Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
In general, we recommend flying into the airport in New Delhi, as it is the closest international airport to us. You can also fly into Dehradun, a domestic airport that is much closer to us and this is a much easier option for first time travelers to India.
Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram is located around 270km from Delhi. So, there are several transportation options between Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram and New Delhi:
- By Plane:
- You can fly into Dehradun after landing in Delhi, and then take a taxi (which can fit a maximum of four people) directly to us which can be booked on our booking platform.
- Time needed for this route from Delhi: between 2-4 hours
- By Taxi:
- We can provide a private taxi from the Delhi airport to Rishikesh and it can fit a maximum of four people. If you’d like to reserve one, you can book our taxi transfer service on our booking platform.
- Time needed for this route from Delhi: between 7-8 hours
- By Train:
- There is a public train system that runs between Delhi and Haridwar (a neighboring city of Rishikesh). If you decide to take the train system, we recommend getting the AC 2 Tier. This is a wonderfully informative article on the Indian train system – our students have had some luck with these instructions. After Haridwar, you can take a taxi directly to us which can be booked on our booking platform.
- Time needed for this route from Delhi: between 8-10 hours
- By Bus:
- Public buses are frequently traveling between Delhi and Rishikesh and can be found at the ISBT in Delhi. This is the cheapest option to reach Rishikesh (around 200 Rupees or less than $5 USD) but it is the least comfortable and we do not recommend it for first time travelers to India.
- An additional bus can also be taken from Rishikesh to a bus stop near our ashram by taking a bus from Rishikesh to Kunjapuri Temple. Once you reach the village below Kunjapuri Temple, you can take a shared taxi from this bus stop directly to us. Just tell the taxi driver you want to go to Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram, which is located near Rajiv Gandhi Navodya Vidyalaya.
- We also offer a direct taxi transfer service from the Rishikesh bus stand to our ashram which can be booked on our booking platform.
- Time needed for this route from Delhi: between 12-15 hours
Yes, with advance notice by booking one of our transfer services, we will handle all of your travel arrangements once in India. For the greatest ease of transport we recommend either flying into Delhi and taking our direct taxi transfer service from Delhi or flying into Dehradun and taking our direct taxi transfer service from Dehradun. Both taxi transfer services can be booked on our booking platform.
Yes, many people travel alone to reach us. For the safest travel option, we recommend booking our direct taxi transfer service either from Delhi Airport or Dehradun Airport, both of which can be booked on our booking platform.
Depending on the transportation option that you choose, it can take anywhere from 2-15 hours to reach Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram from Delhi, therefore we recommend traveling one day in advance of your course or retreat and spending one night in Rishikesh to ensure that you arrive on time if you choose one of the longer travel options (e.g. bus or train) or leaving early in the morning on the same day of your course/retreat. From Rishikesh, you can reach us very easily and quickly by taxi (in around 1 hour) or by bus (in around 2 hours). A taxi transfer service from Rishikesh is available upon request and can be booked on our booking platform. Please see the above question on how to reach us for information on traveling by bus.
For the fastest travel option, you can fly to Dehradun Airport from Delhi (which is approximately one hour by plane) and then take our taxi transfer service from the Dehradun Airport which will take around 1-2 hours and can be booked on our booking platform. An additional recommended travel option is our direct taxi transfer service from Delhi Airport which takes around 7-8 hours and can also be booked on our booking platform.
Departure and arrival routes are the same, so you can follow the same directions for arrival as for departure. We also offer all of the same drop-off services as pick up services to the Delhi Airport, Dehradun Airport, Rishikesh Bus Stand or Haridwar Railway Station, which can all either be booked in advance on our booking platform or after you arrive. We are also happy to help you book or plan any onward travel around India if you choose to do so.
You should apply for a tourist visa as it is easily granted from the Indian embassy. Your purpose of visit in India should be listed as a yoga retreat, even if you are doing one of our courses, to ensure less difficulties. Students may give our school address as well as contact number as your Indian reference. Contact details of the Indian embassy in your country can be found online. In general, the visa expiry date is counted from the day that the visa is issued. Please verify it with the concerned embassy. Try to apply for your visa at least 2 or 3 weeks before your travel date to ensure that it is issued on time.
