Kaivalyadhana Lonavla Ashram is a large campus on 180 acres of parkland. There are three parts to the estate: a health centre that uses ayurveda, yoga and naturopathic medicine, a scientific research centre, and a yoga college that conducts short yoga courses right through to fully accredited university degrees in yoga. Online courses are offered too.
The ashram is an eclectic mix of locals and non-locals. University students, patients detoxing from chemotherapy, travellers, and professors mingle easily on the grounds. In many ways Kaivalyadhana Lonavla Ashram is its own village. Unlike other ashrams, there is no locked-gate policy so visitors are welcome to roam freely in the surrounding area.
The easiest way to experience Kaivalyadhana’s charms is through one of the three yoga packages. Each offers, naturally, yoga, with a focus on one of: Relaxation, Ayurveda, or Naturopathy. Packages are week-long, beginning on Sundays.
Short yoga courses begin with the 10-day Certificate Course in Yoga. These are held twice each year, usually beginning in January and May (please check Kaivalyadhana’s website for more details) and the fee includes meals and a stay in a twin-share room.
Kaivalyadhana is notable for personalised programmes. The three-week Chronic Cures package is a great example: A new arrival is given an individual assessment and the allopathic (mainstream medicine) doctors work with naturopathic doctors as well as yoga instructors to tailor a treatment package designed specifically to address a range of conditions from high blood pressure to fibromyalgia.
Anyone who is uncomfortable in the heat should take note that air-conditioned rooms are available but do cost extra. Preference for AC can be added during the online booking process. Fortunately, Kaivalyadhana is located in Lonavla (also known as Lonavale), which is a temperate area in the hills and easily accessed by road or train.