Yoga school Tapasya Yoga has existed since 2010. Its founder is Master Ravinder Jangra. In order to save, organize and transfer the knowledge and many years of experience of personal practice with his disciples, he left the ascetic small hut on the banks of the Ganges and founded the Yoga school in Rishikesh – a small Indian town in the foothills of the Himalayas.
The approach to the practice and philosophy of Tapasya Yoga is closely connected with the ancient text of the sage, Patanjali “Yoga Sutras”. This text is the most fundamental and significant Yoga work nowadays.
The name “Tapasya Yoga” symbolizes the deep essence of the school: discipline and consistency in practice. Discipline – this is the first necessary condition for the practice beginning with the first sutra, with which Patanjali begins his guidance in Yoga: «Atha yoganushasanam».
Tapasya is derived from the word “tapas”, one of the most semantically multifaceted Sanskrit words. In Buddhism this term means self-discipline and in Hinduism the word is derived from the root, “tap”, that means “to burn, shine, suffer pain.”
Such a definition of tapas can be found in BKS Iyengar “Yoga Dipika”:
“Tapas is a conscious effort to achieve ultimate union with the Divine and to burn up all the desires which stand in the way of this goal. A worthy aim makes life illuminated, pure and divine. Without such an aim, actions and prayers have no value. Life without tapas is like a heart without love. The mind can’t reach up to Lord without tapas.”
“With the help of tapas yogi develops strength in body, mind and character, and gains courage, wisdom, integrity, straightforwardness and simplicity.”
Also it is worth mentioning another meaning of the word “tapas” in Hinduism, namely – “asceticism”. “The practice of asceticism brings about perfection of the body and sense organs after destroying impurities” (Sutra 43: The fruit of tapas).
But at Tapasya Yoga school (as in this sutra) asceticism is not the practice of strict limits and body deprivation. Tapasya Yoga aims to achieve a healthy and strong physical body as the foundation and basis for the next, more advanced, practices of energy and mind control. With the help of the top-to-bottom approach to yoga teaching and practice, we use not only a body but also a mind and create an absolute balance of the physical body, mind and energy interaction.
Creation of a healthy and strong body is only the first step on the path of spiritual self-discipline.
Tapasya Yoga consists of such three stages:
Great attention at the school «Tapasya Yoga» is paid to 10 principles and rules of moral conduct Yama-Niyama, as described in the Yoga Sutras.
“Without knowledge and understanding of these 10 principles the real yoga practice is impossible,” says Ravinder, the school founder. “Even if you are still not able to perform all the rules of Yama-Niyama you should at least try to keep them in mind and be aware of your own reactions and relationships with the outside world and with your own body and mind. Let your thoughts and emotions be conscious. Watch them and ask yourself, “Do they help me and as well as others?”. Do not be a slave of your own mind and emotions. Conscious actions, thoughts and emotions are what distinguishes us from animals and open the way to freedom. In yoga we learn how to become the real owners of our lives”.
Discipline, persistence and consciousness are the essence of Tapasya Yoga practice. This is the path of Love, Heart and Soul, this is a magical journey into yourself. And if your heart is open then there is no obstacle that will stop you along the way.
Spacious, light hall with large windows accommodates up to 20 people. The classes are also held on the 4th Floor (roof top), from where a breathtaking view of the mountains and the Ganges River opens up. Group and personal classes, trainings, seminars, instructional courses with subsequent certificate are held in the studio. Those wishing to restore their health are offered an individual program: yoga therapy, developing a special diet, Ayurvedic components and changing daily schedule. Yoga therapy classes may be 6 to 8 hours a day and they may show fast and striking results for rejuvenation of the entire organism, getting rid of many diseases, positive life perception and its full harmonization.
Tapasya Yoga provides a holistic approach to yoga studying and teaching. Methodology is based on the core principles of practice, namely:
1. Discipline and self-discipline
The ability to organize yourself and to follow all the teacher’s instructions. Self-discipline is part of tapasya, and this is what we need in everyday life. Tapasya means doing beneficial things to our mind and body, even if we don’t like or don’t want to do that. It’s like a drug: sometimes it is sweet and sometimes – bitter but in any event it medicates away the disease. Yoga it is a cure for physical or mental suffering. Without self-discipline progress in Yoga can’t be reached.
2. Inspiration and motivation
which is especially important at the beginning of practice and sometimes for someone throughout the life. When we are moved by a strong motivation or yoga inspiration, we receive more from yoga lessons than if we would be doing that just for appearance’s sake. Look for inspiration everywhere: in nature, art, in your teacher… It’s amazing, but on the yoga path motivation need disappears. The practice itself becomes a motivation. Because you begin to enjoy that state of mental silence, serenity and carelessness which appears during practice and still remains for some time after. And gradually this state gets into your daily life: in every second of being there is growing awareness, emotions stop to enslave your mind and you reach more and more self-control over yourself and your life.
