Finding an Ashram in India

Seeing into yourself
Seeing into yourself

Find an Ashram, Find Yourself

Before we begin this journey into finding an ashram in India, let us first start with a simple experiment:

Who do you see when you look into the mirror?

As you do this, try not to just look at the physical you; fix your awareness into your own eyes, your own inner-self. Who is there behind the physical form? What is this person like? How does this person feel, think, act, and experience life?

Go a little further now: How does it feel to truly look into yourself? Are you scared, embarrassed, angry, or confused? Or do you feel calm, loving, and gentle?

In yoga we teach that what we see in the world is a projection of our own self. This is not a new concept. But its implications are misunderstood.

The world which we see before us is a collaborative creation of the human experience, the 'good, the bad, and the ugly' as they say. Yet what we see and experience in this world is a direct result of our projections.

Now we are closer to starting our journey, because we can now see that what we search for is a modification of who we are internally. To be honest with ourselves about who we are is an essential prerequisite for understanding what we are looking for, and what we are looking for can only be found if it is a part of reality. Otherwise we are liable for disappointment.

Let us just say this: spirituality is a lifelong journey, and what an ashram can offer is only as great as what we are ready to realize through ourselves. Ultimately we walk this path alone, but with the love and support of other spiritually minded souls our veiled hidden potentials and unconscious inhibiting weaknesses can be see so that true inner growth can be actualized. An ashram is a place of self-realization, emphasis on self because it all begins from within!

The Ganges is considered one of the holy rivers in India.
The Ganges is considered one of the holy rivers in India.

Finding an Ashram in India is easy. Finding one that fits your needs requires some self-reflection.

Why we shouldn't just pick up our bags, passport, and dreams and run off to an Ashram in India.

First off, before we delve into the real nitty-gritty details of the spiritual system of Ashram living, I would like to make a few suggesting of places to visit online to learn more about the spiritual systems of India. These are place where you can begin your journey into the spiritual philosophies of India through the web that I think most people will find of value. Throughout my lifetime I have had the privileged of meeting many wonderful souls who have brought life into my life. My lifeline, upon whom I have come to call my guru, is swami Tureya who's website is tureya.com, but there are many more who have affected my life on so many level and they too are a source of my spirit's awakening. I wish I could give reference to them here but most of them have not put resources online, though I am working with a few to do so and I'll keep you, my friends, updated as the journey continues.

Another website which I would recommend for learning yoga online and at home is studyofyoga.org. This website was put together by Dr. Adam Cohen who is a dear friend of mine and a thoughtful and thorough guide in the spiritual journey.

Now onto the discussion of studying at an Ashram in India!

If you really want to spend some time in India and have an experience of the culture and its spiritual wisdom, you should first take the time and effort to look into the variety of options available. While this might be obvious to the expert traveler, it may not be so apparent to someone who is visiting India for the first time.

Although there are hundreds of spiritual centers throughout India, only a few will fit your needs as an individual on your own spiritual journey. There are so many different forms of yoga that are available, and each is designed to fit the character and personality traits of specific individuals. Some of the major forms of yoga that are part of the ancient tradition of spirituality in India and are still taught today include:

  • Raja Yoga: Yoga that is mainly focused on developing the intuitive sense and works to evolve what some may considered a psychic sense.The primary vehicle for the spiritual practices in this form of yoga is the mind.
  • Bhakti Yoga: Yoga of devotion and song. This type of yoga raises ones sense of connection to God and is usually done through the median love, compassion, and devotion. The primary practice taught in bhakti yoga include: kirtan (song and chanting), meditation, and prayer.
  • Jnana Yoga: Yoga that is focused on developing the mind and wisdom. It is very much the philosophical side of Yoga. Self-study and inquisition for the basis for this style of yoga.
  • Karma Yoga: Yoga of service and action where people work for the good of humanity and the earth. The primary purpose of this practice is to build a humble and compassionate character that is selfless and free from the bonds of karma.

And of course there are many other forms of yoga that exist beside the ones mentions above, but this is just to give you an idea of how diverse yoga really is. In all, there are 6 primary philosophies of yoga, but between these there are said to be hundreds of other divisions that date back as far as 10,000 ago during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization.

So what are the key points to look at when choosing an Ashram in India?

  1. Price: Some ashrams in India are really only interested in making a profit and will give you little spiritual benefit. While it might sound nice to relax on the beach for a few weeks, the benefits of a real yogic practice will extend into every part of your life. While going to the beach may give you a week of relaxation, a yoga practice, when done consistently, can introduce a stable state of calmness into your life that will not perish. Even in seemingly stressful situations, yoga teaches us how to be balanced and gives us the ability to confront any challenges that we may come to face with confidence and strength.
  2. Teachers/Gurus: Who is teaching you? In today's modern world and tourist industry you really need to keep your eyes open. Some ashrams will provide you with a place to stay but will not teach you anything. Others will teach philosophical concepts that are ambiguous and will not really assist you in your spiritual life. Look for ashrams that are grounded and offer extended courses. Also, try to find out who is teaching the classes at the ashram as there are many ashrams that claim to have a guru, but when you arrive they will never be available. It is also important to find schools that teach in English, otherwise it may be difficult to understand the teachings.
  3. Location: This is a big one! Just as a little personal note, much of the Himalayas (Dharmasala, Rishikesh, etc.) have become the tourist center for spiritual travelers. This has changed the culture of these areas because the local industries have shifted toward tourism to make more money. Now this is not to say that there are not good school in these areas, but in a general sense they are places for tourism and you will find a high concentration of foreigners in these areas. If you want to find the real yoga look outside of the tourist map. A question to ask yourself is "if I were a spiritual aspirant in India, is this a place I would go for spirituality?" Also if you plan to travel in the summer find a higher elevation.
  4. Lodging: Simple living is ideal for someone who wants to learn spirituality. Less is more in this context because it removes distractions from the environment and allows you to focus your mind towards the stuff that really matters.But it is also important to be realistic. For someone who has spent their life in an air-conditioned house with 10 inch thick matresses, living in an open air room and sleeping on the floor in a city like delhi will be very difficult. Be modest but also be realistic as to what you can handle. If you are not able to feel joy in what you are doing, nothing in spirituality is possible.

Be bold, but not ignorant.

This is obvious for most, but you really need to be brave to try a new style of living for some time. But I guarantee that you will find much more satisfaction in the long run if you go for the change and challenge yourself. Just keep your eyes on the details and try to find a humble and spiritually vibrant location that will help you grow.




About the Author

Swami Omkarananda is a disciple of Swami Tureyananda of the Tureya Ashram. As a devoted student of spirituality, Swami Omkarananda main mission in life is to be a facilitator for the inner-awakening within his friends and family in the spiritual community. Originally from the United States, Omkarananda now lives in India, working with schools to encourage the use of yoga as a part of the daily academic and extracurricular activities.

Through yoga and other spiritual practices primary, secondary, and higher education students are able to utilize the potential of their beings while establishing themselves in a strong vision for the future which is built around internal directives and self-motivated creative-based incentives.When not active at the schools, Omkara interacts and teaches with his guruji in southern India, guiding courses in Vedanta and the esoteric practices and philosophies of Tantra Yoga.

Follow up and further Information about today's ashrams in India

The vast majority of "Spiritual Center" may rather be "Tourist Center." Never before in history have so many people traveled to India for the purpose of tourism and sightseeing. This of course encourages a new bread of businesses that are focused on making a profit off of this industry.

If you think about it, yoga is now a household concept and practice throughout the world which has sparked new interest in India because people are very familiar with the fact that India is the birth place of the Yogic and spiritual traditions. People in India also realize this fact.

Last year alone people in the US invested over 7 billion dollars in Yoga, an astonishing number for a system that was known only to a handful in the west less then 100 years ago.

Due to the dramatic investment in yoga, many companies and wise business men and women are using yoga as a way to make profit. They establish ashram and yoga schools with the intention of accumulating financial wealth, not spiritual wealth. But do not dismay, there are many ashrams that still teach the real essence of yoga and traditional spirituality!

In my opinion, web sites are not a good indication of the level and devotion to spirituality. While many of the companies online might be very driven towards developing a profitable business there are also many ashrams that post web sites in order to encourage spiritual teachings. They may also want to make themselves available to a larger community of individuals in need of spiritual wisdom.

How to identify a real ashram as opposed to a business? This is somewhat difficult, and I must issue a forewarning here: malas (neck beads), Saffron Dress, and a beard and long hair do not make an individual spiritual. Spirituality is measured on an internal level that you cannot see through any photo or video. Do not be misled by this fact.

Since spirituality it measured on an internal level, you may be able to evaluate an ashram based upon merit. Some ashrams will have a vast amount of money and invest only a parcel of the money to help the unimaginable amount of poverty that roams India. Other ashram centers will act as centers both for human welfare and spirituality, and distribute their money to help develop the local communities. Just because an ashram asks for money for programs and activities does not mean that they are businesses. They may be using this money to support both your stay at the ashram and others, especially neighboring lower-class communities. Again how do you know? You can ask, or try to see if they are working with established non-profit organizations in community development. But again, it will be difficult to measure online.

Besides the issues and conflicts mentioned, there is also one other misconception about spirituality that usually goes un-noticed by the vast majority: the true practice of yoga is not always about living in a cave or a hermit lifestyle. A true accomplished yogi is one who can live anywhere in the world without being disturbed or losing their divine joy. While it is ideal to live in a secluded location for some time in order to develop the inner life of spirituality, eventually you must work towards living within society while also cultivating your inner spiritual life. For the most part, ashrams are a place for you to intensively study spirituality for some period of time after which you should return to your life and work to develop and evolve your new spiritual practices.

There are a few important facts about ashrams that are totally cut-off from society: 1) they do not exist, at least in the large numbers that might have been a few hundred years ago 2) unless you have a direct relationship to them, you probably will not be allowed into the ashram and 3) If you are coming from a western lifestyle, it will be very difficult to adjust to their arduous and regiment schedule and living accommodations.

Many books have glamorized the idea of renouncing everything and living in seclusion for the rest of life. They have also given the impression that you can only find enlightenment if you leave everything behind and live a hard and disciplined life until all is revealed to you. But again spirituality is not about how you live on the outside but how you live on the inside. Many great teachers, including Sivananda, Yogananda, the Dali Lama, and Vivekananda lived among the masses up until their deathbed. They were accomplished yogis because they preserved the values of yoga while also sharing them with anyone who was interested in learning.

With all said and done, we must change and reform our perception of yoga and India before choosing a place to develop our spiritual practices. One of the oversights of what I have written is that what has worked for Indians living 100 years ago will not work for westerners who have been living a very different life from the moment they were born up until now. You can find enlightenment and you can find spiritual wisdom, but there is a new process to this event that you must consider when looking for spirituality. The human mind is very complex, and in order to cultivate it you must have a refined system that works through the individual towards the divine. Yoga works on an individual basis, and feed the soul through a gradual process of revelation. An ashram is an ideal place for spiritual practices, but you must make a valiant effort to find one that suites your needs.

While I am reluctant to suggest any ashrams, I feel as though I can give guidance to those who are truly interested in the spiritual traditions of India. One ashram that I know well is the Tureya Ashram in Southern India. They have a wonderful balance of spirituality and community service, and they have also developed a specific training program to help develop the spiritual life for people coming from modern lifestyles. If you have any additional questions, please continue the conversation within the post below.

Online Exploration to Finding an Ashram

Humanity, over the last decades, has made a significant shift in the way we exchange, receive, and transfer information. Today, for the first time in history, human-beings have the ability to interact and transact with people from around the globe in a matter of seconds. This is no doubt an astonishing accomplishment for humanity, but it has also enforced a number of interesting qualities in psychology of human beings. The first, that could be considered relevant in our search for spirituality in a digital world, is the infinite amount of resource available in a fraction of a second. Unlike the past where only a limited amount of information was available through books, television, radio, or conversation, the modern digital empire presents a nearly infinite amount of information on all topics in just about every language known to be in existence. The advantage of this is obvious; we can search any topic of interest without being limited to physical resources (outside of the computer and perhaps the amount of money we have to purchase things like online journals, etc.). The disadvantage is that we too often have too much information available which makes it difficult to focus on a particular topic or execute a decision of substantial commitment.

Another inevitable quality of the digitalized world is the substantial fact that anyone can contribute to its growth and expansion. Again the advantages of such an environment is that no one can limit, monopolize, or dogmatize an idea, leaving the components of subjectivity and objectivity open to the discretion of the consumer. However the disadvantage of the open-source component of internet media and information development is the lack of filtration on resources that are out-right invalid, dishonest, or directly harmful to others, with clear examples being that of child pornography, totalitarian hatred, and prompted racism.

When we enter the digital world to seek out information, knowledge, resources, or products, we are required to use a great deal of analysis and discrimination in order to find information we believe to be most relevant to what we seek, or information that appears to be closest to the truth. For every outstanding comment that promotes an ideology or entity there is one that negates it, and choosing which is right and which is wrong, or which is closer to the truth, is totally up to the consumer. However, do to shift in the brain structure and perception of human beings, we have become more prone to exploitation as our attention and focal awareness has been reduce through the introduction of electronic media. Research conducted in the University of California has shown that the amount of tv a child watched is directly related to his/her attention span; the more they watch, the less they have. For this reason, a significant spike in the amount of attention deficiency and ADD have developed, leaving more people with a lack of ability to concentrate and execute rational decisions based upon extended research and contemplation.

Replacing rational contemplation is a state of emotional reaction. College students throughout America where survived on the quality of their students, and many teacher reported that they have had to ‘dumb-down’ the information presented each consecutive year as students were less likely to read books and materials as well as pay close attention the lectures. Instead of collection information, students were more interested in key concepts and ‘punch-lines’ as opposed to detailed information. Because we do not take the time to take an in-depth analyses of the topic of interest, we must execute our decision based upon another form of judgment; emotions. Yet emotional responses are not often based upon information but rather a response to an event, stimulus, or our past impressions. The movie industry, for instance, has focused the content of films based upon our emotions and not upon what we can learn from the movie. We want to feel happy, sad, scared, or astonished, and when we leave the theaters we often do not remember the content of the movie but rather our overall emotional reaction that was stimulated by the plot. This is not a bad thing when we want to enjoy a night out, but it can interfere with our daily lives when we base our response to event or subject around our emotional reactions.

In yoga, we seek to balance our emotions, thoughts, and feels and gradually develop a state of concentration in which we can form a foundation for an inquiry into the deepest secrets of humanity and the universe. But if our mind is not focused, such inquiry cannot develop as our minds are not in a state capable of grasping the subtle details that are gradually revealed.

Although at the moment we are not talking specifically about self-realization, we are talking about the path which leads us towards it, the journey to a yoga ashram or spiritual center where we can learn the skills and techniques to envelop our spirituality. As we seek out a spiritual refuge, we must begin to practice the qualities of logic, contemplation, and inquiry as they are required in order for us to find a real place in which we can develop our spirituality and self-awareness.

From meeting and interacting with students interested in journeying to India for spiritual transformation, I have found that too many people are basing their inquiry off of emotional experiences, avoiding the critically important process of scrutinizing the details and developing a peripheral observation of the topic they are interested in. While yoga does encourage things like intuition and psychic abilities, these are typically not formed until much later in the practice when the student has undergone significant transformation through countless hours of self-study and inquiry. Many of the yogis who have developed such skills have done so by first laying the tracks of spirituality, one which are supported by many years of study, practice, and contemplation. If we have reached this point, than we have accomplished much in spirituality. However if we are just entering the path, we must still use our minds and contemplation in order to make significant decisions, otherwise we may fall victim to an emotional response, which can be fulfilling in the moment, but ultimately will not survive our long term goals and aspiration.

As we begin our quest for spirituality online, we should try to use the resources at hand to find useful and relevant information before we make a decision or commitment. Every topic, or in this case ashram, will have positive perspectives and negative ones; yet it is our duty to ourselves to choose those which will help us and those we do not find relevant.

For those of you who are seeking out an ashram online, here are some ideas of how you can expand you critical analysis of the place you wish to visit:

  1. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the place you are planning to visit about specific qualities of their ashram, beliefs, studies, and community. This is the easiest way to find out if they are right for you or not.
  2. Try to find other 3rd party reviews of the ashram. Just remember than when you go to the general public for information, people will generally promote things they love, or spend a significant amount of time negating something they hate. The people in between probably don’t have the time to post reviews. But it is important to keep in mind that everything is subjective, and what works well for one person will be intolerable for another. This is especially true in yoga where the practice is refined to fit specific individuals.
  3. Request contact of students who have studied at the ashram in the past. Not every ashram has time to answer every question, and getting in contact with past students will give you an opportunity to see things from a 3rd party who has lived at the ashram.
  4. Seek out materials or resources from the ashram. Sites like www.studyofyoga.org or www.dlshq.org have free resources available for students interested in learning more about their system of yoga. This way you will know if the system is right for you.
  5. Collect the information, and make a decision. You’re not going to know everything before you arrive. Though you may be uncertain, maybe because you’ve never been to India, or don’t know what it will be like to actually live at an ashram, eventually you will have to make a choice and follow through. Remember, it is easy the change to a new location if you need to. But it is important to give the new environment a chance because it will be very new to you.


