Updated for 2023-2024: Volunteer travel is back. At Volunteer Forever, we’ve been updating our articles to ensure readers have the latest and best information. In this updated Yoga Retreats in India article, you’ll find the best programs that combine volunteer work with a yoga retreat in India
Are you an international volunteer hoping to take a yoga retreat in India? We have good news: You can easily go on a volunteer and yoga trip through an international volunteer organization.
When you volunteer and go on a yoga retreat in India, you get the chance to not only enhance your own life, but also uplift others in need. Such a trip can truly be a life-changing experience.
The Beauty of a Yoga Retreat in India
Just imagine waking up every morning at sunrise and welcoming the sun in the shadow of the mighty Himalaya Mountains. You’ll improve in strength and flexibility as you learn the proper techniques from authentic Yogi masters. Your body will become stronger as you gently contort it to achieve new poses while participating in some of the best yoga India has to offer.
During your yoga retreat in India, you’ll also learn the importance of yoga breathing, known as pranayama, which is consciously observing your breathing as you inhale and exhale. Pranayama changes the pattern of your breathing and focuses your mind. Your thoughts will become more clear and focused, and your attention span will increase.
You’ll also learn about Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest medical systems and that’s still used in India’s traditional health care systems. The term “Ayurveda” are the Sanskrit words “ayur” (life) and “veda” (science or knowledge). This ancient concept uses herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique practices to improve health.
You’ll become mindful, using meditation to relax, become aware of your mind and body, and overcome suffering. You’ll practice meditation techniques and focus on three basic aspects: body, breath, and thoughts. Psychology specialists recognize the power of mindful meditation or paying attention to details as they arise. Mindful meditation doesn’t alter your thinking; it helps you become aware of what is already true, moment by moment.
To add to the experience, when you participate in a yoga retreat in India with organizations such as GoEco, Volunteering Solutions, Frontier, and Love Volunteers, you get the chance to help those in need. Between yoga sessions, you could:
- Teach English to disadvantaged children
- Participate in elephant conservation
- Work in a medical facility
- Help empower women
A Yoga Retreat in India Takes You to the Birthplace of Yoga
The ancient science of yoga has been practiced in India for thousands of years. It’s well researched and acknowledged as bringing happiness, health, and peace of mind to those who practice it.
During the past 100 years, yoga has been recognized and welcomed in the West, and has become important as a fitness regimen.
But yoga is not merely a physical exercise.
Yoga practitioners know that slow, measured breathing, mindful meditation, and focused body movements improve the quality of their lives on all levels: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
If you have a special interest in learning and practicing yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation, consider traveling for a yoga retreat India, where it began, and learn from experts who have been practicing it their entire lives. India, the birthplace of yoga, might be where you’ll find the most experienced and authentic yoga teachers.
Yoga Retreats & Volunteer Programs in India
Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group of volunteers in India, there are yoga adventure programs that can enhance your life as well as the lives of others. Below are four amazing programs to check out if you would like to travel for a volunteer experience and yoga retreat in India.
Founded in 2006, GoEco has 150+ reputable and affordable projects around the globe, from wildlife rehabilitation in Zimbabwe to medical internships in Costa Rica. GoEco is run by experienced volunteers who ensure each program adheres to high standards for ethics, quality, and safety. Recognized as the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization by GoAbroad. GoEco has been recommended by the USA Today, Boston Globe, and Today Show, Boston Globe. If you’re looking to combine a service trip with a yoga retreat in India, look no further than GoEco.
Travel to Goa, India, and help provide educational enrichment for children who need it most. As a volunteer, you can teach at a Boys Shelter and work at a Slum Outreach Center. Duties include:
- Organizing English lessons for children who can’t afford school
- Playing games with the children to boost confidence and soft skills
- Enjoying Goa’s amazing beaches and entertainment during free time
Through this program, you can enhance your India experience by adding GoEco’s Culture Week in Goa. Designed to familiarize you with Indian art, culture, and customs, the Culture Week can include a Body and Mind Week that teaches you about yoga, meditation practices and Ayurveda treatments to improve your health and well-being. This will add another dimension to your experience in India.
This volunteer program truly combines community service with a yoga retreat in India. No wonder it’s one of GoEco’s more popular programs.
Volunteering Solutions began in 2007 and has helped more than 17,000 volunteers to date. Volunteering Solutions has 150+ projects across 27 countries, including in popular destinations such as South Africa, Nepal, and Ecuador. They’re known for their affordable, high-quality, impactful service projects. Many of Volunteering Solutions’ programs also include a cultural component, including India programs. If you’re looking for a yoga retreat in India with a volunteer component, consider this organization’s program below.
Street Children Program & Yoga Classes in Delhi, India
Volunteering Solutions offers you a great opportunity to combine a yoga retreat in India with community service. Depending on your preferences, you can volunteer first or take the yoga classes first, or do the classes in the morning prior to volunteering.
