So Rishikesh is almost all about yoga retreats and meditation retreats. With the surge in demand for yoga courses, especially teacher training courses (TTC), there are now literally tons of yoga centers here. Almost every guesthouse has a yoga school attached. The yoga teacher training programmes vary from school to school but they generally cover asanas, meditation, a little Hindu/Indian philosophy, mantra chanting and introductory ayurveda. With such convenience, there is really no need to go far for your classes. BUT which school is good? Who to practice with if you are a serious student who wants to go deeper into it? Well, the truth is, there are too many schools these days to discern who is truely good. Yoga has unfortunately become a big business in Rishikesh, one that does sometimes result in bad courses being offered. There are of course a few well known and excellent teachers who have been teaching in Rishikesh for the longest time, but they may not suit everyone.
Instead of making up a list here, google and you will find hundreds of schools popping up. How to decide where to go? It is anybody's guess how good the schools are if you have heard about how some of these businesses are run (I don't want to gossip here). The best way to decide before you pay huge amounts of money is to come to Rishikesh and try out the schools first. Don't do it the quick way and end up feeling unsatisfied with the course. Or get some advice from your circle of yoga friends who might be able to recommend someone they have learnt from personally. Sometimes it is also a matter of chemistry with the teacher and your personal level of practice; some of you may be a lot more advance than others and will need a different kind of teacher than a beginner would.
Meditation usually forms part of a teacher training course or yoga retreat. There are very few meditation courses in Rishikesh although most yoga teachers and spiritual teachers in ashrams will be able to conduct meditation classes. If your focus is on serious meditation retreats, you might like to check out these 2 ashrams that are further out from the city. They are located past the main Rishikesh market/city and not in the main tourist areas.
If you are only on a short trip but would still like to try out something from the yoga world, attending one of the many satsangs in Rishikesh could be an interesting experience. These are short talks given by experienced teachers about spirituality and they are often made easy for laymen to understand. On the otherhand, if you are keen for a more intensive yoga experience, read here for more information on ashrams in Rishikesh where month long, full-day programmes allow you to totally immerse yourself into everything yoga. Life in an ashram will be an eye-opener for any yoga enthusiast.