Yoga is like a journey through the razor’s edge and if you are in a hurry, you can stumble. That’s why you shouldn’t do those practices to which you are not physically or mentally ready. Everything has its time. In fact, besides the discomfort, rush in yoga practices can bring danger. As a rule, a teacher defines student’s readiness to certain practices.
During Yoga you are one-on-one with the teacher even if there are 30 people besides you in the room. Appreciate your own individuality and don’t compare yourself with others. After all a healthy ego – it is the lack of comparison and desire to be better than your neighbors on the mat. Try only to be better than you are and become perfect just for yourself. Competition in Yoga is an unhealthy motivation and can lead you to negative consequences.
5. The presence of a master
is especially important at the beginning of your yoga practice way. A book or video will never replace live communication with a person and it can’t point out your mistakes. And a considerate and patient master will not only do that, but also will share with you all the secrets of practice you will not find in any of books. Even during a group practice you can get individual instructions from the teacher.
6. Injury prevention
This is achieved by following the principles described above: discipline, graduality, individuality and presence of master.
Body purification from poisons and toxins plays a considerable role in Tapasya Yoga: shatkarmas and kriyas. Typically, purification is an essence in the beginning of practice. After leading a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy food, you pay more and more attention to other aspects of sadhana (practice). A purification course is selected individually for every practitioner and is done under the guidance of teacher.
It is worth mentioning that Shatkarmas (purifying techniques) affect not only the physical body, but also affect the thinner psycho-energetic layers of our being, providing thus a positive effect on mind. So since the physical and mental plans are linked very tightly by purifying physically we change as persons, getting rid of many negative psychological habits and programs and thereby achieving a sense of real freedom.
Regularity is the secret of success. But, unfortunately, many people forget about it and want to have the result after a few lessons. But progress in yoga is transparent, as, for example, the growth of a tree or a child. If your practice is correct and regular then the result will not take long.
9. Focus on the process and not on the result
This is one of the most important points in yoga which also exists in everyday life. Do all your actions with maximum efficiency and full devotion and then the result will surely appear.
Following the basic principles of Tapasya Yoga practice, you will get the maximum benefit from lessons. And what is most important, the practice will bring you real pleasure, a sense of freedom and harmony.
Half-ruined buildings with broken windows. Paths overgrown with grass. Futuristic spherical cells bordering a forest. There is complete silence here.
This famous and serene place has a wild and mystical appearance. Perhaps this is because of Maharashi ashram, also known as, “The Beatles’ ashram.” In the second half of the last century, this legendary quartet visited the ashram and made him world famous.
Maharashi was one of the most famous Indian gurus in the world, and the founder of the transcendental meditation. Maharashi Mahesh Yogi met The Beatles in the mid 1960s. After watching a lecture at their home, the musicians decided to experiment with spiritual practices, along with their narcotic consumption, and go to India.
They stopped in Rishikesh, in the then-new and well-equipped ashram. It was of huge territory at more than 50 square kilometers! Under the guidance of a guru, the band began learning transcendental meditation. Their stay in the ashram did not last long. John Lennon and George Harrison stayed only two months. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr stayed even less. Despite their short stays, this was one of their most creative periods as a band. Many songs from the famous White Album were conceived there.
The Beatles’ breakup with Maharashi has been the subject of many rumours and is still shrouded in mystery. Whatever actually happened there, The Beatles later apologized to the guru, and have since said very positive things about their experiences and the time they spent there.
Today, this once-famous place is a deserted ruin. In 1980, the local authorities took the lease from Maharashi’s land and changed the land’s status to a national park. After the ashram ceased to exist, its founder went to Europe, where he died in 2008.
Now an area for wildlife, the Maharashi ashram continues to be a very picturesque and mystical place, and the destination of many travelers who want to touch history.
Rishikund is a holy well located near the Triveni Ghat. This is one of the most important destinations for devotees in Rishikesh. According to ancient beliefs, the goddess Yamuna filled the well with holy water. Not far from the well, there is the Raghunath Temple, dedicated to Lord Rama and his wife Sita.
25 kilometers east of Rishikesh, is one of the most famous temples of Shiva – Neelkanth Mahade, which translates to, “The Blue Throated Lord of the Gods.”
