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AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, India

Authentic yoga and ayurveda programmes in lush Indian countryside near Mysore

Yoga
Meditation
Massage
Digital detox
Detox
Healthy eating
Vegan/vegetarian
No alcohol

DATES

PRICE

GUESTS

Best for:
Spiritual seekers wishing to explore the traditional path of ayurveda and yoga in a community, to create long-term lifestyle changes in body and mind and achieve a life of fulfillment.

Not for:
Guests after luxury accommodation with air conditioning and room service or anyone that runs a mile when hearing the words ‘very limited wifi access’.

In a nutshell:

AyurYoga Eco-Ashram is a secular yoga and ayurveda retreat centre on the banks of River Kabini in the peaceful district of Mysore, Karnataka. Set in 18 acres of organic farmland, it uses the gift of nature to create the perfect setting for authentic education, restoration and healing. Founder Krishna Chaitanya and his wife Lillie maintain high standards for the yogic lifestyle, with permaculture in development, organic gardens that contribute to the fresh, homemade vegetarian meals, accommodation built from natural materials and four large yoga or education spaces with inspiring views. Choose health packages that deal with stress or weight management, anti-ageing therapy and more; beginners and intermediate yoga retreats, ayurveda programmes and foundation courses or 200/300hr certified yoga teacher trainings.

AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, India Queen of Retreats
AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, India Queen of Retreats
AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, India Queen of Retreats
AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, India Queen of Retreats
AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, India Queen of Retreats
AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, India Queen of Retreats
AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, India Queen of Retreats

What’s Queenly?

Unlike many ashrams in India, what is taught at AyurYoga is non-sectarian and non-religious. Nearly all staff live onsite, play an integral role in creating and maintaining the ever-expanding natural landscape, and believe in the community they are building together. Staff and guests share meal times in the communal eating area, which creates a loving and inclusive environment.

What’s Lowly?

The daily fruit-based lunch of may leave too long a gap between breakfast and dinner for some guests – ask if you need more. The journey time from Bangalore airport is a 3.5 to 5 hour car drive depending on traffic and the time of day – if you have to fly into Bangalore, try to plan so you can pick up the 1030 am flight from there to Mysore, which is only 45 minutes from the ashram.

Read our personal review

Selda Goodwin reviews AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, an ayurveda and yoga retreat on the banks of River Kabini in the peaceful district of Mysore in Karnataka and finds an authentic, peaceful, community-led Ayurveda retreat run from the heart.

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Retreat Activities


AyurYoga Eco-Ashram offers a range of retreats and health programmes that feature daily meditation, breath work, Hatha yoga, philosophy and ayurveda classes, fresh organic vegetarian Indian food and the chance to enjoy amazing landscapes. You can also come here for yoga and ayurveda training programmes.

Founder Krishna Chaitanya (otherwise known as Krish) has been leading teacher training throughout India since 2010 and teaches philosophy on all training programmes. Lillie moved to India after completing her teacher training with him, and following her period of voluntary service they fell in love and married. Lillie manages the centre, including all daily events, whilst helping to improve overall eco sustainability.

An ashram is a place where a group of people live and work together with spiritual growth as a common goal. Unlike many ashrams in India, what is taught at AyurYoga is non-sectarian and non-religious. The teachings are based on universal principals of love, peace and wisdom to live a healthy peaceful life. The majority of teachers are living by ancient spiritual traditions but the idea is not to follow a particular tradition, style, idea or guru, but instead to help guests find their own truth. Krish’s vision is to recreate traditional ashram living in the context of a natural, sacred forest where guests can practice and learn outdoors for the majority of the day under the canopy of big trees for shade.

Krish’s vision is to recreate traditional ashram living in the context of a natural, sacred forest where guests can practice and learn outdoors for the majority of the day under the canopy of big trees for shade. He has planted medicinal trees based on moon and zodiac signs that help to purify and heal.

Ayurveda (the science of life) is the sister science of yoga, one of the most ancient medical systems from India, that aims to heal the root of an illness, rather than working on prevention of symptoms. You can read all about it here.

At AyurYoga Eco-Ashram choose a 7, 14, 21, or 28 day ayurveda 360 health programme to experience authentic forms of traditional ayurveda with therapies, tailored meals and herbal medicinal plants grown on the grounds of the developing forest. Included are two treatments per day in the spa run by a young female doctor who believes that treatments are there to get long-term results over short term fixes.

For full holistic healing, go for the 28 day Panchakarma, a traditional Ayurveda detox programme, a healthy Indian cleanse which may, according to your constitution, include fasting, purification with warm oils or medicated ghee (clarified butter) and purging to release excess heat and toxins from the body.

