Should I Do Yoga Teacher Training In Rishikesh, India?

YES. My short answer is a big fat yes.

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Let me take you back to the very beginning when this idea first crept into my mind.

You see, for years I have wanted to travel the world. To meet people and to experience a life outside of my small town bubble. But up until now I have been too scared and too anxious; too anxious to take the leap and travel the world by myself.

Anxiety can be crippling. It takes over you and it tells you to stay put and to stay where you know is safe. This might not sound like a problem, but it is when it stops you from following your dreams and living a life you have always wanted.

In 2017 a friend and I planned a trip to India. We picked out all the destinations and did all of the research and we planned out all of the things we wanted to see and do.

But when it came time to book, I made up every excuse under the sun as to why I couldn’t go. “I have a full time job, I need to stay here and support myself, pay for rent and my house here”. “I should go to uni and study first as I am getting older and will be in my late twenty’s before I have a degree”.

Any excuse you can think of? I used it.

So I never went. I continued to live my life, working full time, did some study, did all of the things that I thought I was ‘supposed to do’.

But for some reason I still didn’t feel content.

I still felt lost and a part of me knew that I was hiding away from all of the things that I really wanted to be doing, because of FEAR.

It took me a long time and a lot of inner work, to overcome that fear and to start tackling and taking on the things I was afraid of.

I decided that 2019 was going to be the year that I finally travelled!

At the start of the year I wrote a list of goals and planned things I wanted to achieve in this 12 month period, travelling was one of them.

In the early months of the year I began talking about travelling to India and doing the trip I had always wanted.

One day I was talking about it with 2 business owners of a Yoga studio in Geelong and I mentioned that it would be really awesome to complete yoga teacher training while I was in India, to add to my skills as a personal trainer. They said it would be a great idea and suggested that I talk to someone who works for them that completed their YTT in India as well. The women they were talking about was Mary Thomas (@mantrasandmangos).

I decided to message her and to ask her where she studied and what it was like. She told me she attended Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School in Rishikesh, India and would suggest no other school!!

I started to feel extreme excitement and a sudden gravitational pull towards that decision, a ‘pull’ I can only explain as a gut feeling I just couldn’t ignore! I researched a few other schools, but internally I knew that I had already made my decision, I too was going to attend Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School.

After about 3 months of talking about it and saying it out loud (this is an important part of drawing the kind of life you want, to you) “I’m going to go to India to do my yoga teacher training”… “I’m going to go to India to do my yoga teacher training”… I finally mustered up the courage one night and booked it!

I paid the deposit and then knew that it was set… I was going to India!

This was a HUGE step for me, and the beginning of the best decision I could have made for myself.

I later purchased a one way flight to Delhi and a small domestic flight to Dehradun which is the closest airport to Rishikesh (I recommend doing this too as it is much more convenient than taking a car 8 hours from Delhi).

It was all set and locked in, once your flight it booked you really know it’s happening!

Below I will write my tips and everything I think you will need to know if you have been thinking of coming to Rishikesh, India to complete your Yoga Teacher Training!

The tips will be transferable no matter which school you choose, but I will give examples of what my training was like at RVYS, so that you can get a whole idea of what my experience was like!


WHAT WAS THE TRAINING LIKE?

Well first of all it was amazing.

Probably one of the best months I have had in my entire life!

But I suppose you don’t really want to just take my word for it, you probably want a few examples and reasons why, and I’m more than happy to oblige…

First off you probably want to know how much it was???

Well for one month of Yoga Teacher Training, with accommodation and food included it was $1300 USD or around $1900 AUD!!! Yoga alliance certification upon completion of the course as well, so its a pretty great price!!

My flight to India was $500 AUD one way and the flight to Dehradun was $110 AUD

And the entire time I was in my training I only spent $150 AUD and that was mostly on nuts and seeds, bathroom products, cakes and vegan treats and 1 pair of pants!

Sooooo YUP! It’s a cheap experience that I honestly cannot recommend more! 🙂

Here is a little ‘day in the life’ for you, so that you can understand what my experience was like!

