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Posts tagged ‘Yoga teacher training’

Yoga in India: Liberation Without a Twist!

Yoga in India

Yoga in India.  Photo by Coni Hörler

BY SUZANA ALTERO

Yoga has a cluster of techniques distributed through a variety of branches. Their objective is the same: to experience oneness with the underlying reality that is the basis of the external word. Though they aim for the same goal they use different approaches for their journeys. (more…)

Why choose a Yoga TTC in India?

BKS IYengar Yoga Institute, Pune, India. Photograph - Coni Hörler

By Inna Costantini

With the increasing number of studios offering yoga teacher training courses, in India and beyond, it can feel confusing when faced with choosing where to go. As a practitioner and teacher, I have become somewhat sceptical of the whole business of short, intensive Teacher Training courses.   (more…)

Key Elements of a transformative Yoga Class

By Sushant Pandey

Photo courtesy – Coni Hörler

Since time immemorial the system of yoga  has been a tool of inner transformation and refinement of consciousness. Regardless of techniques and methodology employed, under ideal circumstances the teaching of yoga should facilitate an environment to deepen one’s awareness, to develop a balanced perspective of life and to attain inner harmony and lasting peace. Here’s what an ideal Yoga Class should teach you.  (more…)

The Practice of Ahimsa

By Sushant Pandey

अहिंसाप्रतिष्ठायां तत्सन्निधौ वैरत्यागः॥३५॥
Ahiṁsāpratiṣṭhāyāṁ tatsannidhau vairatyāgaḥ||35||

On the establishment of Ahiṁsā or Non-injury (in a Yogī, there is) cessation of hostility (in one) coming close to him||35||

Ahimsa is ‘nonviolence’; the first and the foremost of the five Yama (Social codes of conduct) in the yoga sutras of Patanjali.

(more…)

5 reasons why you should do your yoga teacher training course in India

By Karolina Krawczyk-Sharma

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Karo has been practising yoga for over 12 years and in 2012, founded Trimurti Yoga in Goa, along with her husband, Ajay Sharma. Trying to keep a balance between East and West Karo teaches in India and Europe.

India is one of those fascinating places which you cannot simply describe! For some people India means one of the oldest of the world’s civilisations, for some – magic and spirituality, and for others – poverty, dirt and danger. I would say India is the universe – you can find here absolutely everything: modern and old-fashioned, rich and poor, loud and silent, dry and humid, spiritual and commercial, modest and fancy, spicy and sattvic…. The variety of the Indian reality is beyond any expectations, and most probably no one can really prepare you for this experience, but there is no doubt that India is an amazing place to visit, to learn from, and to connect to the roots, to yourself. Doing a yoga teacher training course is one of the best reasons to visit India, and get out of this experience much more than just technical asana training and a certification.

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1. India is the source of yoga

The first reason is obvious – India is the motherland of yoga. At a certain point if you want to understand its essence, you need to explore yoga’s origins from up close. In the west, you might feel that yoga means asana practice, a fitness style, a set of crazy positions for losing weight, or exercise for joint flexibility, but yoga has much, much more to offer. The tradition is deeply rooted in spirituality and the ancient Vedas, now thousands of years old, is still alive here, and can inspire you to go to a deeper level. You will not only learn about the philosophy of yoga, but you will be able to see what it actually means. Feeling the yogic spirit and meeting traditional yogis can help you to discover and enrich your yoga, your values, your own way. Different paths of yoga, such as bhakti (yoga of devotion), or karma (yoga of action), still so evident in India, can open new gates for your practice and help you to become a better teacher, a better yogi or yogini, and a better person.

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2. A chance to leave your comfort zone

In yoga, as well as in the teaching profession, keeping an open and fresh perspective is one of the most important values. To protect yourself from a mechanical routine, you need to leave your comfort zone for a while (just like you do on your mat), and open the heart for the new. It’s the same as when you meet your future students and teach them without pre-conceptions, without conditioning, without judgment.

India is very different from what we are used to at home, in our countries, cultures or geographical locations. ‘Different’ does not mean ‘worse’ though. India presents you with challenges and opportunities to learn, grow and develop. By being in such a different reality you test your habits, adjust your routine, review your definitions. You need to explore. You will try different tastes, meet different people, face different situations, and learn how to react to them. Basically, you will meet yourself once again, but in a different context, and that’s how you learn and grow. Not everything will be smooth and easy, but this is how it works.

