Why Yoga in Rishikesh

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Hey everyone interested in exploring yoga in its World Capital, Rishikesh! It’s already third time that I’m in Rishikesh, and every time I stay minimum for three months here, doing yoga morning and evening, 5-6 hours a day. And still, coming here for a third time, I have come across some amazing discoveries that I did not know about 2 last times. This mostly concerns good amazing yoga teachers and yoga centers in Rishikesh.

It may seem surprising that finding really good teachers here may be a difficult task, but it is. The recommendations on yoga in Lonely Planet and other guides are just ridiculous for anyone more or less seriously interested in yoga. It seems like their journalists banged in the first door and recommended classes even without trying them out, or trying them as complete newbies. This results in a situation when you come to a place that is recommended by a guide and get so disappointed in the “yoga” they teach that you want to pack your things and urgently get out of there.

Rishikesh is a heavily publicized place for learning yoga, and at the same time there is no governmental regulations on who is allowed to teach yoga and what certification they should possess for this kind of activity. This results in emergence of huge numbers of yoga teachers and centers that start teaching after completing some weekly or monthly course. So for many “teachers” here yoga is not their passion or even interest, it is just a business of giving lessons and receiving payment for it. So when I arrived in the place for the first time, I got to classes of a few really bad teachers that obviously counted on complete newbies and could not offer anything of value about the subject. I even wanted to leave the place, so much the reality was different from my expectations. By then purely by chance I was advised to visit a class of Surinder Singh, and after that I stayed in Rishikesh for the entire time that my visa allowed me (though I planned to travel a bit previously).

The point of the story is not about Surinder actually, as he is not the sole good teacher here. The point is about the fact that for a newcomer in Rishikesh, it’s very difficult to find someone of value as they are like diamonds in a pile of fake teachers. After going for 2 years to Surinder only, and occasionally to Usha’s Iyengar classes, this year I was surprised to find that there are a lot more great teachers around there, but little people really know about them. Therefore I am making this blog to tell you about my discoveries on yoga in Rishikesh, so that anyone interested in good yoga classes could come here equipped with information from long-time practitioner.

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11 responses »

  1. Andrea, wow, you found my post so fast, I have just published it 🙂 I checked your blog, we have such similar interests, we even chose the same template for the site, hahaha 🙂
    So whose classes have you visited in Rishikesh?

    • I actually went to the Sivananda Kutir in Netala, Himalayas – I posted a summary of that as well as of the trip to Gangrotri (amazing!!!) on my blog back in October. In Rishi I stayed in Parmath which was wonderful.

  2. Hi!

    I’ve just found your blog and I thought it was a great idea. I’m going to Rishikesh and I was looking for a good yoga teacher there. Everyone recommends Surinder sinh’s class. Unfortunatly, you have not updated your blog. Would you mind giving me some light in a few words?

    Thanks a lot.

    Mariana

    • Mariana, Surinder Singh is certainly good, but it also depends on what you’re looking for in yoga. However, he is able to accommodate all levels of students, and provides insight into mind work and spiritual side of yoga, additionally to a good physical workout. You should know that his class is somewhat more static that usual hatha yoga class, which can be good to develop your static strength and stamina. Also, he gives details on proper alignment, although if his class is full, you may lack his individual attention. There are several really good other teachers in Rishikesh, and I will outline their classes in more detail soon (just got back from trip around South East Asia where I could not write too often). If you want to learn proper alignment of postures, you should visit the class of Usha Devi, Iyengar teacher that teaches in Omkarananda center in Ram Jhula. If you want more dynamic class with good physical workout, mantra chanting and active breathing exercises, you can check Yogi Vishvaketu at Anand Prakash Ashram on Tapovan (http://www.akhandayoga.com/) I will write about all them in more details in my posts, hope it will help you. When are you coming to Rishikesh, and how much time do you have?

  3. Oh, thanks a lot for answering! I’ve just read your comment and I’m going to Rishikesh tomorrow and we stay only three, so I will get some classe only if I’m lucky. Let’s see…

    Very thanks!

  4. Pingback: Ashish Sharma, Excellent Asana Teacher in Rishikesh | Yoga in Rishikesh

  5. Thank you so much for this information. I really liked your style of writing. Im a newbie to yoga and to Rishikesh too and have been pretty intimidated by it all, where to stay, which teacher to go to etc …..this is the first bit of info I have come across on the web which makes it easier to understand and gives me courage to go. Thank you soo much for writing it up!! For a total beginner who is pretty unfit, out of all the people you recommend which teacher would you recommend for me?

    • Hi Angelie,

      Thank you so much for your feedback. If you’re beginner, you can check classes of Surinder Singh. If you’re interested in Iyengar Yoga, there are classes for Beginners in Omkarananda Ganga Sadan at Muni Ki Reti (where Usha Devi teaches). The classes for beginners start at about 4 PM.

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