Rishikesh: The Yoga & Meditation Centre in India

by On Feb 25, 2015

If the world of yoga & meditation had a capital, it would be Rishikesh. One of the most popular destinations for yoga in India, ‘Rishikesh’ is a hub of numerous ashrams and yoga & meditation centers that provide yoga classes in and around the beautiful and tranquil surroundings of Rishikesh to many students. Yoga enthusiasts from different parts of the world visit this sacred place to learn the major yoga styles and perform the same, on the banks of the holy Ganges River in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.

How Yoga came to be associated with Rishikesh?

Rishikesh is a very spiritual place, which inspires people to immerse in yoga and meditation. It is one of the most popular holy destinations in India that helps people to attain Moksha through Vedic studies offered in the ashrams. Also, this place is visited by prominent personalities such as Swami Vivekananyda, Swami Rama Tirtha, and Swami Shivananda who are believed to have studied and explored the art of Yoga here.

Well, Rishikesh got International fame when the popular band “The Beatles” visited the now-closed Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram in Rishikesh in February 1968. The band supposedly composed nearly 48 songs during their time at the ashram, many of which appeared on the White Album. Likewise, several other artists and yoga enthusiasts visited Rishikesh to devote their time to religious activities and to learn the Yoga at the ashrams.

What is Yoga all about?

Yoga isn’t an art that only requires twisting your body in different ways, it is much more different that what some people think. . Yoga is all about meditation, pranayamas (breathing styles), and Yoga asanas (postures) and also about taking care of our mind, body, and breath. Many refer to Yoga as an activity that involves physical, mental, and spiritual exercises and gives peace of mind. Our great Hindu spiritual monks such as Swami Vivekananda introduced Yoga in the western countries in 1980 and spread awareness about the benefits of doing Yoga both in and around the country.

Some people strongly believe that Yoga is also effective in curing ailments related to heart, cancer, schizopherenia, and asthama and if practiced for a long time, it can improve muscular-skeletal, and mental health of patients.

What is the history of Yoga?

Very few of you know that Yoga was first described in Katha Upanishad (Hindu Scripture 400 BCE) as a “steady control on senses.” In ancient India, it was considered a means to attain everlasting peace of mind. It is believed that Yoga postures were used even during the Indus Valley Civilization and the same is also mentioned in the Indian text like Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita, and Mokshdharma around 500-200 BCE. Mentions about yoga can also be found in the Mahabharata in the form of words like “Bhakti Yoga,” “Karma Yoga,” and “Gyan Yoga.”

How Yoga benefits your body?

Yoga has a remedy for all your health problems. It purifies the whole body and soul and gives perfect synchronization to your mind, breath, and body for a peaceful and happier life. Following are the benefits of Yoga…

  • It improves immunity, energy level, and overall health of your body and mind.
  • It helps you gain energy, physically, mentally, and emotionally through different asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation.
  • It helps you to lose weight through Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation), breathing techniques, and Kapal Bhati.
  • Asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation help you achieve inner peace.

What are the postures involved in Yoga Asanas?

There are more than 20 asanas in Yoga and each asana has a positive effect on the body. Below is the list of asanas that one may practice to attain peace and good health.

Standing Asanas of Yoga:

  • Konasana Yoga: For spine, arms, legs, back pain and abdominal.
  • Katichakrasana Yoga: For neck, shoulders, muscles of arms, and legs.
  • Hastapadasana Yoga: For back muscles, spine, and blood supply.
  • Ardha Chakrasana Yoga: For front upper torso.
  • Trikonasana Yoga: For stress, digestion, ankle, and knees.
  • Virabhadrasana Yoga: For stamina and shoulders.
  • Parsarita Padotanasana Yoga: For legs and spine.
  • Vrikshasana Yoga: For hips, chest, and thigh.
  • Utkatasana Yoga: For ankle, leg, knee, and spine.

Sitting Asanas of Yoga

  • Janu Shirasasana Yoga: For lower back and shoulders.
  • Paschimottanasana Yoga: For toning the abdominal and pelvic organs.
  • Poorvottanasana Yoga: For Wrist, intestines, respiratory.
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana Yoga: For spine and lungs.
  • Badhakonasana Yoga: For menstrual discomfort, menopause symptoms, and pregnancy.
  • Marjariasana Yoga: For blood circulation and spine.
  • Shishu Asana Yoga: For nervous system.
  • Chakki Chalanasana Yoga: For back muscles.

Lying on Stomach Asanas of Yoga

  • Dhanurasana Yoga: For stomach and knees.
  • Bhujangasana Yoga: For shoulders and neck.
  • Viparita Shalabhasana Yoga: For chest, shoulders, and arms.
  • Shalabasana Yoga: For back pain.

Lying on Stomach Asanas of Yoga

  • Naukasana Yoga: For the back and abdominal muscles.
  • Setubandhasana Yoga: For back muscles.
  • Matsyasana Yoga: For chest and neck.
  • Pavanamuktasana Yoga: For digestion and abdominal muscles.
  • Sarvangasana Yoga: For the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
  • Halasana Yoga: For legs and nervous system.
  • Chakrasana Yoga: For the spine, relaxation, and quadriceps.
  • Vishnu Asana Yoga: For stretches the pelvic joints.
  • Shavasana Yoga: For rest and stress release.

