Choosing where to do your Yoga TTC can be harder than keeping your balance in Eagle Pose. With yoga schools dotted around the globe, it is possible to select a location that not only meets your teaching needs but satisfies your thirst for travel and culture too.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in the Indian State of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh has earnt the accolade of being the Yoga Capital of the World. Sadhu’s, Gurus, Yogis, spiritual seekers and the occasional rock star have gathered here on the banks of the Ganges for centuries. Drawn to this holy city to find themselves, to offer devotion and to connect with a higher power. Many people find that the magnetic draw is so strong that some decide never to leave.
When you come to Rishikesh, you will understand the magical allure. In the bustling hub of Tapovan on the north bank you can meet local people, see fresh naans being baked on the tandoor, or relax in a café sipping chai. The vibe here is laid back and alternative, safe and friendly. Take a walk over one of the suspension bridges to the Swarg Ashram area on the south bank of the Ganges and you are in a different world; strolling with cows and Sadhus on the narrow traffic-free alleyways as the smell of incense pervades the air. Take a breather on the bathing ghats to absorb the beauty of the crystalline blue Ganges as it hurls past. Watch the boats ferry passengers across as you dip your toes into the freezing glacial meltwater. Both areas are full of wonderful shops selling everything from temple bells to Tibetan jewellery. The books shops are emporiums of wonder; chocked full of teachings from the world’s greatest spiritual leaders – leave plenty of space in your luggage to bring some home with you. As a holy city, Rishikesh is alcohol and meat free but you won’t miss either as the restaurants serve delicious Indian and global food. If you start to crave a taste of home, then you will find falafel platters, tofu burgers and pizza in the myriad of eateries. After your belly is full, then why not spend a few sunny hours meditating on a rock on Ganga river beach.
As twilight falls, Rishikesh looks like a magical, fairytale city. The twinkling lights of the ashrams reflect on the river. The streets are quiet, save for the curious cows and friendly dogs, on the lookout for dinner scraps. Every night at 6pm a ceremony is held to thank the mighty Mother Ganga. The Aarti is a prayer to the Mother Ganga, a manifestation of the goddess Shakti. It is free to partake and you can watch as the ashram devotees play music and dance with the fire offerings. You can join in with the prayers and send a small banana leaf boat off into the powerful waters as your sins are washed away and salvation is granted.
On your days off, your yoga school will help you explore the surrounding area with day- trips to waterfalls, mountain temples and the possibility of white-water rafting. It’s good to take a break from studying and enjoy some downtime with your fellow students.
If you have more time, either side of your studies to explore the Himalayas, then there are plenty of agencies that will help you organise a trek deeper into the mountains. Or why not visit the nearby holy city of Haridwar, only 20 km further south. The Ganges is calmer here but the experience more intense as it attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year.
On a practical note, Rishikesh offers not only a huge choice of ashrams in which to study but also offers excellent value for the training programmes. With over 120 accredited schools listed on the Yoga Alliance website, there are plenty of options to suit all styles and tastes. For the budget conscious yogi, studying in Rishikesh represents a much more pocket-friendly alternative to Bali. All yoga schools include the training, price of your room and three meals a day in their fee.
Most important of all, authenticity is why you should choose Rishikesh for your yoga teacher training. The teaching is authentic; it is taught traditionally by practitioners who live and breathe yoga. The location is authentic; this is a place of pilgrimage, being immersed in so much spiritual devotion has a lasting effect on the soul and you will experience the pure, genuine warmth of Indian people. The experience is authentic; you will live a modest lifestyle and follow an ashram schedule, training as many yogis have done before you.
Depending on your level of experience and previous qualifications, you may be interested in studying a 100, 200, 300 or 500 hour course. As a beginner seeking a teacher training qualification, the 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher programme will equip with you the basic knowledge to go forth on your journey. Students come from all sorts of backgrounds, it is advisable to have had some prior experience to ensure this is the right path for you.
Don’t worry about your physical capabilities though, more important than your balance and flexibility is your mindset. Someone who has an openness to learn and the patience to take each day as it comes will do well on the training course.
Typically, courses focus on the traditional Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa styles of yoga but other practices such as Kundalini and Iyengar can be found here too. Regardless of which style you may later want to specialise in, Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa make a good foundation to start your teacher training. Other styles tend to be an adaption of these foundational practices anyway. For example, you can teach a Vinyasa Flow or Hot Power class based on the Ashtanga practice and Yin or Restorative based on the Hatha practice.
Your course will begin with an opening ceremony to set your intentions for the course ahead and to initiate you into the school. This is an exhilarating moment as you commit to a life-changing course of study. The weeks ahead may seem a little daunting with so much to take in but just take it one day at a time and enjoy every moment that you are here.
The teaching schedule is structured to give you shared practice time, time for self-study, taught lessons and joint mealtimes. It can seem intense at first but you will soon settle into the rhythm and the careful planning allows your mind to relax into the regime or learning. As morning classes commence at 6 or 7am, you generally find that sleep is most welcome around 9 or 10pm. Everything in Rishikesh shuts down by 9pm anyway, so tuck yourself up with your yoga sutras and enjoy the rest.
Get ready to detox; no meat, alcohol, tobacco or drugs are allowed to be consumed as a yoga student. If these are things your normally partake, then enjoy the respite and snap up some fresh fruit smoothies and inhale the fresh mountain air instead.
To mark your achievements, a closing ceremony will be conducted by your teachers. It’s a good idea to pack something white to wear for this, or pick some fresh clothes up at the market. It’s a truly special occasion where you can acknowledge all that you have learnt, thank your teachers and wish your fellow students well on their yoga journey. It will have been an intense experience and lasting friendships will have been forged during your time together.
Many thousands of people visit Rishikesh every year for yoga alone but it is a destination in its own right too. If you have a little extra time to spare, then consider what else you could experience whilst you’re here:
International flights typically land in Delhi, where you can take a domestic flight to Uttarakhand’s Jolly Grant airport, near Dehra Dun. From there your yoga school can help you arrange a taxi transfer to drive the 21 kilometers to Rishikesh. Alternatively, there are many daily buses or a train service to Delhi.
Rishikesh is blessed with year-round sunshine and you can travel there during any month of the year. Though you will find that May – October has the most temperate climate. Winter and Spring, November – April, sees warm days and chilly nights but is perfectly pleasant.
If you plan to do any trekking, then avoid the monsoon months of July – September where freak flooding and storms can make the mountains dangerous. At night you will always get a fresh breeze blowing through the valley and strong winds in the early morning as the sun rises in the mountains.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Drishti Yoga School is one of the best yoga schools in Rishikesh which provides different yoga courses like 200 hours yoga course, 300 hours yoga course, and 500 hours yoga course with certified yoga teachers who have more than 7+ years of experience.
For a person who has basic knowledge of yoga or has no experience in yoga can do the 200 hours yoga course. In 200 hours yoga course the foundation of yoga will be built.
Yoga alliance is the most popularly known and old authentic nonprofitable yoga organization that provides the certification of 200, 300, and 500 hours. The certificate of yoga alliance is the most demanding certificate in the world.
There are many places in Rishikesh where you can practice yoga like Ganga ghats, in yoga shala, in yoga school, on the terrace