So I challenge you, as the seeker and explorer of yoga, to find a place to stay after you have done some research. Take the time and effort, as in the Indian tradition we consider that our devotion to an ashram lasts a lifetime, and although this is net mandatory, we should be willing to give our time and energy to the practices and lessons for a longer period of time.

It is important to examine all the details you are given; some ashrams will be free, others will charge 4,000 USD a month; some will have beds, others you will sleep on the ground; some may have a population of 300 students while others only 4 or 5; some will strictly enforce devotion to a Hindu while other open to all religions. What is important is to select an ashram that encompasses the qualities you are looking for. It may not fit your exact profile, but its ideologies and practices should at least be in tandem with your goals and aspirations as an individual and as a student of yoga.

Updates After Everyones Wonderful Comments!

Thank you all for sharing your ideas and input. Below are some general ideas I would wish to express after reading through all of your wonderful comments.

India: Safe or Unsafe?

Just like any country in the world, there are good places to go and there are places where you have a chance of dying. States like Tamil Nadu and Kerala boast some of the best police forces and have a well educated public which make these states pretty safe for a traveler unless you do things like travel in the middle of the night, follow a drug dealer into a dark ally, or travel as a single woman on a public transportation (many woman do travel alone in these places without any problem though). In contrast, states like Bihar and Jammu Kashmir are plagued with bloodshed and strife that put you, as a traveler, in great danger. Some major things to remember, especially if you are making a spiritual journey is this:

  • In North India many drug dealers and criminals wear saffron and dress like Swamis/Saddhus because the Northern Indian government is not allowed to touch Hindus due to religious issues. For a drug dealer, this is great because they can do anything when they look like a Hindu Swami. This is why some people end up dead after following a ‘Saddhu’ into some dark place in cities like Varanasi. They will tell the tourist “I will give you the most sublime realization you have ever had, just follow me to my temple.” Than they are never heard from again. But do not take this wrong by thinking that ‘Oh my! What a terrible place’ because you just need to know some of the ins and outs of how things work. For instance, you wouldn’t go into the middle of some gang territory of the Crypt in New York asking where you could find the natural food store. By using some basic discrimination you can get by without much or any problems.
  • India is not as dangerous as you think. I’ve traveled all over the country on public buses for 18 hours and 5 day train rides in 3rd class without any incidents. In fact, I’ve felt in much greater danger in some cities in Europe than I do in India.
  • Do not follow people into random places. They will offer you this opportunity or that, but it is most likely that you will not get what you were told, and you put yourself in danger. Move freely, but do not allow yourself to wander into strange places unless you know what you are doing.
  • I have to re-iterate that in all my time in southern states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Goa I have had very, very few incidents, none of which I felt like my life was endangered. If you want to get a feel for the Indian culture without any worries or pressure I would start here. Places like Goa and Pondicherry are really westernized whereas some of the places in Tamil Nadu are very cultural but also safe. Personally I would avoid Goa because it is basically a model of any European beach.

Traditional Ashram?

Must every ashram be traditional and should it be totally free of cost? Would we really want what a traditional ashram has to offer us? First off, a real traditional ashram (1,000 to 2,000 years old traditional) is a Gurukul Ashram which means that it is more designed as a place to teach children between the ages of 12-25 the science of the Vedas and Samskaras. It is meant for the “Twice Born” or upper Varmas/castes of Hindu society to learn rituals and to memorize the sacred texts like the Vedas. So if you are discussing a traditional ashram in the historical sense this is what you are generally talking about.

Next, let us also consider the significant role Samskaras play in a Traditional Ashram. Samskaras are basically forms of worship which involve elaborate rituals most of which are designed to invoke the Gods and bring blessings upon the place of worship. Such benefits of the Samskaras or Yagjas include: wealth, good health, prosperity, long life, and of course spiritual radiance. But if we look at thing from the perspective of modern spiritual practitioner these things aren’t going to be very beneficial. These ritualistic forms of worship need to be done continuously, and if they aren’t than their effects ware off quite rapidly. For someone who only has a month to a year to stay in India, these types of spiritual practices are not going to be very beneficial. We need something practical that we can carry into our dynamic lives within our dynamic cultures.

Next is the notion that all ashrams should be free. Only philosophy posed the question " if this is true why do you pay for things like your television, car, and even your house which are far less valuable than your spirituality?" It is true that a lot of people are cheating in the name of God and Spirituality, but it is also true that there are ashrams that live for the science of spirituality and that use your donations to make the world a better place. If you are willing to pay thousands of dollars to get on an airplane just to land in another country than making a donation to an ashram is not something that is going to detract from your life. In fact, there is a Buddhist saying which says that by giving to a monk or sanga (buddhist community) your life will be filled with the light of Buddha which will give you a rebirth as a deity or even spiritual saint. So by donation to an ashram you are not only giving life to that light of spirituality but you are also acknowledging that your spirituality is something of value, hopefully more valuable than a car or an ipod. If you don’t value your spirituality than who will?

Some might argue ‘well yes my heart values spirituality which is different from my wallet. Real value does not involve money.’ If this is you, I would say that ultimately you are absolutely correct. But at the same time if you do not view money as something of great value than you should not mind in sharing that money, especially if that money is being used for the right cause.

And on top of all of this, ashrams have always been receiving money from the people. In Indian culture it is implied that you give a portion of your money to an ashram in order to support your family guru. By donating to the Divine you are both symbolically and literally saying that you value spirituality. Because people valued spirituality the heart of their culture became spiritual. Just look at the early Buddhist Monasteries. Some say that Buddhism exists today because of the massive donations people made to support the early Buddhist monks who were teaching people about the 4 noble truths and the harms of the caste system. This type of support from the people and society allowed for the ancient sciences of Buddhism and Yoga to exists even up to this very day. So even if we look at the historical tradition of ashrams we find that they were not free but simply another institution of society. Lucky this institution was one of supreme value!

By sharing some of these thoughts I hope to encourage some new inquiry into both the history and diversity of spirituality in India. I would also like to promote some ideas that I feel many people are not looking at, perhaps because these views conflict with their supposed ideologies or simply because they did not previously know some of these facts. Whatever the case may be, In the grand scheme of things I do not know much and I still have so much to learn. But hopefully what I have obtained through experience and study may be able to shed some light on new areas of insight for the spiritual seekers amongst you.

Thank you again for all of your comments! Keep sharing!

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Comments 166 comments

aleksandra 8 years ago

If it's easy how do I look not to fall into a tourist trap? I am afraid that all the ashrams that have web sites are more focused on making a profit than teachings?

Do yoy have any suggestions? I have heard there is one on the south coast near a light house, but do not have a name of it . Plus oif it is near a beach I feel I will be full of tourists. I'd like to live in one for atr least 3 months and work with my mind.

thank you for help


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Omkarananda 8 years ago from India Author

Dear aleksandra,

I felt that your questions were very relevant to the topic so I have decided to extend the posting to fully answer your question. I hope that helps in guiding you to avoid the traps of tourism (which i must admit exist in larger numbers).

I am not sure of a specific light house ashram, but there is one yoga retreat center in Rameswaram (Southern coast of India) that is beside a light house and church and is located on a secluded beach outside of a small village without any tourism. They are part of the Tureya Foundation which I have posted a link to above.Good luck on your search, and if you have anymore doubts please do not hesitate to post.


aleksandra 8 years ago

Thank you so much Omkarananda! My trip to India (I was also thinking of Nepal or Thailand-any suggestions about those places?)is not going to happen until at least 6 months from now, but as I am aware of the challenge, I want to prepare myself in advance. Once more:thank you! And I am sure I 'll have plenty of questions before I do it.


Michael 8 years ago

I am interested in living at an ashram to study Brahmacharya. Do you know of any ashrams that focus on the teachings of Brahmacharya? If so, please relay their information to me or any advice you may have on locating a Brahmacharian to study under.

Thank you,


Bernadette 8 years ago

I WANT TO FIND MYSELF AND MY GOD. I HAVE NOT PRACTICED YOGA PROPERLY SO WOULD HAVE TO START FRESH. I WOULD LIKE TO SPEND SOME TIME LEARNING IF I CAN AFFORD TO. WHERE WOULD BE THE BEST ASHRAM TO START I DO NOT WANT A TOURIST TRAP AND WOULD BE HAPPY TO PERFORM DUTIES IF THEY ARE REQUIRED.


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Omkarananda 8 years ago from India Author

Michael~

I am not sure what you imply by a Brahmacharyan Ashram. The majority of ashrams today are founded on the principle of age old traditions, one of which is the belief that all swamis and sanyassi should maintain the practice or brahmacharya in order to preserve various elements and energies within the body. A majority of the ashrams in India while condone the practice of brahmacharya. What will be difficult to find is an ashram that is based on the real fundamentals of yoga which is actually free of the now celibate practice of brahmacharya. Prior to Maharishi Sankacharya a majority of the Ashrams were led by married gurus know as Rishis. This system was only transformed after the Sankacharyan Philosophy became mainstream and the Brahimincal order socialized the idea of celibacy. Today the vast majority of Ashrams are guided on the principles of Brahmacharya; what you will have to search for is ashrams where the ancient tradition of Rishihood is still maintained, one in which everyone can achieve self-realization, regardless of family, friends, society, or worldly obligations. If you still have your heart set on an ashram where Brahmacharya is the central theme, I would suggest looking into Swami Sivananda's ashram in Northern India. But remember, you do not have to renounce family, spouce, or the world in order to achieve enlightment; those are all external characteristics. You simply need to stimulate the spiritual life within you, the one that will bathe in the bliss regardless of your worldy position.


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Omkarananda 8 years ago from India Author

Brenadette~

Your aspirations are commendable, and I wish you every bit of luck on your spiritual ventures. The proper yoga practice begins when you believe in the power of the divine or God. With that belief you can surely discover the self that you seek. It is always difficult for me to recommend a specific ashram as each has its own unique qualities and characteristics that set it apart from the rest. Another problem I have encountered in my stays with a variety of ashrams in India is the lack of true commitment to the spiritual principles and beliefs outline in the holy texts and scriptures. Free ashrams do not always mean you are in the right place: I have visited several ashrams in which I received free stay but was taught nothing and made to do a variety of chores that no one else would commit to. Some may consider this Karma yoga, but the real Karma yoga is in serving the people, not becoming an indentured servant for people who do not wish to do work themselves. What is a Tourist Trap? It is a place where they filter you through the system and punch you out with everyone else. You will not find spirituality this way unless you were born with great intuition and strength. You know you have come to the wrong ashram when they hand you an agenda that looks like a cruise package. You know you have come to the right place when they think of you as a true spirit and are ready to offer you individual guidance and support along your spiritual journey, whether you are at the ashram or not. This is important. I have made one suggestion in the article that might be helpful to you. The rest will require your independent search and exploration for you know what is best for you! But if you need any guidance I will be happy to help. Best Wishes!


Cristian 8 years ago

Hi Omkarananda,

I'm going to India in 3 weeks and I've plan a pilgrim to Vrindaban and Varanasi. I've been practicing Raja Yoga for years and I've attain certain experiences, but I seek more, so if you know some ashram or swami that could teach me how to reach higher levels of consciousness I would be very thanksful. I've been a little depress for all the fake gurus I've met sinze I started that some help would be very nice.

Thanks a lot for the post, very clear and honest.

Blessings


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Omkarananda 8 years ago from India Author

~Christian

I truly wish you a very transformative experience during your visit to India. It is inspiring to hear that you have found and experienced the path of Raja Yoga as it is one that only the brave and strong can venture. It requires a great deal of strength and determination, and above all a clear mind.

While I sometimes write views that may appear negative and dejecting, I want my friends (you all) to realize that I really love India. I have visited so many countries in my lifetime, but no place has altered my life so significantly as India. I now call this culturally rich and vibrant country my home, and plan to live out the rest of my life on its comforting soil.

My personal reservations and sometimes disproval of spirituality in India have always been in association with the amount of false gurus who mislead people into following a spiritual practice that conforms and restricts the growth and development of the spiritual life. While at its heart yoga is a divine practice many have misused it to gain power and fame. This fact is truer now than ever because of the global interest in the spiritual practice of yoga, especially those teachings which originate from India.

What every spiritual seeker must realize is that some of the places that were once holy are now the centers for false gurus and tourism. When people take out a map and begin to trace out all the holy places mention by gurus and spiritual seekers of the past, they have an idea that these places still remain the centers for spirituality. Such locations include Rishikesh, Dharmasala, Varanasi, and a variety of other places scattered throughout India. But while the spiritual seeker is planning her/his trip to these locations, the businesses which are looking for profit and tourist have already made note of these ideas and put up ashrams, hotels, restaurants, bookstore, clothing shops, collectable stores, and all other facilities that will attract the spiritual travels and encourage them to spend money on unnecessary things including cool travel bags, intricate fabric designs, fancy idles, and just about anything you might think you need for spirituality.

What I am suggesting is not that ever ashram or spiritual center in these locations is not spiritually vibrant or does not have true gurus. Rather, the spiritual seeker must realize that for every 1 real teacher and friend in these areas, there are 20 that want to make money off of tourism. In Rishikesh, for instance, you will not find a single store that is built and designed for locals. There are no produce shops, no general supply stores, no cheep meals (outside of those for the rickshaw drivers and tourist guides). Everything there is for tourism because that is one of the first places spiritual seekers think of when they imagine spirituality in India. Many great gurus have passed through that area and settled ashrams along the banks of the Ganges. But because of this history everyone now want to visit Rishikesh and to facilitate this desire businesses and local shop owners have converted the city into a place for tourists instead of wandering monks and gurus.

The most important fact I want to point out to those who wish to visit India in order to gain spiritual wisdom and experience is that you have to move very carefully. In some locations, including Varanasi, tourists have been killed by people wearing saffron robes who promised the visitors spiritual wisdom (and often time drugs as well). These people simply abused the tourist’s misperceptions about spiritual, one in which anyone wearing a saffron robe, a mala, and some holy ash is considered to be a spiritual man. While not every case ends in such extreme repercussions, there are plenty of situations where people follow mass-gurus, staying at an ashram for a few months, and leave with no significant change or alteration within their spiritual life.

I have traveled throughout India for several years, always in search of learning more about the spiritual tradition and practices of yoga. In my journeys, I have found only a handful of teacher that I would consider enlightened, and even a smaller number of individuals who are really interested in teaching others. This is perhaps the greatest problem with spirituality in India; the real gurus have lost interest in teaching the public because no one is really taking the effort to learn spirituality. And those who do wish to teach stick to the belief that a guru will appear when the disciple is ready.

Modern spirituality is totally different. The times have changed. Society has evolved, and the guidelines for spiritual living have change dramatically since the beginning of yoga. Today it is not about the tradition of shaving your head and taking up the bramacharyan lifestyle. This system is only possible when you start living these values from childhood. Today’s spirituality is about expanding consciousness, reconnecting with nature, and regaining the wisdom, knowledge, and experience of the inner life of spirituality. While the ashram tradition is still alive, it has taken on a new form with a different approach to spirituality and self-transformation. This must be the beginning of your search, new approaches to the insoluble lessons and knowledge of spirituality. While the practices and techniques still remain powerful tools for self-realization, they are being expressed within a new system of spirituality. And why not? Man is always evolving, and so to are the approaches to spiritual wisdom. Lifestyles have changed so drastically, even within the last millennia, which has consequently inspired a new approach to spiritual living.

The tradition and science of yoga and the esocteric practices of spirituality are still richly woven into the culture of India. They have just taken on a different form, one in which the spiritual seeker must find for themselves. May you find and realize your true spiritual nature. It is there before you and awaiting your return.


Leigh-Anne  8 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

Thank you for this page, it is the most informative, helpful and honest I have com across thus far.

It seems we all (the people commenting on this page) run into similar issues, from our backgrounds, it is so difficult to know where to start with finding a Guru and/or an Ashram. Where do we turn? GOOGLE OF COURSE! google the 'guru'.... its really quite sad.

I have only recently discovered my need to connect with god through my own spirituality, I feel I need to turn inwards to ultimately turn outwards to god, its is a quite scary to me, I have always struggles with the word God and what it means to me I think due to the times and places I was brought up in. So moulded by TV and popular culture.

Though I am scared and am incredibly exited at the same time, and for the first time in my life it not about having what exiting me RIGHT NOW!! (oh the instant gratification generation...) I feel its years in the making, learning, seeking, carrying on the the society around me, and I feel I will die happy and old one day still learning.

anyway, what I wish to ask, is there any advise you can give us in seeking a Guru, as Cristian mentioned, it is so difficult to even know where to start?

Thank you on the Ashram advise, I hope once I gain a better understanding of my own spirituality to in the next few years embark on the physical journey to india and my spiritual journey through it.


Tatiana Brisolla 8 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I'm a biologist and my aim in life is to exchange sustainable practices with local people. I am looking for a place in India, where I can dive into yoga and spiritual practices. As I dont have much money, it would be great to work for food and shelter. Do you know a place where I can have all these 3 options?

I will stay in India form end of november until april.

