In ancient India, ashrams existed, which were quite like today’s residential schools. They were built away from the civilization. The pupils would live here, in a secluded environment, with the gurus, and attain education in religion, warfare, politics, life skills, and so on. Following the key concept, different spiritual gurus and yoga/meditation experts have established their own versions of ashrams, not just in India but around the world. Their goal is to spread their understanding of yogic science with the learners in a typical ashram environment.
10 Ashrams Outside India for Meditation and Yoga
These modern ashrams offer retreats to the visitors, like a soothing break from their daily monotonous schedule. For many of them, the experience gained and the skills learned in meditation and yoga while living in ashrams, have proven to be life to change.
1. The Art of Living Ashram, Montreal
Since its inception in 1991, the Canadian International Art of Living Center has been a home away from home for thousands of visitors around the world. Nestled among 250 acres of land dotted by five pristine lakes and numerous nature trails, the Center offers an opportunity for you to experience a true vacation and is the ideal location for deep meditation, re-energizing massage and complete rest. Offering a wide variety of activities and programs, including Art of Living Courses, Yoga Programs, an annual youth summer camps and family retreats, International Art of Living Center is your sanctuary for self-growth and uplift throughout the year.
Operating in over 150 countries, The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) is a non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization founded in 1981 by the world-renown philanthropist and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, whose main headquarters is situated in Bangalore, India.
2. Geeta Ashram, Malaysia
Geeta Ashram Malaysia was founded in 1972 by Swami Hariharji Maharaj with a vision to impart the teachings of Bhagwat Geeta to the followers of Hindu Dharma in Malaysia. He envisioned establishing an ashram in Malaysia after visiting the country for the first time in 1966, for a Bhagwat Geeta recitation program organized privately.
The ashram conducts activities like religious gatherings, recitation of bhajans and religious texts like Bhagwat Geeta and Hanuman Chalisa, classes on Hindi, Sanskrit, and religious texts, trekking around Gasing Hills and so on.
3. Osho Tapoban, Nepal
Founded by Bodhisattva Swami Anand Arun, the ashram offers special packages to the guests, including features like meditation, yoga, massage, dietary consultation, steam/sauna bath, and so on. Located in the pristine Nagarjuna forest, the place is truly rejuvenating. Every year, around 800 guests from 90 countries visit the ashram.
The infrastructure includes Rajnish Meditation Temple, Osho Enlightenment Centre, Sculpture Garden, Shivapuri Baba Silence Temple, Devatirtha Books and Nagarjuna Gift Centre.
4. Adinath Yoga Ashram, Thailand
Adinath Yoga Ashram was founded by Guru Dharm and Kru Ananya Singh. Both of them have acquired immense knowledge in Human Consciousness and Yogic Science through study, and regular practice of yoga and meditation. They seek to share their knowledge with the rest of the world.
Having been named after Shiva (Adinath), the ashram is highly influenced by his living. Situated in Chiang Rai, the ashram offers retreats and courses in yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, and organic farming,
5. Yasodhara Ashram, Canada
Yashodhara Ashram is situated in the gorgeous mountains of British Columbia, in Kootenay Bay. It was established in 1963 by Swami Shivananda Radha. A German by birth, Radha was trained by Swami Shivananda Saraswati in India, in philosophy and yoga techniques.
Currently, there are Radha Centers across Canada, US, and Europe to meet the needs of yoga learners in the respective places. The ashram offers guided retreat packages and various courses related to yoga, spirituality, and nature.
6. Arhanta Yoga Ashram, Netherland
Arhanta Yoga Ashrams are spread across India and Europe. This one is situated in Gelderland, in the East of Netherlands. Like others ashrams, it also focuses on simple living and spiritual growth, in a secluded environment away from the comforts.
The ashram offers numerous internationally accredited courses in yoga, whether you want to learn it as a regular practitioner or even as a teacher.
7. Mandala Yoga Ashram, Wales
With a mission to educate people about yogic science, including yoga and meditation techniques, Mandala Yoga Ashram has been operating since 1986 in Carmarthenshire, Wales. It was founded by Swami Nischalananda. Having lived in India for 14 years (from 1971 to 1985), he came across and learned from various spiritual leaders and yogic gurus.
The ashram offers retreat packages and courses in yoga to enhance the mindfulness and mental health of the learners.
8. Siddha Yoga Ashram, Sydney
Siddha Yoga Ashram was founded as a result of the joint collaboration between Gurumayi Chidvilasananda and Swami Muktananda. Apart from offering courses and retreats related to yoga and meditation, the ashram also conducts sessions where learners can chant mantras and study sacred texts and scripts.
People belonging to all faiths are also welcome to volunteer in the ashram. Apart from Sydney, Siddha Yoga Ashram has centers in Melbourne and Perth.
9. Ramakrishna Centre, South Africa
Ramakrishna Centre was established 75 years ago by Mr. Dhanagopal Naidoo who later became a monk and took the name Swami Nischalananda. The center advocates peace and prosperity. It helps underprivileged people by uplifting their condition through education, medical service, and economic assistance.
The center conducts workshops and classes on spirituality, sacred texts, and scriptures. Spiritual retreats are available for anyone interested. It also organizes deity worship and meditation sessions throughout the year.
10. Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Argentina
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers are spread around the world. They’re named after Swami Sivananda and founded by his disciple Swami Vishnudevananda. The objective of the organization is to help people achieve healthy body and mind through the knowledge and practice of yoga, spirituality and yogic science. One of such centers is located in Argentina.
The center offers retreats, as well as courses in yoga and meditation. Occasionally, festivities are also celebrated in the center premises. The closest one being Mahashivaratri.
So, if you’re in any of these countries/ cities, or somewhere near, do make a visit to practice meditation and yoga. Who knows it might add that dimension to your life that you always felt was missing!