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The basic daily schedule went a little something like this:


5.00am – Wake up

5.30am – 6.30am – Pranayama and cleansing class (this is where you learn breathing techniques and complete nasal and eye cleansing)

6.30am – 8.00am – Vinyasa flow class (this is your first practical class of the day)

8.00am – 9.00am – Breakfast (mostly fruits, porridge, legumes, toast etc)

9.00am – 10.00am – Yoga Philosophy class (theory class about the history and the meaning of Yoga)

10.00am – 11.00am – Anatomy class (where you learn about the body parts, joints, etc)

11.00am – 12.00pm – Break (study time or sometimes a nap)

12.00pm – 1.00pm – Lunch (usually 2 or 3 different curries, salad and rice)

1.00pm – 3.00pm – Free time for study and exploring Rishikesh

3.00pm – 4.00pm – Body alignment class (where you learn how to teach and correct yoga postures and do them correctly yourself)

4.00pm – 5.30pm – Ashtanga Yoga class (1.5 hours of learning the primary series of Ashtanga Yoga)

5.30pm – 6.00pm – Tea and shower break

6.00pm – 7.00pm – Meditation class (where you learn and practice different types of meditation)

7.00pm – 8.00pm – Dinner (curries, rice, chapatis etc)


That’s what an average day looked like!

It might seem like a lot, but there was more than enough time for some relaxation and down time.

On Thursdays we had excursions outside of the school, where we:

  • explored a nearby waterfall
  • a cave
  • did henna art
  • did yoga on the beach

Sundays were free days, so we had plenty of time to walk around Rishikesh and get to know the town like the back of our hand. We had learnt every single back road and alley-way by the time we had completed our month of training. We got to go out and eat at different places and try lots of amazing vegan food!

That’s a HUGE plus point for me, Vegan food everywhere! It’s more available than in my hometown in Australia! Truly amazing.


WHAT TO BRING:

I really tried to only pack the necessities in my backpack but somehow ended up filling it all the way to the brim! I will try and list all of the things that I believe are the most important and things that you simply must have.

  1. Your travel backpack (No way, Steph!)
  2. Passport and cash money (you need cash to finish your teacher training payment and its easier to bring it from home as ATM’s are rarely working)
  3. Plenty of Yoga pants, tops and bras and underwear (legit, bring heaps of undies)
  4. Long sleeve or warm clothes and pants for the cold mornings
  5. Thongs (flip flops) for you to wear in the shower (this helps to prevent getting plantar warts)
  6. A pillowcase and sheet are optional (I didn’t use mine, but some people did)
  7. Carabiners (super random but come in handy, I used them all the time to hang things off my bag, secure my keys etc)
  8. A small bag to take down the street with you (with tissues and hand sanitiser)
  9. Shoes with grip on the bottom (the roads are pretty rough and you’ll want good quality sandals that preferably strap up)
  10. A power adapter for Indian wall points (if you’re coming from Aus)
  11. A shawl to cover your shoulders (comes in handy when the wind changes and gets cold, you can buy here in India though)
  12. Your bathroom products are optional as you can buy them in organic stores here
  13. Casual type clothes for days off
  14. Electrolytes and diarrhea tablets (only take these as a last resort, always try and let it all come out naturally without medication but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do)
  15. A music player always came in handy or at least some headphones for music when you want to shut off and relax
  16. Little bags for your clothes to make packing simpler
  17. Bag locks (you won’t need these in your room, but while travelling to India you will)
  18. A travel towel (you can have one provided but I used both)
  19. Bathers and sunglasses (you will swim in the Ganga River if you choose to, I did heaps)
  20. Neck pillow for the plane (I wasn’t going to pack one, but I am so glad a friend gave one to me before I left! It saved me!)

Everything else is pretty unnecessary! For the whole month you are fed and housed and if you wanted to; you could spend no money at all outside of the payment for the YTT (Yoga Teacher Training)!

Oh except for toilet paper, you need to buy that!


WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN DOING YTT IN RISHIKESH, INDIA?:

  • Prepare to be challenged in ways you never have before
  • There are lots and lots of organic stores where you can buy seeds and nuts and vegan cakes
  • SO much vegan food! (It was insanely good)
  • Rishikesh is a holy city that is alcohol and meat free
  • In India you do not place toilet paper in the toilet, it goes in a bin next to it and you can use the bade if you feel comfortable
  • There are lots of cows and monkeys everywhere
  • There will be trash everywhere on the side of the roads, but that’s just a part of the charm!
  • The walk up to the Ashram will help you build that booty you have always wanted
  • You will make 20 new friends for life (no lie)
  • The teachers will become like friends and family to you
  • You will have to stick things in your nose every day (it’s really not as bad as you think it will be)
  • You might get sick but it won’t be from food in the school (only happened when we ate out locally)
  • In other parts of India it is very respectful to cover your shoulders and show less skin, but in Rishikesh it is very tourist focused and you can get away with wearing tank tops and shorts if you choose
  • You will experience lots of exhaustion from all the physical activity and brain power from learning, and you’ll need as much sleep as you can get (we went to bed at 8.00pm most nights and some of us had naps here and there)
  • You will learn so much about yourself and your old beliefs will be challenged

Below you will find videos of the types of cleansing we did every morning!