Thank you very much for your support. It is a great confort to have information from not only a local, but an experienced member of this community.

Peace


sk 8 years ago

want to live in an ashram where I can be at peace with mind and soul, extremely unhappy with life and want escapism with spirituality, please guide me thanks


Melissa  8 years ago

Dear Omakarananda,

I, too, appreciate your concerns about "spiritual tourism". I would like to find a center or an ashram in northern India to stay for a week or so. I am not searching for my "God" or "Guru", I just simply want to expand upon my experience in a meaningful way. Can you recommend any legitimate centers or ashrams?

Thank you


Jacqueline 8 years ago

Dear Omakarananda,

Thank you for creating such a helpful website. I'm wondering if you know of any Ashrams that encourage Vipassana meditation in conjunction with Yoga practise? I have practised Vipassana and other forms of meditation and am looking for somewhere I can expand on this practise and these experiences. I intend on staying in India for anytime between 4-6 months.

Namaste


Lesllie 7 years ago

I stayed at Sri Vast Ashram in Auroville near Pondicherry for the New Year celebration 08. It was the best experience of my life. It was my first time to India. You can google the web site. I can't say enough.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

~Leigh-Anne

The search for a guru is the start of a deeper journey into spirituality and the beginning of your search with a light before you to offer guidance and direction. Gurus are often described as the lighthouse for the spiritual practitioner as they illuminate the path before you. Without such a light, it is difficult to the the way, and just as a ship depends upon the lighthouse to save the captain from crashing into the rocky shores, so too does a guru guide the student to ensure they avoid the pitfalls and dangers along the path of spirituality. This is the general belief of most spiritual traditions, from Taoism to Buddhism, Christianity to Yoga, having a guide is most essential if you wish to reach your destination as safely and quickly as possible.

Of course if the above is true, than one must give utmost importance to finding the right guru. There have been many cases, both in India and abroad, where gurus taught students the wrong practices and techniques, or guided them with the wrong heart and intention and the students either left spirituality completely despising the idea of the Divine and spiritual life or in some cases the students lost their mind because they weren't properly prepared for the teachings or techniques. Practices like Kundalini yoga, for example, when practiced in the wrong way or in an inexperienced/under-developed person can release energy and emotions that people are not ready for, leaving them in a state of confusion and in some cases schizophrenia. So you must take great care when finding a guru.

There is a Tibetian Buddhist saying "When the sudent is ready the guru will appear." This does occur, however it is not always in the ways we expect. Sometimes in our lives the grace of the divine when shed light on a path for us and we follow. If we have good karma and we are really fit to learn yoga, the guru will be presented to us, either through a spiritual friend, insight, or direct meeting, the possiblities are many but the opportunities few and numbered.

What I can say is that spirituality is never an overnight success, and anyone who promises you enlightenment in a day or sensational experiences in a very short period of time is likely not right for the spiritual life. Spirituality is a life long practice, and a guru who is meant for you will give his energy, attention, and love to you with the fullness of his heart and emptiness of his ego. He will guide you without any concern of how long it will take or how much effort is needed. But your qualifications are just as strong, as you must be willing to sacrifice your ego and heart to the guru so that he may work with you from the inside out. You must be completely open and obedient to his guidance as he is there to ensure you do not get caught in any snares along the spiritual journey. Sometimes people from western backgrounds get caught over this idea, that they must sacrifice themselves to the guru in order to find spirituality, but in the tradition of yoga and most spiritual traditions, this is the only way as you will not find the full light of the divine without destroying your ego and opening your heart and spirit to the universal cosmos.

I wish you the best in your spiritual journeys. If you truly want to find the right teacher, take the effor to learn as much as possible through books and your own personal practice than when you are ready you can begin your search for a guru with an open heart, open mind, and thirst for spiritual realization.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

Dear Tatiana,

I am sorry that I do not know a specific place where you can offer your biological knowledge and experience, however I can assure you that your service is very much needed as there are many village communities throughout India that would benefit greatly from such guidance and assistance. One of the largest issues in India and throughout a majority of the world is the lack of clean drinking water and many organizations throughout the world including in India are working to develop resources to provide clean drinking water to urban and rural communities.

I would suggest researching organizations that are working in rural areas to provide medical supplies, infrastructure development, and agricultural management projects in India.

For me it is difficult to say whether it is possible to co-ordinate your specialized service with a spiritual journeys (specifically finding the perfect place to volunteer and the perfect place to study spirituality). In yoga, as you may already know, we have a practice known as karma yoga in which the spiritual aspirant devotes their time and service by helping a community, family, or person in need. Karma yoga, done with the right mind set, can free your spirit just as strongly as any other spiritual practice. If you like, I believe Sivananda has a few books available for free regarding karma yoga at http://www.dlshq.org. By doing service in India you can not only fulfil your dream of offer your skills and knowledge but you can also fulfil your spiritual conquests too.

Another option, of course, is to divide your time in India between spirituality and service. Both are complementary practicing, and both will serve the individual as well as the collective. In yoga, we believe that those who take to the spiritual path have not only fulfilled their personal spiritual needs but also those of the world as they have received the light of the higher wisdom with which they can go forth and help others.

So as you might see, there are many options available to you and with the right mindset and intention spirituality will find you in India whether you are doing service work or study of yoga or both.

If you serve, serve with all of your heart. If you study, study with every inch of your mind and grow to your fullest potential.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

Melissa,

Again please take my words as an opinion as I can only base my ideas on my experience and understanding of spirituality and the Indian traditions. I want to say first that many people from western societies struggle with the concept of god and guru, and it is not unsual to confront a question like this so I want to address it with some awareness from my experience. As I start to see it, it is difficult for me to suggest an ashram for such a short period of time and it is also difficult for me to imagine an ashram without a ‘god’ or ‘guru.’ Basically the ashram tradition is centred around the figure of a guru who guides students along the path of spirituality, leading them from darkness to light, mortal to immortal. An ashram without a guru would not be an ashram but rather a retreat or centre where classes are taught but spirituality set on the back burner. Why a guru is needed? Just imagine picking up a book with Hindi scripture written on every side and you, never having seen Hindi before, to interpret the book without any reference or guide to understanding the meaning and interpretation of the scripture. While you may create meaning and interpretation from the script, you will not have the essence or the real meaning which the author intended as it will always be hidden from you. Only once you have a Hindi teacher who know the language and is willing to teach you to words, the letter, and their meaning will you be able to understand the book. The same is true for spirituality, and every religion, whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, or Hindu has a spiritual leader who has walked the path before you and is ready to guide you along the way.

Another concept is the ashram without a ‘god.’ Now, in my mind, god does not have to mean Jesus or Allah or Brahman, but god has to refer to some higher order that you believe in, something that is above and beyond you and something you should strive to bring yourself closer too. If you do not believe or have faith in a higher order, than it is difficult to image expansion as you will always view yourself in a limited form and never allow yourself to expand into the higher form or dimension.

Finally, I think it is difficult to have a deeper experience at an ashram with one week without believing in a god or guru. Only when you believe is something greater do miracles occur, and only when you ask for help and guidance from one who has perfected the path can you expect to grow quickly with rapid transformation and growth. Without trust in god or the guru, the ashram will simply be another place on this earth where you can visit and have an external experience, seeing these nice things and practicing these interesting practices. Only when you begin to move more closely with YOUR concept of god, whatever it may be (and it can even be something like universal consciousness or energy), can you begin to really deepen your spiritual awareness and experience.

I do not mean to harm you or upset you, but from what I have seen in ashrams and with spirituality is that the god concept and faith in a guru are very essential elements in spirituality and must be addressed for real spiritual growth and progress to occur. This is why we have ashrams in the first place as they are centers where spirituality is taught by guru (or teachers) who take the students closer to the god (whomever or whatever it might be).

One thing I would suggest is first going a little deeper into yoga and really exploring the depth of knowledge that is there. You may find that there is so much that fits your preformed beliefs and you may also find new avenues in your life to explore. Many people have begin spirituality being atheist and independents only to evolve into spiritual gurus and saints. Swami Vivekanada was one as he was initially sceptical of god and was a rebel who never committed to anyone. But only when he found the light of spirituality did he transform into one of the greater gurus of our time.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

Sk,

While I wish for you all the peace and happiness within the world, there are a few things I wish to share with you before you decide you would like to journey to India to find spirituality. The first is that spirituality is not an escape and if you practice spirituality rightly you will find that everything you are running away from or afraid of will come to face you head on. While alcohol and drugs may provide temporary relief from our pains and sorrows, they only inhibit us from seeing the reality and prevent us from seeing the conflicts within our  minds, body, and spirit. Only in spirituality do we confront the pains first so that we can open ourselves to the spiritual side of life.

 If we really want to come into spirituality, we must first have a strong mind and a well grounded understanding of ourselves. While we may not hold all the answers at the beginning of the journey, we should at least know where we are coming from and why we are going forward. Just as a marathon runner knows where the race begins before they start, so too does a spiritual practitioner need to understand where they are starting from before they can dive into spirituality.

I have found a similar misconception among some of my students in the past, a belief that yoga will provide a quick relief to the strain and anxiety of life, providing a similar release to Prozac or a light cocktail. But yoga is nothing of this nature, and while there are practices which help to calm the mind and body, the underlying purpose and goal of yoga is to uncover first the hidden depths of the mind including all the repressed emotions and memories which we have had throughout how lives, stored in the back of our minds, always haunting us. By practicing yoga, we bring these emotions and thoughts to the forefront and deal with them head on to kill them at their very root so we can purify the mind for higher spiritual practices.

Before you commit to the idea of studying at an ashram, it is best to first assets your position in life and really come to an understanding as to why you want to go into spirituality and what you think you will gain from it. The spiritual life is not for everyone as it is sometimes a difficult path which requires a great deal of courage and strength to overcome the deeper workings of the mind to unveil your true inner self.

While practices like yoga therapy and yoga psychology are existent today as a common means for better physical, mental, and spiritual health, yoga as a spiritual practice is not always an easy path and requires commitment and time to work through the barriers in the mind which constantly prevent us from seeing our true identity, one that is egoless and full of love and compassion.

If you are looking for relief in life, you may want to explore a yoga therapy camp or a retreat specifically focused on relieving depression and stress as this may better fit your needs and expectations. If going deeper into spirituality is your goal, than you can always explore an ashram environment, however if you goal is to relieve the tension in your life I would suggest another alternative which can help you first overcome your unhappiness and sorrow before considering the path of spirituality.

I wish you the best, and hope that you find what you are looking for. I hope my opinion has helped, however please remember it is just my opinion and others may have different views and belief that may counter or coincide with mine. What I have said is always based on my experience, and I hope that you may cultivate your own experience so that you may be a guide for others in the future as well.


barbara shaffer 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

My husband and I are traveling to Ladakh in May as part of a dental humanitarian project. After visiting Agra we have about one week before we fly to Leh. We practice yoga 3-4x week in Los Angeles. We know where we come from and where we are going in life. What we are seeking in Rishikesh or northern India is an opportunity to experience life in a serious ashram environment and decide if we want to return for a longer stay to delve deeper into our own spiritual journeys. I realize that 5-7 days is impossible to truly evaluate our experience, however that is all our time permits on this visit. We have the ability to pay and at the same time we have trekked to many remote destinations to perform dentistry with minimal living accommodations provided.

Thank you for your excellent commentary on ashrams, gurus and seeking spirituality in the modern world!!


lorenka 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I would like to visit a natural ashram with individual spiritual guidance. I heard about Tureya ashram through your page 2 months ago. I was contacting them with a few mails from november with all the details and applied about a month ago for 4 weeks. At the same time I booked my ticket to Kochin with arriwal in 18th of February. At that time there were still free acommodations. But only today I received an answer that there is no free place till june. And there are two things I think of:

To try to go to Kondaikanal anyway and ask if there is some failed reservation, or possibility to study in the ashram but sleep somewhere else.. Or maybe if there is a gap for a few days?

Second thing: to find another ashram. I think of sivanandas in madurai or kerala, but they seem to be rather crowded at the time with teacher training programms.

My deepest wish is still Tureya and I think if it is meant to happen, there will be possibility...

So I aks You what do You recommend me? I don't want to be a bother in a way, but still have this feeling from the first moment I came in contact with Tureya, that something is waiting for me there....

But it is the only 2 weeks before my departure and I really hope for the best.

My departure is 6th of april from Delhi, so if you have any recommendations about ashrams on the north?

 

Thank you for your really appreciated answer. I hope everything will turn out as it should be!

 


Mahima 7 years ago

I have been extremly stressed and unhappy, which is reflecting on my relation with my husband who has lost his job recently.We have had tough times in since the past few yrs in every aspect, which is straining our relation, I want to realize the essence of life. Am a Hindu and strongly believe in God,Please recomment me a reading which can help me gain peace of mind and strength to come over these hard times.

Thank You


Zahlia 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I am not writing to seek advice about ashrams, even though I too have chosen to embark on a spiritual journey that will soon enough lead me to my guru and the loving arms of India. I write instead to thank you for the wise and generous counsel you offer here. Your words are brimming with light and kindness, and a generousity that is patient and pure. After reading them I feel perhaps I have stepped closer to achieving sight of the path to my own spiritual awakening.

I was born in the west to westerners who had taken up faith with the Hare Krsna movement, and have long been both guided and drawn to the ancient teachings and philosophies of the east. However it is only now, in my mid 20s, that I have truly grown tired of the ego, psychological and emotional trappings that lurk in so many corners of my mind. A great devotee said before my birth that I would become a leader someday, and interestingly I am now about to finish my teaching studies, which I dream of taking out into the world. I want to now become all that I can be, and feel India will help me to release my baggage and truly flower.

It seems that in order to bloom into the beautiful, kind and peaceful person that you have clearly become, I am going to need an almighty bathing in God's grace. Although it's hard to wait patiently and believe that my guru will simply appear to me when the time is right, you have restored my confidence that all things will fall into place. Thank you.

Love and Light to you and all.


david zongaro 7 years ago

Do you know of any free/low cost ashrams in India where I could take a yoga teachers training course?


Mercy 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I am writing to seek advice about ashrams. Do ashrams take in someone who is alone, but hardworking. This person has no relative close by. Could you please give me some information on to help this person find a place to live and in return he would work for the ashram.

Would appreciate you thought and advice on this. Thank you!


Leo 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

Liked the service u have offered Us all. Me i am an indian & living in India. I am seeking an Ashram in India where I can do service & live there for the rest of my Life. I am very much into creativity & Nature. Besides i am not looking for a very place i am some savings with me. I feel i am wasting my time during thngs that r not natural or gong with my FLOW..

Thks & Divine Blessing 2 all the SEEKERS of the RIGHT PATH..

Hari Om


lisa  7 years ago

Dear Omkaranda,

Thank you for your wise words on this website.

I have a teacher who is a real teacher, I do not have any doubts about his lineage and his integrity, nor about his spiritual abilities which are considerable. As you've written 'when the student is ready, the teacher comes'. It was exactly my experience and through various inner experiences, I was made aware that he was brought to me. I was very blessed.

My problem is that, for some reason, what was intended for me in relation to this teacher has not occurred. I haven't been able to refrain from the reactions to the various tests which are inevitable on a spiritual path. My teacher is very disappointed in me and is in the process of discontinuing my path with him and I am devestated.

I am coming to India very soon, I've been there many times, to take a pilgrimmage but also to look for some guidance on how I am to realise my desire to serve the Divine. Because the path opened up to me, I wasn't able to take as quickly as he would have liked. I would like to connect with some real teachers to receive guidance on how to proceed. You say you have met a handful, I know only a few real ones are available can you contact me directly to discuss this matter? lisa_harney@hotmail.com

Thank you, this is a call for help!

Lisa.


Shyamul 7 years ago

I live in Canada but was born in a Hindhu Bhramin family now i have decided to follow my spiritual path.I been working as an aircraft structure engineer,i cannt find peace in anything anymore .i am looking for an Ashram to live and help others in any way i can and gain the blessing of a Guru(kssakurdeep@yahoo.com)


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

~Barbra

As I have mentioned earlier, yoga is both an internal path as well as an external path. Both of these outlets are designed to take you deeper into spirituality and your conception of the underlying mechanisms that help to constitute the universe. The internal path is outlined by a process of inner discovery; one such example being that of the introversion of the senses which is designed to help develop a sense of inner perception. This practice is known as pratyahara and is beneficial because it sensitizes you towards inner process such as prana, consciousness, and mental mechanics. The external path is just as significant, however, and is determined by your actions and mode of conduct. Karma yoga, which is a yoga of service, is the act of selflessness in which you offer your thoughts, time, energy, and activities towards the betterment of the humanity, the world, or the universe.

What I see in your trip to India is reflective of karma yoga, as you are using your time not to fulfill self fulfilling needs but rather to help others. Many noble people similar to yourself are taking strides to better their global community through service and support. Such people are fulfill the external element of yoga as well as the internal as you are re-programming the mind to look beyond the limits of your limited mind and body and into the depths of a deeper, larger, and more connected system. All that I can suggest is continue on the path that you are traveling, because it has much potential and can carry more weight than many yoga practices and techniques available today.