Join a Beginner yoga retreat if you are looking to create a strong foundation or an intensive yoga retreat if you already have a regular practice. Books and a new yoga mat are included. Days begin early with meditation at 6am, then there’s hatha yoga practice from 7-9am, and yoga lifestyle or yoga classical philosophy classes 10.30-12.30pm. Afternoons are for private coaching or consultations, ayurveda treatments, and more yoga classes and chanting, and there’s a film show once per week from 8-9pm Yoga retreats run from one week up to 4 weeks in length.

Yoga philosophy is a key part of all retreats and seen as a vital part of understanding how to achieve peace, balance and happiness. The classes are mainly tutored by the light-hearted, yet devoted founder Krish, dedicated philosophy teacher Swami Prabodh, or other teachers who have all lived an authentic spiritual lifestyle from birth or been raised in a setting conducive to this type of learning.

You can come here to train in both ayurveda and yoga. The14 day Understanding Ayurveda foundation course gives a basic understanding on the science and application of Ayurveda in daily lifestyles. Along with one daily meditation and yoga session, this course offers theory classes, practical workshops and Ayurveda cooking classes.

Or come for the Advanced 200/300hr traditional Indian yoga teacher trainings, an intense 30 days of 200/300hours yoga teacher training that offers students authentic teachings of practical, philosophical and spiritual aspects of yoga. All reading material and an eco mat are provided.

All guests are invited to relax and rest from the outside world for the duration of their stay and trainees are expected to use phones as little as possible to fully immerse themselves and absorb the intensity of the learning environment. A no phone policy is in place at mealtimes to encourage everyone to eat mindfully in silence or enjoy each other’s company. Silent hours run throughout the ashram from 10pm to 10am, and guests are encouraged to be silent in the yoga halls at all times.

All Ayurveda guests are recommended to rest as much as possible and can take advantage of the multiple nature walks in the surrounding countryside instead of leaving the ashram. If you want to venture a little further, the ashram is located on the bank of River Kabini and just a 15 minute gentle stroll off campus through the village is a small area of untouched grassland by the waters. Watch the ducks paddle by, catch the farmers herding their cows across the banks or wait for the magical sunset hour. Swimming in the river here is allowed but always go accompanied.

The small boutique in the ashram is open daily from 1-2pm. On offer are handmade products from around India including organic yoga wear, water bottles, Ayurveda medicine, traditional print dresses, cotton trousers, decorative bags, colourful cotton yoga mats/rugs, dry fruits and nuts such as curried cashews and dates, pashmina scarves and eco-friendly organic beauty products. Beauty products are inexpensive organic soaps, shampoos, washing bars, natural toothpaste, toothbrushes and face/body potions.

The ashram can arrange day trips to the town of Mysore, an hour’s drive away, which include Mysore Palace, indoor shopping, markets, street bazaars and parks, having you back in time for dinner at 7pm. Trips to the borders of Kerala can also be arranged, and include driving through the forest, visits to a coffee and tea plantation, a Jain Temple and the Edakkal Caves and shopping at Sultan Bathery.

Personal spaces

There are 40 simple, eco-friendly rooms structured in the same way, all new, simple and clean, and made from natural red brick and wood materials. Those on yoga and ayurveda retreats stay in large, hollow clay brick cottages that line the gardens and overlook the river. There are also deluxe twin-share rooms made of laterite stone bricks (which do not face the river), and private rooms facing the river made of wood, laterite stone or hollow clay bricks.

Rooms sleep two but can also be used as solos. Each simple space has a desk area dividing two small double beds, a wardrobe, and table and kitchenette facilities. Windows are sealed with mosquito nets and fans are helpful during the warmer evenings. The bathroom has a shower, toilet, sink and bucket to collect extra water to wash clothes.

A laundry service is offered to all guests for a normal rate, although every room has a bathroom and clothes-line balcony to encourage guests to wash their own clothes. Housekeeping is available to all guests once a week on request, fresh towels or toilet paper can be obtained from the dining area, and each guest receives a cotton eco yoga mat made in Northern India.

A laundry service is offered to all guests for a normal rate, although every room has a bathroom and clothes-line balcony to encourage guests to wash their own clothes. Housekeeping is available to all guests once a week on request, fresh towels or toilet paper can be obtained from the dining area, and each guest receives a cotton eco yoga mat made in Northern India.

Insider Tips

Dress appropriately to ensure a level of respect is maintained for the traditional culture. The Indian attire is bright, light-weight and covers arms and legs, so can be adopted by guests if they wish to blend in. Pack a few lightweight pieces that you can hand wash and hang to dry each day from your terrace. Old clothes that can be worn to and from treatments are handy as the body is often oily post treatment. Toiletries are not provided but natural products can be purchased at the boutique shop.

