Rishikesh: The Yoga Capital of the world
Rishikesh or Hrishikesh, is an ancient town situated on the right bank of river Ganga, the most sacred river for Hindus all over the world. Ganga is formed by a confluence of Alaknanda & Bhagirathi river, in another town upstream called Devprayag. From devprayag, Ganga flows as a single stream until it falls into the Bay of Bengal. The town of Rishikesh has been an important pilgrim center for hundreds of years. Every year people come here to spend time in the holy presence of Ganga or to take a halt in their journey up further to the holy shrines in Himalayas. The legends associate this town with the Shri Ram & Lakshman as they performed their penance here after killing Ravana, the demon king.
Literally the word Rishikesh means matlocks of Rishis. Also the word Hrishikesh is one of the many names of Lord Krishna. The former word might have been coined as this town has been an abode for sadhus and ascetics for a very long period of time. And they have been living here doing their spiritual sadhanas. The latter word comes from the town’s historical association with Bhagwan Bharat, who is one of the forms of Vishnu. This connection is showcased in the presence of a number of temples present in this town dedicated to the incarnations of Lord Vishnu in various forms.
Yoga has been an integral part of the history of Rishikesh. It has been recognized as World Yoga Capital in the last couple of years. But even before that from time immemorial, people from all over the world have been coming here in search of spiritual directions in life. Rishikesh is the home for some of the most divine yoga ashrams and spiritual centers of the world like Shivananda Ashram, Yog Niketan ashram, Ved Niketan ashram, Parmarth niketan. These ashram provide spiritual guidance to the seekers from all across the world. They are established by enlightened yogis of their times in an effort to serve the entire humanity by teaching the ancient sciences of yoga and meditation. Yoga, Vedanta, Darshans and similar allied subjects are taught and practiced all over Rishikesh in various big and small ashrams and study centers.
The town has also gained an international reputation in being the Yoga capital of the world. It hosts thousands of national and international students and visitors every year who come here to study yoga in the traditional format. India being the source of yoga and origin of this science of well being is the top most choice for those who wish to study and pracitse yoga in its original form. And that’s what make all these people land in rishikesh. They wish to understand the history, philosophy & culture behind this magical discipline that has brought a new revolution in health and wellness around the world. Yoga is now accepted worldwide as one of the most influential forms of maintaining the well being of body and mind and also a tool to connect the individual with his/her spiritual self. Its role is going to increase in the upcoming years as more and more people are adopting this beautiful philosophy of life and living.
A lot of yoga courses are conducted throughout Rishikesh offering yoga studies in different formats. The most popular of these is 200 hours yoga teacher training course. This is a certificate course which offers and indepth study and practice of yogic system. The course is intense as its short term. There are many yoga schools in rishikesh offering this residential course of yoga teacher training for domestic and international students.
Students follow a rigorous routine of studying the yoga philosophy, pracitse, yoga anatomy and associated elements in this course which is usually a month long. They learn the skills of practicing yoga in the most authentic way and also skills to teach it in their community.
If you spend sometime in Rishikesh hovering over the banks of Ganga and grounding yourself in the energy of the place, you will definetly find yourself in a different kind of world. And you will come to realize that why this place is called the Yoga capital of the world.