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“I would avoid wasting time here”

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 19 December 2011

be advised that this is a religious institution, even the staff refer to it as a concentration camp........ you are forced to attend religious Hindu ceremonies for 3-4 hours a day, the food is poor, and the staff seem miserable...... on the positive side the yoga is good, a little repetitive, but good and the people you meet there are fantastic....as far as the teacher training course many walked out when I was there, and those that did complete it, said they have post traumatic stress syndrome, all in all just wanted to warn people, the yoga vacation is a little bit more relaxed and many enjoyed this....

11  Thank niloufar l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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148 - 152 of 172 reviews

Reviewed 21 June 2011

Sivananda ashram set in a natural setting is an amazing place to spend time in self development an immerse in Indian culture. Located in the outskirts of Trivandrum atop a hill and beside a lake it is a scenic and heavenly place.

The ashram has a strict routine if adhered to could help for instance: waking up early in the morning and allocating time to think clearly. I believe it would require at least 10 days for an individual to learn the various postures correctly in order to gain true benefits from exercise. Food served is healthy and appropriate for the practices. You could meet other people like you, who want to learn yoga and Indian culture and those interested in global spirituality.

For people interested to learn yoga and spend time in a natural community based setting and spend time in personally progressive ways, I think this place would be a good bet. Good luck

6  Thank anandrm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2011

If you are lookig for a yoga vacation, this is not the place to visit.
It is not worth your time or your money. You'd better spend it some place else.
I visited the ashram this past december, thinking I could get peace and quiet, rest, meditate and improve my 8 year yoga practice, but I was so wrong I can't even start to explain... But I'll try:

To start with, their meditations are not meditations, they are prayers to all the Hindu Gods, this starts at 6am and ends at 7:30am and it is not optional. I believe that you should not impose your beliefs on other people and if you are selling yoga vacations, you should cater to a wide range of customers, cut out the praying and teach them meditation which does not include adoring someone elses Gods.
Then you have tea and start with yoga. Their yoga lessons are more than basic. I mean just 12 assanas and in the most basic form. Can you believe this lasts for 2 hrs? Well it does when you include a 5min shavasana in between each assana. However, after 2 days at the ashram I understood why... You get fed twice a day and this meal consists of bolied rice, boiled vegetables (which are really tasty with all the spices) and some lentils. Your body gets fully cleaned out, but you have no energy and bending down for sun salutations made my head pound as if I were fasting. I lost 3kgs in 5 days. One was water and I recovered as soon as I got back to civilization, the other two were muscle mass. I'm not happy with the weight loss, maybe if you can afford to lose weight it is a good option, not for me...
The spiritual leaders are all but spiritual, they are grumpy, rude and always with a sour face. The people visiting were great, all kind of disappointed with the experience, but willing to help eachother make it bearable.
If I had known what it was really like, I would have cut my trip to India by 10 days and spent my vacation elsewhere. Yoga clasess in Mexico City are far better than those taught at Sivananda. I guess I will just stick to my practice.
One positive thing I got out of all this, is that I appreciate my country, my life and everything in it, like I never did before.
I was told that there are better ashrams in Kovalam, maybe you should look into those if you are craving the experience....

41  Thank Fafa1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 December 2010

I went to this ashram for a yoga holiday in January 2008 and only lasted about 5 days, but that was enough for me. I have travelled as a backpacker in india 3 times now and when i came into Sivananda i thought it was heavan compared to many places i have stayed in india.other people have complained about the filth and the bedding and the food, but hell, this is India, if you wanted 5 star you were way off booking a yoga holiday in India. I found the experience really really interesting, to be part of the hippy chanting yoga bending crowd for a short time. not to say i loved it, i left because i was hungry and craving a coffee and some spicy food. But as a life experience i thought it was fantastic. I met some really awesome people in my dorm and in between satsang and yoga we all hung out in our dorm and talked real life stuff and if you ask me, thats really rare and hard to find most places. I found the fellow ashram peeps open minded and of all my travels in india this was the place i found some like minded folks. Oh and the yoga was pretty hard in the heat and i was pregnant so most of my yoga poses were spent in the childs pose, and even that exhausted me. I would lie in bed and miss some classes cos i felt so knackered and noone came and chased me back to the hall. I did find the yoga teachers pretty miserable looking and hungry looking and that put me off, but i took what i wanted from the experience and left the rest. i liked their lectures, and they made sense to me, but thats not what i choose for my life. i left the ashram and went to Varkala on my birthday so i could lie on the beach, have an iced coffee and eat prawns and chilli and enjoy my life. I would reccomend this ashram to others and i have even thought about going back one day with my daughter and doing another yoga holiday. hmmm definately not the teachers training though as i'm not into being miserable for a whole month.

5  Thank jenjeni2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2010

This was my first experience at an ashram, and combined with the yoga training, it thought I could kill two birds with one stone and do the Yoga Vacation program here. First of all, the yoga was really good...twice a day classes that were well instructed and had plenty of personal attention (it being low season and I being one of about 30 in the class). If the yoga was the only thing we did, I would have stuck it out. But then I had to consider everything else. First of all, the food, though supposedly clean and nutritious, was basically slop on a tin plate. We ate essentially the same bland slop every day. Now I could get over that and know that what I was eating was better for me than most of the foods I enjoy. Then there was my room, a dark, damp cement block that came with cold water and a mosquito net. No screens on my window, so bugs continually came in. But the most irritating thing was that my clothes were constantly wet due to the damp room, and from what I heard, the girl before me had to throw out hers because mold had grown in them. Now I could even get passed this and taken it as a lesson in patience. But the big reason I left (and I left in less than a week's time), is the satsang, a twice-daily routine of chanting and worshipping. You are required to be there (they take attendance and come find you if you aren't there), and basically everyone is required to sing songs that honor the deities as well as participate in the religious ceremonies. I did my best the first few days to embrace it all, but after a while I felt like I was faking it and didn't like that at all. I spoke about it to others in the group and they felt the same way. I left the ashram, and days later I ran into some others who informed me that a third of our group had left as well for the same reasons.

I wish I had known more about the place and attempted to find information online, but I did not have much luck. I hope I can help some others out. Like i said, the yoga is great and there are some really nice people who have devoted their lives to this, so I mean no disrespect to them at all. It says something when they have to take attendance for an activity their guests are paying to do, doesn't it? There were people who genuinely were enjoying the experience there as well, so you may find that this environment is perfect for you. For me, it just wasn't worth it. If you want yoga training, there are plenty of places in India (such as Mysore) where you can get your money's worth.

30  Thank Themad11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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