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The Complete Packing Checklist for India (Yoga Edition)

You’ve booked your flight to India, arranged your visa, and organized your first few nights of accommodation. Now, what to pack?

Even if you’re a seasoned yoga traveler, packing for a trip to India is its own ballgame. Whether you’re spending one month at a yoga teacher training course (YTTC) or vagabonding around the country for months on end, this packing list will help you to be perfectly prepared for your journey.

Luggage

backpack yoga

  • Choose the wrong luggage for India and you’ll end up very frustrated.
  • Pack a suitcase if you’re definitely staying in one or two places only.
  • Pack a backpack if you’re traveling to any more than two places. Rarely will you find a paved sidewalk to smoothly roll your suitcase. And carrying your luggage on your back makes navigating through crowded, bustling train and bus stations manageable. Choose a small to medium-sized pack so you won’t be weighed down. Backpacks that open from the top and bottom, or front, make inside access easy. Be sure to get a fitted rain cover, too. It will protect your bag when strapped to the roof of a bus or thrown under the seat on a dirty train.
  • Also, bring a small purse or handbag. Choose something that you can sling over your shoulder rather than another backpack.

Clothing

When it comes to clothing, India is very conservative. You must respect the culture by covering yourself properly. Bring a few outfits that you won’t mind leaving behind, and buy the rest when you arrive in India. Clothing is cheap and you’ll feel more comfortable in Indianesque dress.

yoga scarfFor women

  • Long skirts or loose pants
  • Loose, cleavage-hiding cotton shirts that cover the shoulders
  • Loose pants and T-shirts for yoga – yoga pants are OK in Goa and some YTTCs, but are generally too revealing
  • A lightweight, thin scarf – you can also buy this when you get there
  • Underwear, bras, and socks
  • Bikini – though you might need to wear your clothes over it
  • Flip flops
  • Sneakers or hiking boots for treks
  • Cheap jewelry that you wouldn’t mind losing

For men

Hiking Boots yoga

  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Board shorts
  • Breathable cotton shirts
  • Loose pants and T-shirts for yoga
  • Underwear and socks
  • Flip flops
  • Sneakers or hiking boots for treks

First aid

  • Various sized Band-Aids
  • Wound disinfectant such as turmeric, tea tree oil, or lavender oil
  • Non-refrigerated probiotics
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent
  • A sufficient supply of your medications
  • Most everything else can be cheaply and readily purchased at a pharmacy without a prescription

Toiletries

Toiletries-India-Packing

  • Travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste – you’ll run out but these are cheap and readily available in India
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Dental floss
  • Tongue scraper
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Tampons – not so easy to find in India
  • Minimal makeup

Technology

Debating whether or not to bring your laptop? If you can survive without it, leave it behind. It will only weigh you down and Wi-Fi is rare. More touristy areas of India offer internet cafes.

  • Unlocked smart phone and charger if you plan on getting a SIM card
  • Headphones
  • Camera and charger
  • Converter and plug adapter – for iPhones and Macs, only an adapter is needed

Useful odds and ends

Journal-India

  • Lonely Planet India – it will become your bible if you’re traveling throughout the country
  • Yoga mat
  • Several copies of your passport and credit cards – also email yourself scans of everything in case all luggage gets lost
  • Journal
  • Silk sleep sack – great for trains and not-so-clean beds
  • Lightweight camping towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Yoga mat

  • Headlamp
  • Padlock
  • Sarong
  • Earplugs
  • Sleeping mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Ziploc bags
  • Safety pins
  • Small sewing kit

Cold climate extras

If you’re headed for high altitudes you’ll need some warm gear. You will find beanies, socks, leg warmers, and ponchos in the Himalayas, but otherwise selection is limited.

Maroon Sleeping Bag

  • Sleeping bag
  • Wool sweater
  • Warm jacket
  • Jeans
  • Leggings for layering underneath jeans
  • Wool socks
  • Beanie

Once you’ve gathered your gear, fitting it all into your backpack becomes the real challenge. Tightly roll clothes. Then organize toiletries, first-aid items, and odds and ends into lightweight or Ziploc bags. Pack the heaviest items in the middle of your backpack, close to where your back will be. It takes some trial and error to get everything to fit, but once you’ve mastered the puzzle, you can pack the same way each time.

Julie Bernier
Julie Bernier
Julie Bernier teaches women the art of self-care so that they feel their healthiest and happiest in their own unique bodies. This holistic approach to individualized wellness is rooted in the ancient Indian knowledge of ayurveda: a complete medical science and way of life which explains that our wellbeing blossoms when we align ourselves with nature. Julie is a registered ayurvedic practitioner by the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA), a Certified Massage Therapist, and a classical hatha yoga teacher. She studied each of these modalities in the US and straight from the source in India. Connect with Julie at trueayurveda.com, on Instagram, or on Facebook. True Ayurveda, Facebook, or Instagram.

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