  • The first video is of the second type of nasal cleansing we did after the second week. This one looks gross and pretty rough… but after the first time it really became much easier and simpler! I got a little competitive with it by the end and tried to beat my time for how long it took me (haha!). I know you’ll be fine with it too!
  • The second one is Jal Neti – nasal cleansing where you pour salty warm water in one nostril and out the other. This one was super easy and honestly nothing to worry about! You will be a pro in no time!
  • The last one is Kunjal Kriya. We only did this once and it was an experience I am glad I had! You make a decision to take on board any challenge thrown at you when you begin this course and that’s exactly what I did! You begin by drinking as much salty water as humanly possible until your body rejects the water and then you start vomiting until you pass bile. This didn’t phase me very much, you’ll be the same 🙂

 


MY TIPS FOR COMPLETING YOUR YTT IN RISHIKESH, INDIA:

  • Go into it with an open mind and heart
  • Leave your ego at the door (it’s only holding you back)
  • Take it easy in your first week, don’t push your body too hard, too quickly (this is how injuries happen)
  • Arrive in Rishikesh a few days before your training starts so that you can rest and get over the jet lag but also so you can explore and get familiar with the place!
  • Leave Rishikesh a few days after your training ends so that you can relax and gather yourself before you head home or continue on with your travels
  • If you get sick, you get sick! So just rest as much as you can and come back to classes when you are better
  • If you get injured, REST! Do not push your body too hard or it will give out on you later in the future
  • If you are walking through the city, don’t carry food in your hands or monkeys will most likely take it
  • Always walk behind a cow, try and avoid going in front of it – as it can charge you, but it won’t step back into you (at least in my experience here)
  • Make friends and talk to everyone! Every person you meet is worth your time
  • Say YES to things, don’t hold yourself back
  • Don’t stay in the Ashram all the time, walk around the streets get to know where you are staying
  • Find Arora organic store and try the vegan chocolate cake (so naughty but so good)
  • Behind the Ashram there is a place called Tulsi restaurant and you have to try the Vegan Banana Nutella Pancakes!
  • Purchase chia seeds and nuts to place in your porridge in the morning for healthy fats
  • Eat Indian food when you explore and try lots of new things
  • Smoothie bowls are crappy in India but worth a try at least once
  • It’s possible to have ‘soy chai’ or ‘oat milk chai’ and it’s amazing!

MY EXPERIENCE AT RISHIKESH VINYASA YOGA SCHOOL:

Firstly, India is a world very outside of our own western culture. It is magical and it is beautiful, and it is completely worth seeing.

I personally feel that I have found a place that feels like a second home to me. I have become incredibly attached to Rishikesh, completing Yoga teacher training here is like a dream and I feel very blessed after my time at RVYS (Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School).

Your body will be twisted and turned like never before… you will sweat more than you ever have in your life… but most importantly you will be one step closer to the person you have always wanted to be.

There will be times when you will cry; when a meditation class will touch you in unexpected ways, when a pranayama cleansing class will force you to try things you never have before… but, you can do it all.

There is not one thing that Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School throws at you, that you cannot do or overcome. They’ve done this many times before and you are in very trustworthy hands.

The staff were more than happy to make vegan food every day, as half our class were all vegans! So you will not have a problem there!

In my own personal experience, my whole life has changed since completing this training. It sounds pretty cliché, but it’s true. I am more patient, happy and content.

And that is a fact!

Philosophy classes have reinforced in me the importance of being an observer in my life and not reacting or acting out. I have learnt that my ego can be a pretty nasty b*tch sometimes and that I am best served when I pick her up and place her outside.

I have learnt that sometimes I’m not going to be able to do all of the poses or be as flexible or strong as the person in the corner of my eye, and that that is okay. Your practice is your own, and you must listen to YOUR body.

You start your day with a big smile on your face, and you end it in the same way.

The only challenging part was finding the school on the back of the scooter on day 1! We had such a funny and hard time trying to find it! Follow google maps the best that you can but the school doesn’t have a sign out the front, so you’ll have to ask lots of people and go into a few places before you find it! It’s all a part of the fun, so don’t stress on your first day!

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I am truly so grateful for my experience here and will never forget it. It is an experience I could not recommend enough!

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If you have any questions or queries feel free to contact me, as I will be more than happy to help you!

Namaste

Steph x

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