Pin It
The Solo Traveler Blog

Ashram. Yoga. Cow. Ohm.

The welcoming entrance of Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram

It was 7:45am and our 1 & 3/4 hour yoga practice was coming to a close. Having been silent since 9pm the night before, we prepared for our first public sound in almost 11 hours. Led by Yogi Vishvketu, we breathed in deeply and exhaled a beautiful ohm. We did it a second time – in, out. And then, with our third slow inhale complete, just as we were ready for our final ohm, a cow outside expressed it for us. Yes the moo of a cow actually sounds surprisingly like ohm. The entire class broke into laughter.

This little story sums up my experience at Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh, India. There was the physical challenge of 3 & 1/2 hours of yoga each day, spiritual relaxation through silence and meditation, and laughter. Beyond the laughter yoga that was part of many classes, there was the laughter of friends sharing meals at the Ashram, chai masala at tea rooms, and excursions in the town and Himalayan foothills.

Shoes outside the upstairs yoga room. Of course, I wouldn't take photos of the class in progress.

The Ashram routine.

The day starts early at the Ashram. Rising at 5:15am I would make my way to the yoga studio by 5:45 – time enough to relax and meditate before class began at 6. The class runs until 7:45 which provides 15 minutes, just enough time to get your dishes from your room and go to the dining hall for breakfast. After breakfast there is a fire puja for about a half hour. Then, free time until lunch and free time again until 4pm when there is another 1 & 3/4 hour yoga class. Dinner at 6 and Kiirtan & Chanting on some evenings at 7. By 9 silence is observed until the next morning after breakfast.

Yes, the morning is completely silent. As the students move to the yoga class, get their dishes, have breakfast, no words are exchanged. Smiles, yes. But no words. It’s surprisingly pleasant.

Time between classes is used for journaling, meditating and reading. Ashram life involves solitary pursuits within a communal context.

Leanne and Penny at the washing station. We kept our own dishes in our room and washed them in this area after every meal.

Adjusting to Ashram Life

I slipped into the pattern of Ashram life very easily. This was a surprise to me. I had never done anything like it. I have been self-employed forever with no one telling me what to do and when. I wondered if I could adjust to a pre-set schedule. But I did. And I welcomed the routine. I welcomed the early mornings (me?), the silence, the simple but satisfying food and three and half hours of yoga a day. The only real challenge was sitting cross-legged for meals. I had hoped, by the end of my stay, to make it through a complete meal without stretching my legs in front of me, but it just didn’t happen.

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Enjoying Rishikesh and surrounding area.

I probably didn’t do as much reading, meditating and journaling at the Ashram as I should have because I was so taken with the surrounding area. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, I teared up when I first saw this view from the rooftop patio of Anand Prakash. It is far more stunning than the picture above presents. But, more important than the view, I was in (or near) the Himalayas. I couldn’t believe it!

If I’d had a second week at the Ashram, I’m sure I would have settled down to the more contemplative activities but there was the market to explore, the Rajiji National Park where I went on safari and saw an elephant in the wild, hiking nearby and many wonderful garden cafes where I relaxed and enjoyed chai masala.

The Ashram, Rishikesh, the mountains, the routine… I was taken with it all!

The garden provides a restful retreat. I should have used it more often. Next time, I'm sure.

 

 

 

 

Related posts:

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Hi alese,

    It’s not ashtanga yoga. You can email them or even call via skype and chat with them. The yogi is Indian. His wife is Canadian. The people there have excellent English and are very helpful. There are many ashrams in Rishikesh. I’m sure they would help you find the right one for you.

    Janice

  • Alese Affatato

    thanks for your lovely blog janice! could you tell me a bit more about the style of yoga and the intensity level? i am wanting an ashram experience, but I practice ashtanga and can’t seem to find the 2 to join in india. i will have 2 weeks. am interested in anand but would love to find an ashtanga ashram in rishikesh
    namaste!
    alese, chicago

  • Depart2Arrive

    Thank you for posting about your experience in the Ashram. We are considering including a 2 week ‘yoga’ stay at the same ashram towards the end of our 3 month trip around India and we werent sure what to expect. This has definitely helped us get a better understanding. Before going to the Ashram had you practiced a lot of yoga? I have done very (VERY) little yoga in the past and I’m nervous about my ability to keep up with 3+ hrs a day.

    http://www.depart2arrive.com

  • MissChaosTown

    Great post! Thank you for sharing

  • cinzia

    hi, I would like to go in the ashram you are talking about .. How can I booking?

    cinzia Italy

  • Susan

    Thanks for this inspiration Janice, adding this to my list of possibilities for next milestone B-day

  • http://geekygirlinteractive.com Jodi Henderson

    This description makes me feel like visiting an Ashram is something even I could do. Thanks for sharing this!

  • http://www.tourvey.com/webevaluation.php website evaluation

    I atleast visit once in the Rishikesh and experience the power of Yoga.

About Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt

I'm an author, blogger, speaker and traveler. I became a widow and empty-nester at about the same time. And then, I became Solo Traveler... Here's the full story. >>

Tracey Nesbitt I’m a writer, editor, food and wine fanatic, and traveler. On my very first trip abroad I learned that solo travel was for me. Here's the full story. >>

Get the Solo Traveler Newsletter…

Subscribe Now!

Sign up for the monthly Solo Traveler Newsletter and get the monthly Deals Advisory as well PLUS a free copy of "Travel Views: 9 Travel Stories by 9 Travel Bloggers.

Support Solo Traveler by searching below.

Follow Solo Traveler

Google+
rss

As Seen In…

Archives

RESULTS MAY VARY (The disclaimer.)

The content of Solo Traveler and any resources published by Solo Traveler are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Every person and every travel situation is different. Your safety, satisfaction and fun traveling solo are your responsibility alone and not that of Solo Traveler, its publisher, editor and/or writers.
KeepYourCooler_logo_300w