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All reviews yoga and meditation phool chatti beautiful location amazing experience the hustle and bustle elephant bath holy ganga an amazing job program retreat life accommodation rishikesh river bank teaching mountains
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Reviewed 31 May 2015

Stunning location and food was very good. Only recommend for complete beginners in both asana and the other limbs of yoga though, and there was so much chanting (generally out of key as well) - it took over some meditation sessions and was mostly praising Indian Gods, not 'universal' mantras which would incorporate other religions or athiests. Hikes were mainly 5 minute walks. Bathing in the Ganges was beautiful though. Lalita Ji was very gentle but seemed worn down, and the assistant yogi Krissy Ji was flustered very easily, told people off and did not approach yoga with gentleness or compassion, more like a set of rules to follow. Very bossy and I felt like I was in high school again. Yogic philosophy was like a school class where we sat in groups to discuss a concept rather than get a lecture from a guru, and only touched on basics. Karma yoga was just cleaning the ashram each day. It was a very expensive ashram, yet even the cheap netti pots were reused (which would have cost next to nothing to allow the students to take with them and been more hygenic), and my ceiling fan half fell out of the roof on my last night, left dangling by the live wires. Power went out regularly, and being such an expensive ashram they should be able to afford basics like this. We were not assisted in contacting family when the Nepal earthquake hit, even when asking to use the phone there and offer to pay for the call, and when family tried to contact us they would not let us talk to them unless they timed the call perfectly with our 2 hour 'permitted to talk' period because we had to maintain silence instead. Practiced the same asana routine every day with only a little bit added or changed rather than showing a range of sequences and poses through the course. Was so disappointed and frustrated a few of us left early.

Date of stay: April 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
9  Thank 23Tali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2015

The program at Phool Chatti Ashram is quite full and starts at 5.30am which can be quite tough but after a few days you will get used to the rhythm. As mentioned in previous reviews, the yoga is not ideal for experienced yogis and as there is only one teacher you will not be corrected if you are doing something wrong. For the meditation, we were taught various techniques which will help you in choosing what works best for you once at home.

The ashram is set in a beautiful location by the river Ganges however it is also in front of rapids where you will hear many rafting groups yell past, especially on weekends. The food is good and vegetarian.

Overall it was a good experience. You will enjoy it if you go with an open mind and do not expect a lot from the yoga and/or meditation.

Room tip: Ask for a room by the yoga studio/dining terrace for a nice view.
Date of stay: April 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Tsiory
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2015

I stayed at Phool Chatti for 2 weeks in late November/early December and participated in the one week intensive program during part of my stay. The serene setting along the Ganga outside of Rishikesh really allowed me to detach from life's distractions (no internet, social media, or hustle and bustle of crowds) and focus on developing my yoga practice. Everyone who lives and works there is very kind and helpful if you need assistance with anything at all during the stay, especially the yoga instructor Lalita and the people who help out at meal time. The food is to die for, and facilities offer everything you need (basic but pleasant - what you look for in an ashram), and the natural setting is breathtaking. The intensive yoga program is particularly beneficial for those who are newer to yoga, as it introduces the students to many different types of meditation, yoga and philosophy, in other words a great sampling of yoga for someone trying to figure out which practices work best for themselves. Advanced yogis may find the course a little too basic for them and the asanas too simple. But I have been doing yoga exercise for several years and enjoyed the pace. The rooms can get chilly in the winter months (as the ashram warned me beforehand), but wooly sweaters and winter layers are enough to stay warm. Heavy blankets were provided. The place is clean and organized. Pet dogs run around the courtyards and charm the guests. All in all, a little haven in bustling India. Hoping to go back for longer next time.

Date of stay: December 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13  Thank Alexis A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2015 via mobile

India is full of ashrams and after spending a week at Phool Chatti I can offer some cautions before signing up for this experience.

PROS:
-tasty Indian meals

-beautiful setting along the Ganges River

-the teacher has some insights to share about spirituality

CONS:
-impressively bad yoga instruction. I've studied yoga for 10 years and this was some of the worst instruction I've seen. There was no instruction on how to avoid injuries from yoga and some postures were far too advanced for beginners. I ended up ditching the classes to take yoga in the nearby town.

-the Hindu philosophy classes were unfocused. The teacher spent a good portion of one class talking about the foods she likes from different regions of India

-the main teacher Lolita strikes me as burnt out. She's been doing this for 20 years and should pass the button to someone who is excited about the material.

...all this negativity aside, I spoke with other students who enjoyed their time and still had meaningful experience. Maybe it's for you, but it wasn't for me.

Date of stay: November 2014
Trip type: Travelled with friends
9  Thank jedlazar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2014

I attended the 7-day programme at Phool Chatti on November 4-10, 2014.

Overall it was an enriching experience and I would recommend that place, because of the following:
1) Great location: beautiful views of the Ganga & surrounding mountains, very quiet (ok, just a few honks could be heard from the road passing above), gorgeous & clean beach right in front, lovely fruit & vegetable gardens.
2) Decent accommodation: my room was simple but lovely, full of light, and the bathroom (which I ended up not having to share) was spacious and clean. The only thing is it gets quite windy at night and early morning so it can be a bit cold in the bedrooms & bathrooms which "mosquito net windows". We were provided with clean bedsheets and thick warm blankets.
3) Delicious food, partly prepared with vegetables, fruits and herbs from the garden, and served in very generous quantities by smiling people.
4) Very well designed programme - even if very busy and tiring at times - covering all aspects of the yoga practice (meditation, pranayama, chanting, cleansing, selfless service, meditation) and the ashram life (pooja, kirtan, meals on the floor and in silence, etc.); and introducing an array of meditation techniques (loving kindness, male, yoga nidra,…). The walking meditation and the ritual bathing in the Ganga were also very powerful moments.
5) Very committed and humble teacher (Lalitha-ji), always open for questions, checking the mood of the students and adapting the rhythm accordingly.

But if you are going there to deepen your asana practice, or to initiate yourself to it, you'd better seek some other place. The morning and afternoon classes were very similar (except the afternoon ones were more inspired by the Ashtanga flow style) and consisted of almost the same asanas everyday, which was boring for me personally (but some people enjoy it). But my main problem was with the fact classes were taught almost like a fitness class: jumping from one posture into the other, not holding any, not being clearly told how to get in and get out, not being corrected, not being warned about precautions - especially for people with specific issues (back pain, knee injury, etc.). Particularly, for beginners, no instructions whatsoever about the feet were given for all the standing postures, and students were pushed (do it!) into all the postures (including some serious knee twisting, and a headstand without prior checking of the arms strength). So not only did I feel this was not actual asana practice (or least the way I see it: a meditation in movement, where we take the time to be aware of each pose), but also that it was just downright dangerous at times.

Another significant issue for me was the overwhelming religious contents of the chants and lectures - but I suppose that would be the case in any ashram.

So yes if you're looking for a western-friendly introduction to the ashram life, but no if you're looking for a quality yoga course.

Room tip: Room 25 was very luminous and with a private balcony overlooking the ashram main courtyard, although with no view of the Ganga.
Date of stay: November 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
7  Thank louzdelaluna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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