I guess most of the yogis at some point have thoughts about becoming a yoga teacher and not only being able to do something they love every day, but also sharing the knowledge with others. Putting aside a long story about all the doubts and fears of quitting my corporate job, I would like to share my experience during the Sivananda yoga teachers’ training course (TTC) which I took in India this year. I’ve received many questions and hope it will be interesting for all yogis and helpful for those who is thinking of taking a TTC.
What: Sivananda Yoga (form of hatha yoga) 200 h, 1 month
When: February – March 2016
Where: India, Himalayas. Rudraprayag (about 150 km from Rishikesh)
How much: 2500 EUR (triple room) + tickets (about 500 EUR) , transfer from Delhi to Rudraprayag (60-80 EUR one way).
Requirements: Previous yoga experience is desirable but not required. Application online + phone interview (nothing crazy, just a few questions like why you want to take a course).
Which course to choose?
Needless to say there are numerous courses in every part of the world.
Important questions which will help you with your choice:
- Do you have a preferable style of yoga or favorite teacher? If so, it will narrow your choice significantly. I didn’t practice Sivananda style yoga before I took the TTC but many London yoga teachers I like finished this course. Also ,one of my first yoga books I bought many years in Goa was published by Sivananda Centre. I knew it’s reliable and well-known organization and the training program is accredited by Yoga Alliance. Of course the course is a strong emotional experience, but first of all, I was looking for an essential education I needed to start a teaching journey and I really wanted to be sure in the quality of information I will get. So my choice was rather rational.
- Where to go?
Most of the 200h courses take 1 month. If you have this time the options where to go are limitless. India is one of my favorite places in the world and its a homeland of yoga, so this was an easy choice for me. My 2 final options were Kerala or Himalayas. I choose the second one and went to Kerala for a week after the course to enjoy some sun and waves.
- Ashram or hotel?
Usually I don’t need much to feel happy and comfortable, especially when you have beautiful nature around you and hours of yoga every day. However the course was very intense in terms of the schedule, so good night sleep and 30-40 extra minutes free from karma yoga were much appreciated. I’ve heard many stories about ashrams – it can be super cold in the room, sometimes you sleep on the floor, food is simple and repetitive, you are required to do lots of karma yoga, including working in the kitchen, cleaning toilets etc. Compared to that my course was more like a yoga retreat with rooms cleaned by request and super delicious food. I think it was a good balance of challenge and pleasure but one day I’ll definitely go to some “hard core” ashram.
A typical day
5.30 Wake up
6.00 till 7.30 Satsang (chanting and meditation)
Tea break. We had nice herbal ayurvedic tea and chai (traditional I black tea with milk). Coffee wasn’t allowed, for me it wasn’t a problem as I don’t drink it at all, but it was a challenging thing for coffee lovers.
8.00 Yoga class
12.00 Chanting class or Bhagavad Gita lecture
Tea break and snack – usually something sweeet and not particularly healthy.
14.00 Main lecture on philosophy or anatomy
16.00 Yoga class – how to teach
10.30 Bed Time
In between we had our home work, studying and different task for karma yoga – it could be helping in the shop, cutting vegetables for satsang, preparing the room for the lecture etc. Mine was ringing the bell before the lectures.
We had to wear a uniform during the lectures and could wear our own clothing for you classes, but only loose clothing, no open tops or leggings allowed.
2 last week of the course we were split into groups and each of us had a chance to teach a class a few times. That was the most terrifying but at the same time useful experience, which is the great preparation for real teaching (not to mention that before my first class I spent hours working on singing Gajananam:))
Many people worry if they would be physically prepared for the course. As I mentioned earlier this course doesn’t even require previous experience in yoga. Of course being fit and healthy helps. From my experience, I can tell that it was challenging but I wasn’t on the edge of my physical capacity. I definitely got stronger, I learned more about the breath and meditation, I became more stable in headstand, I started to work on my Scorpio and other inversions. There were always options for those who want to take it easy and for those who want to explore more.
If you ask me what I liked the most I would say amazing people from all over the world who came to grow, learn and explore the world of yoga. We were over 100, which I thought would be too much but lectures were very well organized, with synchronized translation to several languages. Yoga classes also were split in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and German groups. Different ages, backgrounds, languages, nationalities – being in this diverse yoga community was truly enriching experience.
And of course the location was just magic – in the middle of the Himalayas overlooking the Ganges. It felt like National Geographic program with all the monkeys around. Rudraprayag is not touristic at all, it was nice to visit this quiet part of Uttarakhand.
How can you be not happy when you see this view every morning?!
I could write a book about this course, it was such an amazing month! If you are thinking of taking a teacher course, just go for it! Follow your heart ♥
Please let me know if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to help and share my experience.
UPDATE based on questions I’ve received
Normally I would prefer to have my own room as I’m kind of an introvert and really value my own space. I choose a triple room because of the price I guess and also i was thinking if I’m going for that course it doesn’t have to be totally comfortable as i need to learn how to overcome little inconveniences in life 🙂 I stayed in a triple room with 2 other girls, may be I was lucky but I didn’t regret it for a second, and I think it was even better than to be alone as we could discuss any questions we have about the classes, share our thoughts or just chat about our life, boyfriends, kids and plans for the future. For many being away from family is very hard so it’s nice to be able to come to your room and chat to someone who became close to you during this month.
We immediately became friends, so it was nice to always have a company during the dinner or a partner for practicing your first class. I don’t think there will be an issue with it even if you stay in a single room though..
All rooms have an ensuite bathroom. We didn’t have any issues sharing a bathroom, you simply won’t have time for long showers. Also easier to wake up super early as you feel that you are not the only one who is suffering 🙂
You will have your own bed. In some rooms the 3rd bed is slightly smaller and may be a bit less comfy but I was absolutely fine sleeping on it.
So from my experience triple room was great and I never regret I chose it. If you are price sensitive don’t be afraid to take this option.