To get rid of stress and fatigue, to spend time with benefits for the body and soul, to the ashrams of thousands of people flock. Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises – what else is included in the arsenal of means to achieve peace of mind, we now describe.
The word “ashram” is derived from “ashraya”, which in Sanskrit means “protection”. Perhaps it is – in the ashram can gain protection from the bustle, achieve peace of mind and the state of peace. Ashram today – spiritual and religious community, which gathers people for prayer, meditation, yoga, spiritual renewal. Ashrams engaged in religious education, publishing and charity.
Usually ashrams are located in remote places, far away from civilization, close to the forest, the mountains, the river or lake that contributes to spiritual practices. Each teacher has his ashram – guru – and his followers. As a rule, from big cities to ashrams get on the train, taxi, tourist bus and rickshaw.
Rules are very simple in ashrams: prohibited meat, alcohol, drugs, including cigarettes, as well as foreign visitors in the rooms.
In bolshinstke ashrams day starts at 5 or 6 in the morning with yoga or meditation, followed by breakfast and a variety of courses at intervals of free time. It may be breathing exercises, communication guru, walking, various ceremonies. Ends the day, usually again yoga and meditation. In most ashrams you will be asked to pay about an hour a day of community service, such as cleaning, gardening or administrative work.
Food in ashrams is very simple and, of course, vegetarian rice, lentils, fruits and vegetables. Taking food, usually all together in silence. Plate and cutlery each for a wash himself. Mealtime – fixed, and it is better not to miss, and you run the risk of going hungry. If the ashram is located in the city, you can certainly find a place for a snack – leaving no one stops, but in ashrams located far from big cities, of which the majority, this can cause problems.
Accommodation in the ashram may be different, but the rooms are always equipped simple: they do not have a TV, telephone and internet, but very clean and cozy. Basically ashrams provide co-location and shared bathrooms. Some have hot water and shower, while others – only cold and bucket. Of course, the newcomers better to go to ashrams, which are adapted to receive foreign guests – they have programs in English and will be provided with a European standard of cleanliness and hygiene. Many people think that ashrams often offer too strict and harsh conditions, but it is not – there are different. And they are suitable not only for experienced practitioners of yoga and meditation.
Two main centers of Yoga in India – Rishikesh is in the north and the south of Mysore. First of all, as the “capital of Yoga” Rishikesh known. This is a very ancient and sacred spiritual center of the city, located in the picturesque foothills of the Himalayas, in a place where the holy river Ganges descends from the mountains and begins its long journey to the sea. In this city, ashrams and yoga centers can be found at every turn.
Below we give an overview of the most popular Indian ashrams.
Osho Ashram in Pune (The Osho Ashram) – one of the most famous ashrams in the world. In fact, it is a spiritual institution, supplied on a commercial basis, and so prices stay high enough in the ashram. But conditions are very good: there are comfortable rooms and even a swimming pool. In the ashram should be sure to wear maroon clothes, and everyone should get tested for HIV. The community has Osho centers across India as well as in many countries of the world.
Ashram of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (The Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ashram) opened in Bangalore in 1982 and has since gained a reputation as a great place for those seeking a path of self-development and a way to relieve stress. In fact, this volunteer organization called “The Art of Living” and operates in more than 100 countries. The organization’s purpose – promoting a world without violence and tension. It supports many areas, including conflict resolution, empowerment of women, rehabilitation of prisoners, and more. Center of the organization is in an ashram in Bangalore, which offers a variety of courses, mainly on the study of breathing techniques, yoga and meditation. Basic course lasts three days and includes breathing techniques to restore the balance of body and soul.
Another popular ashram was founded by philosopher and guru Sri Aurobindo (Sri Aurbindo Ashram) in 1926 in Pondicherry. Now he works as an international religious and philosophical organization center charitable works. Ashram is located in the city and emphasizes the practice of yoga as a tool to achieve humanity and spirituality. Also yoga and meditation, you will be offered to volunteer in any of the departments of the ashram – the library, the theater, the Ayurvedic Centre, etc.
Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram Sri Devi (Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi), known as “Amma”, hugging his mother. Ashram, located in Kollam – just a mecca for many devotees from around the world. Amma is trying to overcome the lack of love and compassion in the world. In the ashram can attend yoga and meditation combined with common prayers. Amma spends darshan (public meeting) Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday morning.