Living in an Ashram, India

I first heard the term ashram after watching the film Eat, Pray, Love. A film which inspired my journey to take 7 months out of my ordinary life and travel the world! So I decided to try living in an ashram for 2-3 months and discover India.


Finding the right ashram for you

I was drawn to India but felt terrified to go on my own as a solo woman. I had heard some horror stories of women travelling alone in India.

For me though, I didn't want to let that stop me exploring a country so rich in culture, colours, and spiritual energy.

So after much deliberation, I decided to live in an ashram to get a feel for the country in a protective community with like-minded people.

After a lot of research, I decided Sivananda was the best for me, a rigid schedule starting at 5.20am, 4 hours of yoga a day, daily lectures, and sunrise and sunset meditation.

It was the best decision of my life.

Personally, I was trying to heal from a broken ten-year relationship. Leaving the boy I had grown up loving and the familiar comforts of our flat in London was tough. Heart-wrenching and lonely, I stepped away from the life which no longer served either of our best interests.

Fast forward nine months and I was sat on a plane, on my own, terrified, flying to India with a one-way ticket.

Want to find the right ashram for you? Check out my blog on Finding Your Perfect Ashram in India.


Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwatari Ashram, Kerala

My first impression of the Sivananda ashram in Kerala was total peace and tranquillity. A sort of hippie university where spiritual yogis floated around the garden surroundings, barefoot and free-flowing.

A sense of inner peace and serenity was prominent through the temples and yoga halls.

The first thing to take note about this ashram before you decide to go is that there is a strict schedule which must be adhered to.

For me, this was perfect. The perfect way to heal and think only of my current activity and stopped me from being dragged back to past memories.

Daily schedule

The day starts at 5.20am. Yes that is 5.20am. It is dark outside and the first few days I felt a bit sick getting up so early but grew quickly to love this sacred morning time.

The bells go off at 5.20am and then at 5.50am, calling you to the sunrise meditation. Here you sit in a large open hall where you will meditate from anything from 10 to 30 minutes.

To start with it is tough sitting on the floor for long periods of time. Especially if you are used to the Western world of sitting on a comfy sofa!

But your posture will dramatically improve and you discover an inner strength.


After meditation, is chanting for another 30 minutes. This is basically singing and clapping (if you want) and is a lovely morning practice. I always felt like I was in one of the Pitch Perfect films!

Following this blissful morning routine, you will be read a passage from one of the founding guru's books. An inspirational message to think about during your stay.

After this, my favourite time of day! Chai tea and some snacks, usually nut or seed-based.

And then onto a 2-hour yoga class. Don't worry there is a lot of relaxation and breathing exercises included so it is not 2 hours of hardcore workout. Although you will notice how quickly your body tones up from this incredible workout (a bonus!).

Food at the ashram

Following yoga is a much-needed nutritious Indian meal. Now I'm not great with spicy food so was a bit apprehensive about the food. But Sivananda ashram does not use chilli in their meals so it is not spicy.

When there is the occasional spicy dish, yoghurt is provided and there is always a non-spicy option.

The food is all home-cooked and deliciously nutritious.

They only serve vegetarian food so good to take note if you are an avid meat eater. But it is different every day and is served with rice or bread, and on my favourite days, poppadoms!


Selfless service

When you arrive you are assigned a karma yoga duty which can range from sweeping the floors to helping out in the juice bar. There are a variety of chores you can help out with.

Free time

Free time is between breakfast and the 2pm lecture. You are allowed to leave the ashram at this time. You can find peace overlooking the lake or sit in the temple.

My favourite activity was catching up with friends in the local tea shop. With banana cake and a mug of chai tea of course!

Alternatively, there are yoga coaching and meditation sessions at this time. Here you can get some general advice, or perfect a pose you are working on.


Amenities at the ashram

Within the beautiful surroundings of the ashram, there is a little shop with anything you may need. Including toiletries, books, clothes, yoga mats, and other odds and ends.

There is also a juice bar which serves juices, fruit bowls, cereal, milkshakes, and toasties. And of course masala tea!

Yoga lectures

In the afternoon, after herbal tea and fruit, there is a 1-hour lecture where you learn about yoga philosophy.

These sessions are very informative and the lady who teaches is a great inspiration and very knowledgeable. I loved these classes!

They are repeated every 2 weeks so if you stay longer than 2 weeks you are free to miss these and do your own thing.

Following your lecture is another 2 hours of yoga, followed by much-needed dinner. Another delicious home-cooked vegetarian meal where you can always ask for seconds or thirds.


Evening entertainment

After dinner, you have some free time and this is when the juice bar fills up with lively chatter! It is a great place to catch up with friends.

