I did it! I just finished 200 Yoga TTC in Rishikesh. It was my dream for a long time to do the yoga teacher training in India. It was not easy to find a wright place, there are so many schools all around India. In choosing Rishikul Yogashala I just followed my heart and the recommendation of my friend, I had met while travelling. And I must say now that it was the best choice I could have done.
Yoga Classes and Teachers:
200 Yoga TTC is really an intensive program. So between the classes you may have too little time for shopping or site seeing. It is better you concentrate on the course once it is started and stay couple of days longer to relax, digest all the information and eventually to discover the Rishikesh city.
The classes starts at 6 am (Indian time) every morning and we finished with the dinner at 7:30 pm (Indian time). What I liked was that sometimes the classes were longer than the time on the schedule but I understand that for somebody who is really attached to the “time tables” may be hard. The sense of the time is very different from the western one. In Indian ashrams, for example, very often you know only the beginning time of the class and you stay with the teacher until he finishes.
I strongly recommend Rishikul Yogshala to everyone who want to seriously practice yoga and who want to share his practice with others. There are about 35 teachers working in Rishikul team. During my course I worked with 6 of them; three asanas teachers: Vipin Baloni, Prashantj and Manoj, pranayama and philosophy teacher: Gangesha Chitanaya, mantra, yoga nidra and meditation teacher: Deepa Negi Mira, anatomy teacher: Vivek.
They are all very passionate about their subject and they are sharing their knowledge in a very interesting way. I think especially philosophy is a hard subject to present it in an understandable and interesting way but Gangesha will make you active and he will make you laugh unless you don’t understand! If you have specific questions they will do their best to explain you the problem.
They will make you sweat! We had Hatha Yoga in the morning and Ashtanga Yoga in the afternoon. Even if I was more interested in Astanga before I had started the course I rediscovered Hatha Yoga thanks to Vipin and I think it is the best way for me to combine both of them in my self practice (not in the same time, of course, but working more on the asanas following the Hatha Yoga and then once – twice a week do the Astanga Yoga series).
I love mantras. It was so useful to learn the wright pronunciation of Sanskrit words during the mantra lessons with Deepa. She was very precise in teaching us how to say and sing them correctly, which is crucial if you work with mantras. The mantra chanting we had only during the first week and after we had yoga methodology and adjustment classes instead.
As you can see the daily schedule was really tight – you cannot be bored. From the 3rd week we had around 4-5 hours of yoga practice a day. So it is better not to force yourself in the first week.
The last week we were leading the morning classes and the teachers were giving us the feedback. It was very stresfull before but great experience once you did it! Observing others while teaching I learned a lot , too.
Holi Festival and Free Time Activities:
We had two days off a week: Wednesday and Sunday. The school was trying to organize activities on Wednesdays (half day). The second week we went to visit a Moni Baba cave – it was a small trek uphill to the cave where one of disciple of the Sadhu called Moni is living and meditating. For me, personally, was too much walking and I would prefer just to relax this day. Maybe because I am not enthusiastic to visit “holy” people or so called Sadhus, who I don’t know and fully trust. But it is only my point of view.
On Sunday morning (one day) we experience also “Karma Yoga”, we cleaned the common space, the garden and rooms. It was a great fun. Teachers told us that normally, if you wan to learn yoga in the traditional, Indian way you have to do only karma yoga at least couple of months before you even start learning the asanas.
During the third week we had the “Holi Festival” – the most colorful celebration I have ever seen. It was awesome! The day before (the Holi eve) we made a fireplace to burn all our bad intentions, than local boys were singing and playing the music on Indian instruments: tabla and harmonium and we were dancing together. I loved it! The next day we all played with each other and with local people throwing color powders and water to each other. Really unique experience!
In Rishikesh you can also visit the Beatles Ashram. It is very quite place, away from the noisy Indian city, horns and laud streets. You can relax there. Beatles stayed there for about one month meditating. I felt frustrated and sad because this beautiful place is destroyed and looks like nobody take care about it for a long time but at the same time the government makes you pay for the entrance 600 rupees (while the locals pay only 150 rupees). This is a common practice in all Asia to treat every tourist like a very rich person. You can enjoy the awesome graffiti everywhere.
Ganges river is a holy river for Indians. Every evening you can enjoy the Aaarti – fire celebration on the bank of the river. People are gathering together in different places, making the fire, singing mantras and payers.
Cooking class and dance class
Rishikesh is believed to be a special city, holy city, so you cannot eat meat and drink alcohol here, it is also rare to find place to eat eggs. In general the food in India is very good, delicious! Every state of India has its own specialty and different taste. I loved the food in Rishikul Yogshala. They cook a lot of vegetables with rice, dodas, idly and they serve also raw salads which is not common to find in India.
We had one cooking class with Deepa and we cooked masala tea (a very delicious tea with spices and milk) which is not so simple as it looks to be and vegetable Parata.
Yoga on The Beach:
We were waiting so much for this moment: to practice yoga on the beach. But being in India on the beach it is not very simple to find your own space and privacy. We enjoyed so much visitors during our lesson: dogs, cow, people. At the end we decide to give a group hug to the cow, which definitively wanted to join us!
Sun Rise with Sun Salutation
After passing all the exams (yes, there will be the exam: practice, you will lead the class, oral and writing – but treat them as a big help for you to understand what you haven’t understood yet), last Sunday morning we celebrated sunrise together on the top of the hill.
This was the closing ceremony. We were really happy to become a part of a Rishikul family. It was a very long and intensive month. I think it is a unique experience to find the real teachers, because many places now are only money-oriented. I am sure I will come back to experience with them 300 YTTC.
Do not change guys! Stay as you are!