Yoga is a practice that I found in college and it helped me get through school and receive my diploma by being a healthy outlet for me to work out the stressors of being a student and young adult trying to figure life out. After I finished my studies at the University of Hawai’i, I wanted to see the world and dive even deeper into my yoga practice. What better way to collaborate the two wishes than by going to the birthplace of yoga? So I packed my bags and headed to Goa, India which is on the west side of the country, in-between beach and jungle.
After doing research I found that accredited programs in India were about half the price compared to programs in the U.S. For me it was a no-brainer! I was able to purchase a round-trip ticket to India and the all-inclusive training program for the same amount of money it would have cost me to join a program in the U.S (which doesn’t provide accommodation, food or the cultural experience). The program I selected is a registered program recognized by Yoga Alliance a US-based organization.
Now what to expect at yoga teacher training, the program included my accommodation, 3 vegetarian meals daily M-F (delicious Indian food was an added bonus), a daily fresh squeezed juice and the classes along with the yoga alliance certification to become a registered teacher. The classes that the program included were: asana (the physical part of the practice; the postures), anatomy, philosophy, meditation techniques, the art of teaching and therapeutic approaches to the practice. The classes were every day M-F with weekends off from about 7 am to 7 pm, with of course food and a few breaks in between. In the course material, all styles of yoga were covered and discussed, with an emphasis on Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa. The time was divided fairly evenly between all the different subjects to complete 200 hours of study in one month.
I stayed in a little hut on the beach. The amenities included a bed, a squat toilet (pretty common anywhere in India) and a water spout for bucket showers. For the most part, it was clean and sealed, besides the occasional bug friends that would visit, I felt safe. There was a security guard who watched over at night and everyone around me was incredibly friendly. Keep in mind- I was in the jungle in India and while it’s magical, it’s also rugged. The retreat center where my training took place was on a beautiful lake only about a 5-minute walk from my accommodation.
You can attend even if you don’t want to actually teach yoga.
Everyone is welcome, whether you are simply curious about the practice or are devoted to becoming a teacher. The only requirement is that you want to learn and you are prepared for the discipline, strength and openness that is being asked of you to complete an extensive month-long program like this.
A physical challenge and an emotional roller coaster.
Expect for this not to be only a physical challenge, but also an emotional roller coaster. You are in a different country/culture, committing to a diet provided for you as well as a schedule that is strenuous. The course material also asks a lot of you, not only to learn about the practice but about yourself as well – so be ready to take an honest look!
I met friends from all over the world and learned from a variety of teachers with various backgrounds. I would be naive to not have noted the business yoga has turned into, along with all the schools that exist now, it can be a bit discouraging to see the culture exploited in this way. However, what you are looking for you will find. If you focus on the negative aspects that’s what you will see. In my opinion, the beauty of the experience definitely outweighs some of the craziness taking place.
To teach or not to teach? That is the question.
As far as being prepared to teach a class after the training, it depends on the individual. I started teaching and working for the school the following month staying for 6 more months, but that was my path. Some people find that while informative, they are not ready or not meant to stand in front of people and start teaching. Yoga is a study that has been cultivating knowledge for thousands of years, as an understatement: there is much to learn. The program will definitely show you where you are at and I find the more I learn about the practice, the more I realize I know nothing – this just might be where a true and humble teacher is born.
Overall, I would rate my experience of my chosen 200-hour yoga teaching training course 9/10, minus one point for some disorganization that occurred during the month. However, after spending some more time in India, I realized that is kind of the flow – a beautiful chaos.
Have you taken or considered taking a yoga teacher training course? Share your thoughts and feelings or your story in the comments below.
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