What to Bring
In general, you can buy most things that you might need here for cheaper than in western countries. But to start you off with a list:
- Enough clothes for a week (or two). Check the weather to determine what type of climate to prepare clothing for.
- Any regular pair of shoes for walking around, shoes/sandals if you want to do any sort of water-related activities.
- Standard toiletries and shower sandals (towels will be provided to you but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer that).
- Electronics (laptop, tablets, cameras) are fine. We have free WiFi in the common areas as well so you can stay up to date on social media and keep in touch with loved ones back home via Skype.
- A backpack (meant for backpacking and hiking). While it’s not absolutely necessary if you want to save money, the ground in India isn’t always paved, so it’s not as friendly to luggage bags with wheels.
- Sunscreen and bug repellent.
- A headlamp or flashlight.
- Any necessary medicine. Many people bring basic first-aid (bandaids, antibacterial cream, etc). We also recommend bringing diarrhea medicine in case you eat food in restaurants or accidentally drink unfiltered/tap water. All of our food and vegetables are washed and cooked with purified water, so you won’t have to worry about getting sick during your daily meals with us.
- Feminine hygiene products, if necessary.
- Reusable water bottle.
- Power converters/plug adapters.
- A journal and pen if you are taking our course and would like to take notes during the philosophy classes.
It is not necessary to bring the following items as they are either not needed or are provided by us:
- Malaria pills (not needed – see health and safety section)
- Mosquito net (not needed – see health and safety section)
- Toilet paper (provided)
- Laundry soap (provided)
- Towels (provided)
- Yoga mat and yoga props (provided)
You are welcome to wear any clothes that make you feel comfortable. However, India is a more conservative country so we do encourage you to wear clothing that covers your stomach, shoulders and knees for your own comfort when walking around in the surrounding villages or cities.
We encourage you to bring sufficient cash for your stay (around $200-400 USD should be enough for emergencies) as well as an ATM card which you can use from any ATM in India. There is an ATM nearby we can drive you to if necessary however everything in our ashram will be provided to you and we accept online payments for everything so you will not need cash when you are staying with us. That said, only cash is accepted by local street vendors and shops so do be sure that you have some cash with you if you choose to shop in the surrounding areas. Also, if you choose to pay your remaining course fees in cash, we request that you bring sufficient funds upon your arrival.
No, but you may bring one if you prefer your own. However, we provide all yoga mats, blocks, straps, pillows, etc. so it is not necessary to bring any of these things.
Late November through February: These are the coldest months, the temperature gets down to 15-26 degrees Celsius, and we do not provide room heaters although we do provide numerous blankets, so if you are coming during this time we recommend you to bring warm clothes.
March through June: These are the hottest months. We recommend light cotton clothing as the temperature can get as high as 40 degrees Celsius. A light sweater should be enough for the nighttime.
July through August: During these months is the monsoon season. It is still quite hot so we recommend bringing light cotton clothing as well as an umbrella/raincoat. A light sweater should be enough for the nighttime.
September through Early November: Weather during this time varies from pleasant to cold and woolen clothes, jackets etc. are recommended. The temperature averages around 32-33 degrees Celsius.
Fees & Payment
If you would like to book with us, please click Book Now and enter your desired course dates and information. To finalize your booking, a 30% non-refundable deposit is required.
The full payment is due on the first day of your arrival or before you arrive. You can either pay online by credit or debit card through our provided PayPal link or you can pay in cash on your arrival. Please bring sufficient funds in advance to pay for your course fees as an ATM is not readily available near our ashram. However, if necessary we can take you to a nearby ATM. Cash payments are accepted in Indian Rupees only.
Yes, if there is any personal issue you can move your course or retreat to a later date. However, your initial 30% deposit is non-refundable and once your full course fees have been paid these are also non-refundable.
Yes, you can pay by a credit or debit card through our PayPal link. However, we encourage you to bring cash with you as many shops, taxis, etc. do not accept credit card and the closest ATM is quite far, however we can take you there if needed.
