Taking Yoga Teacher Training Course in The Heart of Yoga Land, India is a subject the yoga people frequently talk about. Before going deep into that subject, I would like to ask 2 main questions to you: Why India? Why do you like to be a yoga teacher?
Yoga Teacher Training Course in The Heart of Yoga Land; India
It’s been 2 years that I have become a Yoga teacher, and 4 years of practicing. Since I started writing and sharing my experiences on Dünya Kaç Bucak and on my Instagram account the most frequently asked question about yoga is about taking Yoga Teacher Training Course in India. That’s why I wanted to write a specific article about it.
First of all, which ecole attracts you more?
I would like to mention first that as a person who tried various types of yoga from different ecoles, my path crossed with Sivananda Yoga. Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin and more… I am sure you experienced many of them and probably more- yet there are countless yoga types derived from them-. I wouldn’t go deeper unless there isn’t a Guru; teacher or master and a teaching connecting to this ancient philosophy. So with the awareness of this ideal, I started searching for that master as the master was searching for me. I first met him in Istanbul, through Hara Yoga. After taking my first 200 hour yoga teacher training course (TTC) in Istanbul, I started chasing for an ashram to experience yogic lifestyle. And fortunately, I found myself in Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, US. I will be replying why I couldn’t go to India first later in this article. First I would like to open more about the subject “ecole”, as far as I can.
I am lucky that I started to the path with Sivananda Yoga. Cause when my path dragged me to India, I couldn’t believe my eyes that there were so many ashrams?! Indeed, if you go to India without knowing where to go, you’ll definitely find a yoga school. But who started this school, how deep the teaching is, or is it only based on physical yoga or Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta philosophy are included? You need to know the answers of these questions. Especially you will see in Rishikesh that there is a school in every corner giving Yoga TTC and they teach different kind of types. But the question is; is Yoga only consisting of physical exercises?
What is the Difference of Sivananda Yoga?
Yoga as a word means union, unity. So it is various. Hatha Yoga is yoga, attending a yoga satsang (talk) is also yoga, chanting kirtan (hymn) and sometimes even working is also yoga. Is it confusing?
Let’s give some detail about it:
Sivananda Kind of Hatha Yoga
Sivananda Yoga is based on 12 basic exposures, giving a classic Hatha Yoga sequence. Before 12 basic asanas it starts with various breathing exercises (Pranayama), warming up the body with Sun Salutations, and asanas starting with the head stand, and ending with standing postures. Sivananda Yoga is classical, so it does not offer a flow. The sequence of yoga poses is aimed on opening 7 main energy points (chakras) starting from the top of head. With a few different relaxation poses, such as savasana (relaxation pose) in between, so that it helps to get the benefit of each asanas, allowing the energy flow through the body, and allowing the muscles to recover to and preparing the body to the next pose without accumulating lactic acid. Ultimately, yoga practice is lasting with a guided final relaxation.
The main difference of Sivananda yoga is not the sequence. Sivananda Yoga is known for its Guru- Student relationship. Teachers who pursue a yogic lifestyle that is based on an ashram* know that being a student is a necessity of teaching. Today, Swami Sivananda’s teaching continues toby Swamis*. Swami Vishnudevananda, one of the students of Swami Sivananda, who was sent by him to spread yoga to the West, has established ashrams in the name of his teacher all around the world. Today, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers (Sivananda Yoag Vedanta Centers – SYVC – http://www.sivananda.org/) with 9 ashrams and 30 yoga centers are run by their representatives after Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda have left the bodies.
Sivananda Yoga is a unique teaching that unites 4 basic yoga paths. You can learn more about those paths on my 4 Paths of Yoga; Deepen Your Yoga Practice post.
- Karma Yoga: Yoga of action; the path of selfless service
- Bhakti Yoga: Yoga of devotion
- Rāja Yoga: Yoga of mind control; the scientific approach
- Jñāna Yoga: Yoga of knowledge; the philosophical approach
Sivananda Ashram Daily Schedule
Taking Yoga Teacher Training in India
Dharamshala, Rishikesh, Goa, Neyyar Dam, Madurai and Uttarkash are the best known yoga retreats in India. The ashrams of masters still serves today.
First of all, I suggest you to go India with the decision which master’s teaching draw you. And while applying for the visa, you shouldn’t mention that you’re gonna go to India for spiritual reasons. Otherwise you will most probably be rejected.
Why I Didn’t Go to India for Yoga TTC?
The decision I already made on like closing my house, quitting from my job forever, leaving my family behind was quite radical. I also did not want to experience a culture shock at a very high dose. Although there are minor differences, all of Sivananda ashrams have the same layout all over the world. After completing the TTC at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, worked as a Karma Yogi (volunteer) for 3 months and I adopted the yogic lifestyle.
Then I found myself in Rishikes for the satsang program of Mooji (another Guru addressing through Jnana Yoga). After Rishikesh I made a little retreat in another Sivananda ashram which is out of organization. This ashram; Sivananda Seva Samiti doesn’t accept online application for a visit, however you can reach Swami Premananda, the director of the ashram via email and ask for a visit. In Sivananda Seva Samiti, which has a very different program from other ashrams, I participated to Swami Premananda’s reading of Yoga Vashista, a very old scripture, and I made my own practice for the rest of the day. Like other classical ashrams, the cost of staying based on the donation.
And then my path brought me to Sivananda Kutir Ashram in Uttarkashi again to assist another TTC. I was there for 1 month as an assistant to Hatha Yoga classes, reinforcing my knowledge and purified by the high energy of the Himalayas and the River Ganges. As this ashram isn’t serving 12 months a year, they only open for Yoga TTCs.
In summary, I will tell you that until you acquire basic yoga information, I suggest you to follow Sivananda Yoga. Whichever way you would like to represent yoga, it is better you to complete Yoga Instructor Training to learn the basics and philosophy of the yoga. And then? Let it to the flow! Who knows, which “you” you will meet to.
You can always write a message to me from my social media accounts for more details, or you can contact me with the contact form or leave a comment.
I hope it is a useful article.
* Ashram; is a kind of monastery where student and teacher live together for a purpose, Guru’s house.
** Swami; spiritual teacher