Every time that somebody ask me for an ashram recommendation in South India the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai is always at the top of my list, definitely a must visit ashram in India. If you are looking for a complete and authentic spiritual experience at an Indian ashram and in comfortable and beautiful location then you'll certainly find it here.
The Sivananda Ashram offers an integral approach to yoga, meaning that all main paths of yoga are practiced in one way or another. The schedule includes twice a day a 20 minutes silent meditation followed by kirtan (chanting) and satsang (spiritual talk), twice a day hatha yoga practice, an hour of karma yoga (selfless work) and a lecture. In my opinion the kirtan at Sivananda's ashram is one of the best kirtan you can find and the pujas (rituals) that they organise for special occasions really enhances the vibration of the ashram.
The first time that I visited the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai was in February 2011 when I did my Advance Teachers Training Course. It was an amazing an unforgettable experience. A few weeks ago I decided to take a little break from Mysore, where I've been since end of September, and visit this ashram one more time.
So it's been almost five years since my last visit at the ashram. This is one of the most beautiful ashrams that I've visited in India and now it is even better. I was impressed by the improvements they have made at the ashram. They build an spectacular brand new yoga hall, a beautiful new temple and the gardens all around the ashram are now stunning.
Ashram Daily Schedule
05:30 Wake up bell
06:00 to 07.30 Satsang: Silent meditation, chanting and talk
07:30 Tea time
08:00 to 09.45 Asana Class
11:00 Karma Yoga
13:00 Asana coaching
13:30 Tea time
16:00 to 17.45 Asana Class
10:00 Bed Time/lights off
Every Friday is a day off at the ashram, so after the morning satsang guests can ask for a day pass to visit the city centre and return for the evening satsang.
Accommodation at the Ashram
There are different types of accommodation. The cheapest option is the dormitories which are basic but comfortable. 500 rupees per day including accommodation, food and classes
What to pack to stay at an ashram
If you want to have an idea of what to pack to stay at an Indian ashram and to travel around India then you can read: What to Pack for Your Next Travel and Yoga Adventure to India
Services offered by the ashram
- Internet: There is one laptop at the office that you can use during very limited hours (office hours) and with very limited connectivity. Most people would wait until Friday to be able to go to the city and use the internet.
- Boutique: With Sivananda yoga books, cds, dvds, yoga mats, soap, mosquito repellent, etc etc.
- Health Hut: Different fruit juices, milkshakes or fruit salads and the famous "hot lemon ginger honey" tea.
How to stay connected at the Sivananda Ashram
If you have a local sim card you can use a smartphone to connect to the internet whenever you need to, but the reception at the ashram is very limited.
I have an Airtel Sim card and I was only able to get signal at one specific spot at the ashram with very limited connectivity. A friend got an Idea sim card and I think it worked better for her.
If you need to know more about how to get a local sim card for your smartphone you can read How to stay connected with mobile internet while traveling in India
Every Saturday the ashram guests and TTC students are given the opportunity to demonstrate or perform any talent during the evening satsanga. It is called the Talent Show and it's a really fun and entertaining event.
The Sivananda Ashram is also ideal for solo travellers. You'll certainly meet other spiritual seekers with whom you can create beautiful connections.
|A delicious Italian dinner organised but these wonderful guys. We'd never eaten so much.|
About the food
Do you know who is the most important person at an Indian ashram? Nope, it's not the guru but the cook! Oh what would ashram life be without a good cook? I'm so happy that the ashram food hasn't changed since my last visit. It is absolutely delicious, very difficult to stop eating.
|The ashram chef. Thank you so much for the wonderful food!|
Popular Sivananda Yoga Books
How to get to the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai
The Sivananda Ashram is located about 30km from the Madurai city center and it takes about 25 minutes by rickshaw for 300 Indian rupees. You only need to mention "Sivananda Ashram" to the driver and he will know where to go.
If you want to save some money you can also take a bus from the Periyar Bus Stand. The bus numbers are 62A, 23P, 23T, 23U and 23Z. Tell the driver "Sivananda Ashram" and if he doesn't know it just say "Pavana Vinakul Junction" so he knows where to stop. The ride is about 45 minutes.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
Kalluthu, Saramthangi Village,
Vellayampatti PO 625 503
Tamil Nadu, India.
Telephone: 0452 2912950 Mobile: 09442190661
- What to Pack for Your Next Travel and Yoga Adventure to India
- The Ultimate Guide for Your Yoga Journey to India
- The Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Course (TTC), India
- The Sivananda Yoga Advanced Teachers Training Course
- Sivananda Yoga Sadhana Intensive
- The Sivananda Yoga Opening and Closing Prayers