Ready to embark on a career as a yoga instructor, or simply wanting to deepen your practice? Completing a teacher training program in the yoga capital of the world can be a life-changing experience. Here are five of the most rigorous and enriching Yoga Teacher Trainings in India’s holy city of Rishikesh.
Yoga enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Rishikesh in Northern India to practice and study in the most traditional, authentic conditions, at the very source of the origins of yoga itself. Imagine yourself meditating in the fresh mountain air, flowing through sun salutations along the holy Ganges River, all under the benevolent eye of local teachers and gurus who were probably already doing yoga in utero. Every second building in this sacred Hindu city is likely to be an ashram, and there are more yoga schools here than anywhere else in the world, so how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?
Choosing the right Yoga Teacher Training in a place where yoga is the primary industry can be daunting, although one of the advantages of studying here is the affordability and all-inclusiveness of the courses. TravelMag has selected five of Rishikesh’s most reputable schools based on criteria that will ensure your Yoga Teacher Training will be an immersive, transformative journey, regardless of your current level of experience, whether you nuture a desire to teach or are simply on your own path of physical and spiritual self-discovery.
Any YTT undertaken should be at a RYS (Registered Yoga School) and accredited with Yoga Alliance International, so that students will receive a qualification recognized anywhere in the world. These programs are 200 or 300 hours long, or the most devoted students may wish to combine modules for a 500-hour immersion. The course should have a well-structured and easy-to-follow curriculum balancing asanas with study of anatomy and Ayurvedic health, yoga philosophy, meditation and teaching techniques including ajustments. Accommodation tends to be on the austere side in Rishikesh, but you can expect a high standard of nourishing Indian cooking to sustain you throughout up to six hours of physical practice a day. Most of all, YTT in Rishikesh is an opportunity to learn from inspiring teachers, within a community of like-minded yogis that may become lifelong friends.
Vinyasa Yoga Shala – 25 Day 200-Hour Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training
In less than a month of well-paced practice and study, Vinyasa Yoga Shala offers a holistic approach to a 200hr YTT, with detailed and caring instruction from a team of the region’s most qualified teachers – like Ashish, who trained at the International Vishwaguru School of Yoga Vedniketandham and has received a master’s degree in yogic sciences. The curriculum explores asanas in-depth, with a focus on classical hatha and vinyasa flow, and special attention given to sequencing the poses for a solid teaching methodology. Expect extensive training in pranayama breathing and meditation techniques, mudras (harnessing energy through hand gestures) and other important concepts like acupressure, sound healing and Ayurveda for overall health and balance. Between classes in the light-filled, spacious shala, healthy Sattvic vegetarian meals are served using fresh local ingredients. Free time between classes can be used to study and reflect in situ while admiring the mountain view, strolling or cycling through the town of Tapovan along the Ganges, or on Sunday group excursions to nearby sites like the Vashishta Caves or Kunjapuri Temple. Twenty-five days to feel fulfilled and ready to take on new challenges and opportunities in yoga. From US$649/25 days
Rishikesh Yogkulam – 29 Day Holistic 300-Hour Yoga (Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin) Teacher Training
Yogkulam’s intensive monthlong 300hr YTT with knowledgable teachers enables students to delve deeper into concepts taught in most 200hr programs, gaining more confidence in their own teaching style. The broad multi-style training in classical hatha, the ashtanga sequence and slow, relaxing yin gives a well-rounded introduction to all three practices and may orient new teachers to specialize in a particular style. Students will also teach classes to the group to be evaluated by their peers. Daily classes include mantra chanting and meditation, detailed asana labs, anatomy and yoga philosophy, and sequencing for teachers. Extra-curricular activities are rich and varied, from white water rafting in the Ganges to Indian cooking classes, trips to the Rishikesh market and rejuvenating sound healing sessions. Each graduate will also receive an online Ayurveda course to complete, continuing to build on a healthy yoga lifestyle after leaving India. From US$1,138/29 days
Himalayan Yoga Association – 24-Day 200 Hours Vinyasa / Hatha / Ashtanga based Yoga Teacher Training
Overlooking the mountains and the river, with sunrise and sunset views, the Himalayan Yoga Association offers a comprehensive 200hr YTT. Preparation will include a 7-day online course and pre-requisite reading of some of the essential classical yoga texts, to help you get the best out of your classes upon arrival in India. Days begin at 6am with pranayama and sunrise hatha or vinyasa flow, and continue throughout the day with anatomy, alignment and use of yoga props, philosophy, and a 90-minute ashtanga session. Asana classes will instill the Ashtanga yoga primary series sequence, with an introduction to the Mysore independent teaching method. You will also have the opportunity to teach classes during your training and receive feedback from your fellow students. From US$1,150/24 days
World Peace Yoga – 29 Day 200-Hour Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Course In Rishikesh
Known as one of the most esoteric and mysterious yoga styles, Kundalini is increasingly in demand around the world, but authentic training can be difficult to find. All the more reason to return to the source and learn the secrets of Kundalini in Rishikesh – bearing in mind that the style may be more accessible for students who already have some knowledge of yoga fundamentals and philosophy. The practice is based around stimulating chakras to channel great amounts of energy and is closely related to Tantric yoga. Classes employ specific movement techniques and kriya (rituels) in order to deepen one’s consciousness and intensify mindfulness. If you have already completed a 200hr hatha or vinyasa YTT and are looking to delve deeper into the mysticism of yoga, this course could be for you. Founder of World Peace Yoga, Yogi Vishnu holds degrees in yoga and Sanskrit. This welcoming ashram is ideally located a few minutes from the iconic Laxman Jhula bridge and all the local shops and cafes that bring so much charm and positive energy to Rishikesh. Daily practice and theory will be enriched with a personalized Ayurvedic consultation and Ayurvedic, vegetarian meals and juices served on the premises. Nourish yourself spiritually during your training with a Himalayan sightseeing trip, excursions to local ashrams and temples, and a beach Kirtan evening of music and celebration. From US$2,399/29 days
Yogada Ashram in the Himalayas – 24-day 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training
This ethically designed, well-equiped yoga training center is hidden away from Tapovan’s bustling main yoga strip to ensure a truly peaceful experience and as much outdoors practice as possible, though the helpful team organizes frequent trips into town. Your 200 hours here will be a comprehensive initiation to Sattya yoga, the style that is rooted and traditionally practiced by yogis in the Himalayas, with qualified and passionate teachers. Highlights of the training include daily yoga and meditation sessions, early morning walks in the Himalayan foothills, weekly excursions, pure organic vegetarian food. You will be housed in charming eco-friendly cottages, a haven for reflection and a good night’s sleep. From US$999/24 days.