If you want to learn yoga in India but aren't keen on the idea of going to an ashram, you might want to consider Yoga Republic as an alternative. This heavenly recreational yoga retreat is tucked away at Amboli, in the forested Sahayadri hills of Maharashtra.
What's so unique about it? It offers jungle yoga. Jungle yoga, as its name suggests, involves living a yogic lifestyle in a camp (with western facilities) in the jungle.
Systems and rituals used in ancient yogic practices, to understand and be one with nature, are taught. The special energy that's released from this intensifies students' experiences.
The yoga program is run by a husband and wife duo, who trained at the Bihar School of Yoga -- one of India's top yoga centers. The style of yoga, Satyananda Yoga, takes a holistic approach to mind and body health. In addition to postures, it includes breathing, meditation, and spiritual philosophy.
The couple also offer yoga in their home, called Shanti Darshan. Students can enjoy personalized Ayurvedic food, cooking classes, alternative natural therapies, spiritual library and discussions, cave and temple meditations, and nature walks. Blissful!
Those who want to technically study yoga will probably be better off going to a dedicated yoga school. However, Yoga Republic has appeal for anyone who's interested in yogic lifestyle and overall wellness, without sacrificing comforts.
How much does it cost? Yoga at Shanti Darshan is 3,500 rupees per night. This includes all accommodation, meals, and three one-hour sessions of yoga a day. Jungle yoga is 3,000 rupees per night. Meals at the camp are prepared by a gourmet chef.
Find out more about the courses on offer from the Yoga Republic website.