So if you want to develop both your yoga and teaching skills, a teacher training course in India will help you leave your old well-known frames of reference, and open up for the NEW.

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3. Meet the world and your soulmates!

Sitting in a circle during a yoga teacher training course, you will see the whole globe in its micro version. People from every corner of the world, each continent and time zone come together, to explore the roots of yoga. They are curious about its real taste, need to explore its essence, and are hungry for Sanskrit and contemporary use of ancient scriptures. Most probably they are all just like you – with different stories and inspiring dreams, yet with different accents, experiences and needs (as they say in India ”same, same, but different”). Yoga unites us all. India brings us to the fundamentals of yoga, taking us for a journey in a time machine from a long time back to now. Friendships made at teacher training courses in India last forever, and are really deep. Then there are the unforgettable moments while performing kriyas (cleansing processes) together – this connects you for life!

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4. Tap the holistic wisdom of ancestors

While the west is attracted mainly by the physical aspects of yoga, in India it is not all about the body. The re-connection to the holistic perspective of who we are seems to still be the strongest principle of yoga in India. The control of the body or health of the body are just the tools, the steps towards higher aims, which can be the joy of life, freedom from sorrows, mental balance, or peace (known today as stress management!). Staying in harmony and being in a state of transcendental happiness (unconditionally and eternally) were the main goals of old yogis. The body was only the means, not the aim, therefore real yoga masters and gurus never allow forcing or pushing, and never allow violence. And they never tried to impress anyone. They always suggested surrendering, accepting, letting go and being kind. They might seem ‘boring’ in their white kurtas, practicing without mats (yes, no fancy mats!), eating dal and rice (no, no smoothies and spirulina). But they possess the real wisdom and live their lives according to the Vedas. Yes, they can read and understand the Vedas or Patanjali’s Sutras without a translator and online apps – Internet in India is too slow anyway!

If the physical aspect of yoga brings happiness to people, that’s really great, but what we can learn in India is more focused on how the body is interconnected to emotions, mind, awareness and spirit. It doesn’t really matter if you can do the splits, or how high you can raise your leg. It is not about ’birds of paradise’ or a fancy selfie taken in handstand. Yoga is your own path – for your Self (and not so much for your ‘selfie’), your inner joy – without ego, without pride, without audience. I meet this ‘old school approach’ in India very often, and I love to remind myself why I actually practice yoga.

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5. Have a life-changing experience

Many students who have taken yoga teacher training courses in India claimed the experience had changed their lives. Technical skills and knowledge of yogic practices are super important: these are the basics, the tools which allow you to become a good and safe yoga instructor – that’s a must. Good anatomy and adjustment techniques – that’s the foundation. But yoga teacher training can be much more than a professional course with certificates and stamps. The Indian experience impacts different people in different ways, but it definitely has an impact on everyone! Why can students change their lives after India? Perhaps here in India they see a bigger picture of their life, they don’t run away from the truth that they want and need some change. They want to live happier, peacefully and healthy. Perhaps being far away from home shows them a clearer picture. Or perhaps they get inspired by everything together – India, yoga, people, nature…

There is one rule though – you need to be open to receive. Students who come to India and complain about not being home, and not having the comforts which they are used to cannot enjoy it as much as students who decide to go with the flow, even if the water coming out of the solar-heated shower is not warm! Remember that the circumstances sent to us by the Universe are sent for a reason. You can take it and handle it, or complain about it. The choice belongs to us – that’s what yoga says. I learned to take cold showers in Indian ashrams, so an ice bucket challenge cannot scare me!

Photos courtesy of Ajay Sharma, Trimurti Yoga.

‘Hug it and twist it – and listen to your heartbeat’ – My teacher training experience with Bharath Shetty at IndeaYoga

By Natalie Noll

Natalie from Germany was looking for a yoga teacher training course in India and some time away to reflect and heal. Initially she was thinking of heading to the beaches of Goa but after asking the yoga.in team for advice, she decided to join Bharath Shetty’s teacher training course at IndeaYoga, Mysore. She shares what she experienced and gained from the 250-hour course.

Here I am, Mother India! People say you either love India or hate it. I love it.

