Location / Environment / Atmosphere:
The Santosh Puri Ashram is in the forested borders of the holy Ganga river where the foothills of the Himalayas begin, 7km from Haridwar (the Gates of Heaven), 18 Km from Rishikesh, in Uttarakhand, 225 Km north of New Delhi.
The ashram is one part education, one part transformation and one part home. Santosh means contentment, and after an initial inner struggle to release whatever may be necessary for your inner purification, that is exactly what the ashram offers.
Haridwar is the ‘ashram belt’ of India and Santosh Puri is one of several ashrams that are clustered along this stretch of the Ganges. From within the cool green shade of the ashram grounds it is possible to hear chanting and singing from surrounding ashrams. It’s also possible to hear nothing but the whispering of river-breezes in the trees – a rare and beautiful thing in a country packed with humanity and the normal noise pollution that goes with it. Santosh Puri’s ‘backyard’ is a sprawling national forest, and the grounds themselves are a sweet blend of rambling woods, a dorm block so well-clipped as to seem almost like a quaint British retirement home, gardens that supply the bounty produced by the kitchen, and unassuming gathering spaces that nonetheless radiate an almost-harmonic power. Guest numbers are limited to 20 or so as this is a smaller family compound, adding to the feeling of intimacy.
Santosh Puri has a permanent community of about a dozen people. The core of this group is the Puri family, who continue the legacy of Baba Santosh Puri, the guru who established the ashram as a mere goshala (cow shed) nearly four decades ago, and Mata Ji Narvada Puri. The Puri’s three grown children and some close friends / devotees, share the practical and spiritual duties of keeping an ashram running smoothly – guiding the guests, the office work, overseeing the kitchen and garden, and caring for the sacred cows who provide the ashram’s milk and ghee.
This is no holiday camp type guest house. The day begins pre-dawn with meditation and aarti, Herbal tea and an 7:30am Hatha style asana class is followed by breakfast and Karma Yoga before lunch. The afternoon is dedicated to lectures, prayanama sessions, or Ganga snaans (baths). Dinner, the evening aarti and occasional kirtan celebrations brings the day full circle.
Yoga here is a 24 hour experience, not just a couple of daily asana sessions so be prepared to work hard for the good of the community. Also be prepared for bringing awareness to everything you do, from they way you get out of bed in the morning to how you interact (or not) with other visitors. This is not a place for change that is forced upon you. The tools for clarity, peace, and purity are laid out and the struggle of whether or not to take up these tools, how to use them, and how cynical to feel about the whole process is between you, your ego, and whatever deity you invoke. All of these activities are optional yet it is amazing the inner transformations that can take place the deeper one dives into everything here.
A spiritual way of life…
- A spiritual, academic place of retreat for learning and practicing ancient and modern yogic teachings, for fulfillment in life through self-realization.
- Our aim is to create a suitable environment (ashram), away from the distracting world of desires and competition, towards retreat, life in simplicity and truthfulness. “Simple living high thinking.”
- Rediscovering the forgotten ways of the art of living in yoga, Ayurveda and the holy Vedic scriptures. The lost paradise is regain-able through meditation and a living according to the laws of “dharma” religion.
- Not only through classes or courses, but we offer the chance to live through out the day in spiritual learning, practicing and transforming consciousness with equal minded aspirant.
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