There is an interesting legend connected with this nickname and Shiva temple. Millions of years ago the gods and the demons wanted to become immortal. To get an elixir of immortality, Lord Vishnu told them to churn the ocean, which they did for hundred years. A strange liquid then emerged on the ocean’s surface. The gods and demons recognized the mystery liquid as a terrible poison, which had the capacity to destroy all life on the Earth. The others watched in horror as Lord Shiva bravely downed the poison, ready for whatever was to come. But he didn’t swallow the liquid death. He held it in his throat, turning his throat blue.
A temple was built where Shiva drank the poison. It was named Neelkanth Mahadev. Later, an elixir appeared on the surface of the ocean. This time, the gods drank it and become immortal. Then Vishnu turned into a beautiful woman and intercepted the demons.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is situated in a beautiful landscape. Although there is a modern road leading to the area, it is more interesting to get there on foot, along the old pilgrim trail. Several ashrams run along the trail, which lead through the picturesque forest. Before going down to the village, the trail rises up on a spur of the mountain. Along the way you will surely meet some monkeys. But be careful! These seemingly lovely animals will steal your food if it’s left unguarded.
Just an hour drive from Rishikesh, and upstream of the Ganges, there is the cave where the famous Vashista used to meditate. He was one of the seven great sages (Saptarishis) and the guru of Lord Ram.
According to popular beliefs, after the death of his children, Vashistha Muni came here to commit suicide. However, the Holy Mother Ganges failed in his attempt. Arundhati, Vashishta’s wife, fell in love with this area and decided to live there.
In the mid-twentieth century, Swami Purshottamanand arrived and maintained it. Nearby is a small Shiva lingam, which is considered to be sacred.
In the cave, the atmosphere is calm and pleasant, and is known as an ideal place for meditation.
Located at a distance of 19 km from Rishikesh, the town of Shivpuri is situated on the banks of the Ganges. This place is famous for a temple that’s dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is also known for beach camping on the banks of the Great River. When camping, visitors can have an opportunity for unforgettable rafting down the river for 16 km length. The valley of the Ganges has many scenic views, with its lush and green flora.
Kundzhapuri Devi temple, located around 15 km from Rishikesh at the altitude of 1600 meters above sea level, is one of the most revered Hindu shrines. According to legend, the upper-half of the goddess, Sati’s body fell when her husband, Lord Shiva, was carrying her to Mount Kailash.
From the top of the hill you can see a breathtaking view of the mighty Himalayas and the holy towns of Rishikesh and Haridwar.
In Hindi, “Haridwar” means “Gate to God.” Haridwar is one of seven the major holy towns of Hinduizm. It gained worldwide fame thanks to the Ganga Ghat (river embankment of the Ganges), temples and, of course, a massive religious festival of Kumbha Mela.
According to legend, Haridwar is one of the four places in India where the immortality nectar drops fell to, which were created by the deva’s and asura’s ocean churning. Since that time, in these places (except for Haridwar these are: Ujjain, Nashik and Allahabad) every three years the biggest Hindu festival of Kumbha Mela is held, which attracts millions of devotees and tourists from all over the world.
The Temple of Mansa Devi and Har ki Puri Ghat are the most significant tourist attractions of the city.
Uttarakhand State attracts tourists with different tastes and preferences. If you are a wildlife lover, then you should plan your visit to Chilla, which is located in the famous Rajaji National Park. This park, which is spread over a huge area (820 square kilometers) in the foothills of Shivalik, is home to 23 species of mammals and 315 species of birds. In Chilla you can go on a jeep safari and see elephants, panthers, tigers, bears, boar, pythons, lizards, cobras, and many other animals.
Chamba town is hidden among the woods at an altitude of 1676 meters in the Tehri district of Uttarakhand state. This region attracts tourists because of its beauty, calm, and unspoiled nature. Pine forests surround the town create a magical energy. The lifestyle and culture of the people who live in small villages around Chamba is also very interesting.
Chamba town is a two hour drive from Rishikesh by bus or car, and there are tourist bungalows to stay overnight.
Jumpin Heights is a place for adventure lovers, located in Mohan Chatti, which is about 15 kilometers from the Lakshman Jhoola in Rishikesh.
This extremely popular entertainment park offers fun and extreme activities such as bungee jumping from the bridge, giant canyon swings, and the “flying fox,” which has the longest walk in Asia. In order to ensure reliability and safety, the equipment has been designed under the supervision New Zealand’s best specialists.
Some people call Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula the districts of Rishikesh while others consider that it comprises separate villages located near the city on the Ganges. Whatever it is, this place is worth visiting. And the main sightseeing attractions of it are the suspension bridges over the sacred river. In fact these bridges gave this area its name.
Ram Jhula is translated from Sanskrit as “the cradle of Rama.” For this reason, the bridge and its surrounding area derive their name. The legend says that in ancient times this place was visited by gods and great sages who had been living here. And in the last century this place was visited by the great gurus and the yoga teacher, Swami Sivananda. In Ram Jhula was built one of the largest ashrams dedicated to Swami which became a place of pilgrimage for people all over the world.
