favorite color and comfort to enjoy the yoga and meditation sessions completely.
It is always advised to keep a small yoga towel handy while attending classes to wipe the sweat instantly and avoid any kind of slippery moments and injury afterward.
As you know, excessive sweating during yoga classes might lead to dehydration. Be prepared and place a good quality water bottle in your bag so that you can sip pure water during the training hours.
Expert trainers prefer to use blocks or straps in the classes to successfully practice difficult poses. Besides the block, you can also keep gloves with treads on them to avoid any slippage while practicing. Make sure to have a small blanket to keep the body warm while doing the Shavasana (Corpse Pose) and the Yoga Nidra.
Pen and Paper
During the retreat program, you will get to know new things every day. Whether it is the tricks of doing a certain yoga poses, knowledge about Ayurvedic herbs or the various steps of meditation, you must note down important points immediately to recall those later on. It is always a better option to keep a multi-subject notebook and pens handy before entering the class. Additionally, maintain a journal to record your experiences in black and white.
A yoga retreat in India is incomplete without attending a few meditation sessions. This proves the point that you must take meditation classes seriously and be prepared to remain attentive in the class. To be in a comfortable sitting position throughout the meditation session, pick a good quality bolster or pillow and feel relaxed.
On weekends, most yoga resorts plan site visits for the participants. So, traveling with the troop for an entire day might expose your skin to ultraviolet rays. It would be good to keep a good quality sunscreen to protect your face, arms and legs whenever you go outside.
Pack a pair of sunglasses that are useful for athletic activities. This will keep you squint-free and enhance the chances to enjoy an outdoor session without feeling the burn of the sunrays.
At a yoga retreat, make sure to stay as relaxed as possible. Drop the idea to pack your favorite heels and instead put slip-ons or sneakers to feel at ease. Besides, traditionally you should practice yoga barefooted. With an easy-to-remove pair of footwear, you can roam around comfortably and also look pretty much in sync with the local tradition.
First Aid Kit
Yes, a first-aid kit is one thing you cannot afford to miss while traveling to a Yoga Resort in India. Be it a little soreness in the body, a minor infection due to weather change; get ready to deal with these on the go. Often, eating food in a different territory leads to irritable bowel syndrome. However, having a first-aid kit with prescribed medicines, you can avert any probable health disaster and enjoy the retreat without any gaps.
In retreat centers, you get ample time to let go of the stress by indulging in water games. Packing a swimsuit can be a great idea as it will keep you safe and sound.
Passport Size Photos
Remember, you might have to produce a few pictures at various places to get a registration. Instead of getting it clicked at a local photography studio in a hurry, it would be better to have a few in the bag.
Three great places for a yoga retreat in India
Fine, till now you have made up the mind to visit India for a yoga retreat. But, the plenty of yoga learning options that this South Asian country throws a traveller might put you in a dilemma. But, you need not have to worry as there are many places in India that respect the enthusiasm for yoga and offer training in an extremely modern setup with all the facilities and amenities. To get the best return on investment, you can consider visiting these three places.
Popular as the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh is one of the best places to explore yoga. Once you are here, the avenues to learn yoga increase manifold. There are innumerable institutes that provide a well-structured training in yoga and its allied branches. Besides, there are two interesting factors that make a yoga retreat in Rishikesh, one of the most satisfying experiences. First, this place is an abode to many yoga teachers and spiritual gurus, from whom you can learn the real tricks of this ancient science. Secondly, Rishikesh being a holy place since time immemorial also adds value to your spiritual quest and makes it easier for you to involve in soul searching and find a deeper meaning of life.
Currently, Kerala offers the best facilities as far as Yoga Ayurveda retreat is concerned. Courtesy to its traditional Vedic heritage. Pick Kerala for the yoga retreat and you will be amazed to know about the ancient as-well-as the modern aspect of yoga in this South Indian state. In Kerala, people live by Yoga and Ayurveda methods which also increase your chances to explore a place where healthcare is given such an important place. Interestingly, retreat centers provide the opportunity to know about the Indian spa therapy (called the Panchakarma method), Ayurvedic cooking and the yogic dance also.
Third in the list of popular havens for a Yoga retreat is the beach town of Goa. Here also, you can get ample facilities to spend time and money on a yoga learning program. Whether you are planning to know in detail about Hatha Yoga or planning to kick-start the Ashtanga training, Goa is a safe and exciting destination. To top it there are many beach-side Yoga Resorts in Goa, the beauty of which will inspire you to practice yoga every single morning.
It totally depends on you, when to pick that ‘natural call’ coming from inside your heart and come all the way to India for a yoga learning experience. However, you must remember to take a decision after feeling sufficient positive energy and a good attitude towards yoga. Only then the program on a yoga retreat in India will turn fruitful and you will be in a position to serve humanity in a selfless manner.
Author Bio: Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides Yoga Teacher Training in India. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.
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