The volunteer program involves teaching underprivileged kids, many of whom are street dwellers. You’ll volunteer at a center that helps ensure these children have access to shelter, food, education, and healthcare. It’s a program where you’ll see your impact right away.
If you want a yoga retreat in India, consider adding Yoga Classes in Delhi through Volunteering Solutions. This program is designed specifically to teach basic and mid-level Yoga postures. Classes are taught by certified Yoga teachers and are held three times per week in the early morning.
Love Volunteers places volunteers on meaningful projects around the world. It’s a nonprofit organization with a transparent policy, sending 90% of its program fees to the local charities and organizations hosting its participants. Founded in 2009, Love Volunteers has placed more than 20,000 volunteers abroad on low-cost programs, many starting at only $280. Love Volunteers works in 34 countries worldwide, offering more than 120 different projects. Security is paramount, and Love Volunteers staff audits each program for safety, social responsibility, and impact. As well, their dedicated in-country teams offer 24/7 support.
Join Love Volunteers on a Volunteer and Yoga Adventure in Palampur, India, with vistas of the Himalaya Mountains and verdant, green tea plantations as a backdrop. A haven for yogis, Palampur also is famous for its colorful, unique markets and serene, pine forests. As a “yoga volunteer” of sorts, you will be placed on a program that divides your time between giving to others and giving to yourself. You’ll work with daycare facilities, providing much-needed services such as light painting and renovation, as well as quality care and play to impoverished and disadvantaged children. Then it’s time to focus inward and participate in yoga and meditation lessons with other volunteers in India.
To start with your volunteering in India experience, you’ll arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, India, then transfer to Dharamsala, either via another flight or by overland transportation. Program staff will escort you to the volunteer house in Palampur, where an orientation session will be delivered. You’ll learn about local safety, basic culture and history, transportation, and have a chance to get to know the other volunteers and team members.
Rooms are shared at the volunteer house, which features Western-style bathrooms and hot showers. Wifi is available in the house, and your meals are provided. Food is mostly vegetarian and can include lentils, curries, naan, kebabs, and rice-based dishes. Program fees for this two-week trip start at $909 and include on-site supervision, as well as room and board, transfers, and orientation. You can add an extra week to your Indian experience, and spend more time at the beginning of your journey in Delhi. This $250 add-on gives you the opportunity to do more than just volunteering in India – you’ll visit spectacular landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, and take language lessons. You’ll visit tourist spots, catch a Bollywood movie, and enjoy meals at traditional Indian restaurants. Learn more about this incredible opportunity.
Frontier is a nonprofit conservation and development NGO that places people on quality volunteer programs around the world. Established in 1989, Frontier now operates more than 400 programs in 60 countries and focuses on community and adventure projects that safeguard biodiversity, and help contribute sustainable livelihoods for communities in the world’s poorest countries. Frontier projects range from community development, education, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, humanitarian work, and research and conservation.
Step away from your fast-paced, frantic world and travel to India, the birthplace of yoga and Ayurveda, with Frontier. On this yoga retreat and adventure travel trip, you’ll learn the basics of yoga and meditation, massage, relaxation, and Ayurveda treatments, an ancient Indian holistic medical treatment. Learn how to make lifestyle and dietary changes that improve your well-being, and raise your energy levels. This odyssey to India will help you balance your body and your mind as you’re trained to incorporate the principles of yoga into your daily life.
You’ll spend two weeks immersed in the colorful, health-centric city of Goa, exploring the history and culture of the region, visiting sites of interest, and receiving basic language instruction. This allows a better understanding of the Indian philosophy of yoga and meditation.
In the second week, your daily schedule will begin early in the morning with the sunrise and guided meditation, followed by yoga lessons. Your mornings are free for long walks in the gardens, followed by afternoon sessions spent acquiring knowledge of Ayurveda. You will learn about and have the opportunity to have Ayurvedic medicinal treatments, which include herbal oils and body scrubs to rev your blood circulation and heal your skin. Afternoons include more guided meditation, mindfulness, massage, and breathing techniques.
You’ll stay in a simple, clean, and comfortable accommodation with same-gender rooms. Meals are vegetarian with fresh fruit and an emphasis on healthy eating. The cost of this program is $1,295 for two weeks and begins the first and third Monday of every month. Extra weeks are available upon request. Arrive on a Sunday at Goa Airport to receive transfer and orientation. More information is available by clicking here.
Ready for a Transformational Yoga Retreat in India?
A yoga retreat in India, combined with a volunteer program, can be a profoundly transformational experience. Not only can you learn yoga and meditation, but you can also help uplift the local community. This can enable you to experience a deep connection to the country and the people and culture. Along the way, you’ll meet like-minded people who appreciate that yoga and meditation can help create a happier, healthier lifestyle.
A bonus is, after immersing yourself in the physical, mental, and spiritual practice of yoga for a week or longer, you’ll enjoy a calm mind and be in good physical condition. You’ll return home with your priorities realigned and your horizons broadened.