What are the best Yoga courses in Rishikesh?

Whether you are looking to add more dynamism to your life, or seeking knowledge & confidence to spread yoga in the world, or simply looking to deepen your knowledge about Yoga, the yoga courses offered at numerous ashrams in Rishikesh are a transformational teaching. It is a great Indian heritage that teaches us the right way of life. Here are some of the best courses offered in different Yoga schools in Rishikesh.

Here are the details of some of the best yoga courses in Rishikesh and also the list of best yoga ashrams to learn this discipline.

200 Hour Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga Training in Rishikesh

Through this course the students are offered in-depth knowledge about various forms of yoga. This is a basic yet intensive course that gives theoretical & practical knowledge to the students with strong emphasis on Pranayama, life force, spirituality & oneness. This course helps people transformtheir thought patterns & lifestyle habits. Some of the highlights of this course are:

  • Asanas or body postures, involved in Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hatha Yoga, and Laughter Yoga
  • Brief theory of Yoga and Ayurveda
  • Mental relaxation through meditation & healing
  • Deep Cleansing & detoxification of the body through Ayurveda
  • How to teach Yoga classes & methods for conducting classes
  • Stress free living techniques

300 Hour Certified Yoga Training Course in Rishikesh

This 300 Hour Certified Yoga Training Course offers Ashthanga Vinaysa, Hatha Yoga & laughter yoga classes with detailed information about everything from depicting the inner connections of asanas to the human body. The Mantras, meditation, and breathing practices are also important part of the course. The highlights of this course are listed below:

  • Deep studies of yogic philosophy
  • Complicated poses in yoga
  • Ashtanga Vinyasa & Hatha Yoga
  • Refined meditative practices
  • Cleansing process of body
  • Chakras & Pranayama

500 Hour Advanced Yoga Training Program

This course is the final professional degree in the field of yoga training and it combines the syllabus of 200 Hour Yoga Training and 300 Hour Yoga Training. This training is mainly focused on advanced Yoga through the study of Vedas, history of yoga, mantra chanting, mudra formations etc. Here are some highlights of the same:

  • Detailed study about Yoga & Ayurveda
  • Ashtanga Vinyasa & Hatha Yoga’s topmost asanas & inverted postures
  • Swara Yoga & Iyenger yoga explained
  • Mantras, Meditation, & Pranyama
  • Spiritual training of the mind & body
  • Power Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa & Hatha yoga posture forms with breath movement

Ashtanga Vinaysa in Rishikesh

Ashtanga Vinaysa involves faster actions and is based on eight principles of Yoga and involves all aspects of the human body and incorporates all your muscles in its entirety. An Ashtanga practitioner gets rid of problems like stress, obesity, body aches etc.

Hatha Yoga in Rishikesh

Hatha Yoga involves slow actions and is known to relieve its student from their troubles slowly yet permanently. It includes different forms of Yoga like Yoga Nidra, breathing practices with asanas & slower versions of all asanas. One can replenish the missing energies and transform their thoughts through this exercise.

Where can you go for Yoga training in Rishikesh?

For those who want to take up yoga training, there are many yoga schools and Yoga ashrams in Rishikesh that offer intensive classes to deepen the knowledge of students and in the process ready them to promote this ancient practice. Many Yoga schools and ashrams here are run by renowned teachers and gurus who help enthusiasts discover their true potential with the help of traditional Yoga. Here are some of the best Yoga ashrams located in the vicinity of Rishikesh:


  • Parmarth Niketen: Parmarth Niketan is one of the top Yoga centers in India and the biggest ashram in the area. It runs an extensive program to teach the beginnersand provide them the knowledge of Vedic heritage, and spirituality.
  • Sivananda Ashram: This ashram was founded by Swami Sivananda and is run by the Divine Life Society. The teachings offered are based around the five points of Yoga-postures, breathing, relaxation, meditation, and diet.
  • Omkarananda Ganga Sadan: This Yoga center is known for the Iyengar Yoga classes and the advance yoga courses. It is located at the Muni-Ki-Reti area of Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganges River.
  • Sadhana Mandir and Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama Ashram: Founded in the year 1966 by Swami Rama, this ashram offers various residential programs to learn Yoga and Meditation in the divine surroundings of Rishikesh.
  • Shree Mahesh Heritage Meditation School: This school offers a 300 hour meditation teacher training course, meditation retreats, and meditation for beginners courses. It also teaches about Yoga, Ayurveda, life healing, and spiritual development.


The names of other popular Yoga ashrams are Yoga Niketen, Swami Dayananda Ashram, Phool Chatti Ashram, Anand Prakash Ashram, Himalayan Yog Ashram, Osho GangaDham Ashram, Chandra Yoga International, Rishikesh Yog Peeth, Vedangas, Association for Yoga & Meditation, Ajarya Yoga Academy, Jeevmoksha Institute of Yoga Studies, and Hatha Yoga Rishikesh.


The rich teachings of traditional yoga has been landed down to Indian yoga gurus from their ancestors and Rishikesh is a center for all these yogis and their ashrams. So, if you want to learn & practice the great teachings of Yoga…come down to Rishikesh and enjoy the unique religious experiences all by yourself.