Yoga was first started in India in 5000 BC and is still practiced here in India. So many yogis feel called to the birthplace of yoga but then overwhelmed when they start looking to book a yoga retreat in India. There are many scams and fake ashrams in India that offer retreats, but the teacher isn’t actually that great. There are some AMAZING places in India with authentic courses that will teach you about Ayurvedic health, wellness, and different styles of true yoga, which is much different in India than in the West. In India, the focus is not only on the asanas (the physical part like the positions you get into) but also the other half which is breathing, meditation, mantras, and philosophy.
I’m not a yogi, although I do take classes here and there, but I have been living in India for five years and have many friends who are very enthusiastic about yoga, are teachers themselves, and go to courses around India. I want to help you find classes by summing up some of the best yoga retreats in India and include some of the most affordable yoga retreats in India.
For yoga retreats, the website bookyogaretreats.com is the most legitimate trustworthy site out there, so that is what I’ll be linking to throughout this post. They compare reviews from yogis who have stayed at the retreats. You can search yourself on there and use filters based on budget, yoga style, and location. Keep in mind, although India is a relatively cheap place to travel, yoga is not cheap here – it is priced according to its value, and as the birthplace of yoga, prices are fair.
There are some other traditional yoga centers like the Ashtanga Institute in Mysore, Bihar School of Yoga, Art of Living, and Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune. These are very legit and famous for good reason but are for very serious yoga students. You can read more about traditional places for advanced yoga students here.
In this article, I am focusing on places that are for beginners and intermediates, a more relaxing holiday yoga retreat rather than an intense one for very experienced students. I also didn’t include really expensive ones and tried to choose places that are reasonably priced and/or budget. I think that the advanced yoga students probably know about these famous places mentioned above, so this article is more for people who don’t know about yoga and want something introductory while they travel India.
Book a Yoga Retreat in India – The Top 5 Retreats for Beginners and Intermediate Yoga Students Based on Reviews
1. Swaswara, Gokarna 126,00 Rs ($1964 USD) for 8 days/ 7 nights
This eco-resort is as iconic in India as Gokarna‘s Om beach is. Swaswara is in the state of Karnataka, one of my favorite states in India, which is lesser visited by tourists. This is a higher priced retreat but it’s pure luxury on the beach. “Swara” means inner voice. It’s for beginners and intermediate yoga students. The lodging is luxury eco, which thatched coconut roofs but modern amenities, including outdoor rain showers with each private hut.
- Daily Ashtanga yoga sessions
- Morning asana practice sessions
- KPJAYI certified teacher and assistant
- Chanting, philosophy, Satsang, and asana technique classes
- Ayurveda consultation and full body treatments
- Twice daily Ayurvedic organic meals
- Limousine group transfers
- 7 nights accommodation
- Art classes and Ayurvedic cooking classes are available.
2. Hinterland Village Resort, Kochi 38,000 Rs ($591) for 10 nights/ 9 days
A budget option. It says “monsoon” retreat, but that’s just because it’s currently monsoon – it’s open all year. The rooms are A/C, surrounded by the jungle and hidden beneath the coconut trees, near paddy fields. The food will be delicious veggie Keralan Ayurvedic food. Here, you’ll get a consultation with Ayurvedic doctors who are on-site and although this isn’t some luxurious retreat, it’s a FANTASTIC value for money. If you really want to take time to work on your health, this is it.
- Daily yoga classes
- Sattvic or balanced diet
- Pranayama and meditation
- Personalized Ayurvedic/ Naturopathy consultations
- Asanas workshop and perfecting classes
- Rejuvenating massages and steam baths
- Complimentary facilities’ use
- 9 nights’ accommodation
3. Purple Valley Yoga Retreat, Assagao 76,495 Rs ($1193 USD) for 14 days/13 nights
I’m biased to Goa since I have lived here for so long, but Purple Valley is one of the most sought after yoga school in India, not just Goa. It has a focus on Astanga Vinyasa yoga, which is a difficult type of yoga (my favorite kind because it feels like you are really exercising). This is for the modern people who want detox juices and WiFi and time to catch the sun by the pool during downtime. They accept and encourage beginners to come for a retreat.
- 3 types of lodging to choose from for those on a budget, including gorgeous rooms in renovated Portuguese houses.
- Guided meditation and pranayama
- Practice and understanding of Ashtanga yoga
- Daily morning and afternoon yoga classes with experienced instructors
- Daily vegetarian breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared by an onsite Ayurvedic chef
- Full use of the retreat facilities
- 13 nights of accommodation
- Top instructors from all over the world, listed on their schedule
- Affordable spa options for add-on
4. Rishikul Yogshala, Rishikesh 32,000 Rs ($497.99) for 7 night/ 6 days
This is a great option for budget travelers. Rishikesh is one of the best places for yoga in India and there are a lot of options there. I personally just showed up and tried out a random ashram I found in Lonely Planet: it was terrible. You’ll have some classes right on the Ganges, the holiest river in India and maybe the world. This place is popular with backpackers and travelers passing through, so do be sure to book ahead. The teachers are all Indian and you can read about their certifications on the review page.
- Morning sun salutations
- Daily meditation sessions
- Daily Ashtanga and Hatha yoga classes
- Daily chakra and color healing
- Explore beautiful Rishikesh
- 6 nights accommodation in a variety of rooms, shared or single
5. Ashiyana Yoga Retreat, Mandrem 45,999 Rs (717.66 USD) for 7 days/ 6 nights
I almost didn’t put this place because it’s another one in Goa, but it truly is one of the best in India and for a relaxing comfortable retreat in a beautiful space, this is a great option. It’s on the beach in Mandrem, which means during down time you’re near so many amazing things. While some places serve small meals, here you will have a buffet and be able to to eat what you’d like with many options available.
- You level of yoga is unimportant here as they cater to everyone
- 2 large buffet meals per day
- All-scheduled drop-in yoga classes
- One week accommodation at Ashiyana
- Optional massage and holistic treatments
- Relax in the peace and quiet of Ashiyana
- All Ashiyana creative activities
- Meditation, chanting, karma yoga, walks, and impromptu gatherings and workshops
If you are coming to a retreat in Goa, do check out my 170-page ebook The Insider’s Guide to Goa, which has all my secrets about Goa from the past 5 years of living here. You can use discount “GOAYOGA” to get 30% off my ebook. Click here to purchase it.
A few things to note about coming to India for a yoga retreat and planning out the booking aspects of your trip:
- If you want to save money on your flight, check Kiwi. I always find the best and cheapest options for flights on this site and use it almost exclusively.
- Make sure you have travel insurance just in case anything goes wrong. I have used World Nomads for years and they are recommended by everyone, including Lonely Planet.
- You NEED a visa! Here’s some info: Getting a visa for India
- Want more tips for traveling India or better yet to have me plan your trip? Buy my India Guide ebook and even if you ONLY read that, you’ll be 1000% prepared for your trip. It’s 6 years of India travel experience all wrapped up in an organized easy to read manner.