Since you already have a foundation in medicine and healthcare, perhaps a good entry point for you to go deeper into yoga is through yoga therapy or ayurveda. Both of these systems are symbiotic to western medicine but are offered as alternatives to more intrusive medical practices. Of course there are many instances in which surgery is needed, however there are also many circumstances in which lifestyle modifications and daily routines can eliminate the need for medication or surgery. I hope this is of use to you, and as always it is wonderful to hear of others work to help promote equality and social services for all.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

~Lorenka

Unfortunately the Tureya Ashram is usually full a few months in advance as they drastically regulate the number of students down to a minimum of about 15-30 in order to keep the ashram very quiet, clean, and focused on spirituality. This does make it a little difficult to get into the ashram, especially if you have not made reservations in advance for your stay. However the benefit of staying there, if you do make registration in time, is that you have a lot of personal space to focus on yoga as well as plenty of opportunity to have personal time with the swamiji and other ashram teachers.

There are many other ashrams available which do not regulate the number of students and have populations that vary between 100 students to 300. It is typically much easier to get into these ashrams, and maybe a good place for someone that is planning to add an ashram on their list of “places to visit in India”. The major experience I have had in these types of environments is the feeling of being “one amongst the crowd.” One negative of this is that it is usually very difficult to meet with the guru or spiritual teachers with so many other students. But on the flip side you have more opportunity to converse with other spiritual practitioners about your experience and philosophical beliefs. Of course there are ashram in between as well, and even some that go beyond 300 students. It just depends on what you are looking for.

As with anything in yoga, you need to tread the waters yourself before you can understand the difficulties, benefits, and experiences that flow through the various systems of yoga. I personally have spent several years exploring many aspects of yoga, and have only recently settled into a consistent, daily routine that has proven to be a systematic and effective practice for altering my perspective and experience in life. But what has worked for me will not work for everyone, and that is why I always encourage people to go out and “try it,” because you know you better than anyone else.

The one thing to remember about yoga and spirituality is that it is a continuing process, so while the Tureya ashram may not be available to you today, you can always return to them when the next opportunity arises to visit India and expand your spirituality. As they always say “if it is meant to be, then it will come.” So let life happen naturally and spontaneously. When the opportunity arises, follow it and see where it leads you. Spirituality is always an adventure, and whether you have a great experience or a really bad one, when you have the right mindset everything will be of benefit to you in the end.

I do wish you the best in your journeys, and I am sorry, as always, that I cannot make a direct suggestion for you. But follow your heart and see what turns up. Sometimes the “gut feeling” is right, and other times it’s not. Yoga is a process of learning; and having knowledge of what is real and what is not is very important.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

~Mahima

Neti, Neti. “Not this, not that” is a Sanskrit scripture which defines a process of eliminating what you are not, which eventually leads you towards what you Truly are, the divine. One of the more significant preliminary practices in yoga is realizing that you are not your body, you are not your emotions, you are not your thoughts, and you are not you (in the physicality of things).

One of the more common practices in today’s modern mental world is the thought pattern that I am my emotions, I am my feelings, I am my thoughts. This in turn creates a cyclone of thought which intensifies in nature as you go deeper and deeper into that frame of thinking. For instance, we may say to ourselves “my husband never does his work properly.” Initially this may start as an innocent objection to our husband’s approach to helping with the taxes or cleaning up after himself, but every day the thought tends to intensify, and so too does our emotional reaction to our husband’s lack of activity. Eventually we get so fed up with him that we go to the courts to get a divorce.

The intensity of thought patterns is a characteristic of the mind; it can be used for creation as well as destruction. Shiva, the universal mind, it a direct manifestation of consciousness, and he is known both as the creator and destroyer for a good reasons. Depending on Shiva’s mood, he can either create the universe or totally annihilate it.

In yoga, we believe that the mind is a simplified modification of shiva’s mind. We too have the power to create and destroy, but it all depends on our perception and mode of thinking. In yoga we seek to be the controller of thoughts and emotions, not the slave. This is of tremendous benefit as you no longer see yourself as victim to the mind, and therefore can choose your own destiny.

So how does this apply practically? Let’s return to our lazy husband. We can either follow our initial reaction to his lack of effort, which would make us at the end of the stick of our master the mind, or we can collect ourselves and find a positive solution to the situation. Sometimes you can change the environment, but usually you simple need to change your approach to the situation. In yoga, we typically accept that we cannot, or should not, play with others destiny. While we can make suggestions, we cannot forcefully change another human being. So what do we do? We try to see the reality of the situation, detached of our emotions and our self-fulfilling thoughts. Than we take actions based upon what will bring us more joy and also help the other individual as well.

Now this may seem all philosophical, but it can easily become an experience reality through due practice and devotion. Just remember that God gave you life to enjoy the fruits of the world and experience higher states of joy and knowledge, not to become a victim to your emotions and disorders.

If you are looking for some text on the mind and emotions, you may want to look into Sivananda’s book: “mind; its mysteries and control” which can be found online for free at dlshq.org. I wish you the best, and go deeply into spirituality as it will give you the answers you are looking for.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

~ Zahlia

I stand somewhat blushed at your kind words, and hope that I may not take them to much to the head : ) What I do hope is to acknowledge is that it is only through “God’s Will” or the will of something beyond me that I have been graced with the opportunity to share yoga and spirituality with others. I never hope to be a commercial human being, nor do I seek any fame (hence the reasons I am reluctant to tell anyone where I teach or where you can find me). What I do want to accomplish is the feat of sharing yoga with others and making it accessible for everyone. Perhaps we share similar goals, and I too hope that you lead up to the role that the spiritual devotee had promised. What I can suggest is continue to follow your path, both as a teacher and as a spiritual practitioner, as both of these contain the right ingredients to be a significant service to humanity. We often neglect the importance of teachers in our world, yet they stand as monuments for wisdom, knowledge, and the generations of generations to come. Could you imagine a world without teachers? There will be no growth, no change, no development. Teachers set the foundation so the students can have the framework to go beyond.

Just as a lotus blossoms by starting at the very depths of the water bed, so too must you work your way through the soils of life and yoga so that you may be a shimmering guide for others. Teaching is most effective when you speak from experience. You may have an encyclopedia of knowledge crammed into your brain, but it only becomes useful when you know how to apply it on a moment to moment basis. So find your experience in yoga, and let the be your light bulb to shine the way for others.

One thing people may often times neglect is the importance of teaching in yoga. By become a teacher, you are not only guiding other, but you are also see things from someone else’s point of view. This is how many of the great teachers teach as they know.


Aaron  7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I greatly enjoyed reading all of the wisdom and advice you sent out on this web page. I am embarking to India some time later this month. From May 5 until early June I will be backpacking with a program called nols in the Himalayas. I expect to have about two weeks before and after my backpacking trip to explore India. Attending an Ashram is something that i have always wanted to do. Sadly my experience with spirituality has primarily been through the use of psychedelics and other mind altering substances. I feel much like a person you described earlier who was exposed to kundalani yoga or teachings that he was not spiritually prepared for. Primarily I was hoping that a short stay in an Ashram would help concrete those experiences. What do you think? Are there any specific Ashrams you could suggest so I could contact them?

Peace and Love

Aaron


Kasthuri Krishnan 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I am glad that I came across this website. Im looking for an ashram for my brother, Rajamohan, to stay and study spritual studies in India for 2 to 3 yrs. A place where he can meditate, learn yoga, spritual studies, do community work, learn sanskrit and most importantly stay there. He needs some guidance and role model in his life now as he has got into the bad company here in Singapore and we want to take him out of the country to give him a change of environment and fresh lease of life. Im also looking at having a mentor at the ashram who can guide him and be his teacher ans role model. Please email me at this address: kasthuri_krishnan@moe.edu.sg or abekutty@hotmail.com to give me your advice and suggestions please. It is urgent and I appreciate the help a lot. thank you.


david 7 years ago

hi yeah all im after is some info..is there places where you can stay an work instead of paying all kinds of fees that i dont have. i am very hard worker and also i enjoy yoga a lot. and would like to prolong my stay in india by working at an ashram. thanks very much . love david


dipak 7 years ago

dear sir/madam,i m aged around 40 years and looking desperately for a ashram, orphanage home where I can live and serve the underprivileged, down trodden, orphans, uneducated illiterate peoples in villages, teach them, collect donation etc like work but simultaneously I am also looking for a peaceful place to stay where there is food, water and electricity. I don’t have a family of mine nor any relatives. if u feel good then just do give me a call to my mobile no. 9211526957, Dipak. Thanks,n have a good day,dipak


Helena 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I am thinking about going to India for 6 months or more, i would like to stay in an ashram. Is there one where you can stay for free but work for your staying? I am just looking for something small. I hope you can help me.

love,

Helena


Yael 7 years ago

Thank you very much for that precious article.


Sunny 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda ji,Thank you for taking your time out in helping people on this board with their spiritual queries. I also require your counsel. I find myself in a dilemma. I would expect you to be aware of the changing times we are living in and how the old world is soon to be replaced with a new world. I am at this moment am part of this old world, like everybody I am involved in material pursuits, with myself that is an intellectual pursuit at University studying Philosophy. I have however become very disenchanted with my study and cannot see what good will come of it. I see what academics do, and frankly, it is little more then debating with each other over trivial matters.

I have studied a lot of Indian Philosophy personally(Yoga, Vedanta, Samkhya, Nyaya-Vaiseshika) and I am already philosophically satisfied. The questions Western philosophy struggles with such as mind and consciousness, have already been answered in Indian Philosophy to satisfactory detail for me. I have the theory covered and want to move beyond that now. Hence why I think it is pointless that I continue studying Philosophy at university. Now I want to dedicate my life completely to spirituality. I want to totally surrender it in service of love and wisdom. I lack true experiential knowledge, and whatever little I have remaining of this incarnation, I want to spend in doing that.I have almost completely lost drive to want to live in the world. I no longer want sense pleasures. It is not satisfying me. Sadly, life has started to become painful. I feel pain just by living. I do not believe in suicide, and I know that is not going to solve my pains, so I am ready to surrender completely to the spirit. I just have no idea how to go about doing this and I require your spiritual counsel on how do I proceed from here.


marek 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I have been reading your blog for a while and I have to say that is very informative and your comments of wisdom are fabulous. Whatever I read on the net about Tureya is positive and I have been planning trip there this fall. Recently I came across the very negative take of the Ashram. I don't know what to think about it. I will post that message below. Please, after reading it let me know what is your opinion.

Here it is:

Mar 5th, 2009, 20:37 #7

cosmicjel

Member

Join Date: Jul 2008

Location: Istanbul & San Francisco

Posts: 9

greetings..I know everyone has different experiences but i feel like i need to share mine.. i have been to tureya, and chose to go there by looking at their web-site,and a very good review on indiamike, which i believe was written by someone from the 'ashram' and the threat finally closed because of the spams they sent.. From their very professional web-site, and the course fees (which is really a lot of money in India standards), I expected to have experienced teachers, yoga studio, a small classroom, actual yoga and theory classes, and even a small temple. Although I committed for 2 months for yoga therapy program, I left the ashram after my first week and lost bunch of money and time.(we were 6 people and 4 of us left at the same time). I found the classes very inadequate, the yoga spaces unhealthy, and the teachers inexperienced. the schedule had nothing to do with what i was promised, and we ended up doingmore karma yoga than classes. they said they were observing us and we were not ready yet... There were only 3 people in the ashram(Swami, his assistant, and a woman doctor/teacher/cook etc. and I should say she was a great cook), and they all were very very friendly at first. At the end, we had lunch with Swami and his American assistant, and they did not mind eating pizza and drinking coffee while trying to convince us to go back to the ashram. We had really bad arguments when I tried to get the rest of my refund, and I felt really threatened (they even said they know someone from the FBI of India and they will not let me leave the country if i continue calling them) and humiliated by them. i had a really hard time and our conversations started to be really ugly and i finally gave up arguing with them and forget the money.. I felt like I was dealing with a mafia not someone from an ashram.. and i can go on and on.. As I wrote everyone's experience is different. I believe I was there for the right reasons, and I was really disappointed. Leaving the ashram lead me to more beautiful places and more serious ashrams and I am still trying to understand my lesson and the reasons that brought me there. I would not prefer to write a bad review about anything (and i still cannot help feeling bad about writing something negative about an ashram and I am still afraid they are going to do something against me, so i have waited to be back home before writing this) but before making my decision i asked people's opinion on indiamike and I thought I should share my experience too.. if you do not know someone who have been there and their web-site is your only criteria to decide, i would say think one more time.

I do apprieciate your comments.

Thank you. Love and Light. Marek.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

 

Dear Marek,

I’m glad you have found useful and informative. My primary goal is to guide others from what I know and what I have experienced. I hope that others will do the same for me in return, as life is a process of learning and growing through experience and interaction. Both positive and negative, I firmly believe that events in life have a significant meaning and purpose in shaping us for growth, expansion, and change.

Although I have been limited on time recently, I wanted to address your question promptly because I feel that many people are turning towards the internet to find a spiritual outlet for their lives, and wanted to ensure that people have the right perception of what to look for and how to find it before committing or turning away from a spiritual retreat, ashram, monastery, or refuge.

I guess I want to begin to address your question somewhat generally (although I hope not to be ambiguous) because knowing the right approach and questions are far more important than the actual answer a lot of the time. The Buddhists use Koans because they force you to discover the process towards the answer. The process is most important with the Koans because they are responsible for reshaping the brain and the mind. The discovery of the answer leads to liberation because of the transformation that has occurred throughout the journey.

Now while I am not claiming to be liberating anyone with the said statements, I do hope to help unfold some of the processes involved in finding the right place for your spirituality.

Every experience in life is subjective. Recent studies in neuropsychology have shown that the brain is actually designed differently within each human being. Our perception as well as experience of the world is totally unique, and although we do share similarities both as a species and as a nationality, each human being undergoes their own journey through life that is distinguishable from any other human being on the planet. 

No matter what we do in life or where we go, something that may be positive for one person is negative for another. An easy example is the use of alcohol. Some cultures view it as a sin, others as a social activity, and even still another as a tool for finding God (as in agora tantra). Although we have one subject, there are 3 totally different perspectives of the nature and quality of the subject.

Although I do not wish to directly address the subjective content of the comment you have mentioned (as it is someone’s unique experience that I cannot negate), I can say that I have studied at the ashram and have spent significant time in the past there learning, expanding, and developing my knowledge and experience of yoga and spirituality. The insight I have learned through the Tureya Ashram and through other spiritual gurus in India has experiential based; unlike going to college, yoga is a process of self un-foldment in which we are addressing the inner aspects of our being and examining them one by one until we discover the essence.

There are many times in which I have seen students come to face the real yoga, one that forces us to see who we are, and turn away almost immediately because of the pressure that it puts upon us to confront the truth of who we are. Yoga is not an easy discipline, and although the initial 'bread and butter' of the yoga asanas give us a great deal of positive, 'feel good' sensations, the deeper aspects of yoga impose a great deal of stress upon our mind and body. This is because we are working through a pile of karma that has accumulated over thousands, if not millions of lifetimes (according to yoga philosophy), some of which can be extremely troublesome and frightening.

While the feel good yoga is for everyone, and is used as a general method of stress relief and therapy, the real yoga is a trying path which is often described as walking a razor's edge. This is because we are balancing on a thin life of finding realization bordering fear, rejection, and depression. This is because we are evolving, not just physically and mentally but also spirituality, and in the process we come to face a wide variety of truths about ourselves that are not always beautiful but are real. But once we overcome these inhibitions, we enter into a whole new perspective of life that is liberated from the bonds of a the subject/object relationship, unified with a cosmic force that goes far beyond the qualities of the individual.

So when it comes to subjective experiences in life, take the things that you believe relevant to help you grow, and leave the rest behind. As consumers of a modern age, we tend to shift gears fairly quickly, having an emotional reaction to one event and quickly making a decision based upon that emotion reaction, whether it is positive or negative. Modern consumers buy things compulsively, but just as quickly reject, throw away, or abolish the same object if someone tells them it is not suitable or useful. Of course we also reject things out of boredom as well. But the truth is, especially when it comes to yoga, when we make decisions, they should be based primarily off of informed and detailed inquiry into the subject matter. The problem is that modern media has shaped our brains into reacting to events almost immediately, without processing the details at hand. We make rapid decisions based upon our emotional reactions and quickly abandon or goals or commitments when we get board, have doubts, or feel negative emotions. Yet this is not a healthy way of living, and for this reason we feel discontentment, dissatisfaction, and incompleteness within our lives.

Therefore, when it comes to choosing a place for your spirituality, you should use all of your ration, intellect, knowledge, and contemplation for selecting a place that is right for you. As appose to basing your decision off of one persons experience, make a peripheral examination into the various aspects of the thing or place you are interested in, than once you have collected all the information you can make your final decision.

