5 Things you may not know about Ashram Life

A Glimpse into Ashram Life at Parmarth Niketan - By Rebecca Harvey

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  1. You can take part in many traditional ceremonies and celebrations. If you are lucky enough to stay in the lap of the Himalayas at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, a true spiritual haven lying on the holy banks of Mother Ganga then you get to be a part of their mesmerising Ganga Arti every evening at sunset. This powerful and uplifting spiritual ritual begins with the singing of ‘bhajans’ devotional songs, leading onto a blessing to Agni, god of fire culminating in the aarti itself.
  2. You will eat amazing food at unbelievable prices. Freshly prepared vegetarian sattvic meals range from £1 - £3 with a cup of comforting masala chai setting you back 20p. The dining hall is clean and well organised, with fresh filtered water regularly refilled by the friendly and welcoming team and a great choice of sweet treats are on offer too.
  3. You may take a shower in a bucket. Your stay is focused on spiritual self-care and personal growth, and not material comfort. Ashrams typically offer simple shared accommodation with basic amenities. Our first twin room had evidence of 4 legged friends so we talked to reception and were swiftly moved. Our cleaner second room although basic, thankfully seemed to house just us, but the compromise was the shower head didn’t allow water through. Undeterred we stood in a bucket of warm water and poured jugs of warm water over our heads, a surprisingly comforting activity reminiscent of Sunday nights in front of the fire many decades ago.
  4. The opportunity to meet inspirational spiritual people. Their qualified teachers are rich in experience, live yogic principles and bring to you time-tested yoga practices. The people we met who had travelled to experience Ashram life were open, gentle and spiritual, pilgrims and travellers keen for new experiences and warm connections.
  5. Experience authentic yoga, meditation, yagja and puja. The ashram offers daily activities of yoga asana, meditation, satsang, universal prayers and its world-renowned Ganga Aarti at sunset. We loved our time tested yoga practice taught by traditional qualified teacher ‘Gayatri’ and experienced peace and calm during our meditation sessions with ‘Darshana’. The morning yagya in the sacred grove was deeply spiritual and the splendour of the sacred Ganga havan and aarti was a sunset sight to behold.

Are you tempted? Parmarth Nekitan is the largest ashram in Rishikesh, providing its thousands of pilgrims who come from all corners of the Earth with a clean, pure and sacred atmosphere as well as abundant, beautiful gardens.

My stay here has inspired my next Yoga series which is based directly on the spiritually oriented, traditional ancient yogic classes taught by Gayitri our teacher at the Ashram.

You can find out more about Ashram life and what’s on offer at:  https://courses.parmarth.org/ashram/

You can find our more about me, Rebecca Harvey and what I offer at: British Wheel of Yoga (500) Hatha Yoga Teacher (pauseyoga0.wixsite.com)

Rebecca Harvey

Rebecca trained for her BWYDip500 with Catherine Eastwood, and has since delivered Yoga classes, workshops and retreats both in the UK and Europe and will be sharing yoga for the second year at Soul Escape Yoga Festival this summer.