My Personal Experience of Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh India –
For many people, making it to the mat to practice each day, or even most days is a difficult and daunting task.
So when someone signs up for their yoga teacher training, there’s a good chance they’re already committing to something bigger than they’re used to.
If you’re considering a course, it may make sense to you to stay around home in an environment you know; but there are countless benefits to stepping outside of your comfort zone for this life-changing training.
Rishikesh, in Uttarakhand, India, is the home of yoga, making it the perfect place to push your practice.
Watch My Journey Video at Drishti Yoga School –
Why Rishikesh was the Perfect Place for My Yoga Teacher Training
I was in an unfamiliar – but beautiful – area.
Rishikesh is nestled at the base of the Himalayas and on the banks of the sacred Ganges River.
The city is always bustling with locals and tourists, most of whom are Indian. It offers a fast-paced and friendly view of life within this holy city.
My first view of the city was at night. The infinite twinkle of the city and the lights of the bridges crept around hillsides as our car hugged the road in between even higher hillsides and the Ganges River below.
During the day, neither the flow of the river nor the rush of people slowed. Tongues I didn’t understand filled the air and cheerfully fascinated eyes welcomed me to the rush of Rishikesh.
Of course, there were times when I felt completely overwhelmed by the unfamiliar land and culture. New noises startled me and languages I didn’t know confused me.
I didn’t know where anything was, but I also didn’t know what I was looking for. But when you put yourself in such an environment, you will almost always surprise yourself with how adaptable you are.
You see, if you were to train in an area where you naturally find comfort, whether it be in your town or in another place with similar surroundings and culture, you will completely miss out on the practice of adaptability.
The real loss here is that adaptability is extremely valuable in yoga.
Varying from the adjustment of a challenging pose to the advancement of a new breath technique and so many places in between, the ability to adapt is going to be something you undoubtedly benefit from.
Starting with the environment you choose to train in is a great opportunity to set yourself up for maximum success.
I was surrounded by like-minded people who I didn’t previously know.
When I arrived at Drishti Yoga School, I met my classmates who had all traveled to Rishikesh to cultivate their yoga practices – just as I had.
Coming from six different countries and bringing all different skill sets and experiences, there was an immediate bond formed over our mutual dedication to advancing our yoga practice.
Unlike a yoga retreat or single yoga class, each student had dedicated the same lengthy amount of time to be away from their people, in a new environment, and completely absorbed by their practice.
Our class size was small and intimate, meaning we experienced the happy, the tired, the excited, the energized, the frustrated, the proud… we experienced all of these feelings together.
It’s always easiest to experience these and similar feelings around friends, family, or our best yoga buddy. However, having all of these emotions manifest around new people forces us as students to open ourselves to the unknown.
As we begin to let our guards down, we learn to accept what is foreign to us, and soon the foreign becomes familiar. Do you remember your first yoga class?
Do you remember how foreign the Sanskrit sounded or how impossible the twists and binds seemed? It’s likely that you’ve come far from there, and that’s a practice that can continue all your life.
I experienced the true tradition and sacredness of yoga.
When I first started my yoga practice, I went to the very traditional route of following only the postures, using only their English names, and focusing on only those that felt simple.
There’s nothing wrong with that, especially because it can help cultivate an incredible and dedicated practice, as it did for me.
In reality, yoga is an in-depth lifestyle including postures, mantras, cleansings, diet, breathing techniques, ceremonial traditions, and so much more. The beauty of training in Rishikesh is the opportunity to experience the true tradition of yoga.
My schedule at Drishti Yoga School began with morning tea, cleansing, breathing, and meditation, and was followed by an energetic vinyasa flow class.
We had a class about the way anatomy affects our practice and another which explained the fascinating and traditional philosophy of yoga.
Finally, we participated in a body alignment class which primed us for our primary series ashtanga class, the final class of the day. Each class started with the chanting of a traditional mantra.
All of our meals followed the authentic yogic vegetarian and vegan diet. We had Soya turmeric tea every morning and ginger lemon tea in the evening. We did yoga on the banks of the Ganges River where the entire practice began.
We opened and closed our training with traditional Arti ceremonies. Many of these practices were challenging at times, which only further increased my respect for the yogic lifestyle.
The historic practice of yoga was easy to feel in every area of Rishikesh, and upon departure, I felt entirely dedicated to my newly advanced practice.
At the end of my training, I left India with a better understanding of the tradition of yoga and absolutely no regrets.
Rishikesh offers the most ideal experience to let yoga become completely transformative in your life.
I felt entirely expanded by the many steps I took outside of my comfort zone, the new ideas I allowed to integrate into my practice and the sacredness of the true home of yoga.
At the end of the day, we all owe it to ourselves to practice to our full potential, and bringing your yoga practice to Rishikesh will show you the strength of your own potential.