Namaste India, The birthplace of Yoga

Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort, Ayurveda, yoga, Kerala, Palakkad, wellness, retreat, resort, travel, journey, healing, medicine, herbal

For International Day of Yoga 2016: Round up of yoga posts and resources

International Yoga Day, yoga, India, spirituality, travel, ashramTHIS YEAR, 2017, marks the third year of International Day of Yoga celebrations. Inaugurated by the Indian government in 2015, the resolution was supported by 177 nations at the United Nations General Assembly. This year, 139 countries are registered to participate in #YogaDay festivities.

This year also marks another move forward for Yoga in India. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to allow foreigners to visit India on a tourist or e-tourist visa for “attending a short-term yoga programme.” This is a change from the previous regulation, which prevented all studies, including yoga studies, while in India on a tourist visa.

The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.” – TKV Desikachar

I wrote about my 25+ year journey with yoga in my International Day of Yoga post last year, What is Yoga? Yoga is the backbone of my life, if you pardon the pun. It helped me recover from loss and depression, brought me to India, and opened inner and outer worlds that I never knew existed. I’ve spent many months studying yoga in India and staying in yoga ashrams. I have a teaching certificate from Yoga Space in Toronto and a certificate from Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai.

If you would like to learn more about Yoga and especially Yoga in India, please check out these blog posts and resources below. I’ve rounded up all of my best Yoga posts — full of tips, recommendations and personal experiences.

Me, watching the sunrise on banks of Ganga near Aurovalley Ashram, India

Watching the sunrise on banks of Ganga near Aurovalley Ashram, India

Yoga creates oneness within and harmony with nature

In this post, below, I wrote about my own personal yoga journey from dealing with a very stiff back when I was about 30 to going to India to study yoga when I was in my 40s, to the present. Also includes an explanation of Yoga from Dr. Pankaj Seth.

For an explanation of Yoga from renowned and inspiring teacher Mark Whitwell.

One of my favourite Yoga teachers is Yogrishi Vishvektu. I’ve known him for many years, and practised with him in Canada and India, where he runs an ashram and offers Yoga teacher training (in Rishikesh). Recently, he published a gorgeous book on Yoga and I interviewed him.

Yoga, India, Rishikesh, ashram, spiritual, Anand Prakash, Yogrishi Vishvektu

Yogrishi Vishvketu demonstrating asana

Yoga belongs to the world. But it has a home. India.

These posts, below, are about my yoga experiences in India over the past 11 years. I’ve been to several ashrams and schools, and at the very end of my first trip to India in 2006, I found my spiritual home at Aurovalley Ashram.

Aurovalley is a quiet ashram located about halfway between Haridwar and Rishikesh in the Shivalik Hills, the foothills of the Himalayas, the abode of Shiva. It is a peaceful spot with profound, healing energy. I’ve been countless times, and my blog posts have sent countless people there … many of whom return again and again. Here’s a sampling of posts I’ve written about beautiful Aurovalley Ashram.

This post was written for a Canadian magazine about the deep connections between Yoga and India.

I’ve often written about Rishikesh, which is considered the world capital of Yoga. I’ve spent a lot of time there, or in the region, and I think of it as home-away-from home. Though it has boomed since I started going 11 years ago, it still has the uplifting vibes it always had, probably from time immemorial.

Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh, India, yoga, spirituality

Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh

Yoga runs like a backbone through Breathedreamgo

When I searched the term “Yoga” in the sidebar of this blog I was surprised to find 13 pages of posts. Here I highlight just a couple of my other favourites.

Sivananda Yoga Camp in Quebec, Canada is like a slice of India in the great Canadian outdoors. I wrote about the wonderful weeks I spent there one summer.

About 4 years ago, my friend opened a Yoga studio near my place in Toronto. To celebrate the opening, and for my own personal reasons, I embarked on a 30 Day Yoga Challenge. This is where you attend a Yoga class every day for a month. Here’s a series on my journey.

Several years ago, I wrote this article below for an expat site. It includes a list of recommended yoga schools and ashrams in India.

Finally, Yoga has a sister science, Ayurveda, which offers natural and time-honoured solutions for health and wellness. I wrote about my stay at an Ayurvedic resort in Kerala in Almost Perfect: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort. If you are thinking of travelling to India for Yoga, consider staying for Ayurvedic treatments too. Mind and body will be cleansed and cleared … giving you a deeper connection to yourself and the world.

Namaste! Thank you for reading.

Yoga, India, travel, International Yoga Day, 2016, Rishikesh, lotus, asana

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18 Responses to Namaste India, The birthplace of Yoga

  1. Gessell June 21, 2016 at 3:33 am #

    Great post. I’ve only gotten into yoga recently (after the birth of my baby) but I’ve already noticed great improvement from it on my physical and mental well being. It really is something everyone should try!

  2. swatibassi June 21, 2016 at 5:20 am #

    For me Yoga is harmony of mind body and soul. The day I started practicing this art, my life changed in a wonderful way.

