India is the birthplace of yoga and has been long serving as a mecca for yogis. Most people that have visited India can agree that you either love it or find that it can be too be overwhelming. Not many people find themselves in between the two.
If you are planning a trip to India for a yoga retreat, there are some things to consider before you embark on your adventure:
Before you set off to explore the beautiful lands of India, consider getting travel health insurance. Just like anywhere, accidents and unplanned illness can strike at any time. There is a chance you can contract malaria or some kind of food-borne illness in any area of the country. Travel insurance often covers emergency medical evacuations, emergency room visits, broken bones and long-term health care in the event you cannot travel. Although health care may be significantly cheaper in India, you always want to be prepared while traveling abroad.
As Americans, we tend to grow accustomed to sterile environments and the smell of the bleach. It is wise to prepare yourself for the crowded and polluted streets of Indian cities.
Throughout your travels you will see cows (holy in Hindu culture) wandering busy streets, overpopulated slums, and less-than-desireable restaurant standards. While the food is amazing and the people are inviting, getting out of your sterile comfort zone will be important for you to fully enjoy the Indian experience.
In any developing country, you will encounter those who are in need and feel the desire to take what is not theirs. When traveling in major Indian cities, such as Delhi, be hyper aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to your belongings. Attempt to not draw attention to yourself by keeping your tablet, smartphone, or laptop packed away and not using them when traveling.
If available to you, it may be best to leave them at home while on your spiritual journey and diving into your yoga practice. Using newer technologies while traveling signifies wealth and feeds the assumption that you may have more items that are worthwhile to pursue.
Whether you are a beginner yogi or a world traveler, it is always wise to be culturally aware of your actions, mannerisms and dress. Befriending a local that can give you pointers is very helpful, and luckily Indian people are very friendly!
It is not always appreciated in India for a Westerner to take on their fashion and style. Some of the older and more conservative women find it offensive and disrespectful when they see a Westerner wearing a traditional sari. Whether dining in or out, beware that attempting to order a beef dish at a restaurant is an extreme faux pas. Instead, adopt the congenial head wobble that others will find friendly and inviting.
You might assume that a trip to India would be inexpensive — however, the costs of goods may surprise you. Globalization has made items widely available and at a low cost through retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. Many electronics and simple things such as sunscreen, will tend to run at a much higher cost in India than in America. Meals and hotel accommodations can be much more inexpensive than advertised rates you might find online, if you know where to look.
If you are looking to save money while on your trip, consider looking into a yoga retreat that is held at an ashram. Ashrams typically allow you to stay for free in return for contributing to the community through means of cooking, cleaning or other helpful contributions. That is not something you will often find in America!
Diving into your yoga practice in India is a bucket list item for many and an experience like no other. It is enriching and fulfilling to visit the birthplace of yoga while taming your monkey mind. India is an amazing country with so much to explore wherever you decide to attend your yoga retreat, but it is best to be prepared to make your travels go smoothly.
Research the area that you will be visiting to make sure that you are adequately prepared for what is in store for you. The more mentally prepared you are for your adventure, the more time you can invest your mind into your yoga practice.
Latest posts by Whitney Chandler (see all)
- Planning A Yoga Trip To India: 5 Things You Need To Know For Mental Preparation - July 11, 2017
- How To Find The Right Yoga Festival For YOU - April 14, 2017
- Harness The Power Of Garnet - March 20, 2017