Varanasi, India. 12-19 jan 2025

Picture of Yoga Mandir
Yoga Mandir

After a post covid return in January 2024 Alan will be returning for a week in Varanasi in January 2025.

Come with us on an journey into the heart of India as we practice Yoga twice daily along with Pranayama sessions and a rich dialogue on the philosophy and depth of this human subject.

During our stay in Varanasi we explore the themes of the Yoga Sutras. Sitting beside the ‘Ganga’ in this centre of learning, or walking along the Ghats which line the river you might take a moment to reflect on the short, terse statements written by Patanjali almost 2,000 years ago.

‘We sit together in the dawn light or the setting sun and rest our eyes on the river as it passes silently.

Pilgrims from across the land come to this place to bathe in the sacred Ganga, seeking purification and liberation from the cycles of death and rebirth’.

And we too are pilgrims, as we sit, and practice and read the sutras of patanjali’

Alan Goode

‘Having visited India regularly for over 40 years to study Yoga I have seen India change immensely but at a deeper level it remains unchanged. The values that I saw on my first visit in 1983 are still alive in India and Varanasi captures those values with its rich history, culture and ambience. Walking on the Ghats or floating down the river at night is an unforgettable experience’.

Alan Goode

Bookings are made on the Big Sista website:

Varanasi, also known as Benares or Kashi, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, located on the banks of the sacred Ganges River in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This city is a melting pot of Indian culture, spirituality, and history, revered as a holy destination in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.

‘In the white marble, Jain temple near Tulsi Ghat I found this small image of a vimana (image in this post). A vimana is a mythical winged chariot and the name of an asana. This beautiful but tiny image floats above the trees and is an example of the texture and beauty found everywhere in the city of Varanasi’

Alan Goode

The essence of Varanasi is its ghats, a series of steps leading down to the Ganges, where life and death coexist. Pilgrims come to bathe in the holy waters, perform rituals, and seek blessings. The ghats also host the poignant Hindu cremation ceremonies, emphasizing the belief in life, death, and rebirth.

Varanasi’s narrow, labyrinthine alleys full of life, ancient temples, shrines, and ashrams. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is among the most sacred and visited sites. The city is also famous for its silk weaving, producing exquisite Banarasi sarees cherished across India.

Culturally rich, Varanasi is a hub for music, literature, and arts, with a legacy of famous poets, musicians, and scholars. It serves as a backdrop for festivals and rituals, offering a profound experience of India’s spiritual heartland and an unbroken link to its past.

The history of yoga in Varanasi is deeply entwined with the city’s ancient spiritual roots, reflecting millennia of religious and philosophical evolution. Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities, has been a centre of learning and spirituality for thousands of years, serving as a significant cultural and religious hub in India.

The origins of yoga in Varanasi are as ancient as the city itself, with references found in the earliest sacred texts, including the Vedas and Upanishads, which highlight the practice of yoga as a means to achieve spiritual liberation.

Throughout centuries, Varanasi has attracted sages, ascetics, and seekers from all over India and beyond, drawn by the city’s profound spiritual energy. These yogis and saints have contributed to the rich tapestry of yoga practices and philosophies, experimenting with various techniques and passing down their knowledge through generations.

‘To stand at the burning Ghats, where it is said that the funeral pyres have been burning for thousands of years, is a profound experience for anyone. The pyres at Manikarnika Ghat burn throughout the night and individuals from all over India regard this rite as offering moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth. Varanasi’s association with Lord Shiva, the deity who presides over the cycle of creation and destruction, watches over this sacred ritual’.

Alan Goode

Over the years, Varanasi has also played a pivotal role in the global dissemination of yoga. Many renowned yogis and teachers from Varanasi have travelled worldwide, sharing their knowledge and inspiring the establishment of yoga schools and communities across the globe.

Explore India

… and dont forget our other Indian adventure

Udaipur, India. 4-11 jan 2025

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