Rishikesh is a little piece of heaven nestling at the base of the Himalayas on the banks of the holy Mother Ganges. It is known to be one of the most spiritual places in India and also referred to as the “world Capital of yoga”, and for good reason.
From the moment you arrive in Rishikesh you can sense there’s something different about this place, a very special kind of energy resonates here. The Ganges flows through the centre of the town and on either side the banks are lined with Ashrams, yoga centers, cafes, jewelry and book shops, and places offering massage or other ayurvedic therapies.
The great thing about staying in Rishikesh is that there is so much yoga to choose from, from Ashtanga to Iyengar to Kundalini to traditional Hatha. I’ve been to many different teachers in Rishikesh, but these are my two favourites…
Surinder Singh (Hatha Yoga)
My absolute favorite teacher is Surinder Singh… an inspiring teacher who teaches Hatha with an Iyengar influence. His yoga to me feels like an art form.. it’s simply beautiful and he has a very heart-felt, intuitive way about him. Although the class flows nicely, each posture is held steadily before moving onto the next. Most if his students come through referrals and return year after year to practice with him. He used to teach at the Rajdeep Hotel in the mornings and the Raj Palace Hotel in the evenings – 2 hour classes at 200 rupees per class. Best is to ask the locals about his whereabouts when you’re in town, as he seems to travel quite a lot now too. He also holds Teacher Trainings of which I would love to attend one day. See Surinder’s YouTube channel here.
Usha Devi (Iyengar Yoga)
Swiss-born Usha has legendary reputation, known for her military-like approach, students come from all over the world to attend her intensive yoga workshops or daily classes. She is the head instructor at the Patanjala Yoga Kendra and has been studying with the great B.K.S. Iyengar since 1993. In the article ‘From doubt to conviction‘ Usha describes her journey through yogic healing after two nearly fatal car accidents – it’s truly inspiring. I’ve only attended a few of her classes, I think I was more into Vinyasa back then, but what I learnt in those few classes was phenomenal. I’d love to do one of her intensives one day. Ana, from the blog ‘Yoga in Rishikesh’ gives a good description of her experience in Usha’s class, see ‘Best Yoga Teacher in Rishikesh“.