Lakshman Jhula – a cradle of the heroic brother Rama – Lakshman. It stretches across two kilometers. Foreign tourists and pilgrims like to stop in this quiet and cozy area. Because of this there are many hostels and cozy hotels. The cafes serve not only Indian but also European dishes.
But the most important thing in Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula are the graceful suspension bridges across the Ganges. It is nice to feast one’s eyes across the scenery, enjoy the water coolness and feel how inside you something light and new that can change your whole life.
Triveni Ghat is located on the banks of the Ganges and is known as an important place for bathing in Rishikesh. This is a place through which three of the most sacred rivers of India flow: Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. It is believed that those who dip into the water near the Ghat wash away all their sins and free their souls from bad karma because the water here has a strong purifying power. Near Ghat there is a magnificent statue of Shiva which is an impressive sight, especially during the monsoon when the Siva becomes half-submerged in water.
Every day, morning and evening, thousands of pilgrims are dipped into the water of the sacred place, then enjoy Maha Arathi (ritual worship Mother Ganges). And besides, on Ghat it is nice to just sit and enjoy the cool river breeze.
Ganga Aarti at the Triveni Ghat is also called Maha Aarti (Great Basin). This is an evening prayer on the banks of the Ganges River and it is one of the major events on the Ghat which attracts a large number of devotees and visitors.
Aarti is accompanied with chanting of bhajans and sounds of drums and bells. People make wishes and then light candles and put them in flower-filled leaf boats and release them into the water. Hundreds of lights twinkle in the evening light and create a magnificent view. This ritual is in praise of Mother Ganga.
On the east bank of the Ganges, close to Lakshman Jhula Bridge there is a place called Swarg Ashram. This is a small group of different ashrams which are closely situated next to each other. Most of these Ashrams offer yoga courses and spiritual learning and also are well-known among tourists. There are ancient temples with beautiful carved statues, cozy restaurants with vegetarian cuisine and small shops with souvenirs and clothing.
Tryambakeshvar Temple, dedicated to the three-eyed Lord Shiva, is one of the most famous temples in Rishikesh. This grand 13-storey high building stands on the banks of the Ganges in close vicinity to Lakshman Jhula.
Unlike other temples, which are dedicated to a single deity, this holy shrine praises of all the Hindu gods and goddesses. A huge flow of pilgrims and visitors is observed here during the month of Sawan and Mahashivratri festival.
In addition to its religious significance, the temple is also famous for its magnificent view over the area: from the top floor of the building you can enjoy a magnificent sunset over the majestic Himalayas.
Bharat Mandir is one of the most ancient temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was installed in the 12th century by the Adiguru Shankaracharya and it is situated in the heart of the town on the banks of the Ganges. The temple was founded on the sacred day «Basant Panchami» and is a very bright religious festival with a lot of tourists and pilgrims also known as Spring Festival. The temple sanctum houses an exquisite idol of Lord Vishnu and its uniqueness lies in the fact that it was carved from a single black stone, which is called Saligram.
Every year the Saligram is taken to Mayakund for a holy bath and then taken back to the temple after a procession. According to legends, if a devotee on Akshya Tritiya takes 108 parikramas (rounds) of Shri Hrishikesh Narayan (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) then all his wishes and dreams come true.
Near the temple there is an age-old tree, or rather, three woods, which are the combination of banyan, ficus and bilva. Underneath this tree is a broken statue of Buddha, dating back to the reign of Ashoka.
The temple complex has an interesting museum that is stocked with ceramics, coins and other artefacts found during excavations. There are sculptures of Yakshini, Yaksha and the four-armed Vishnu.
Owing to its religious and cultural relevance, Bharat Mandir is a popular place among devotees, historians and archaeologists.
Gita Bhavan is one of the oldest temple complexes in Rishikesh. It is situated on the banks of the River Ganges and is dedicated as a museum for Hindu religious literature storage and its walls keep a lot of ancient books from the Vedas to the Puranas, epics and legends.
Bhavan is a large complex consisting of several discourse halls and rooms where visitors can stay overnight for free.
The temple columns are unique because there are many engraved scenes and writings of the popular epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Many people come here to meditate and attend religious discourses (Satsangs). In Bhavan guests can enjoy delicious vegetarian food at reasonable prices. It also has an Ayurvedic department where using Himalayan herbs the different medicines are prepared.
One of the most revered attractions of this place is a centuries-old banyan tree. It is believed that under this tree famous saints (such as Swami Ramtirth) made their repentance.