Yoga and Meditation in Auroville
Due to the small yoga class sizes in Auroville, our instructor had much time to give personal attention and pushing us to the limit properly within a pose (usually followed by a *crack* or load *groan* putting even the nearby songbirds to silence). This regular personal touch in Auroville massively improved my yoga form.
“I’m burnt out.” “My life needs balance.” “I can’t find happiness.” In today’s hectic world of 24/7 connectivity, “Spiritual Tourism” is a growing trend for those who seek direction on accommodating the quickening pace and growing complexity of life. In Auroville, India spirituality takes on a whole new dimension: a community of 2,000 live a life that models a mix between a “kibbutz” and a yoga retreat. From introspective group meditations, deep philosophical conversations, and a wide variety of yoga classes that leave you brimming with energy, your soul will feel nourished here. Walking down the quiet, leafy-green paths flanked by eco-farms and curvy, windy, city-bylaw-free architecture, I can’t help recall the first paragraph of the 1968 Auroville Charter which (nicely) sums up life here: “Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville, one must be a willing servitor of the Devine Consciousness”.
Yoga Classes in Auroville
Spirituality can take on many forms, and Auroville offers a variety of one-off classes or week-long retreats to explore this concept from yoga, meditation, aryuvedic medicine, and even life coaching. Group meditation classes (usually free) were common, sitting in silence with peers in beautiful indoor and outdoor locations. I also personally did a number of yoga classes at “Verite“, an Auroville community having newly built complexes housing elegant modern studios that leave you wondering whether you’re in India or in Toronto a newly restored inner-city loft in the midst of gentrification. All of the standard forms of yoga are there (Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, etc), as well as advanced classes such as “laughing yoga”. I especially loved my 2-hour Hatha Yoga classes, which were generally small (3-5 people). Due to the small class sizes, our instructor had much time to give personal attention and pushing us to the limit properly within a pose (usually followed by a *crack* or load *groan* putting even the nearby songbirds to silence). This personal touch massively improved my yoga form. It’s one thing to do yoga once or twice a week, but it’s quite more substantial on your body and spirit to do yoga once or twice a day consistently! Being surrounded by a fellow group of committed Yogis certainly helped, all united by the same goal of relaxation and spirituality: a loud funny German man in his 40s looking for purpose in life, an Australian woman in her 30s who just needed a break from the corporate rat race, and an elderly pleasant French couple in their 60s enjoying retirement. I felt noticeably more energetic and calm after this healing week, and I think having the right instruction and surroundings played a large part in this.
The Matrimandir of Auroville
At the centre of Auroville lies the Matrimantir. Click here to read about my visit inside the massive golden orb.
Getting around Auroville is an experience in itself, with many places located within narrow dirt roads carved through leafy jungles. Renting a moped or a bicycle is highly recommended, and are widely available throughout the city. Personally, taking a slow moped ride (dodging the occasional cow or peacock) with the warm breeze in on my face was always the perfect post-yoga activity, and just added to the adventurous and relaxing element of Auroville. The Indian ocean lies 15 minutes from the city centre and offers ample (amounts of) beaches. The town is peppered with cafes and restaurants, all offering a healthy mix of Indian and Western food. South India is especially famous for its breakfasts, and my mornings were spent wolfing back dosa (rice flour crepes (sometimes) filled with potatoes or other vegetables) and idli sambar (rice flour entrees eaten with hot lentil soup and vegetables).
For me, Auroville was a different and very fulfilling experience mixing good food, weather and people with great yoga and meditation activities. All of this intertwined with a taste of India. I look forward to my next visit back to continue the spiritual journey.