Best Yoga schools in India – Top 10
India is still THE place to learn Yoga. Thousands flock to India between October and March to study yoga. It can be very confusing and overwhelming to pick a school to study, especially amidst all the commercialization and online clutter. Here are top 10 of the best Yoga schools to go to while in India. The rating has been based on many below 5 factors
- My firsthand experience of the school
- Interaction with students from the school
- Founders mission and execution of their plan
- Holistic approach to Yoga rather than just Asana based.
- Publications and Videos from the school
This list, in no way exhaustive, provides a must visit Yoga schools, if not a long term engagement. Amongst one of the following you might find a good fit. I have personally visited most of the schools listed below and I strongly recommend you do the same, visit and attend yoga sessions before you can settle with one for long term Yoga study.
- Bihar school of Yoga / Satyananda Yoga, Munger, Bihar: Founded by Swami Satyananda, disciple of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, this School is one of the most well rounded Yoga approaches you can find in the present day. Bihar school publication on Yoga and related topics are widely popular, Who hasn’t heard or used Asana Pranayama Mudra and Bandha (APMB for short). I spend two years living on the campus to have experienced all aspects of yoga education here.
- Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, KYM, Chennai: Founded by TKV Desikachar in honour of the legendary T Krishnamacharya of Mysore. Apart from teaching traditional yoga KYM is also one of the pioneers of Therapy Yoga. KYM has retained its focus amidst all the commercialisation of modern Yoga and still operates out of a small campus in Chennai.
- Kailvalya dham, KDham, Lonavla, Swami Kuvalayananda founded Kaivalyadhama in 1924, One of the oldest Modern day Yoga schools in India, Kaivalyadhama’s aim is to bring together traditional Yoga with modern science. Spread over 180 acres of greenery, this place offers many courses from 6 weeks to a 3 years BA in Yoga. This place is also engaged in many researches on Yoga.
- Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari: Founded by Eknath Ranade in 1972, this spiritual organisation propagates the teaching of Swami Vivekananda. Yoga is an important part of the organisations approach to spirituality. The Yoga courses here have simple practices and profound philosophies. This school has been an inspiration to many who have nurtured their own schools of Yoga.
- Sivananda Ashram, Nayyar dam, Kerala: Founded by Swami Vishnudevananda, another disciples of Swami Sivananda, Sivananda Ashram is located in a beautiful place and offers some fundamental Yoga & Vedanta practices. Known for its Yoga teacher training programs in some of the most beautiful locations across the world, Sivananda TTC is affordable and light in its approach.
- Yoga Institute, Mumbai, Founded by Sri Yogendraji, this 100 years old institution is another of the most reputed Yoga schools that has stood the test of time. This is a pioneering place to understand and learn Yoga as a householder / urban dweller. Set up on an acre in the busy Santa Cruz area, this school has trained the most yoga teachers in the modern format till date.
- BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute, Pune: Founded by popular Yoga proponent BKS Iyengar, this organisation has been attracting many to learn the nuances of Iyengar yoga, yoga done with props like bricks, bolsters, straps, chairs etc. Run by Sri Iyengar’s family in Pune, this place is Know for it detailed physical approach and use of props. Light of Yoga, written by BKS, is one of the most recognised Asana books in the yoga world.
- Swami Rama Sadhaka Gram, Rishikesh: Was founded by Swami Veda Bharati, to carry forward his Guru Swami Rama’s mission. Though this school’s main focus is Meditation, other limbs or yoga do find their due place. The publications are of high quality and scholarly. The organisation has stayed away from commercialisation of Yoga and quietly goes about teaching to the few true seekers that come to this Rishikesh Ashram. Interestingly, the first few versions of the now popular Rishikesh International Yoga festival was organised by Sadhaka Grama.
- S-VYASA, Bangalore: A Yoga University, Founded by Dr. Nagendraji, with inspiration from Eknath Ranade’s Vivekananda Kendra. The goal of this university is to make Yoga a socially relevant science. S-VYASA aims at blending the best of both world’s – Yoga and Science in all its offering, which range from a one month YIC to a MSc to a PhD in Yoga. Big on Yoga research, the university also has an Ayurvedic college and its Arogyadhama offers Yoga, Ayurveda and Naturopathy blended approach to healing.
- Paramarth Nikethan, Rishikesh: A Popular ashram in Rishikesh, Parmarth shot to lime light from its annual Yoga International festival, which attracts thousands from across the world. Primarily a spiritual ashram and a Gurukul, Paramarth does have some decent yoga courses. Situated on the banks of Ganga, this beautiful ashram is a must visit when in Rishikesh.