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Finding an Ashram in India

Updated on August 10, 2012
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, 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 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 or 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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    • profile image

      Ruchira Khanna 2 years ago

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

    • skgrao profile image

      S K G Rao. 2 years ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

      Do not go to any Swami.


      International in 150 country's.

      21st MILE,Kanakapura Road

      Bangalore South - 560083

      Toll Free No.1800 258 8888


    • Anna Hengartner profile image

      Anna Hengartner 2 years 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

      S K G Rao. 2 years ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

      I am not swami omkaranda.

      Go to website:

      Ask them what you want.

    • profile image

      Dr Dhiman bhattacharyya 2 years 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.

    • profile image

      divya 2 years 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

    • profile image

      R C Sarngi 3 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

    • profile image

      Robert 3 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?

    • profile image

      aniee sharma 3 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.

    • Omkarananda profile image

      Omkarananda 3 years ago from India

      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

      Or moon breathing

      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


    • profile image

      lischen 3 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,


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      priyanka 3 years ago

      M just married....pased 3months .. . M very innocent simple 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 i want free ashram and i ll work for there....m gratuated .. feel joing job but m scare to live alone..

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

      Wonderful information! Voted up and awesome! :)

    • skgrao profile image

      S K G Rao. 4 years ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

      Are you addressing me as Swamiji.

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      sameershinde 4 years ago

      This is Sameer Shinde again.

      Forgot to mentioned my mail id

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      Sameer Shinde 4 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.

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      kumar satyam 4 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 kindely please tell me aashrams in south india where i can food ,shelther and knowladge for free of cost..

    • skgrao profile image

      S K G Rao. 4 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.

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      vishal 4 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

      S K G Rao. 4 years ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

      Try the food at ISCKON temple near your home.

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      vishal 4 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!


    • venkatesh chintha profile image

      Circle 4 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)

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      Jane 5 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.

    • SAMEERPT profile image

      SAMEERPT 5 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-

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      Cris 5 years ago

      I loved your post! Helped me a lot.

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      5 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...


    • profile image 5 years ago

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

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      ladysmack 5 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

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      shuwan 5 years ago


      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.

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      aniket 5 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?

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      H.N Christensen 5 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

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      Yash 5 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.

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      Satyam 5 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?

    • Omkarananda profile image

      Omkarananda 5 years ago from India

      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.

    • Omkarananda profile image

      Omkarananda 5 years ago from India

      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 5 years ago from India

      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 5 years ago from India

      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.

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      Omkarananda 5 years ago from India

      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 5 years ago from India

      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!

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      Paul 5 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.

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      BISWA 5 years ago


      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.

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      Victor 5 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


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      Anastasia Afful-Niazi 5 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.

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      Prashant 5 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.

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      thanos 5 years ago


      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


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      Vasu 5 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

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      Cateye 5 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.

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      Jay 5 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.

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      VJ 6 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.

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      Seattle Trent 6 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?

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      NIVA 6 years ago


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      adryana 6 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

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      Heather 6 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 Thank you.


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      sandhya 6 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 i also want to get some clarity about my career life..relationships is there any such place in south india..??? as it is closer to me

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      krispyadventurer 6 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)

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      Santiago Hossni 6 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 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.

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      lucie 6 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


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      Rahm 6 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.

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      Emily Fenwick 6 years ago


      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?

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      ANASTACIA 6 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

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      nicky 6 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.

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      ananda 6 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.

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      Om Sara 6 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.

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      nadia 6 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

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      Avinash 6 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

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      Emilie Wlch  6 years ago


      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

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      andrej 6 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.

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      Omkarananda 6 years ago from India

      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!


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      Omkarananda 6 years ago from India

      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!


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      Omkarananda 6 years ago from India

      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.


      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!


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      Aaron 6 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

      Thank you very much.

      Best regards,


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      R.VAIDYANATHAN 7 years ago


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      Rute Isabel 7 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

      Thank you for your time.

      I hope this message finds you well,

      Rute Isabel

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      adam 7 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

      Thanks very much.

      With best wishes Adam.

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      andrej 7 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,


      Andrej (from Slovenia)

      my e-mail:

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      Aline 7 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 Tks

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      avinash 7 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

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      Laura Cutler 7 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

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      Paula 7 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 ?

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      itachi,india 7 years ago


      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

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      itachi,india 7 years ago


      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

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      stephan 7 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

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      julio 7 years ago


      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!


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      John 7 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?

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      TiffanyLC 7 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

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      Tiffany 7 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.

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      Bishwajit Ganguly 7 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

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      raju velthakkal 7 years ago


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

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      Luke 7 years ago


      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.

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      Omkarananda 7 years ago from India

      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.

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      alexa 7 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 7 years ago from India

      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 In addition to this, if your articles are academic in nature, you may also want to submit your articles to 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!

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      Omkarananda 7 years ago from India

      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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      Yoginivee 7 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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      Anne  7 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

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      S.S.YOGI 7 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,


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      Eszter 7 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

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      ramdas1976 7 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.

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      Sony 7 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

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      Omkarananda 7 years ago from India


      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.