Courses & Retreats
We accept a maximum of 20 people at any time, thereby ensuring that you get a more intimate and one-on-one experience. You will not be another person in our factory of courses and retreats but rather you will be like a member of our family!
Please refer to your desired retreat or course page to know the various prices. Our prices are different depending on the chosen course or retreat as well as the length of time that you choose to stay for.
All meals and accommodation is included in the price for all of our retreats and courses. In line with the ethics of traditional yoga, all classes are free of charge. The Detox Yoga Retreat also includes a special detox diet as well as daily treatments and therapies. The detox diet, any therapies or treatments, cooking classes, and trekking tours can also be added on for an extra nominal fee to any of our courses and retreats. For more information on these add-ons, see our wellness offerings for prices and booking information.
The only prerequisite for our students is that they have an open mind and an appetite for learning and growth. Our teachers are wonderful at balancing varying skill levels – we have had students with no experience taking the courses and retreats alongside students with more than a decade of experience.
No! Absolute beginners are encouraged to come and we do not require any previous knowledge of yoga to join our courses and retreats.
Anyone! We welcome all skill levels, abilities, ages, castes, religions, genders, etc. Our only requirement is an open mind.
Of course! We welcome all people to join and our teachers are well trained in providing adjustments and modifications to accommodate for any health issue. Our only requirement is an open mind. However, we do encourage you to consult with your doctor about whether or not they recommend you to practice yoga or not. We also require you to inform us in advance of any medical issues and sign a liability waiver.
Of course! We welcome all people to join and our teachers are well trained in providing adjustments and modifications for pregnancy. Our only requirement is an open mind. However, we do encourage you to consult with your doctor about whether or not they recommend you to practice yoga or not. We also require you to inform us in advance of your pregnancy and any other medical issues and sign a liability waiver.
No! Our courses are meant to expand your learning and understanding of yoga and are not structured like a typical academic course. We believe that people learn better when they are not being graded or tested so we do not encourage this kind of competitive atmosphere.
There are some breaks during the daily schedule and you are always welcome to skip any classes if you would like to take a day off to explore or trek around the area. We do require all students in the Foundations of Yoga and Yoga In-Depth courses however to be present during the daily philosophy class however as this is essential to learning in the course. For the Yoga In-Depth course, the 7th day will be a day off to allow for participants to engage in any desired outings or trips in the area.
Of course! In fact we encourage that. We recommend booking one of our double rooms though to ensure your privacy and comfort.
All of our teachers have a masters degree in their respective subject, ensuring that you get the highest quality instruction.
All classes are taught in English. However, if English is not your first language that is completely fine, you should still be able to understand everything and if you have any difficulty our instructors are happy to take extra time to help you.
Asana – In the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, the primary text of yoga, it says “sthiram sukham asanam”, which means sit in a position which is comfortable and steady. The goal of yoga is to find this steadiness and comfort, physically, mentally and spiritually. Through the practice of the physical yoga postures (asana), you can heal your body and soul and find stillness within. We offer Hatha and Restorative yoga asana classes.
Pranayama – Prana is the sanskrit word for “life force”. The practice of pranayama involves the use of particular breathing practices which are aimed at manipulating this “life force”. The practice of pranayama cleanses and calms the body and mind, allowing you to go deeper into your yoga practice.
Meditation – The practice of meditation is food for the body, heart and soul. Meditation evokes your childlike innocence and helps you to become more in touch with your true state. There are numerous practices of meditation. We will teach and practice Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep), Vipassana (Buddhist Meditation), Transcendental Meditation (TM), and Osho Meditation.
Shatkarma – Shat means six and karma means actions. Shatkarma consists of the 6 groups of purification practices. These purification practices help to heal your body to help deepen the practice of pranayama and asana. Shatkarma creates harmony between the two major channels (nadis) in the body, ida and pingala, and creates harmony and balance in the body.
