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The Western Yogi’s Guide to Traveling Through India

If making a spiritual journey to the birthplace of yoga is on your bucket list—or, if you’ve been and want to return in a way that feels more authentic and connected— read on. From the must-see places and pilgrimages to top tips on how to stay healthy on the road, here’s what you need to know before you plan your trip.

I started practicing yoga in a crowded New York City gym, my mat so close to the student’s next to mine that I couldn’t tell whose sweat droplets were whose. Like many Americans, I was introduced to yoga as a physical activity—I considered it a complement to the triathlon training I was doing at the time—and thought of it as only that for the first five or so years I practiced.

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Then, I started practicing with a yoga teacher who dropped lessons about yoga’s lineage into her classes. That led me to another instructor, who taught me even more about this ancient practice, the origins of which date to pre-Vedic times (1500–500 BCE) and are widely believed to have morphed into the Hatha Yoga that spread during British colonial rule of India and that Westerners practice today. The more I learned, the more I realized that eventually, I’d want to make a pilgrimage to yoga’s birthplace so I could understand more fully the practice I’d come to love.

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I had that chance three years ago. What I learned is that, similar to my journey on my yoga mat, a meaningful trip to India can’t just be about taking. Rather, it should be about studying up on the places you’ll  visit and cultures you’ll experience, connecting meaningfully with the people you meet when you’re there, giving back through seva (selfless service) work, and, most important, staying open to learning. It’s my sincere hope that this guide will help you do just that.

The Yoga Journal India Travel Guide

13 Important Indian Places Every Yogi Should Visit

Rishikesh, India
Chandresh Bhardwaj

Our top picks for the holy cities, historical sites, and spiritual pilgrimages in India every student of yoga should consider.

Read here. 

7 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling Through India

Photo excerpted from Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook by Sahara Rose Ketabi. © 2018, First American Edition, DK Publishing. Sahara Rose Ketabi is the best-selling author of Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda. Learn more at iamsahararose.com.

Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach Sahara Rose shares her best advice for avoiding an upset stomach and keeping your immune system strong when traveling.

Read here. 

The Importance of Mysore and Pune, India for Yoga Lineage

Mysore, India

Learn more about the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga and Iyengar Yoga.

Read here. 

8 Tips to Consider When Planning a Trip to India

Planning a trip to India

Figuring out where to go, what to see, and how long to stay can be a daunting process.

Read here.