Although not a yoga travel retreat in the traditional sense, the Osho ashram in Pune, India focuses on meditation and a bit of Hatha yoga on the side. It’s not often that we write negative reviews, however in this case we felt karmically compelled to inform. If you’re looking for enlightenment, knowledge, wisdom, or discipline, avoid the Osho Meditation Resort. If you’re looking for a warm community, look elsewhere. If you’re looking to throw away a hearty sum of money, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s back up for a moment. The Osho Meditation Resort has its positives. It unquestionably lives up to its name as a yoga travel ‘resort.’ The zen-inspired pyramid structures amongst the green lushness of tropical India can are breathtaking. However, behind the veil of beauty lies an unscrupulous cash-cow of a business. The Osho ashram is a business and nothing more. A quick Internet search will show you that a vast majority of reviewers agree. Being in Pune, we decided to see for ourselves.
A single room at the Osho guesthouse runs 3500 rupees per day (US $77). Compare this to the Bhakti-inspired yoga travel ashram at Amritapuri which asks for a mere 100 rupees per day. The guesthouse fee only covers boarding. The extra fees include:
* Orientation fee of 1500 rupees which includes a mandatory HIV test (??).
* Fee of 700 rupees each following day to participate in meditation.
* Robes that must be purchased that conform to the mandatory dress code
* Necessary mats and pads for meditation sessions. Unless you can endure sitting on ice cold marble floors.
* Food vouchers. In our humble opinion, the only reason a business would use prepaid vouchers over cash is the hope that some will go unused and add to the profit line. Not very zen.
If you do the math, in a week you could spend more at this “ashram” than your entire plane ticket to India.
As for the teachings of Osho himself, any amount of research will uncover stories of controversy. During his lifetime, Osho had been deported from the U.S., denied by over 20 countries, marked as an insatiable seeker of wealth, and dubbed the “sex guru.” His teachings, personally speaking, seemed empty and often disrespectful to other gurus including Buddha himself. We can’t comment on the yoga offered there as the class we tried to attend was cancelled and sticking around for the next one wasn’t in our cards.
India has a wealth of quality spiritual offerings. Avoid the Osho Meditation Resort. For the same cost you could stay at any 5-star Hilton and experience a more fulfilling spiritual lesson from the concierge. We highly discourage our readers from this yoga travel locale.
Matt C. Elmore is the founder of non-profit Prana to the People, a certified Yoga Instructor, and website developer.