Yoga Holiday in India - why its so special?
Yoga holidays are special full stop. Anywhere in the world where there is natural beauty, yoga and good food, you're really onto a winner...But I think yoga holidays in India are extra-special because yoga philosophy originated in India, its roots are there and you can feel it in the air, practicing in the warmth of the sun, its in the crimson and vermillion sacred powders daubed everywhere, in the roots of the banyan trees and the orange dust of the earth, in the smell of the incense, and intricate decorative designs, in the layers of life...ah Mother India is calling!
The feedback from students who have been on a yogaunited holiday in India are as you would expect and people come back again and again: our holidays in India are a very healing experience, a time of real adventure and excitement, a time for restoring health, for relaxing ayurvedic massage, and for generating prana to burst back into life afresh. But apart from the the work on the yoga mat, yoga practices of various styles, from hatha yoga to Scaravelli inspired, pranayama, and meditation, warm sea, sunrises and sunsets, its the contact with the the people we meet and their way of life that make it special.
Yoga philosophy in the everyday
I'm talking mutual fascination! Its (almost) always about smiling and really looking deeply into the eyes of a strange-looking foreigner. As we are taught in yoga philosophy, underneath the illusion of the surface (maya), we find that we are all of the same divine stuff, we are all connected to the great universal soup - Namaste indeed...if we bother to take time to look.
Its amazing to see a tree daubed in sacred powders - there doesn't have to be a temple, an organisation, a priest...just nature, even cars and fridges get a blessing when they're new. Call it religion, superstition, call it what you like but its refreshing to see the power of a simple blessing as a normal part of daily life. Everything in nature can be marked sacred - a sacred tree, a sacred animal, a tiny temple on the road. Taking time to be thankful, to appreciate what you have, to travel long distances to pray at a certain temple to thousands of different deities, to whisper your dreams to the god's vehicle, its all part of Indian life.
You will probably want to take lots of pictures of women in vibrant saris, newly wed couples on the beach, families posing together but its often a surprise to find that they want to photograph you too...well why wouldn't they, you're even more fascinating to them, probably because they have never travelled the world and seen anything like you before either!
I'm not saying everyone is loved up and wonderful in India; of course, as anywhere in the world, where there are tourists, there are dollars, and where there is money, there are rip-off merchants waiting. Personally, I have never felt safer anywhere in the world in spite of recent bad press, and we organise trips and go to places that are not always on the tourist trail or in the guidebook.
...a local swami, ashram, martial arts school, women's project, punt on the backwaters...
Keralan cooking, like the landscape, is all about coconuts. Coconut oil is the new olive oil and the health benefits are proven to be far-reaching for heart, brain, kidneys and liver. So having your food cooked in fresh, natural coconut oil is a treat. But there's also the subtle flavours of coconut milk, and ground coconut with spices to thicken sauces. The food is fresh, divine and subtle..and most importantly its included in the price of the holiday, and there's loads of choice. Let the restaurant captain know if you have any dietary requirements, and he goes all out to make your stay special. Latst year, even the hotel manager helped serve us up a feast on our last night...he just loves to make yogaunited customers happy - thanks Chef!
Coming with us?
If you'd like to come to India in Feb 2014, here's lots more information on our website Yoga holidays in India page. We've been taking groups to India for over 5 years, so give me a call on 020 8449 3556 if you've got any questions or if you're a teacher and would us to organise your yoga holiday. My name is Judy and I can't wait to show you my second home. Namaste