One of the advantages of today’s world is the vast ocean of resources that are available to us. For every idea there are facts and evidence that support it and those that negate it. But eventually we have to make a decision and commit to it. One of the reasons why we have trends, for instance weight loss diets, is because one day we have evidence that tells us something is good for us, and the next we hear that it will kill us. But we cannot go through life changing our ideas and environment every two seconds otherwise nothing will be accomplished. Especially in yoga, we must commit at some point, but that commitment should come after experience, knowledge, and mental processing and not emotions or what one single person has said.


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Omkarananda 7 years ago from India Author

What I would suggest is digging deeper into the ashram you are interested in, in this case the Tureya Ashram, and see if what they have available is what you are looking for. You’ve done some research, and now try to compile all the facts as opposed to basing your decision off of one person’s opinion (although I do not blame you for this as it is clear that you are continuing your journey by inquiring here about what you have read).

For instance, here are some ways in which you can continue learning more about an ashram:

1.      Contact them and ask them if they have any details of past students with whom you can ask questions about their ashram, preferably someone who speaks English.

2.      See if you can find third party details about the ashram you are looking into.

3.      Ask questions, both through email and by phone, and find out what they are like and if they suite your needs.

As for the Tureya Ashram, they have a website (www.tureyayoga.com) with videos, audios, and texts that are based upon their teachings and lessons. Practice some of them, and see if they are what you want for your spiritual life. If you are going to spend a couple weeks or more at an ashram, than you should begin your journey and study of that style of yoga long before you arrive at the ashram. Hopefully they will have resources to begin your studies.

To respond to some of the objective content of the message you have posted: the Tureya ashram is not a commercial ashram and therefore does not have a significantly large population. The teaching staff will vary between 3-5 teachers, however the student populations is significantly regulated by the ashram and never crosses more than 20 students. The primary teachers at the ashram have been in practice of yoga for many years, and all are registered as certified teachers of yoga and yoga therapy. Although I would not consider this a requirement, as yoga is not academic, some people may find it to be a standard. Swami Tureyanada himself has studied yoga since he was a child, but also received formal education up to a doctorate level which makes him component in both eastern and western methodologies and ideologies.

The ashram does not have a yoga studio because it is, again, not a commercial ashram. They do have a space for practicing the asanas and meditation, both inside and outside, which are used on a daily basis. This space is also commonly used as a classroom. For the formal courses, theory and philosophy classes usually commence for students the 3 or 4th day after arrival to allow students the opportunity to adjust to the ashram environment.

The ashram does have a small temple which is located along the river, a temple which is devoted to a swami who had obtained ultimate Samadhi at the ashram’s location a century ago. The temple is also a commemoration to lord Shiva. Although I do not wish to condone one ashram or another, I would like to help enforce ideas that I have found to be relevant and true to my spiritual experience and observation. Although I have not seen Swami Tureyananda eat pizza or drink coffee it wouldn’t be much of a concern considering that from the perspective of tantra, which is sometimes taught at the ashram, there are not taboos in life other than negative thought patterns and illusion. Pizza and coffee aren’t sins in yoga, unless you follow a strict sattvic diet, but even the conditions of the sattvic diet only pertain to one who needs extra enforcement on their path towards spiritual realization. It is not for everyone. What I do wish to conclude by saying is that no one should take my word or the word of another human-being as the end all statement or ideology. This is not healthy. Rather, we should collect all the information available to us, and make a decision based upon our own beliefs, experience, and knowledge. With this we can then move forward.

Thanks for the thought invoking topic Marek, as I now noticed I have written quite a bit. I wish you the best in your journeys ahead and hope that your decision is one you not only ‘feel’ is right but know to be true.


Marek 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

May I say that you are an amazing person? I am very grateful for your prompt, profound, and exhaustive response. Many insights of your answer crossed my mind, so hearing them from you confirmed my own thoughts about the subject. I needed your opinion though, because as you said in your letter, I was confused by my strong emotional response to that negative comment. I always remind myself to be careful about this kind of approach to any life’s situation. I also wanted to hear what you have to say, because I value highly your words of wisdom that you present on the blog. Too bad you don’t have much time now to post your comments. On a lighter note, I am not an easy person to get “scared” by Swamis eating pizzas and drinking coffee or anything else. It doesn’t really matter to me. What’s important is what you really have to teach, to offer, and share with other people as a spiritual being “trapped” in a human body.

Just want to let you know that I have made my decision. As you suggested I took under consideration all the information available to me at the time and… I am going to Northern India. Since, I am interested very much in meditation and Buddhism I picked the place in McLeod Ganj where I will spend time “studying” Tibetan Buddhism, meditating and deepening my (our) spirituality. I am also somehow excited, because I am planning to do a bit of trekking there and as I have heard it is a wonderful region for that kind of outdoor activity. However, I will keep in my mind the Tureya Ashram as a place to “stay” for my next visit.

I don’t know if you do that, but I would love to get in touch with you through a personal email. I have many more questions. (Don’t get scared. J) I will be happy to hear from you. My email is newcar65@yahoo.com. It might look strange, but if and when you respond I send you my real email address. I do that because I was warned by other people not to put a real email address on the blog pages. The reason for that is all spam, junk, “e-marketing” email that might flood your inbox.

Thank you sooooooooo much Dear Omkarananda.

Love and Light to you and all the readers of your blog. Marek.


maria matamoros 7 years ago

I am really confused but woue like to spend some days in an Ashram. I have just few days (6) I am near Delhi, then I do not want to spend time traveling, I would like to find a place not far from Delhi.

Thanks´s


Maria 7 years ago

Would it be possible to visit the Ashram with my children? I have to children of 3 and 7 and I would like to visit for at least a month.


Amy 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

Thank you very much, i am really lost in this world.

My husband bits and use abusive language on me. He has no job and do not take care of the house hold. I don't have children and don't want to stay with him. I do not want to burden my family and relative. I want to stay in am ashram for awhile and get myself together. I know i can't change him but i think i got the to right to experience joy and peace. What can i do. Please write to me. I need some help and guidence.


Jenny 7 years ago

Hello. I have been reading through your information which you have given out, which has been very helpful on my search for the right ashram in India. I am trying very hard to find one that does not cater to "westerners". My friend just returned for travelling India and warned me that many ashrams are more of resorts now. This is NOT why I want to go to an ashram. I have been in contact with the Tureya Centre and am looking into the Gurukul Training course or the Yoga Psychology Course for this up coming fall. I realize you talk a lot about it in your blog. Will this ashram be a good opportunity? The thing that makes me worry is their website and how intense it is. It feels like they are trying to sell their business and it almost seems like a resort.

Any advice further advice on this ashram?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Peace and Love.

Jenny.


N.J.Chandra Sekhar 7 years ago

Iam really spiritually inclined person having a burning disire for self realization and thought of going to Himalayas.after reading your message I droped my idea and I found a GURU in myself . Thank you very much


Flora 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

Thank you for this page, it is refreshing and informative. I am going to India mid November and will begin my quest for a suitable and authentic Ashram. My concern is that I have never practiced any form of Yoga. While I have read a book or two on the topic, and am planning to a read mch more, I am not quite sure if it is even possible to enter an Ashram with no yogic experience whatsoever. I began my spiritual path a couple of years ago, mainly through African and South American shamanism. I have had many deep experiences, and yoga has now caught my attention. My wish would be to practive Kriya Yoga. Could you please give me more insight on my position as a total beginner of Yoga going to India?

Thank you for your time and honesty.


Tzvete 7 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

Karma Yoga cought intuitively my attention in your forward section. I know so little of it. Could you please elaborate on what the practice may invlove and where is a good place to do so. Planning to be in Idnia between Jan and June 2010. So far, I have Osho center in Puna, Ramana Maharashi in South India and Swami Dayananda Vedanta center in North India on my list. Any advice from you would be highly wlecome!


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spirituality 7 years ago from The Netherlands

This is a great hub with a lot of information I did not yet know. I do feel it will be hard to find an ashram that is both on elevated ground and not in or near the Himalayas. Or is that my ignorance of India speaking?


Deepak 7 years ago

I am 27 years old.I want to spend rest of my life serving in an ashram.Please guide me.


DIANA 6 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I will be in the north of India for a bussines trip next march, but I want to find a place where to practice Ashtanga yoga and meditation for a week.

can you give me a recommendation???

thank you very much!


Sankalpa 6 years ago

Hari Om!

thank you for your beautiful and very useful page..!

I would like to ask your opinion about Satyananda's ashram. I'm practising Satyananda yoga and in my trip to India i think i should visit the ashram.

Also, i would like to ask you why they ask me money in order to get my personal mantra..ok, i'm paying for my courses..but for the mantra??!

And why should i pay to see and spend some time with my guru?

I think yoga in Europe is a bit commercial right now...and feel really sad about that!

Love,

Sankalpa


Gyaneshwer Nath 6 years ago

Omkarananad ji,

I am gyaneshwer nath, now i m in my inner world i m seeing a sign in my heart to go for Tapsya.....my age is 30 years and unmarried now.....but i have not any aim, any desires, any relation for this world ....i want totally and fully devotion for Sri Raam..... please guide me....i want to take yough diksha and want do tapsya under kind control of any guru ji in any ashram......please suggest me any ashram.

My email id is gyanesh999@gmail.com, kindly contact me.


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bihar 6 years ago from Patna

rajnesh ashram is the only one for me.


skye 6 years ago

I am wanting to go to India some time this year for a week to visit an ashram. I'm a mother of two and a beginning Yoga teacher. I'm seeking timeout but also a spiritual journey & further develop my Yogic wisdom/practice. Do you have any recommendations? Currently the Sivananda Ashram, Swami Dayananda & Osho Ashram are on the list.

Is it possible to see your replys to other people comment/questions??

Namaste


Sue 6 years ago

Hi

I live in South Africa and would like to find an Ashram for three months. Please could you advise on the better ones to go to to find true spiritual enlightenment as well as costs etc. Thank you


RobRab2000 6 years ago

Hi, I just wanted to say many thanks for these beautiful writings :) I have been intending to go to india for some time now and gave up my job, my friends and the vast majority of my worldly possessions to go travelling, esp to india however i started reading more into it and was filled with fear at all the negative things i read online about people going to india and being ripped off or murdered and such. i decided perhaps it was best to skip this and simply return to the uk and my old life after some rest here in spain. I am now reconsidering going to india and facing these fears with more confidence so thank you for your reassuring voice of wisdom and guidence


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Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

I was privileged to have been invited with a group of friends to India to stay at Ramana Maharishi's Ashram. I never did make the trip, due to my mother's terminal illness with cancer. It is still on my list of 'to do's', however, before I leave this lifetime.

Thanks for a well written, and thorough article. I'm looking forward to reading more...


bisram ramharack 6 years ago

i am interested in coming to the ashram in india need to speak to some one of putting a plan together thanks


darkmoon 6 years ago

bisram ramharack,

i am interested to come in india, too. i read a lot about ashrams but cant't decide where to go...


sara 6 years ago

I am traveling to india soon. I am an older single female and seeking an ashram where i will be able to practice meditation, study sanskrit, scripture and live a yogic lifestyle. I would like to focus on reducing my attachments to the world as I am nearly 50. I am not married and want a private room. I have been in other ashrams where single women were given very poor accomodations or pressured to be in relationships by the other ashram residents. My goal is to avoid social cliques and tourist hype. Is there anywhere that i can go in india where it would be safe to do a long term meditation retreat where I would receive some guidance.


sara 6 years ago

PS re travel to india for single older female. i have been to an ashram in s india run by a famous female saint which was a bad experience and very cliquish and too touristy. i would like to find something a little quieter.


Elena 6 years ago

Dear Om Karananda.

first of all- as they all said- thank you for this great page, i've been searching the web for months and am happy to finally find some usefull information.

My name is Elena and I'm from Israel.

i have been to India for more than 6 months, and have experinced some very bad yoga classes in Sharat Arora's place. it was so bad for my body that i couldn't do anything physical for a year!! but more than all i was extremely surprised with the non-yogi aproach of the so called "guru" or teacher.

I'm practicing yoga for 3 years now, and i'm looking for a place i can really go deeper and commit fully to yoga, without distractions.

I would like to hear recommendations from you...

Thank you very much!

NAMASTE!


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Omkarananda 6 years ago from India Author

Elena:

It is true that modern Yoga is not Yoga in many ways. You would be surprised at the number of people who complain about injuries, anxieties, and strains that some of the ‘innovative’ forms of yoga create. Like you, there are many who have practiced the asanas for a year or so and ended up with a body far less healthy than when they started. Overstressed backbends and forced stretching are probably some of the most dangerous ways to consciously harm the body. When it comes to yoga techniques, there are teachers who rush things by pushing you into this position or forcing you into that breathing pattern with the intention of finding immediate changes for you. But such a practice has a total disregard for nature of life which requires smooth transitions over an extended period of time.

A truly novel and effective form of yoga should be neither dogmatically traditional nor sporadically contemporary. Instead, what we want to look for is an expression of yoga that embraces the wisdom of the ancients while expressing the dynamism of evolution. For example, there are ancient beliefs still expressed by many traditional yoga/Hindu ashrams that women are impure and of a lesser spiritual grade than men. This is why when you go to most temples in India the priests are always men; they believe that women are just incapable of being at the same level as men. But if this is true than how can God be infinitely whole and how can there be lesser grades of God if God is perfect? It is both philosophically impossible and morally illogical.

So what we are looking for is a form of yoga that is integral to the real spirituality. As I have mentioned before, I’m not one to point you in this direction or that, but as I like to share some of the interest project going on out there in the spiritual world, I would like to suggest looking into Yoga Psychology Magazine (www.yogapsychologymagazine.com) which can give you an idea of what an integrated and dynamic form of yoga might look like.

On thing to remember when you are looking for an ashram is that most people have formed within their minds an ‘ideal’ ashram that contains this quality of love and that quality of freedom. However we get into danger when we make sweeping generalization like all ashrams should be free or that all swamis should wear saffron. These generalizations prevent us from experiencing something that may be a holistically different approach to spiritual living but is fundamentally true to the science of our spirit. So when your looking for an ashram, be open minded. Remember that what we think to be ‘traditional’ isn’t always traditional and what is modern does not necessarily imply that it is scientific. A good example is if we discuss the chanting of mantras. If we look back all the way to the origins of this tradition in the Vedas, many of the mantras were designed not as a means of spiritual elevating but rather to obtain boons of wealth, prosperity and good family life. It was only with the Upanishads that mantras became a more spiritual endeavor. The point is that just because an ashram chants mantras does not mean that they are spiritual.

Being clear in what your intentions are and understanding the full depth of spirituality is important when choosing an ashram. Sometimes we get into these euphoric dazes over the mysticism of India that are ungrounded and end up getting us into a lot of trouble. I think I might have mentioned this previously, but there are many gory stories of spiritual travelers who were on a mystic quest and where never heard from again. In cities like Varanasi there are some people who will approach you looking like swamis with long beards and saffron robes who use this adornment to lure tourists into dark corners of the city to rob them and in some cases even kill them for a few rupees or a camera. So be smart and be realistic, that is my best advice. Spirituality does not have to be something purely mystic, nor should it be atheistically scientific. Also, it is important to remember that just because a million other people are doing one thing does not mean that it is right. So use your own judgment and heart to make the right decision, for your spirit will tell you the way when you are receptive to it.


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Omkarananda 6 years ago from India Author

Sara:

Without scaring off to many of the others interested in traveling in India as a single female: your experience is quite common, especially within communities where the female gender is viewed as lesser than the male gender. As I have mentioned above, this tradition is deeply ingrained into the Indian culture.

From my point of view, studying meditation and finding inner peace should be separated from studying Sanskrit. Traditionally these two might have gone well together, but I think if you are really interested in learning Sanskrit you should go through an academic channel like a university or college. These will be much more affective in achieving your goal than by studying at an ashram because the teachers are actually trained in teaching language which is difficult when done correctly.

As for studying meditation and yoga, please read some of the details I have posted above about the differences between traditional yoga and modern yoga. The best thing you can do for yourself is find the Buddhist ‘middle path’ that is both traditional and modern in its approach because neither fully modernized nor fully traditional are going to be sensitive to your life which is both spiritual and modern. It is unhealthy to deny our modernity even if we feel that we are totally again the modern life simply because the modern world has contributed so much to our subconscious life. If we deny this part of ourselves, than we are neglecting some aspects of our character that may be very important for our spiritual growth.

Again I will breathe a hint that it is practically much more difficult to run an ashram in Southern India than it is in the Northern parts of the country simple because the southern Indian culture is more philosophically demanding than the northern cultures. What I mean to say is that in North India anyone can run an ashram because the culture will accept anything an ashram says if the head of the ashram claims to be an incarnation of god or a saint. In southern India, however, people expect results. If the teachers cannot prove themselves both spiritually and intellectually than they will be wiped out pretty quickly. Of course this is not to say that all southern Indian ashrams are good, because that simply isn’t true. But I would like to encourage more people to explore the south because the Indian government has been promoting Northern India as the spiritual capital of India without giving homage to the very diverse and sometimes MORE ancient spiritual sciences of the south. These traditions include Shiva Siddanta, Jainism, and even (debatably) tantra. If you are interested in learning more, look into the history of the Dravidian culture which is the culture of the south.