When to Go

The retreat is open all year round, though usually closes in April, and the climate is very warm all year round. The quieter months between May and October are ideal for those wanting to retreat and enjoy more silence. The weather is great and it’s slightly cooler than other times of year, with occasional small rain showers, when there is lush greenery, blooming flowers, and new life. November to March is peak season with warm, dry weather and up to 20 students on teacher training as well as those on yoga retreats or health packages, but this helps to bring the atmosphere to life so is a good time to visit.

Shared places

Outside spaces:
The 18 acres of gardens and organic farmland is alive and abundant with oceans of rice fields, lush palms and rows of organic gardens. So far 1000 trees have been planted, and the intention is to plant a further 10,000. Guests are invited to sit, meditate and heal under this forest of herbal trees, and tours can be arranged for those keen to learn about Indian fruits, herbs and spices.

At the bottom of the gardens lies the unpolluted river that guests can enjoy while they read, rest or to study. A different part of the river to the one offsite, swimming in this river is not safe as it is located close to a reservoir and the water flow can be strong. There is also the odd crocodile!

Shared places

Ayurvedic Clinic:
The Dhanwantari Ayurvedic Clinic is where all the treatments take place. It is a large, polished, dark wood building made with natural laterite stone which houses five spacious treatment rooms, each with a traditional wooden therapy bed, shower, toilet facilities and steam box.

Shared places

Yoga and workshop spaces:
The main yoga space is the large, wooden circular  Chakra Hall located amongst grassland and flowers with bird song as a backdrop. The Surya Hall is a smaller yoga space set amongst green lawns and plantations, mostly used for yoga retreats and evening video shows. The L-shaped Chandra Hall above the dining rooms offers the best panoramic views of the countryside, while the large Rama Hall set above the deluxe rooms is one of the most peaceful places for meditation, with one of the best views of the river and surrounding fields. It is used for workshops and classes.

Sustenance

Meals are eaten at wooden tables (with one silent table available) in the moon shaped, indoor communal dining area with gorgeous views onto the gardens. A small team of dedicated staff led by kitchen manager Vikas and head chef Nagesh provides a nutritious and wholesome vegetarian buffet, with dairy and gluten free options available. Ayurveda promotes pure, fresh, seasonal, local eating, and all food is lovingly and freshly prepared just before it is eaten. All meals are eaten from traditional silver thali dishes (compartmentalized dishes), which are emptied/cleared away by guests to help out kitchen staff.

Expect two self-service meals daily, with brunch at 9am and dinner at 7pm. You’ll have variations of salads (slices of raw cucumber, carrot and beetroot), flavoured rice, delicious Indian breads such as chapatti or rice dosas, vegetable curry dishes often made with okra, peppers, cauliflower or potatoes and chutney sauces to pour over the rice or eat with breads, lentils and millet.

Fruits such as papaya, pineapple, watermelon and banana are served everyday at 1pm with a juice of mango, papaya or watermelon, and the fresh coconut water is a treat. No alcohol, tea or coffee is served, but water filters are provided all over the campus, and there is hot water and warm herbal teas available at 6.30am following meditation and after lunch and dinner.

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Expect two self-service meals daily, with brunch at 9am and dinner at 7pm. You’ll have variations of salads (slices of raw cucumber, carrot and beetroot), flavoured rice, delicious Indian breads such as chapatti or rice dosas, vegetable curry dishes often made with okra, peppers, cauliflower or potatoes and chutney sauces to pour over the rice or eat with breads.

Fruits such as papaya, pineapple, watermelon and banana are served everyday at 1pm with a juice of mango, papaya or watermelon, and the fresh coconut water is a treat. No alcohol, tea or coffee is served, but water filters are provided all over the campus, and there is hot water and warm herbal teas available at 6.30am following meditation and after lunch and dinner.

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Sustainability

AyurYoga plans to expand from organic farming to permaculture living. Krish believes that to benefit from yoga the conditions of living must be optimal, and his idea is to create a natural forest to allow guests to practice and learn outdoors for the majority of the day under the canopy of big trees. Organic trees were planted several years ago and some spices such as turmeric, coconut and tamarind are used to create potent herbal medicines pouches for Ayurveda body treatments.
His target is to yield at least a 50 percent produce crop within the next few years. For now any extra fruits and vegetables required are sourced from local farmers markets and villages.

Buildings are mostly made from natural, eco friendly materials. Fans are provided in each room and in public indoor spaces instead of air conditioning. Solar energy is used for hot water and eventually the aim is to be fully solar powered. Towels and bed sheets are Indian made, fair trade and organic cotton. Vegetable waste is converted into fertilizer that goes back into field, and the retreat wants to reach zero waste as soon as it can. The retreat is committed to using as little plastic as possible – it has recently been removed from the boutique.

LOCATION

AyurYoga Eco-Ashram, Hullahalli Hobli, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Airport: Mysore

Transfer time: 45 minutes

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