Kerala is a beautiful state on the south western tip of India and the perfect place to practice yoga. The lush green forests, soothing backwaters and abundance of wild life and stunning beaches make it a dream destination for yogis. There are loads of yoga retreats, ashrams and courses to choose from here. So how do you choose the best yoga retreat or ashram for you? From the boutique yoga retreats to the hardcore ashrams and Ayurvedic detox centers here is my pick of the best Kerala yoga retreats to help with your decision making.
I’ve already written a lot about the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram in Kerala so obviously that one is highly recommended but here are some others you should definitely consider.
Dreamy Kerala Yoga Retreats
Abhijna School of Yoga and Meditation
This is a place for understanding the intricate depth of direct yoga knowledge. Yoga students are taught toto follow their inner most path towards self-awareness by fully understanding the contents of the mind.
People from all over the world stay at Abhijna School of Yoga and Meditation from one to six months at a time to practice pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation. Programmes available are the Ashtanga Yoga Retreat, Yoga Therapy, Sound Healing and Teacher training courses in Ashtanga, Hatha or Vinyasa (200 and 300 hours).
At Abhijna School of Yoga and Meditation the primary motive is “To train students not only externally but also internally” – Mahesh Chandra, School’s Director (K.C. Mahesh). The Abhijna School of Yoga and Meditation Yoga Shala is nestled in between coconut and banana plantations and accommodation is only a 5 minute walk from the Shala and 10 minutes from the ocean.
Elephant Pass Ayurveda and Yoga Resort
Renew, refresh and recharge the Kerala way! Practice yoga in a jungle atmosphere at this luxurious riverside resort that’s adjoined by the famous elephant Krall “Kodanad” in the Ernakulam district.
Elephant Pass Ayurveda and Yoga Resort is blessed with natural beauty, enjoy being amongst nature while taking advantage of the resorts authentic Ayurveda treatment and wellness therapies. Experiences include the Karkkidakam Monsoon Package, Special Yoga and Ayurveda Programs and the Ayurvedic Health and Rejuvenation Packages.
Hinterland Village Getaway Resort
The mission of the Hinterland Village Resort in Kochi Kerala: To lead by example in taking positive action in enhancing local biodiversity and maintaining a sustainable balance of the ecosystem. A beautiful and inviting Yoga space was designed to maximize contact with nature. Surrounded by coconut trees, lush vegetation and a paddy field, this Open Shala is the perfect setting for unforgettable Yoga sessions.
What you need to know about doing yoga in Kerala
One thing you should know about doing yoga in Kerala or anywhere in India is that if you choose to visit an ashram the asanas (yoga poses and sequences) will only be a part of your experience and not the main focus. This is because India considers yogic philosophy, mantras, chanting, meditation, karma yoga and breathing and cleansing techniques to be of equal importance to the asanas. Expect to be fully immersed in the entire yoga way of life, mentally, spiritually and physically if you visit a yoga retreat in Kerala, India. Click To Tweet For some people this is a bonus or the very reason they’re planning their trip, for others it comes as a surprise.
Kerala Yoga Retreats & Karma Yoga
I’ve met a lot of westerners in India yoga retreats that get their knickers in a twist about having to do karma yoga (community service) when they would much rather be practicing head stands. They didn’t realize that that’s what they’d signed up for by visiting the ashram in the first place. Pay attention to your yoga course schedule! If you see an hour put aside for Karma Yoga every day then be prepared to lose the ego and get your hands dirty by helping out in the kitchens or scrubbing the floors. You might even enjoy it! 🙂
Visiting a yoga retreat for the first time? Read my yoga retreat packing list guide for female travelers.
If In Doubt Keep It Simple
As you can see there are so many Kerala yoga retreats to choose from it’s almost an impossible task. So why not just choose a yoga retreat based on your specific needs and preferred yoga style? For example an ashram might be the best choice if you want to include meditation in your yoga vacation. Other yoga centers might offer intense daily yoga classes. Make sure you choose one that specializes in your preferred style whether that be Ashtanga, Iyengar, Yin, Kundalini, Vinyasa or Bikram.
No matter what the price, location or focus, any yoga place you visit in Kerala India will bring you together with like-minded people. This will make your experience really special… even if you have to do karma yoga.
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If you’ve visited a Kerala Yoga Retreat feel free to share your experiences and recommendations in the comments section below…
If you’re traveling to Kerala or South India then find out more about what to do and see with one of these top Kerala Travel Guides.