Sony 6 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I do not believe in god, i try to do meditation but am not able to concentrate. I am just 23 years old with family responsibilities, I have taken my family responsibilities since 4 years and in just 3 years i got frustrated with my life and i feel i do not have any peace in my life. There are much to say, but i am looking for a place where i can go and stay for a year and get some peace, i wanted to have my remaining life very peacefull if i have a tensions, if do not take a step before my marriage i will be in lots of troubles with my future problems. I know how am suffering, i cannot express all of them here, but please suggest me with options where i can stay as a saint for a year and come back a new life. I do not know whether the place am looking for is an Ashram or anything. I need a guru who can teach me, assist me for my future with a peaceful life. I will never forget your help. Am fine if you can suggest me with something in US or in India, i prefer India, a guru who can communicate in TELUGU(This is better language i can express), will be waiting for your reply..

Thanks in Advance


ramdas1976 6 years ago

Resp. Swami Ji

I want to traning of Yoga and meditations . I want the simple life..and don't need 'luxuries', just a natural environment away from the city, and untouched by the western world. I don't have a lot of money but would put all the cash I have available into the upkeep of the community and do anything I could that would be of value to the community. I have not been well, so may need a few weeks to revitalise and nurture myself before I'd be able to commit fully to the community. I would ideally like to stay somewhere for a lengthy period of time.


Eszter 6 years ago

This may be a stupid question, but I have only tried yoga once or twice before and didn't think it was for me. (It was Hatha yoga so perhaps i just need to try another one) I am however an active pilates student, which I find to be a spiritual practice, and think it suits me well. Are there any ashrams in India that teach Pilates?

Many thanks


S.S.YOGI profile image

S.S.YOGI 6 years ago from Chengannur

Dear Swamyji,

I am an illumined person through "Om Namasivaya " Mantra since 10 yrs.I could bring my Prana in my Anjha chakra through Sadhana. But I have no platform to tell my experience.Ofcourse some of my spiritual articles are available in in few websites. I wish to have your guidance as how to move further.You can see some of my articles in the hubpages.

With regards,

S.S.Yogi


Anne  6 years ago

i m looking for an ashram in India where I can go with my sons, one is 12 and the other 15. We need to find peace, clean our minds, learn the real values of life. We will work, give our time helping whoever needs help. we re ready . Thanks for your advice. my email annelaure166@aol.com


Yoginivee 6 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

After practicing and teaching forms of Hatha yoga for only about 3 years now, I would like to take my first journey to India as the Universe seems to have given me quite a few "signs" lately...Within the S.D yoga community I know of a group/retreat that is advertising to go to the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh and the program includes participation in global Seva through Yoga Aid and experiencing the International Yoga Festival. I'm a bit weary of a "western" organized journey as I think that this often leads to the $ not going to the right place. My hesitation is also that the content of the retreat is essentially western, just simply hosted in an Indian location. The pros could include safe travel in a group and a kind of organized "cliffnotes" approach to a first visit to India. Could you weigh in on this particular Ashram (if you are familiar) and your thoughts of American teachers/groups leading retreats in India? Namaste


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Omkarananda 6 years ago from India Author

Dear Eszter

As you may or may not know, pilates is just a modified form of yoga. Many of the postures you find in pilates are derived from the yoga asana. If you main interest is in pilates as a physical exercise than there is no better place to study than your home country. However if you want to go into the spiritual dimension of pilates than you would want to pursue an ashram.


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Omkarananda 6 years ago from India Author

Dear S.S. Yogi,

Have you considered sending your articles to publishers in your home country? Perhaps you could put together an anthology of your essays?

You can also publish your articles on other online sources like scribd.com. In addition to this, if your articles are academic in nature, you may also want to submit your articles to yogapsychologymagazine.com as they have a quarterly publication that includes a collection of articles from various topics. These are just a few ideas I have of how to make your articles more widely available to the public.

may your light be shared with others!


alexa 6 years ago

Dear, Omkarananda. Telpfuhank yo forthis blog it is very helpful. I have found in yoga my path, and next year Iam travelling to India. As I practice Ashtanga yoga and Iyengar yoga I will be going to the Patabhi Jois ashtanga center, but I would also like to spende at least a month in an ashram. My yoga teacher here in Argentina lived in the Bihair Shchool of yoga for a year and he recomends me to go there. Do you know the bihar school ? Iam looking forward to meditate, chant mantras. As Ive been reading latley yogananda, I have an inmense interest also on learning kriya yoga, would you happened to know an ashram wwhere I can learn kriya yoga?

namaste !


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Omkarananda 6 years ago from India Author

Dear Alexa,

While I have my reservations about commenting on Ashram simply because I do not want to persuade nor discourage anyone from one particular ashram, I will try to provide you with a picture of the contemporary forms of the Bihar Yoga School and the Yoganananda community that I have personal experienced through my visitation to these centers.

The Bihar School was started by Swami Satyananda who was a disciple of the great Sivananda. However, in recent years (5-10 years) Satyananda has withdrawn from the publics eye into his private retreat which makes him practically inaccessible to anyone who wishes to meet him for guidance.

His disciple, Swami Niranjananda, who is also a great yogi who has published many valuable books, has taken over the ashram, but his approach to running the Bihar School has drastically changed the ashram's environment. The ashram is essentially controlled like an institution, and meeting Niranjananda is like trying to meet the CEO of a corporate company: appointment, scheduling, and silent patients.

As for Yogananda's school, his departure from the community in the early part of the 20th century left future of the community to the hands of his disciples. What has arisen is an acute controlling and regulation of all of Yogananda's teachings. Essentially, once you join the Yogananda path to spirituality, there is no going back (or so it seems). Once your in, your in. Everything is systemization so that you receive specific lessons in a sequential order which is not to be violated in any way.

From my experience, it seems that the Yogananda system has departed from the essence of Yogananda which is very inclusive and accepting to something that is controlled and regulated.

Again, this is not to debase the contemporary Yogananda school: they have many invaluable teaching that can transform your life in profound ways. The question is are you ready to close yourself into one way of spirituality? If yes, than Yogananda's school is a good place to start (and maybe end).

Also, as both Swami Satyananda and Swami Yogananda are no longer available to students, either by personal choice or from Maha-Samadhi, the Bihar School and the Yogananda system do not have the original gurus available (although Yogananda's teachers explain that Yogananda and Babaji are both available to the sincere student through the ethereal realms). For me, this means that if you are attracted to a specific teacher's teachings than you aren't going to find them in their entirety when they are expressed through another human being. This is not wrong, but does present us with a question of what attracts us to the system we are pursuing.

Again, these are all just opinions. Take them as you wish, and don't accept what I say as authoritative. It's just another human being's experience, and if you relate to my personality than you may just find what I say useful, but I always encourage people to make a choice that is based on their own inner feelings and awareness.


Luke 6 years ago

Omkarananda,

I appreciate the time you are taking in response to people's questions...

Unfortunately I haven't given myself the time to read through all of your wonderful responses.

So I'd like to quickly state my situation and hope for a response.

Over the last five weeks my mind has been overwhelmed from where I first stood a normal person with an ego I felt was dissipating and a self-belief I thought would carry me far, to now where I have been up and down a conscious fluctuation in where I have had moments of complete ego loss, loss of identity and amazing energies and experiences within my mind, even feeling the connection as everything is a conscious extension of the self, looking at objects to feel a part of them (momentary unfortunately), and my world views shattered.

I am hoping to explore a beautiful area away from population, open area, to help expand my mind. I was suggested Nepal or northern-middle India.

During my journey I hope to find an enlightened being who can really look within me, understand me and my position and help me grow in the time needed.

I have looked online for ashrams but it does not seem trustable. I am really hoping to be pointed towards a specific area which would give me what I am looking for. My main objective is to simply be the being that I know I am, and become of what I believe I can be, which is of infinate possibility. I want to free my mind, and do not know where to look, besides within myself :)

I have no experience in traveling alone, and this would be my first venture by myself, so I do feel intimidated and unsure.

It would also be nice to see you! If that is a possibility I would feel comforted beside you.

Thank you.


raju velthakkal 6 years ago

mahatman,

yours appears to be distinct means of dealing with the purpose.to inform the commoners globally we may adopt a general communication platform doing away with special and traditional systems, at least to begin with.


Bishwajit Ganguly 6 years ago

I am age of 47years all alone in this world & i want spend rest of my life in serving in ashram pls advise me.

my mail id ganguly_b001@yahoo.com


Tiffany 6 years ago

Life has been a struggle. I have tired of the western conveniences and "me" mentality. In addition, I have always had dreams and strong intuition. My wish is to develop my intuition in a way that will release me from fearing it. I am very courageous yet I do not understand what I am receiving. I wish to open up and deepen my level of spirituality rather than avoid it. I keep feeling a pull to India and every stone and crystal that originates from India has a very powerful pull. I understand that I am used to Western life but do not enjoy the material orientated ways. I would like to go to India next year but, as a line female and need to place myself wisely. I do not wish to be surrounded by hordes of people, trinkets or modern mayhem. My trip will need to be one month due to my parenting commitments. I wish a life change and seek direction to deepen my connection to my intuitive abilities. The trip is not one I consider as a "vacation" and it will be the first of however many I will continue to make over my life.


TiffanyLC 6 years ago

Life has been a struggle. I have tired of the western conveniences and "me" mentality. In addition, I have always had dreams and strong intuition. My wish is to develop my intuition in a way that will release me from fearing it. I am very courageous yet I do not understand what I am receiving. I wish to open up and deepen my level of spirituality rather than avoid it. I keep feeling a pull to India and every stone and crystal that originates from India has a very powerful pull. I understand that I am used to Western life but do not enjoy the material orientated ways. I would like to go to India next year but, as a lone female and need to place myself wisely. I do not wish to be surrounded by hordes of people, trinkets or modern mayhem. My trip will need to be one month due to my parenting commitments. I wish a life change and seek direction to deepen my connection to my intuitive abilities. The trip is not one I consider as a "vacation" and it will be the first of however many I will continue to make over my life. I am looking for an ashram that will help me start on this path and allow me to return as I continue my journey. I have noticed that water is very healing for me so being near water would be something I would seek.

Thank you


John 6 years ago

Hi there

I am wishing to visit ashrams in India any suggestions of any really good ones that you could recommend. Ones that are very spiritual based?


julio 6 years ago

Omkarananda,

Thank you for all information that you posted.

I practice Trascendental Meditation from Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (i know he passed away phisical way). Im planning to go to an Ashram for some months probably on january. In this journey of trying to find the right Guru and Ashram, can you tell me if theres a relation between the meditacion i now practice and a particular Ashram?

Thanks much for your knowledge!

J


stephan 6 years ago

I've always wanted to travel to India, but recently I've thought that, you don't really need to travel a long distance to achieve some form of "spiritual enlightenment".

Sure, I still want to make that trip, and I will do it, but i know all i need, that open mind, that open heart, that temple, that ashram I'm looking for, everything is within me and each one of us.

Everyone around us are teachers, every situation, every contact, we should take it as a teaching, just follow your hearts.... well, at least that's what people say.

My question is not about where to, or where not to go, i just want to know, how do you follow your heart, it's not a simple question i know, everybody has a different road to take, still, I'd like to hear your advice.

Thank You Omkarananda


itachi,india 6 years ago

sir,

i want to join an ashram which is completely nature friendly and which follows either hinduism,buddhism or jainism.i want do a job in such ashram if it can provide food and atleast rs.600/-per month for my livelihood


itachi,india 6 years ago

sir,

i want to join an ashram which is completely nature friendly and which follows either hinduism,buddhism or jainism.i want do a job in such ashram if it can provide food and atleast rs.600/-per month for my livelihood. i can do physical or mental work. i am 19 years old now


Paula 6 years ago

I want to find my spirutual guide, my friend, my guru, the one that is meant for me, will i find him? or its only a wish on my mind, a crazy ideia and will never happen if i wait i will find him? will i recognize him ?


Laura Cutler 5 years ago

Please help. Where do I go for peace, warmth, yoga, meditation, "the basic life" for a few weeks? Nothing touristy, phony: I need to get spirituality into my life.

Thank you. Please reply to laurajcutler@yahoo.ca


avinash 5 years ago

i am looking for an ashram which is devoted to karma yoga i.e., for welfare of human being where i can spend rest of my life. i want peace and satisfaction as a human being doing something for others. is their any ashram where people just devote thier lives in the welfare of others and which is not a profit making institution? please reply me to my id avinash2707@rediffmail.com


Aline 5 years ago

Hi, I would like your indication to a simple ashram. I want to pray, help in activities e get peace. As simple as that. I don't want a famous ahsram but a simple. Can you help me? Please reply to me in liugomes@yahoo.com.br Tks


andrej 5 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

What kind of ashram would you recommend for practicing mostly meditation and japa chanting of Lord Krishna? I spent 10 years in Hare Krishna, but I have more and more realized that I need a more peaceful sadhana- I am more a yogi type of bhakti. I would like to spend the rest of my life in some holy place in India. Perhaps you have such an ashram where one can live as vanaprastha and do his peaceful sadhana without so much official programms every day?

With kind regards,

Haribol,

Andrej (from Slovenia)

my e-mail: andrej.segula@gov.si


adam 5 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I have a similar question as Andrej. I spent some time in Hare Krsna temple, I do mahamantra japa, meditation and yoga and want to move farther. I would like to find an ashram where I could focus on inner spiritual work while keeping japa on mahamantra. I am brahmacari.

Please, contact me on adamblack@email.cz

Thanks very much.

With best wishes Adam.


Rute Isabel 5 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

For several months I have been searching online for a suitable ashram for me, today I found this website. I read it and as I was reading you were advisng people and telling them about my biggest fears. I started looking for an Ashram as soon as I finished reading a book. It was about a men how went ot India as an english teacher for personal reasons he lost his job and had no money to come back to is country, he took shelter in an ashram in a nearby village where he found enlightment. It was an Ashram focused on teaching people how to live from whatever the earth can give you, so he learned about plants and medical profits from palnts in exchage he gave english classes to the villagers besides his studies in the Ashram, Yoga practices and dutties in the Temple. I was pretty much looking for something like this and it has been very dificult for me to find it because most of the ashrams websites I found are the ones that requier a 4000USD fee, something I can't afford. I always wanted to practice Yoga but somehow going into the nearby gym didn't sound like it would fullfill my spiritual needs...

Could you please help me as I'm desperate by now for the long search and for the poor results.

It would have to be a place where I can Practice Yoga as a beginner and I would like it to be a vegetarian place that would provide me knowledge about plants. I would like it to be a place that they requier me to do some tasks or even help or teach something in the village were it is located.

my email is rute_i@hotmail.com

Thank you for your time.

I hope this message finds you well,

Rute Isabel


R.VAIDYANATHAN 5 years ago

PLEASE SEND ME ADDRESS OF ASHRAM LOCATION IN CHENNAI AND THE CONTACT NUMBER MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS Vaidya_1971@yahoo.com


Aaron 5 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I`d like to visit an Ashram in India for 4 - 5 months, maybe even more, in the near future. My funds are limited, are there any places that youd reccommend that I could work for room and board, and learn from community of like minded people as well as gurus, and have some time on my own?

Please respond, if you can, to aar_nuss@hotmail.com.

Thank you very much.

Best regards,

Aaron


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Omkarananda 5 years ago from India Author

Dear Friends,

Forgive me for my absence in responding to your inquiries. I have been in the Himalayas for the last several months and have not had time to maintain my web activities. I am going to start from bottom to top because I feel that most likely the last one's to post will be the first ones to return. If you did post earlier and would like a reply soon please just give a short comment here so that I can return to your question asap.

Michael:

Life is a like a light-bulb. Sorry for the corny analogy, but it really is! If we do not supply the light bulb with proper energy, it is going to be dim if not burnt out. How do we power the light bulb then would be the question?

The answer is not a simple one, but it is most likely true that we need to spend more time focusing our lives upon the things that are important to us and less time meandering through the chaos of an unsettled mind that teeters between this way of life and that, never settling upon a firm direction and path.

If you want your life to be filled with the ananda that yoga always talks about you are going to need to start with the basics. First: are you living a life that is fulfilling or one that is dragging on? If the answer is the latter than you need to find out what it is about your life that disturbed you. Is it your lifestyle? Is it your relationships? Is it your carrier? What is it about your life that feels empty?

Start there and work your way deeper into the tight knots of your unhappiness. Most of us are unhappy because we are not taking care of ourselves properly and we are not living our lives with purpose. You need to live with purpose! Human being's are not sloths that just hang out on trees all day. We are one of the most dynamic creatures and therefore have to live up to our potential!

With Prem!

Omkarananda


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Omkarananda 5 years ago from India Author

Rute and Aaron,

As I have mentioned before I am not big on making recommendations regarding where people should visit, especially if their search is refined to a specific form of practice. I know this might seem rigid on my part but please give me a moment to explain why.

The human soul, according to yoga, is much like a seed that is waiting to be planted in the soil. The only difference between the soul and the seed is that the soul has a great deal of potential for intuition coupled with choice which the seed, for all we know, does not.

Previously I have made the suggestion of the Tureya Ashram because it is there that I have found the most diversity in teaching which many students of varying interests and discipline can create a connect with. It is here that I advise many to begin their journey: some may stay and some may move on, but the exposure to diversity it important.