Philosophy – Yoga is a practice that is thousands of years old. One of the first texts on yoga, and the most foundational text, is the Patanjali Yoga Sutras which was written around 400 CE. Some of the other key texts of traditional yoga are the Bhagavad Gita, written around 200 BCE, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written around the 15th century CE. These texts are the primary sources of the philosophy of yoga and will be explored more deeply in our courses.
**Philosophy is only offered in our courses because it requires a methodical approach. In our Foundations of Yoga course, we will cover the Patanjali Yoga Sutras as well as an overview of yoga and the 8 limbs of yoga. In our Yoga In-Depth Course, we will cover the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, an overview of yoga and the 8 limbs of yoga, the different types of traditional yoga and how to practice them, an overview of the chakras, and how to do yoga sadhana.
Mantra – Mantras are short phrases that are repeated or chanted alone or in a group setting. The chanting of mantras calms the mind and is a practice of meditation commonly known as Transcendental Meditation (TM). Mantra chanting will be incorporated into the asana and meditation classes.
Mudra – Mudras are the hand or body gestures commonly used in asana and meditation practice. Different mudras cause different effects on the body and mind and can be used to help direct energy flows in the body. Mudras help link the individual pranic force with the universal force.
Bandha – Bandhas are the various body “locks” used in asana, meditation and pranayama practices. These locks help direct the flow of prana in the body to particular areas and redirect the flow of prana into the sushumna nadi for the purpose of spiritual awakening.
Accommodation & Food
We offer two kinds of accommodation, either you can stay in one of our mixed gender hostels which have 4 or 8 beds and an attached bathroom, or you can book our private double room, which offers a private room and private attached bathroom.
Of course! But any early arrival must be booked in advance and will incur additional charges. Please check with us in advance for availability and to book your early stay to ensure that we have space to accommodate you.
We serve 3 vegetarian meals per day and additional snacks and drinks are available during non-meal times upon request for no extra charge. Our meals are unlimited, buffet style and we always make a surplus of food so you will certainly never be hungry with us (unless of course you are doing a detox fast)! You are also always welcome to talk with our kitchen staff if you would like you meals prepared in a particular way or if you would like any extra food.
All of our meals are vegetarian according to the Hindu diet (no meat and no eggs) and Indian food does traditionally use a lot of dairy products. However, we can easily accommodate for a vegan or lactose-free diet. Please inform us ahead of time of any dietary restrictions in our Customer Portal after completing your booking and we would be more than happy to accommodate for you. Further directions for this will be provided by email.
Our internet speeds are usually about 50-200Kb/s, which is generally enough bandwidth for video streaming and calls back home, although the internet/power providers can sometimes be unreliable. Sometimes our regions won’t have internet for a few hours or days, so we just want you to be aware if you have any time-critical deadlines/tasks up against a lack of internet. This doesn’t happen often, but it’s better to be on the safe side. India will also occasionally implement nation-wide rolling power blackouts to distribute their energy load throughout the country. If it is absolutely critical to have a constant connection, you might consider purchasing a data plan on a sim-card which can be obtained from the Delhi airport or any phone dealer when in India (and tethering with your phone) or purchasing an international 4G data plan. If you are getting a sim-card, we recommend either Idea or Jio company sim-cards for optimal coverage at our ashram.
Internet is only available in the common area to encourage people to disconnect from the internet as much as possible. However, our common area is open 24/7 for your usage of the WiFi at your convenience.
There is pure filtered water available for students 24/7, free of charge. You are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle to fill up from our water purifier at your convenience.
Yes, you are welcome to use your cell-phone but we encourage students to unplug while staying with us to promote deeper relaxation.
Our rooms do not have AC. Due to our location higher up in the mountains, the temperature is much cooler than in the valley in Rishikesh so you should be comfortable without needing any AC. We do however have powerful fans in each room to stay cool during the hotter summer months and this should be sufficient for your comfort.
Of course! When booking, just book whichever course or retreat you want together to ensure that you are placed in the same room.
Yes, we have a washing machine that is available for your usage for a small fee.
You may arrive to check-in by 1pm. You are welcome to arrive earlier but your room may not be ready until 1pm.
You must check-out before 11am. Late check-out is available but must be requested in advance and depends on availability.