The internet is turned on also so you can catch up with loved ones back home. Or social media accounts if you prefer!

The day ends with meditation at 8pm, followed by more chanting and either a mini-lecture or if you are lucky, some entertainment! This ashram holds a talent show most Saturdays and sometimes invites local musicians.

A lovely way to experience Indian culture.

After the closing prayer, you return to your dorm/room to sleep, ready for the day ahead.


Weekly schedule

Each week this day is repeated. Except for Fridays when you have the day off. You do still have to get up early and meditate but the yoga is optional.

They also organise day trips to see more of India which are great fun especially the beach trip!


All in all, I had the best time living at the Sivananda ashram in Kerala.

I would highly recommend to anyone seeking enlightenment, spiritual healing, or the desire to learn more about yoga and oneself.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below! Want more information? Check out my blog on how to Find the Perfect Ashram for You.

Happy travelling my friends ๐Ÿ™‚

If you enjoyed this, check out my other blogs...

Finding your Perfect Ashram in India

Everything you need to know when choosing the right ashram in India for you.

Staying Safe in India as a Solo Female Traveller

Feeling apprehensive to visit India? Check out my top tips for travelling and staying safe in India.

Want to be the first to see my latest blogs?

Just fill out the form on the Contact page to receive all the latest on dance classes, yoga retreats, and coffee shops around the world.

46 thoughts on “Living in an Ashram, India”

  1. Hey, nice article……. can I just ask how you travelled to the ashram and if you were alone? Iโ€™m going in October and I am a little worried about how safe I will feel in a taxi to the ashram as a single female. Unless there is another way to get there?
    How long did it take to get the ashram from the airport anyway?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.

    Om Shanti

    1. Hi Claire,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Did you go to India in October? I was actually there in November and yes don’t worry you will be perfectly safe as a solo woman getting a taxi from the airport to the ashram. Although I would recommend travelling in the day when it is light (before 6pm).

      There is a taxi counter just before you exit Trivandrum airport and they will tell you how much it will be and assign you a driver. My driver was kind enough to offer to stop for breakfast and an ATM so I could get some cash out on the way. It takes about 1hr – 1.5hrs depending on traffic.

      Really hope you were able to go and had an amazing time!

      Om Shanti


  2. It was so helpful to read this and get more insight into life in an ashram. It sounds like it could be tough to start with, but Iโ€™d really love to go and challenge myself to such a different way of life.
    Thank you for the info!

    1. Hey Beth! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for your comment, great to hear! I would love to help you organise a stay in an ashram if you want? Let me know by message, am happy to help ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. What i don’t realize is in reality how you’re no longer actually much more well-favored
    than you might be right now. You are very intelligent. You know therefore significantly
    when it comes to this matter, made me in my opinion consider it from so many varied angles.

    Its like women and men don’t seem to be interested except it is
    something to do with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs great.
    All the time maintain it up!

    1. Hey!

      Thanks for your comment, glad I’ve helped you to see other points of view ๐Ÿ™‚ Best of luck with everything!


  4. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to โ€œreturn the favorโ€.Iโ€™m attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    1. Hey!

      Thanks for visiting ๐Ÿ™‚ What’s your weblog called? Yes sure go for it! Let me know if you want to collaborate together on a blog or something ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. เธ›เธฑเน‰เธกเน„เธฅเธ„เนŒ says:

    Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

    1. Hey!

      Glad you like ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your positive review! Hope your blog is going well ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so much,
    However I am going through problems with your
    RSS. I don’t understand why I am unable to join it.
    Is there anyone else having similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond?

    1. Hey!

      Great to hear from you! Thanks so much for your lovely comment ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m actually quite new to blogging so had to research RSS! Will look at getting this set up on my website asap.


    2. Hey!

      Okay so I’ve set up an RSS feed for my blog now ๐Ÿ™‚ You can find it if you scroll down to the end of the page.


  7. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However
    I am encountering problems with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why
    I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems?
    Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond?

    1. Hey,

      Thanks for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ I added an RSS feed on my website so not sure why it’s not working…


  8. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue
    or something to do with web browser compatibility but
    I thought I’d post to let you know. The style and design look
    great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon. Thanks

    1. Hi,

      Oh, thanks for letting me know! It’s okay on my screen but I’ll take a look at the formatting and see if I can amend ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble
    locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got
    some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.

    Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

  10. Hi there very cool blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful ..
    I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also?
    I am glad to search out a lot of helpful info here within the submit, we’d like develop more strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing.
    . . . . .

    1. Hi!

      Thanks for your lovely message ๐Ÿ™‚ Great! Yes please do.

