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.
12 thoughts on “My Yoga Teachers’ Training Course at Sivananda Vedanta Centre @Rudraprayag, Himalayas 2016”
Thank you very much for your post! Since there are so many different ashrams all over India and I was also trying to choose one, then this writing here is really helpful. I will book my place in the same course in March, 2018.
I have a few questions though- was the transfer from Delhi to Rudraprayag organized by the ashram? Or did you have to find it yourself? Have you been to any other similar courses and how would you compare? Do you teach yoga after completing this YTTC? Was the food enough to keep you full? I did read some scary writings about “yoga boot camps”, which doesn’t seem to be the story with this ashram?
Hi Kristina, happy that you found the post helpful!
Regarding your questions..
The transfer was organized, there were a few buses for all the students, however, I managed to miss them/ or didn’t find them/ or was waiting in the wrong spot. Me and another lady from my course who I met at the airport took a taxi, as we shared the cost it was the same price and at the end it was a bit faster and more comfortable. But don’t worry, 99% of the students managed to find the buses 🙂
I haven’t been to any other long courses yet, but from the experience of my friends and other yoga teachers I can say that there are courses which are more physically challenging or ashrams where you don’t live in a very comfortable conditions, e.g. sleeping on the floor in a cold room and eating the same food every day, but at the same time many courses have more relaxed schedule, where you are allowed to drink coffee etc. Sivanada TTC is a middle ground in my opinion – we had a strict schedule, our attendance were checked (you can only miss a class or lecture if you are sick), coffee was forbidden but the was masala tea and huge variety of vegetarian food. Funny, you asked about food, I had exactly the same thoughts and worried I will fill hungry all the time. You will have no chance to feel hungry and in fact, I even put on some weight! 🙂
I do teach yoga and so do many other students from my course, I would say everyone who wanted to teach found an opportunity to do so one way or another.
Good luck with your yoga journey! I know it can be very hard to make decision, especially when there are so many options, but somehow we always find the right way 💚
Thank you so much for your answer! Maybe you could also do a little conclusion of what you packed with you? Did you buy any books while you were there? Did you need any cash in the ashram? I am the type of person who likes everything organised and at the moment I have no idea what I should pack with me 🙂 Although I have literally 9 months until the course, haha! And I feel like packing already.
It’s always good to be organised especially when you go to live in the Himalayas for a month 😉
When you register for a course, you will be provided with a list of books which you will need during the course. I got them in London before I flew to India, but as far as I remember all the books were available in a little store which was set up at the hotel, approximately the same prices as in Europe. In the store you can also buy yoga mats (some of them were not really good quality and started to “peel” by the end of the course, I brought my own anyway), meditation pillows (you will use one all the time, I bought it there for about $10 and I still use it, so it was a good buy), healthy western snacks, clothing, neti pots and other accessories (bring yours if you have already one as there will be a practical class on kriyas). You will be also given a uniform – 2 pairs of white pants, short sleeve t-shirt and long sleeve t-shirt. For practical yoga classes you are allowed not to wear the uniform, but strictly no leggings, slim fit and open clothing. I underestimated the strictness of this rule and brought lots of yoga leggings with me, never used them, better to bring more sweatpants and loose tops. Warm socks, blanket, shawl will be useful too for the morning meditations when it’s chilly. Some people were even wearing hats and gloves during the morning classes (if was February). A shawl is also useful if you go to a temple and need to cover your head. Flip flops or slides as you will need to take your shoes off all the time. Sunscreen, all the toiletries, some medicines. Many people have stomach issues in India generally, I was fine during the whole course but it was my 3rd trip to India, so I guess my body was already adjusted. Traditionally in India there is no toilet paper, we were buying it in the hotel, not super expensive but more than you would pay at home; so if you want you can bring some. I also brought some snacks with me like nuts, dates etc but could survive without them. There were some little local stores nearby where we were buying fruits, even chocolate if you want! Unless you are up for a digital detox, you can also get a local sim card with cheap data. Hope this is helpful, please feel free to ask if you heave more questions!
Great review! Thank you so much! I have been reading about TCCs the last month, and decided to pick Sivananda for the same reasons you mentioned here (something in between!), after leaving my office job too. 🙂 I was thinking India or France (because I live in Amsterdam, so France is a close option) but read some tricky reviews about the ashrams too. Again, thanks a lot for your post, so helpful. I wish you all the best! _/\_
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Thanks a lot for your feedback Raquel, glad the review was helpful! Good luck with your training! 🙂
Thank you for such a detailed account of your experience! I am registered for the same location starting next week! I just have a few queations 🙂
1. I am travelling around India after the course and I was considering getting a cheap yoga mat so I could toss it after the course OR a travel size mat that is light to carry. Do you think this is comfortable enough for the course or should I just bring my good quality mat?
2. Did you get to travel around Rudraprayag on the days that there was no practice/lecture? Anywhere that you would recommend?
3. Is it easy to find another route back to New Delhi after the course ends? The school is now charging 95€ one way on their bus. It’s quite expensive and it would be nice to find another way back that perhaps stops in Rishikesh.
I hope I’m not too late with my answers!
1. I had a very basic cheap yoga mat (5 mm, I guess) with me and it was fine. The very thin travel ones probably won’t be the best option because you will have to practice on the outdoor platform with a hard concrete surface. I personally prefer a bit more padding.
2. We had very limited time off, on a few days off there were excursions organised. We went to the temple, it was a nice silent walk up to the mountains, and another time we went to a temple near the Ganges. Other 2 days off were technically study/exam preparation days so you won’t have much time for travelling around during the course. I think taking part in these group activities is good option if you haven’t seen anything around that area yet.
3. It is possible to get to Rishikesh by public bus. From Rishikesh to Delhi it’s also possible by public transport (not very straight forward, but possible, especially if you want to do it the cheap way).
Another option is to share a car with someone. It will be approximately the same price as you would pay through the school but the car is more comfortable, faster and you can alternate your route. We were 4 girls sharing a car and it worked out well.
Hope this is useful, please let me know if you have any further questions! Enjoy India and the TTC! 🙂
This is very helpful! I leave today!!! Thank you 🙂
Safe travels! 🙂
I was on staff at three Sivananda ashrams – Neyyar Dam, Spain and London. They were big rip-offs then and are even bigger rip-offs now. Stay away from Sivananda unless you’re rich with not much in the way of self-esteem.
I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experince 😦 What made you stay with them 3 times in 3 different locations? Were all of them bad?