Sometimes, however, the best answer lies in the adventure. You may not know where you are going, but your soul does. If you are one who really does believe that spirituality exists you must also be ready to accept that your soul operates on a level that far surpasses that of your mind. Sometimes your soul will guide you on adventures that you need to take, regardless of whether your mind is ready to accept them or not.

So my apologies for my intransigence, but I do believe that within you is the answer. Just trust your heart and let your inner-being take care of the things that matter most. Working less with your mind and more with the spontaneous moment of your spirit is what spirituality is all about. Just be attentive to making spiritual decisions and not emotional ones.

With Prem!

Omkarananda


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Omkarananda 5 years ago from India Author

Andrej and Adam,

You may not like my answer, but from my experience bhakti yoga is best done from the center of your being, not in the center of India! I say this because as a bhakti your spirit is aligned with God every moment as you celebrate the beauty and divinity in everything! Renouncing everything and moving into some cave is not bhakti, it is austerity and extreme tapas. Look at Krishna, the model of bhakti. He lived not in some remote cave but amongst his gopis. He was much like our modern day mother Teresa.

It is perfectly acceptable to visit an ashram to begin your bhakti practice, but the apex of your practice is celebrating God every moment in every situation. Another example is Ramakrishna. His practice started not in an ashram but in the open air of his village, dancing amongst the patty fields. This is where your bhakti can be found, in nature, in people, and in life. Ashram's are there to give you the groundwork, but realization from the bhakti path is achieved anywhere and everywhere.

With Prem!

Omkarananda


andrej 5 years ago

Thank you, dear Omkarananda. What you say is what makes me undecisive about the next step. On one side I would like to stay and practice in the middle of everyday life, and on the other side I would like to go to a holy place away from the mainstream life. My age of 61 and not so much energy left due to not a very good health anymore are definitely a reason for my wish to prepare myself for the end of life rather than to stay still in the middle of it, so to say.


Emilie Wlch  5 years ago

Hello,

I am a 21 year old student, and have found myself at the point where I look around and do not get happiness out of my busy life. I am currently working full time and doing full time uni. Unfortunatley i am not at peace, I crave every morning to find whatever is empty inside me. I am doing what you said not to i am selling my car and all my personal things in order to buy a flight to india to find what is missing. I have got a few worries tho, I want to go to the right ashram as i am planning on staying there for a few months, and i want to leave asap. If you could shed some light on where i should go and who to speak to here in Australia before i leave that would be much appreciated.

Regards Emilie


Avinash 5 years ago

I am from Guyana, and i want to come to India to study in this ashram, how is it possible?

Avinash, D.M


nadia 5 years ago

Omkarananda, first of all, with blogs i usually try to keep an open mind and not to be too influenced by people. But i have to say, i get the feeling that you are sincerely speaking from the heart and that you just want to guide people on their paths but without giving too much direction. I respect your approach because i believe that people should be responsible for their own happiness. We should not rely on others for fulfillment and shouldn't blame others for our unhappiness.

After reading all your comments and advice, i want to focus on something you mentioned a while back. You mentioned that sometimes staying at an ashram is not the answer for someone who wants an escape from the real world and needs total relaxation, as sometimes the environment of an ashram can actually put you face to face with all your fears and anxieties pushing one to actually deal with their crisis, when in fact the person might not be ready for it. I'm paraphrasing here, but this is what i understood of your comment.

Just yesterday, i came face to face with my internal fears and anxieties. I've realisd that I have become a person that i no longer know, understand or like. And this realisation did not need a trip to india for me to understand it. I realised it during a normal working day. I've been married for 4 years and these feelings have been building up inside me for some time. I even fear having a family while in this state of mind.

My marriage is suffering, my poor husband is not able to handle me anymore, even though he is incredibily understanding and supportive. But he can only do so much for me, and i know that i have to help myself.

Honestly, after alot of thinking last night, my first instinct was to go online and search for an ashram so that i can escape everything and everybody in my life to get some 'distance' and 'perspective' on things. But by reading your comments, it seems that maybe an ashram is not necessarily the answer for me, at this stage. I feel myself that i'm not emotionally stable to take such drastic action. In fact i fear that being in such a vunerable state, then finding the 'wrong' ashram might just throw me over the edge. And I don't think i can handle that at the moment.

Another blogger, Stephan, mentioned that he believes that sometimes the answer is not in india, but is inside ourselves.

I wonder if you could give some guidance on how a person can find inner peace without having to go to india. Or is it necessary to remove ourselves from our natural environments to achieve this?

I have done several different local yoga courses, but i never got anything spiritual out of it. In fact, with the last teacher i actually became anxious during meditation. Of course, i do not blame the teacher. I know that the problem is within me.

I wonder if maybe yoga is not the right solution for me. Or maybe my approach to the practice is wrong?

I would appreciate your kind advice


Om Sara 5 years ago

Nice Article. Do you know of an ashram or spiritual teacher who will accept an older western woman age 50 yrs as a student ? I have been studying yoga for 10 years, I am interested in living a monastic in India an am unmarried. I have been unable to find any kind of Indian ashram or teacher/guru who pays any attention to older devotees, especially western women. I would appreciate your advice.


ananda 5 years ago

I am a 47 year old woman from the USA. I am looking for an ashram where I can live a monastic life in India and receive guidance from a guru. Do you have any suggestions ? I have been to India many times but now want to stay there for longer periods of time and focus on renunciation and tapas.


nicky 5 years ago

I am a 47 year old woman I have bought up a family and am just divorced. I have been practicing yoga for 15 years and would like some space to find myself. An ashram with peace and a focus on purification and karma with a strong yoga and meditative practise would suit me. Is there such a thing? I would like to come back stronger and more focussed.


ANASTACIA 5 years ago

Hello lovely people

I am writing in this website without thinking. All come from my SOUL. I feel lost at the research of ashram I need to find my self and to wake up my inner God This is a very strong feeling I feel that If I do not do that trip my soul will die. I am looking for a peaceful place ashram to stay in India. I do not know how long in therm of time I need but at least one month practicing yoga. I am practicing for 3 years now. I have studied 5 years at university something that is for sure not my passion, now i have t find my self and devote to a real thing, please help me with your experiences adn advices and an adequate yoga ashram place with possibiity to deepen my knowledge to yogq teacher later. Looking forward for your experiences. Just share

Sincerely Anastacia


Emily Fenwick 5 years ago

Michael-

I am headed to India in December and would like to go to an ashram for 5 days or so and travel around India for 10 days. Do you think 5 days at at ashram is way way too short of a time?


Rahm 5 years ago

I read many a comment on the issue of knowing one self. The best ashram is within you. Spirituality is not external, it is internal. Understanding oneself. You can create your ashram from any where. You can be in Chicago or New York and establish peace within yourself. Do not be under the impression that that Himalayas are the only place for spirituality. Look no where, look within thy self. Beautiful ashram is there.

shreeram@juno.com


lucie 5 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I am a 30 years old dancer from Czech Republic. I am practicing Ashtanga yoga and Hatha yoga for a few years. This year 2011 I went through a lot of changes, where I lost loving people in unfortunate tragedy and I lost almost everything what I was working on for several years.

I already plane my trip to India last year, but it was not a right moment. The right moment is now. I am going to India on end of January 2012 until February. I would like to stay between 4 - 6 weeks.i would like to stay with a guru or teacher who can quit my way more deeper in yoga (ashtanga and hatha). I am searching for a small place, not touch with tourism, in nature. I would like to live in simple condition. I would like to be a part of the life where I will stay.

I would like to kindly ask if you can help me to fine this place. It will mean a lot for me.

Thank you for your time and help

Lucie

lucie.petrusova@post.cz


Santiago Hossni 5 years ago

A friend and I are both interested in travelling to India, but neither of us wants to go to a touristy place, instead we want to connect with local, wise people and gurus, be taught, enlightened. We wish to come at peace with ourselves and the world, meditate, and serve the world. The first one I thought of, of course, was Rishikesh, because of George Harrison and The Beatles. It might not be the appropriate one, though, as I now see there are many choices, different ones, and scams as well.

My friend is more experienced with meditation and consciousness, I am simply interested in inner peace, as a means to enlightenment, and finding a path for my future. I also wish to become a better human, a more caring and loving person.

Where would you recommend we go? We are in our early 20's only, but feel a need to get away from big cities, from corrupt society and contamination.

Please contact me at santihossni@msn.com if you can.

Thank you for your help, your website opened my eyes to the reality of the situation, and the actual meaning of the trip.


krispyadventurer 4 years ago

hi everyone, does anyone know if they teach samadhi yoga at tureya? Also if stays of 1-2 years would be considerably cheaper if you worked within the community. I am happy to contribute to the day to day running of the ashram or anything asked of me really. (within reason)


sandhya 4 years ago

heyyy....i want to know if i could get some help in finding a place which can help me find and understand myself more...i am not exactly looking for an ashram which just gives spiritual knowledge...well i am just 20 and i have had many disappointments in my life and i just want a small vacation which might help me get some psychological help and boost up my positive energy and optimistic attitude in life.plus i also want to get some clarity about my career life..relationships etc.....so is there any such place in south india..??? as it is closer to me


Heather 4 years ago

Hi! I am going to be traveling to India soon, and as you seem to be well versed in ashrams of India, I was hoping you could email me and let me know some good ones, that go by donation, that may be optimal for the spiritual seeker. My email is locust_lane@hotmail.com. Thank you.

metta.


adryana 4 years ago

Every single comment is a very interestign journey to be closer to an Ashram...this idea of going to India and going to an Ashram is kind of taking so much thinking. I´ve been looking all around and there is no a single place where you can know a bit about the prices and it is very difficult to make a possible budget...Is there any way to know somehow how much this could be? This is the only thing that is really hindering my planning process...

Anyway, thanks for all advice given here and the way you really encourage having such experience


NIVA 4 years ago

I WANT TO FIND OUT A ASHRAM WHERE I CAN SPEND MY LIFE ONLY THINKING OF GOD HELP ME OUT


Seattle Trent 4 years ago

Its good to know that so many people are searching for the same thing, plagued by the same questions and looking to satisfy the same desires... or maybe a little depressing. Over the past three years of posts I see a reacurring theme of people looking for an escape and seeking an ashram as the answer. Like shriveling plants in the desert that thirst for water people now are begging for meaning. What puzzles me is that some days I am happy and feel God in everything and other days I am sad and find God nowhere. I have oscillated like this my entire life. Even before I found spirituality or an understanding I could put behind the word "God", my relationship to everything arounds me has always ebbed and flowed. I find it sadly animalistic that I only seek ashrams when I am "looking for a way out" as so many people have pointed out that the spiritual path can be walked internally. Even more may point out that spiritual success may not necissarily lead to a wholely positive continum. But perhaps this points to something less obvious about the character of spirituality. Perhaps by equating happiness or contentment to enlightenment we are massively confusing ourselves as to what the spiritual paradigm is. I have found that what cures depression is to move your physical location, which sort of allows your intention to freely guide you. I think this is mainly the reason people have such a positive response to any sort of vacation: it brings their intention closer to their reality.

I imagine however, that there are a few people out their, who, completely content with their current state and void of frustration, still choose to leave the comfort of innertia and go to an ashram, motivated by pure love and knowledge that this was the correct path. But sitting amongst a majority who have arrived seeking solutions to unhappiness would not be so rewarding. I wonder if there are ashrams that function to collect these "students of a higher motive" so the true master's energies can be more efficiently focussed. Or has my Western mind moved to quickly to partition and define these ashram seekers. But I suppose I am merely observing that today I am an unhappy searching ashram seeker, plagued by fear and uncertainty, while at some future time I hope to be a being seeking an ashram from a place of truth and understanding.

I guess my question is: if you had to describe the pyscological state of the person who will achieve the greatest spiritual advancement when entering an ashram, what would it be like?


VJ 4 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I was looking for an ideal place to lead a ascetic life for a couple of weeks. It could be in the himalayas or a monastery etc. If you could help me with any suggestions, i would be grateful.


Jay 4 years ago

Am 42 year of age. I am looking for a place in India. I am from South Africa and would like to live in a Ashram and devote myself to Lord Krishna. If you could help me with any suggestions, I would be grateful.


Cateye 4 years ago

I am wanting to stay in an ashram to practice some hath a yoga, to help around the ashram and to explore the local area and perhaps helping Indian students with their English. I would like a simple single room to sleep in that is safe. i am a 60 year old Australian woman who has been to India many years ago and have practised some form of yoga for 40 years. Do you have any suggestions please? many thanks.


Vasu 4 years ago

As an Indian, I am so very much surprised that the world today is in so much in need of Peace and spirituality. Today Indians themselves are so busy collecting money. I wonder when we will realize that all this money business is just an illusion. Any way I do not know much about ashrams in India but will try to help all by collecting some information. I had personal problems haunting me for the past 15 years, just a year ago, and I feel the only person who could help me in a flash like a mantra is 'OSHO' but all could not be understood by him. His teachings and solutions are practical towards daily life.Too many people misunderstand his teaching in India. 'Chinmaya Mission' is also very famous in South India. I have heard of'YEP'programe for youths. pls check for their websites. thank you


thanos 4 years ago

Hi

I am in search of a small and rather isolated small Osho (perhaps) asrham to spend some time. This probably in India but not necessarily. I cannot afford to pay much money and i am interested in finding a spiritual place, not a touristic one. If anyone knows anything about it please let me know

thanos


Prashant 4 years ago

Thank you dear sir for your replies above have satisfied most of my querries.i have been planning 2 move for the true search of knowledge and some responsibility always binds me. It is not an excuse but an unexpected cumpulsion. I very soon shall move in search of my true gure and as i am ready hope will find him to squinch my thirst for knowledge.


Anastasia Afful-Niazi 4 years ago

Dear Omkarananda,

I am from Ghana and i have been practicing Kundalini Yoga for some time now.I was practicing to be a kundalini yoga teacher but i had to stop due to circumstances beyond my control.I will definately go back to my teacher training but i feel a sense of disconnect.Do you know of any ashrams in india that teaches Kundalini yoga?Thanks.


Victor 4 years ago

Hi dear Omkarananda.

Thanks a lot for this vast and deep article about Ashrams in India.

Let me post you my intentions and please, let me know what you think.

Since some years ago I have started to develop some hidden artistic side in me which has obtained good feedback from the people around me.

As I don't have the intention to sell it, but just to give it to the people, and it's very time consuming, I have realized that only a severe way of life, almost monastical, can guarantee that I will be able to continue developing my art. I have got into the conclusion that Ashrams may be a proper place for me to focus while developing my spirituality, which is something that always has been worrying me somehow.

My question goes for asking you for recommendation about where o which Ashram would be the most appropriate for me to achieve this challenge of mine? or whether Ashrams are not the right place.

Thanks a lot again for your answer.

My kindest regards

Victor


BISWA 4 years ago

Hi

I want to develop my spirituality and want to stay away from the society for some months and want to live in an ashram where the place is lonely and where no common people can visit.

So can you please suggest me some ashramas that are situated in a Forest or nearby himalaya to stay.


Paul 4 years ago

Hi, Hey am in need of a place of simplicity, a place in India where I was 8 years ago comes to mind. While there got a spiritual name Vairagya.

Well Vairagya needs some help to get back to India.

Was not a holiday camp but the best place I ever traveled too and lived for two monthes. How to get back?? Thanks Paul.


Omkarananda profile image

Omkarananda 4 years ago from India Author

Hello Friends! I am so sorry for the extended delay in responding to your many wonderful thoughts, comments and questions. I will try my best to be more persistent in returning to this blog for discussion. I'll start from the bottom here and see how far we can go today, but I'm happy to see so much interest in spirituality here!


Omkarananda profile image

Omkarananda 4 years ago from India Author

Vairagya. What a wonderful spiritual name. Detachment from our emotions is the first real step in understand the functions of our being. I have experienced that dispassion means a disassociation from the turbulence of life with a firm establishment in a spiritual center. What a beautiful thing.

Vairagya, India is changing her cloths, as they say, and trying on western ideals for sometime. Therefore a lot is changing, but at the same time things like spirituality will always remain as they come from a dimension of life that is permanent and eternal.

To find what you are looking for always remember that what you seek already exists and is there for you! Have a wonderful journey my friend!


Omkarananda profile image

Omkarananda 4 years ago from India Author

Dear BISWA

Are we not all common? Is there something that makes us different from everyone else? Because really every human being shares the same goodness and evil as is possessed by the rest of humanity. It is human nature.

Ashrams are really centers for spiritual awakening for the common man, but what ashrams invoke in the spiritual essence that rests dormant within our inner being.

To find the right ashram you much first find the right position of understanding in life. What we seek is a reflection of what we are, and if what we are does not reflect the deepest of our spiritual intentions that what we find will not lead us closer to our spiritual awakening.


Omkarananda profile image

Omkarananda 4 years ago from India Author

Dear Victor

Let me suggest some things to think about and perhaps this may be able to help you in finding what you are searching for.