      I will be publishing my next blog on Staying Safe in India very soon!


  11. Hi! I’ve been following your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas!

    Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

  12. Hi there! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new
    apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Carry on the outstanding work!

    1. Hey!

      Thanks for your lovely comment, glad you like ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. for Tibet, Montagna e sport invernali, Milan, Nepal, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Jomsom, Mustang Region, Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, Ladakh, Annapurna Region I m female solo traveller and I visit Nepal every year. I feel safe, and as Rhythm said above, if you compare the list of bad news in Nepal with the ones of other countries in the world you can see that Nepal is one of the safest.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your comment ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I’ve heard many good things about Nepal! Sri Lanka is also lovely and very safe.


  14. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a good articleโ€ฆ but what can I sayโ€ฆ I procrastinate a whole lot and
    don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

    1. Hey!

      Thanks for your lovely comment ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I am known to procrastinate a lot too! I find setting a timer for 25mins (apparently the optimal concentration-time) really helps me stay focused. That and listening to good music!


  15. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for?
    you make running a blog look easy. The full glance of your web site is great, let alone the content material!

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your lovely comment ๐Ÿ™‚ Been running a blog for about a year now but was creating blogs and managing social media posts for a performing arts company in London before this.

      Glad you like the content! Am looking to create more blog posts this year.


  16. Thank you Naomi, helpful to read this article!, more insight into life in an ashram…
    There are a few books around about the ashrams in India;
    Seeking The Master by Muzz Murray,
    From Here to Nirvana by Anne Cushman and Jerry Jones,
    Ashrams of India Volumes 1 & 2 by the Bronte Company,
    Ashrams by Yael Bloch.

    1. Hi Roger,

      Thanks for your lovely comment ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you found it helpful, and thank you for the book recommendations, I love a good book!


    2. Thanks Naomi, I did actually for to mention another one – Yoga in India by, it is a guide to 24 yoga centres in India.

    3. Hi Roger,

      Sounds great! Thanks for sharing, I will have to check that out ๐Ÿ™‚


  17. Hey Naomi,
    thank you for sharing your great experiences! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Maybe I overlooked it, but how long did you stay in the Sivananda ashram?
    And how many days minimun would you recomment to get a good impression of the ashram life?

    Greatings from Berlin – Germany ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey Anna,

      Thanks for reaching out, so glad you found it helpful! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was there around 2 months which was quite a long time, most of the yoga vacationers stay around 1-2 weeks, with some staying a month if they really like it. I loved it which is why I stayed so long! There is definitely a minimum stay at Sivananda so make sure you check their website for that. I would recommend staying between 1-2 weeks.

      The yoga vacation lasts 2 weeks but you don’t need to stay that long if you don’t want to. It can take some time to adjust to ashram life especially if you’ve not stayed in an ashram before so I would recommend staying a week to get the full experience ๐Ÿ™‚ At Sivananda they have Fridays as their “free day” so that’s quite a good day to start, but they are really lovely and flexible so you can join whenever suits you.

      Hope this helps. If you have other questions, feel free to message me on Instagram @fabulousboutiqueadventures


  18. Hi thank you for sharing your experience, I really want to go to ashram in India but I’m alone and lack the courage , and what scares me the most is getting from the airport to the ashram and back again. But you have really good tips so maby I can do it

    1. Hi Sesselja, Of course you can! I was petrified, if that makes you feel any better. Literally had never travelled solo before going to India but I wanted to go so badly, I had to go.

      I was really nervous about the airport to ashram journey too, so you are not alone! Firstly, I would recommend ensuring your flight arrives and departs during the daylight hours, that will help your nervousness. My plan was to stay at a hotel first so I contacted them to book me a taxi from the airport to the hotel. That will help too, as you will be waiting for somebody specific.

      You could probably contact the ashram where you want to stay and ask them to organise a taxi for you. Usually they are super friendly and helpful.

      Also, I know there are a lot of horror stories about India but when I stayed in Kerala, the people were the nicest and really lovely and welcoming. Once in India, I did not feel afraid to go out. Check out my blog on staying safe in India

      Before travelling, make sure you have your visa and passport sorted, that will help you to feel more at ease too. I bought one of those lightweight travel pouches (you can get them from Outdoor stores) which you can keep some cash, a debit card, and your passport under your top, in case anyone does try to take your bag. But I’m sure they won’t. I had to stay overnight in an airport in India and literally had my laptop out watching old episodes of The Hills, and no-one bothered me! I wouldn’t recommend this but that is how comfortable I felt ๐Ÿ™‚

      Feel free to message me on my Instagram page @fabulousboutiqueadventures

      All the best, happy travelling!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *