Have doubts or questions about where to go in India and which spiritual centers to visit? Swami Jayananda discusses the ...
Ashrams in India: Finding Spirituality
By: Swami Jayananda
Hello. I am thrilled with joy jo y that you are considering coming to India to share a part of your spiritual life with our rich heritage and culture. But before you come visit our spiritual nation, please make sure you find a location that will fulfill your needs and also give you a chance to discover your spiritual center. This article I have written is an attempt to guide western students towards a suitable ashram where they can obtain the proper training in our Spiritual Traditions. Traditions.
HARI OM. YOU ARE THE GREAT UNIVERSAL SPIRIT.
Swami Jayananda Tradition Tradition of Yoga Practiced
Decide whether or not you wish to practice a form of yoga you are familiar with. Here are some of the different types of Yoga that are available in India, and you may want to click on one of the th e links to learn more about the different categories if you are not familiar with them: 1. Kriya Yoga: click here for webpage on kriya yoga 2. Tantra antr a Yoga: webpage for tantra yoga 3. Yoga Psychology: click here to get more information 4. Yoga Therapy: click here for the yoga therapy website
5. Karma Yoga: karma yoga and the body 6. Kundalini Yoga: article by swami sivananda and kundalini yoga 7. Hatha Yoga: (The development through asanas, pranayama, and other practices) 8. Bhakti Yoga: link to article on bhakti yoga 9. Raja Yoga: swami vivekananda talks about raja yoga 10. Jnana Jnana Yoga: article about yoga philosophy or jnana (wisdom) yoga 11. And of course there are many other forms you may be able to find online.
Location, location, location
Location is everything for some people, and there are a variety of ashrams that are situated in all the different social and environmental climates throughout India. These are just some of the different types of climates you will find: 1. Enviro Environme nmenta ntall Climat Climates: es:
i. Beach-side Beach-side ashrams (i.e. (i.e. Ragaswar Ragaswaram, am, Goa, Goa, Chennai, Chennai, Bombay (Mambai), Calcutta, Mysore.) ii. Mounta Mountains ins/Hi /Hills lls (Ko (Kodai daika kanal nal (more (more details), details), Rishikesha, Ranchi, Trinavelli, Dharmasala.) iii. iii. Plains Plains (Madu (Madurai rai,, Tirchi Tirchi,, Bihar, Bihar, etc) etc) iv. iv. River Side Side (main (main river river of spiritua spirituall is the Ganga Ganga or Ganges Ganges and the ancient spiritual center is Varanasi although things have changed there.) 2. Soci Social al Clim Climat ates es:: i. Southern Southern India India VS. Norther Northern n India (Andra (Andra Pradesh Pradesh (State (State of India) India) as divider between Tamil and Hindi Nationality) ii. Religi Religious ous Dominan Dominance ce (High (High north in Himalayas Himalayas is is mostly mostly Buddhist along the Nepali boarder while the south is very rich in the Hindu and Tantric traditions.) 3. Poli Politi tica call Climat Climate: e: i. In some states there there are much more more politi political cal disturb disturbances ances than than other states. Some of the most dangerous locations for foreigners to visit are Bihar, Jammu Kashmere, and most of the north eastern part of India due to social and political uprisings. ii. Some states states provi provide de more more protecti protection on to foreig foreign n travelers travelers than others, and Tamil Tamil Nadu is host of the strongest and most effective police forces in India, keeping violence and social disturbances to a minimum.
Student Teacher Relationship:
Some Ashrams are known for their one-on-one relationship with students which many people find beneficial to growth and spiritual transformation. A great example of this is the Tureya Institute (http://www.tureya.org ( http://www.tureya.org ) where students are given much attention and care to ensure their spiritual growth. Other Ashrams are meant to accommodate large amounts of people and usually satisfy tho se who wish to use the ashram as a hotel as opposed to a spiritual retreat. In the recent years many Ashrams throughout India have become commercialized commercialized and turned into business in order to make a profit. They use yoga as a service or commodity just like any other business, and many students s tudents walk away empty handed. To avoid this there are some major red flags which will indicate the nature of an Ashram: 1. “We “We only cater to foreig foreigners.” ners.” If people people of Indian Indian nationalit nationality y are not allowed to study at the Ashram then it is likely that they want to make as much money as possible. You You may want to look into this before you make your decision.
2. Look out out for extravag extravagant ant costs. costs. If you have have to pay more more than 60 dollars dollars a night just to occupy a room then you are in the wrong place. Some ashrams will charge only 1,000-2,000 dollars for a whole month of study and travel throughout India (http://www.indiashram.com ( http://www.indiashram.com)) 3. Yoga Retreats. Retreats. Some schools offer ‘retreats.’ In many cases the retreats retreats do not actually have facilities of their own and will rent out space from hotels or other ashrams. This may be a situation where a foreign teacher is teaching foreign students and there is no tradition involved, i.e. no people from India are involved sharing the spiritual teachings.
These are some basic things to consider before traveling to India and finding an Ashram from which you can study the spiritual traditions of India. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Swami Jayananda at: [email protected]