Each human being is given a gift in life which helps them in actualizing their inner spark. Each person has this inner spark which is shaped by their own unique personality, experiences, and inner life vision.

If life is just a bundle of experiences that life seems pretty monotonous. But if each of these experiences contribute to something larger, something that expand our inner self and also expands the world in which we live, then there is something very beautiful about the experience of life.

Now you have come upon something that you are passionate about and which inspires you, and out of this inspiration others are also affected in a positive way. But the very most important thing is that you feel connected to what you are doing.

Once you are connected than things begin to change and your life enters a new dimension of experience.

So now that you are here, what will you do with what you have? All things in life become relative to the way we choose to interact with them. There is nothing inherently negative about money. But if we say we are only painting to make money that what have we done? We altered the intention of our action from the creative experience to a very basic drive for survival.

There is nothing wrong with making money from your painting, but if you are painting to make money it will be hard to find your inspiration.

The secret to spirituality is knowing that all does not come from our efforts alone. Even the inspiration for painting is not our own. It is from something beyond ourselves.

But that which is beyond ourselves also want us to live, for if the Divine provides for the birds and insects how much more will be provided for the creative and dynamic human being?

The real spirituality requires us to live with the world but to do it in a way that cannot corrupt our spirituality. This is, of course, a challenge, but this is the reality of spirituality in its most fragrant and colorful form.


Omkarananda profile image

Omkarananda 4 years ago from India Author

Dear Anastasia Afful-Niazi

Life is undoubtedly a challenging endeavor which constantly tests our commitments to the things we value and love. Many teach of a universal essence, and this is there. But the universe always acts paradoxically, and sometimes our greatest challenges become our best teachers despite the initial pain and suffering which they cause.

Spirituality is a challenge because it is not a common place in society. Society requires normalcy, and this standard of being average will always confront those that deviate from the standard.

As you try to live your spiritual life you will always be tested because the collective energy is there, trying to bring you back to their standards of reality.

Kundalini yoga is a system derived from Hatha Yoga and Tantra Yoga. The Hatha yogis talk most of kundalini, but the origins of the exploration of the kundalini force come from the tantric system.

If you want to find kundalini you must find the life force that propels you beyond the limitation of the social views, because kundalini will only become active once you have gone beyond basic human needs and motivations and entered into the dedicated state of spiritual devotion where you cannot be defeated by the challenges that life present.

Especially with tantra and the more esoteric forms of spirituality, we must first state several major steps in our own spiritual life and remain dedicated to them before we can advance into the next level of the path. Once this has occurred our inner spirit will lead us to the right place, whether we find it through a friend, by random connection of information or ideas, or serendipitous through the movements of life. It can come in many ways, but it will be there when the time has come for you to move forward, and no one will need to tell you where to take your next step.


Omkarananda profile image

Omkarananda 4 years ago from India Author

Dear Prashant

Life is always replete with challenges, problems, and responsibilities that prevent us from moving forward into our spirituality. Some of these are real problems and others are fabricated realities which we have created either out of fear or out of laziness.

For conditions where the problems are real, like having to raise a child, or making enough money to eat and have a home, we must find a way to fit spirituality into our daily routine, even if for only 20 or 30 minutes a day. There is so much information available to us today including books, audio classes, videos, and teachers that one way or another we can find a way to do something related to our spirituality for a little while each day.

In the case where our restrains are fabricated by our internal lack of passion, excessive fear, or self-negation we must push ourselves outside of our boundaries otherwise life will come along and create circumstances necessary to do so, and these are usually much more painful than if we take the steps ourselves.

As you search remember that there is always time, if even a little, for your spirituality if you want it to be there. But you must want it for it to be.


Satyam 4 years ago

I would also like to post a note for foreigner friends seeking for spirituality or yoga or ayurveda or any indian specific knowledge for better insight and guidance without any insecurities.

I.) things to be done as your homework.

a.) Find out what you exactly want to seek/get.(it may be inner peace,to have answer of questions,get out from stress/frustration,health problems,relationship problems,job problems,study about ayurveda,sanskrit,yoga or may be some other knowledge you might want to get.)

b.) After finding it or say deciding your goal make a rough sketch of processes which can help you best (e.g. Any specific kind of yoga ,meditation,to study in a university or any other process/method)

¤¤DONT BE STUBBORN ON YOUR SEARCH about which will suit you most.(its so because let you have some ailment .you searched recovery process for your ailment according to symptoms from internet. But when u go to a doctor ,he will prescribe according to the diagnosis results which is more faithful than your internet search results,isn't it?


Yash 4 years ago

Hello Dear Omkarananda, I really cant focus on anything, the things which i know could benifit me , the things even i want badly, the things that can be done easily. I just feel that not doing anything upto the potential does make me weaker and weaker. I just feel the need to be reborn, focused. I want to do many things , but cant even do a single one. I want to visit tureya for 2-3 weeks , please help me with this.


H.N Christensen 4 years ago

Dear Omkarananda

I am a 38 year old man Living in Europe. I Have been living with spirituality as long as I can remember. I have been blessed with the ability of sight and I am devoted to the spiritual practise. I have had very little spiritual guidance being Mindfullness, "inner child" and some other personal development courses. This have help me to a degree. I have also found comfort in various books.

Because I have a sensitive nature, I have found this to give me a very rich inner life, but at same time I live in frustration as the society Around me doens´nt always complement this. I believe in Taoism and Buddhism, but As I learn more about yoga and other spiritual practices , I realice that they have alot in common, and somehow the "source" by a first glance appear to be of same origin.

i have come to a crossroad in my life and I feel uncertain about what to do.

I have lost my belief or rather, have chosen to turn my back on the "world" or western society, as this has only proven endless frustrations I have undergone a "growth" or transformation ( still in process )the last 2 years that involved finding peace with my parents as well as my past.

At the same time I feel desilluisoned as it seems my understanding and outlook on life, seem to change rapidly and what I used to believe to be true, suddendly varporizes or seezes to be so anymore.

I really feel that Im done with western consumerism and the western way of life and I feel drawn to a truistic calling.

I have had a dream wich involves travelling to East (Asia)

I have decided to travel to India because of its richness in diversity and supposedly spiritual in-life naturality.

I wish to visit an Ahram, and as so many others I see on this forum, In doubt of were I should go. I really wanna thank you for sharing your experiences and well placed advice.

If you, after reading my "story" have some advice or intuitively want to share your thoughts on what you have read about me, I would be glad to hear them.

Many warm greetings .

H.N Christensen


aniket 4 years ago

dear omkaranandji ,

i spend my childhood in shradhanand anathalaya at the age of 17 i left the place due to dirty atmosphere. due to financial problem i can not complete my education.

now i am 35 yr old, no one gives me proper job, i had no legal documents of identity.

but i can work hard, but now a day my body does not suport me due to lack of food , & hyper tension, lonelyness.

now what can I do?

plz sugest a right path, i m very confused.

i had no food, no sheltor, no work , their is no one to help me. no money, i had self respect so I cant beg.

several times I think about to comite a suiside.

whats wrong I did?

why I am in so critical condition?

now tell me what can I do?


shuwan 4 years ago

Hi,

Thank you for taking the time to answer all those questions! It made for interesting and enlightening reading (if you will excuse the pun!).

My question is I have contacted Tureya a couple (maybe three times) over the last year and though I received an automated reply immediately after my initial email I have not heard anything since.

At the time I wanted to travel at this time to India, however my health decided otherwise, but regardless, I still got no reply! Why would that be? I dont know whether to try again in the hope of visiting next year. I dont want to be pestering them but some info on when is a good time to visit and would I be welcome,etc. My interest is in their Yoga Psychology programme. I dont want to go to a resort ashram but specifically found and chose Tureya on the internet. My only other option is Shantivanam up north, which sounds genuine. Any ideas on the lack of communication from Tureya? Maybe the ashram has been closed for summer or something? Would appreciate your opinion since you know the place so well.

Thanks again.


ladysmack 3 years ago

Hello omkaranandji,

I am interested in staying in an Ashram and have breifly looked on line I favor this particular one please tell me what you think and if you are familiar with it. I am a woman and will be traveling alone your thoughts please.

Siddha Ashram

Swami Nardanand, Acharya

Between Ram Ghat

and Narsingh Ghat

Ujjain, 456 006 (MP) India

thank you


aruna.nair38@yahoo.com 3 years ago

I am 60 years of age and have an income for my life time. I want peace and God


3 years ago

Hi omkaranandji,

I have a friend who has been suffering severe headaches for over two years, possibly the result of a stressful work situation and an unhealthy lifestyle. I have heard of Ashrams that combine spiritual teaching, meditation, yoga and detox. Do you have any recommendations for me. I would really like to see him get better soon, and I was thinking that this might be a really good alternative in that it could set a new path for him physically and mentally...

Your advice appreciated...

S


Cris 3 years ago

I loved your post! Helped me a lot.


SAMEERPT profile image

SAMEERPT 3 years ago from south delhi

hello friends welcome to india .if u r looking for peace of place in india contact us we can help u for ashram .

no need money

enjoy mahakumbh in allahabad

free accomodation

free travel

free food

our ashram in all over india

contact us- sameerpt66@gmail.com


Jane 3 years ago

I am looking for an ashram or retreat for my sister. She is struggling with depression and anxiety attacks and has been for a few years. She is unhappy and blames everyone else for her unhappiness no matter how much she has or how good her life is and is currently on high doses of anxiety and depression medication. It's not helping. We would like her to go to a retreat for one month where she can practice meditation and gratitude, and essentially let all this anger out; learn to let the past go and learn how to be happy and grateful. It needs to be clean and provide a lot of individual care and attention, including medical attention if needed in case of anxiety attacks. We cant risk sending her to a place that doesnt offer these things. Any suggestions? We are desperate so any feedback would be so helpful.


venkatesh chintha profile image

venkatesh chintha 3 years ago from Hyderabad

Namaste Sir _/\_,

Venkatesh wants to know what is enlightenment?

and is anyone on this earth got enlightened?

enlightenment in saskrit?

if you know truth then only give reply or mail to me at venkatesh.chintha(at)gmail.com.


vishal 3 years ago

You should also make people aware that organic food is usually absent in almost all ashrams in India. When I try to communicate on this topic with an ashram, the usual reply is - "We serve sattvic food". Either they are deliberately or truly unaware of the importance of no chemicals in food.

If you do know of places which are aware, I would appreciate information!

~Vishal


skgrao profile image

skgrao 3 years ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

Try the food at ISCKON temple near your home.


vishal 3 years ago

I am not into religion or rituals or idol worship.

So instead of ISCKON, do you think there are any yoga centers that have organic food?


skgrao profile image

skgrao 3 years ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

Yes you can try " The Art of Living " they sell organic food grown by them.They have Yoga Classes and other things in their store where they sell everything that you need for your daily needs.No Idols are kept.No Rituals are done.All religion or No Religion people are treated as guests.( You Pay for some things.Some Eats as Prasad are Free and you can eat as much as you want they are 100% Organic.)

Even in ISCKON they sell organic food you just do not enter a place where they keep idols but surely you can go to their food stores or canteen you are welcome, there is no ritual or worship to be done by visitors.


kumar satyam 2 years ago

sir i am looking for a ashram in south india where i can stay and learn about myself till my heart is full-filled.but i dont have money to pay.so kindely please tell me aashrams in south india where i can food ,shelther and knowladge for free of cost..


Sameer Shinde 2 years ago

Namste Swamiji

I'm from Mumbai and i got into this whole spiritual thing due to some scientific questions were wandering in my mind. I heard Swami Vivekananda's 1893 Chicago speech on Youtube. I sensed that, Swami Vivekananda's books can answer many of my questions. So i bought some of books (Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jana Yoga ) written by Swamiji.

Now I'm looking for free ashram where i can learn these spiritual things. Being student i don't have money to pay for ashram.

But i can do computer programs for you or could help you with administrating your site or developing another one for you.

Please give me an admission in one of your ashram where you teach or where you have learned from your Guru.


sameershinde 2 years ago

This is Sameer Shinde again.

Forgot to mentioned my mail id marathasam@gmail.com


skgrao profile image

skgrao 2 years ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

Are you addressing me as Swamiji.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas

Wonderful information! Voted up and awesome! :)


priyanka 2 years ago

M just married....pased 3months .. . M very innocent simple girl..my hubby giveing me lot of mental tarchar so... m feeling to my dad home..but i can't my dad ll hurt by dis... bz he s doing sex with other girls.. saying me do u also with his friends.... he want i shoul be mordern n physically...m trying..but his worlds are very bad.... so m decideing to leave home..so i want free ashram and i ll work for there....m gratuated .. feel joing job but m scare to live alone..


lischen 2 years ago

Dear Omakarananda,

This is an amazing page and I enjoyed reading through it a lot. Thank you!

But it still left a question for me open. I have really bad sleeping problems because at night I can't stop thinking and for that reason stay awake for hours. Or than if I do manage to fall asleep I have nightmares.. And besides that I have problems handeling any kind of pressure and my thoughts just go crazy and I end up having self confidence issues. And these are the main reasons why I thought meditation and yoga might help me. Just to learn to control my thoughts a little better and to find my inner self to help to calm down and be more confidente. I am willed to work hard on myself and to be open for new cultures, traditions and experiences but I am afraid that I am going in the wrong direction because I didn't hear meditation and yoga toghether with these problems a lot. But that actually surprises me because the more I read about the more I feel it could help.

I would have time to go to an ashram for 3 to 4 weeks in September or oktober.. so do you think it could help me? Of course I know that there is no gurantee and that it always depends on the person it self. I just want to know if, based on your experiences, I am on a wrong or a basically good way. And if you think it's good if you could maybe recommend me an ashram - rather not touristic and too big. And that is likely to still have availabilities for in 2 month.

Thank you very very much fir your help,

Lisa


Omkarananda profile image

Omkarananda 2 years ago from India Author

Dear Lisa

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

You are onto a great idea! In the last 10 years a lot of research has been done in the west regarding the efficacy of yoga and meditation on quieting the mind. Even a 15 minute a day practice can really help to reduce mental ailments like ADHD and depression.

Before you head off to an ashram, I'd suggest trying some practices at your home. They are simple and easy and can help you start your recovery towards a better nights sleep.

Try a practice like this psychic breathing technique

http://www.studyofyoga.org/classes/practice-type/p...

Or moon breathing

http://www.studyofyoga.org/classes/practice-type/p...

Every night before you go to bed. This can help to reduce the mental turmoil you are describing. Have a look around the studyofyoga website too because you might find some other useful meditation techniques.

Wish you peace, solitude and love

Omkarananda


aniee sharma 2 years ago from Jalandhar, India

Hi, I am currently staying in Raipur at my parents place. I have been studying scriptures and practicing meditation from the past 3 years. I have learned many things myself. It is an essence for me, w/o attaining it i am not able to help myself more. I need a bit guidance and peace of environment, which i am not able to do at home. Please reply if you can help me with these, i am in urgent need of it. Also, i cannot afford paying accommodation and food charges as i am not working and it is hard for me to ask money from my family. Please do reply.


Robert 2 years ago

I learned a lot from being in India before.

I have practiced yoga for 42 years, met amazing teachers.

I feel indebted to India' culture and what I have been given and learned.

Now it is time simply to return and give thanks... to the gods and godesses, the gurus and traditions. I am 76 and this is what I feel I would like to do. Where? How?


R C Sarngi 2 years ago

Dear Omkarananda Swamiji,

I am 77 years old and have been through rigors of life though had occupied very high positions in corporate life. I am now tired and would like to pursue spiritual quest for rest of my life alone, along with Sadhus, shunning wife and family who are financially self-sufficient. Can you guide me to some Ashrams where, for a charge, I will be accepted as a disciple and resident.

I have no duty towards anyone now not even my wife as my sons are perfectly capable to look after her and themselves.

Can you guide me out of this dilemma and kindly to offer a solution to me.

R C Sarangi

rcsarangi@hotmail.com


divya 18 months ago

i want of know a place where i can be safe and i can work over there. all i need is a safe place for my life time. i can also pay for things


Dr Dhiman bhattacharyya 16 months ago

Respected swamiji omkarananda,

Thanks for your in depth analysis.

I want to spend my life after 50 years of my age in an ashram (preferably a free ashram for foodings and lodging)where I would do my job,learn spirituality.

What ashram do you recommend where I can spend my rest of my life spiritually?

My best regards for you swamiji.


skgrao profile image

skgrao 16 months ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

I am not swami omkaranda.

Go to website:

http://www.artofliving.org/bangalore-ashram

Ask them what you want.


Anna Hengartner profile image

Anna Hengartner 14 months ago

Dear Omkarananda,

May I have your email address to ask you a few questions concerning this topic..?

Kind regards,

Anna Hengartner


skgrao profile image

skgrao 14 months ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

Do not go to any Swami.

Write to "ART OF LIVING FOUNDATION"

International in 150 country's.

21st MILE,Kanakapura Road

Bangalore South - 560083

Toll Free No.1800 258 8888

WEBSITE -www.artofliving.org/bangalore-ashram


Ruchira Khanna 9 months ago

Absolutely agree with your take on the many yogas and the ways to find an ashram accordingly.

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