Health & Safety
India sometimes has a bad reputation for being rough to its travelers. However, to calm your concerns, it’s very safe! Rishikesh is a holy city, and less crowded on average than other cities like Delhi, Calcutta, Varanasi, etc. The people here are very welcoming and friendly, and you can easily strike up a conversation with locals and storekeepers. Rishikesh is a great places to transition into Indian culture, because you still get the tradition, friendliness, and vibrancy of India, but less of the poverty, crowdedness, and other potentially overwhelming features that other cities might offer. Also, at Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram, you have the opportunity to see the serene village life and the beautiful Himalayan nature, without being disturbed by the loud noise and pollution of the nearby city of Rishikesh. Our ashram has numerous security features in place as well to ensure the safety of our guests.
There are many western women that travel alone to Rishikesh (and many that decide to live here indefinitely, including the co-founder of Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram), and it is arguable that there are more female tourists than male tourists.
As we mentioned previously, Rishikesh is a holy city, and crime is incredibly rare here. As long as you adhere to India’s modest dress code (clothing that covers the knees and shoulders), you will blend right in with the rest of the female tourists. The only crime you should be worried about is from monkeys – it is much more likely to have your food stolen by monkeys than it is to be harassed or have your valuables stolen!
In terms of safety at night, the streets start emptying at 9-10pm as storekeepers close up shop, but it is still safe. We should also note that our school and accommodation is located entirely under the same roof, so unless you feel like exploring, it isn’t necessary to venture outside after our yoga classes finish at night.
Furthermore, Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram is located in a secluded natural environment, so the primary danger here is the monkeys and not the people and the nearby village is quite small and quiet.
We do not recommend you to drink the water from the tap in India. However, brushing your teeth and showering with the water is completely fine, as long as you do not swallow the water. You should check if any restaurant or café uses filtered water also before drinking anything there.
For meals and drinks served at our school, we provide filtered and purified water and use only this kind of water to cook with. There are also bottles of water available nearby to purchase but we do not encourage students to do this because it is a waste of plastic and does not align with Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram’s sustainability guidelines. Thus, we do not offer any plastic water bottles to purchase but our water filter is more than sufficient to provide you with your clean drinking water.
Another option we recommend is purchasing a water filter water bottle, such as the LifeStraw, to further reduce your plastic consumption and ensure that you always have filtered water when you are traveling around outside of Shiva Priya Yoga Ashram.
We do have some mosquitoes but it is less of a problem in the colder months (and you will generally be wearing more layers as well). You should be fine with regularly applied bug repellent.
You shouldn’t have to worry about malaria in Rishikesh, and/or taking any sort of anti-malaria medicine, as we aren’t in a high-risk zone for malaria. You can also check to see a map of malaria rates across India but it would be best to consult with your doctor about this matter to confirm.
Malaria medicine can also sometimes be the source of vivid nightmares, and taking it for an extended period of time (i.e. 30 days) is generally not recommended. Some travelers have the medicine on hand, just in case, but you likely won’t need to take it in Rishikesh. However, take our advice with a grain of salt, as we are not medical professionals and it would be best for you to consult with your doctor on this matter.
Many people bring basic first-aid (bandaids, antibacterial cream, etc). You should definitely bring any prescription medicine that you’ll need to take during your course. However, there are medical stores in the area where any needed medicines can generally be found. We also recommend bringing diarrhea medicine in case you eat food in restaurants or accidentally drink unfiltered/tap water. All of our food and vegetables are washed and cooked with purified water, so you won’t have to worry about getting sick during your daily meals at our ashram.
If you are sick, injured, or in need of medical assistance, we will provide you with basic medical care or take you to a nearby western-style hospital depending on which option is needed or requested. If you are unable to complete your retreat or course due to medical issues, we do offer you the ability to reschedule to a later date if necessary for no extra cost.
We recommend that everyone gets the necessary travel insurance to ensure if there is any emergency that they will be covered. Although medical bills in a hospital in India are certainly cheaper than in the west, more serious accidents can happen sometimes and it is best to be covered than not to be.