So doing a Yoga teacher training in India is amazing but you need a couple of things to be able to fully enjoy it and one and most important is an open mind.
I did my 200 hours in Rishikesh this small chaotic and beautiful city where yoga was born, close to the himalayas and the river. The TripAdvisor will describe it like this:
Open your mind:
India is a whole other world, in other for you to enjoy it and found the beauty in it, you need an open mind, you need a new way to see things, if you don’t have it already, this trip will do it for you, 100%. Poverty, dirt, mess, chaos and horns, oh my god the horns.
Its not all about the asanas (postures):
Personally i got into yoga beacause of the cool postures and the healing quality in it, i did not know there were so much more.
I will not bored you or try to explain you about the mind control, the behave or the samadhi (not in this post at least) what i will do instead, is just a small introduction of the 8 limbs of yoga, only one is the asanas (postures), and actually Yoga journal will help me here:
These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one’s health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.
Ethical standards and sense of integrity, they relate best to what we know as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
- Ahimsa: nonviolence
- Satya: truthfulness
- Asteya: nonstealing
- Brahmacharya: continence
- Aparigraha: noncovetousness
- Saucha: cleanliness
- Samtosa: contentment
- Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities
- Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self
- Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God
The body is a temple of spirit, the care of which is an important stage of our spiritual growth. Through the practice of asanas, we develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation.
To gain mastery over the respiratory process while recognizing the connection between the breath, the mind, and the emotions. As implied by the literal translation of pranayama, “life force extension,” yogis believe that it not only rejuvenates the body but actually extends life itself.
Withdrawal or sensory transcendence. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings: habits that are perhaps detrimental to our health and which likely interfere with our inner growth.
Concentration. Having relieved ourselves of outside distractions, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself. No easy task! In the practice of concentration, which precedes meditation.
Meditation or contemplation, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration.
A state of ecstasy. The meditator comes to realize a profound connection with all living things.
3. Enjoy the tours:
Enjoy them, do not miss them, they are an important part of your understanding of India and for that, of Yoga. Here are the ones we did on my School:
- Ganga river ceremony: This beautiful non religious ceremony of chanting mantas (kind of singing songs) all together and honoring the rivers feels like a bliss for your bodym ears, and soul, i loved every minute and they do it every (damn) day.
You can find more information here: Ganga River
- Ashram Beatles: This is a must, what a magical place, were The Beatles got inspired for a lot of their songs, when you are there you can feel how magical this place is. You can see the caves were they lived and meditate, the gardens, the butterflies, and the yoga shala.
- The Kunjapuri temple for sunrise: Say no more.
Don’t get cought up:
Gossips, complains and negative thoughts, like everywhere in the world you will find people and situations like it. Try really hard not to fall in the game, keep your mind strong and positive. Remember, sick mind, sick body, you don’t wanna get sick in India, control your thoughts.
To travel and be with people from diferentes parts of the world can be challenging, just make sure that if you do it properly, it will only make you richer.
5. Be safe:
Everyone knows at least one scary story from india, and there are a lot, and yes, some of them are true, so here are some tips for you:
- Try not to go alone ideally
- Don’t just take any cab, arrange your taxi with your school before arriving.
- Do not trust the police just because it the police.
- Follow your gut
- Don’t be alone at night
- Don’t take selfies, they will ask you A LOT for this
- Try to download the map before, so it will work without WIFI
- Taxis scams and other types of scams, just talk with the hostel or place where you are going so you know is confirm and that they are waiting for you.
- Monkeys, just don’t go to close
It will never be enough time:
200 hours in a month, having clases monday to saturday from 6 am to 7 pm its tough.
This will not give you so much time to self study because in between you will be tired and man!, naps are sacred otherwise you will fall asleep during philosophy class after lunch. You will have a base to then go back home and study study practice and practice. A lot of the learning process is always on you.
There is no way that you can sink in all the information of yoga so go, absorb like a sponge go home and study.
Out of the books and into the experience:
In some of the classes teachers will tell you more about India and there own experiences, about spirituality and how they understand yoga than about “proper theory”, some people might get frustrated because in anatomy, you wanna be learning anatomy, but if this happens just enjoy what they are trying to send you and remember that there are a millions anatomy books and clases but there will be maybe only once in your life, you in a class room with an Indian teacher giving you lessons of life, just go with it and enjoy.
As our Guru said, there is nothing we can give you if you show up with your glass full, empty your glass, empty your mind to new kind of information.
Tree meals per day vegetarian all, no eggs, no coffee, no tea, at least in my school. This is a difficult part two, new country, new food, you been doing yoga all day, so so hungry and sometimes getting food that you will never pick by yourself, then again, open your mind.
Bring something for the stomach, some food might not be very well received bye your body, if you know what i mean.
It will look like something like this:
Love and hate, homesick and emotions
A lot of emotions, embrace all of them, the tears and the laughs, the missing home feeling and the i wanna travel for ever feeling, you will have them all.
10. Enjoy the challenge:
Enjoy it all, stay present and love every minute of it because you will blink and it will be over. Take every experience like it was chosen specially for you to learn from it and leave your ego on a side, leave it in your country, because yoga is not about becoming something else, its about putting on a side all the things that are stopping you from been who you were meant to be in the first place.
Books to help you:
- Yoga anatomy – Leslie Kaminoff
- Yoga sutras – Commentary by Swami Vivekananda
- Alignment and adjustment – Mark Stephens
- Yoga Sequencing – Mark Stephens
- Asana Pranayama Mudra Banda – Swami Satyananda Saraswati