While in Rishikesh, of course I followed in the Beatles footsteps like every other traveler in India, and stayed at an ashram.
There are SO many to choose from. We across Ram Jhula to Swarg Ashram (an area, not the actual ashram). You could waste days searching for the perfect one so instead, we just went for it with the first one we could afford.
When you cross the bridge and turn right, and walk all the way down, you’ll come to Sri Ved Niketan, a hugely popular ashram near Parmath (another popular ashram where the Ganga Aarti takes place).
Sri Ved Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh
200 rs per night, we only stayed here 2 nights
100 rs per class because under minimum stay
If we had stayed the minimum of 3 days we could have gotten FREE classes
Large empty courtyard, huge meditation center, kitchen
Yoga was two times a day, as were meditation classes
Class attendance was not mandatory
Curfew was 10 (typical at ashrams)
No mingling with the other sex allowed
Chakra and mantra teaching available
No Wi-Fi, A/C, or hot water
Basic room, hard beds, not clean
Front desk was fairly rude & that has been noted on other reviews as well
Was a little run-down & wasn’t really relaxing like I’d hoped
there are different room variations, this is the cheapest option
The Daily Yoga
I had been in India about two months at this point, and was starting to be very frustrated with Indian men. The waiter would fart as he served me dinner, the salesman would burp in my face, they were peeing in the streets in front of everyone. I would see men doing nothing but squatting on the street chit-chatting with chai, well women were hard at work. Better yet, the fifth guy that day would cut me in line and I’d have to hold back from losing my cool. I always talk about my love/hate relationship with India and as always I fluctuate. The LAST thing I wanted was an patience-testing little Indian man who hadn’t figured out his plurals to yell at me at 5 a.m. (now, I will say at least he can speak English- I can allow speak a few words of Hindi).
Our yoga teacher was as funny as he was annoying.
“point your feeeeeeeets”
“suck it in .. your belllllllly”
As he grabs my wrists to pull them tighter behind me to a position that is killing my arms, I almost want to walk out of class.
location was IDEAL with a nice courtyard that was empty and prime spot on the river
It’s not your typical yoga, but it was repeated positions, over and over and over and over… holding them for 3 minutes at a time, then repeat. Throught two hours, we would have done maybe six moves. Then it was hand stand time. I did get damn good at those in Pushkar. On the website the yoga style is called “similar to Bihar School of Yoga” with asanas and pranayama. Now sure what that is, but we didn’t do any warm up or sun salutations here. I have to say, the yoga was strange and very advanced. I do pranayamas at yoga now, which I love, and it wasn’t like this class, so not sure what it’s all about.
My Final Thoughts
All in all, the ashram experience was okay for a couple days, and is good for those on a budget. If I go back, I will try somewhere else, unless of course I become more broke than I was then, in which case I’ll be right back here.
Whether you pick this ashram or another, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss.
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Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches on Goa, India two years ago where she is now a Thai masseuse, candle-maker, and travel writer. Her award winning website gives advice on the other 28 countries she's been to but has become the go-to site on India travel, focusing on off beat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine & was voted by Flipkey as one of the top 25 female bloggers to follow this year. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google plus.
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