  3. Tarun Chhauda June 21, 2016 at 6:36 am #

    Hi Mariellen,

    It gives me immense pleasure to read your blog as you offer a very close encounter with India and its heritage. I am a recent visitor to the world of blogs and happen to visit your blog as and when I could. I worked a great deal with “content mills” to eventually realize my true potential and which has what has led me to travel various blogs in an attempt to understand the blogging world better and finally to venture out and market myself as a better writer. In my exploration I have found your blog to impart the necessary warmth that a reader so often desires. I have always believed that the best writing is the one which is simply expressed and that is the quality I find in the pieces you write. Your post on Yoga comes on a day when India has been made proud by accomplishing yet another feat of inventing the International Yoga Day. We as Indians would always be indebted to you for the footprints you leave behind through your writings. I was also fortunate to visit Aurovalley based on your suggestions in an earlier post I read.

    Please keep writing and giving us enough reasons to “Celebrate India”.

    Have a happy International Yoga Day!

    • Mariellen Ward June 21, 2016 at 10:40 am #

      Tarun, that’s one of the nicest comments — and compliments — I’ve ever received. Thank you so much, I truly appreciate it. To be honest, my love for India came naturally to me, and I just try and express it. I am just trying to reflect the best part of India culture back. Namaste 🙂
      Mariellen Ward recently posted..The Jungle Book movie celebrates IndiaMy Profile

  4. Xplorato June 26, 2016 at 4:26 am #

    When i tell people i practice yoga they simply think its someone seated on the floor going mmmmmm lol 😀 i am always for being informed and thank you for sharing this w:)

  5. matheikal June 26, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

    It’s nice to see people who are in love with India. It makes me look at my country in a better light. ☺

  6. Maura oleary June 27, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

    Hello I’m looking for advice
    I want to travel to Goa and stay for a week at a yoga retreat..

    I’ve found lots of great places but I’m getting a little anxious to travel alone

    Thanks for advice

  7. Rutavi July 19, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Mariellen,

    Hope you are doing well. We haven’t been in touch for various reasons but as always I respect you enough and drop by your blog to see.Your quest towards India really amazes me sometimes. I practice yoga I can resonate with you some of the best places in India. For me, Hrishikesh has always been one of my favorite places to learn and enjoy withing mountains. Hoping to do just a yoga trip. Hoping to hear from you soon!
    Rutavi recently posted..Quick 5-day Itinerary to MacauMy Profile

  8. Rishikul Yogshala July 20, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

    Yoga can really help you to improve you physical, mental and spiritual being.

  9. Miranda Risser July 22, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    I love this post. I’ve been practicing Bikram yoga for over 10 years and have found one thing astoundingly true: What brings you to yoga is not what makes you stay. I was brought to yoga as an ex-gymnast looking for a way to maintain my flexibility and exercise regimen. What made me stay was the overwhelming sense of purpose it brought me and the peace of mind that I didn’t find in gymnastics. I would love to visit these ashrams you’re talking about and experience the healing energy of these places!
    Miranda Risser recently posted..Colorado Summer: 16 Things To Do In Vail Beyond SkiingMy Profile

  10. Maria Han July 27, 2016 at 1:57 am #

    Very interesting and inspirational post. I like your accounts about yoga at the foothills of Himalayas. But it seems difficult to travel in such places alone for me but I will try.

  11. Tina July 30, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

    When I get to India, I will have to explore this ancient art from its masters … thanks for the motivation!

  12. Jaspreet Singh August 27, 2016 at 4:47 am #

    Have you met Baba Ramdev The Yog Guru of India

  13. Deepika September 6, 2016 at 8:35 am #

    I am also a Yoga student and I really appropriate your work. You did a great post. Thanks for giving this informative post.

  14. J September 24, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    I read your article, on yoga. The concept of yoga is different, you misinterpreted. Yoga means connected, yog refers plus (+) in arithmetic. If you put 1+1 then the result will be 2. Where 1 is an earthly soul and the second 1 is indefinite soul.
    In practice, yoga has physical movements (the primary stage), mainly stretching, bending. Instead you can try running, climbing, weight lifting. All this you require to intoxicate your body. The second part is controlling of mind, without a physical movement you can not ping your concentration. A few can, are called high souls. After basic practice, the second stage comes in current or in future life. Basically all yoga Gurus are in their basic stages of performing practice.
    When you will ping OM to the universal servers, then your Yoga journey will commence. It usually takes 2-13 births.
    What is OM?
    You remember, what the light told Moses, against his question? The Answer was “I Am” and OM is I Am.
    The ping command of the Universal server. The Yoga means to get connected with universal server, and Yogi is who establish a connection. The age of non believers organising courses to get enlightened. Remember, it is pre designed, who will do what? Knowledge cannot be sold, once sold that knowledge will have no value. As told by him.

  15. Krishna Kumar October 13, 2016 at 12:44 am #

    Yoga is a wonderful method to keep our body and mind calm, relaxed and healthy. I recently learned yoga from Amruthamgamaya( and started practising yoga. Now I feel the difference a lot.

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