When I decided to do this trip, everyone was worried. “Do you really want to travel to India, alone? It’s too dangerous for a woman! Have you heard the latest news?” Yes I did, and I was worried too. But as soon as I made the decision to take a break from everything, I knew I was on the right path, and it HAD to be India, the motherland of yoga.

Yoga had been a part of my life for many years. It strengthened and grounded me, and every time my life got a little crazy, yoga took me right back to the mat – and my inner self, and I could smile again.

But this time, I was at a point where my life was upside down, physically and mentally. I felt tired; exhausted from too much work and was still recovering from an unhealthy, painful relationship. So I knew I needed to go somewhere far away from home where I could find myself again, see other things, cultures, and try to close the circle of (love) pain and let go… a little bit like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.

Initially my idea was to spend a few weeks in Goa hanging out on the beach. I would find a nice yoga school, get a TTC (teacher training course) certificate, meet a lot of fancy yogis and enjoy life. I’m glad that yoga.in’s founder, Otto Stricker, advised me to focus more on ‘profound knowledge and spirituality’ than on ‘fun and sun with yoga’.

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©IndeaYoga, Bharath Shetty

So my choice ended up being a young yogi called Bharath Shetty who runs IndeaYoga in Gokulam, Mysore. And it turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done in my life.

Mysore is a beautiful city, about 140 km away from Bangalore and easy to reach by train, bus or – if you want to make the trip more comfortable – by taxi. There is a flight connection between Bangalore and Mysore too.

I liked Gokulam right away, with all its lovely cafés and restaurants, offering fantastic breakfasts and nice meals, and the street food I had with my classmates after our evening classes. You meet so many yogis from all over the world, and also get to know a little about people and daily life in India.

As IndeaYoga does not provide any accommodation or meals, you need to take care of this yourself. Renting an apartment is not a big deal in Mysore, but prices have increased in the past few years because of the growing yoga community, and you can get a crappy deal for a lot of money, so beware.

I was lucky to find a cute flat at a reasonable price just 5 minutes walk away from the shala (school). This put me in a conciliatory mood when thinking of getting up at 4:30 AM every morning…

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©IndeaYoga, Bharath Shetty

So let’s talk about the teacher training. I remembered entering the shala the first time – and it hit me! I saw this big OM sign on the wall: its colours were ‘jumping’ at me and when I sat down on my mat I felt a strong energy on the floor. I looked around and saw the curious, excited but also shy faces of my classmates and I knew we were all in the same boat. It was the right place at the right time, time to change.

And there he was, Bharath Shetty, a warm-hearted and experienced but strict teacher, with a great sense of humour and a deep knowledge about yoga, having graduated from three top yoga centres in India.

Bharath offers a fantastic mix of classical yoga put into the context of our modern lives. He teaches hatha/vinyasa flow in a Mysore-style (self-lead practice) with a big focus on how to get into the asanas (yoga postures) in such a proper and precise way that you can really tell he studied under BKS Iyengar.

The teacher training course itself is so well structured that by the end of it, you have, along with many other aspects, a thorough knowledge of philosophy, asana, physiology, meditation and pranayama (breath control) – and most of all: the confidence to teach!

He and his team are so passionate about sending well-trained teachers out into the world because they believe in high standards – and this is what you get. By starting to teach small groups of 4-5 people from Day 2, you have no other choice but to ‘jump off the deep end’ – what better way to learn?

The 250-hour teacher training course is 6 days a week of hard work, from 5:30am to 8:00pm. We practiced yoga twice a day, learned more than 70 asanas, including their techniques and benefits, chanting, meditating, preparing the group class for the next day… We climbed into bed after the evening mantras and mediation, tired but happy that not an hour was wasted.

Physically, it was the most challenging thing I have ever done. During the first week, I had pain everywhere! But as Bharath said at the beginning of our course, suddenly you start to feel ‘these beautiful changes’ – and sure enough, we felt them!

TTC IndeaYoga class mates

©Duncan Rice, Cape Town, SA

He encouraged us to listen to our body, accept our physical limits and to “listen to our heartbeats”. I loved it when he said that in savasana… what a powerful phrase! It reminded me that when we feel lost, all we need to do is be still, draw the attention inside of us, and within this stillness listen to our inner voice and learn to trust ourselves because our heart very often knows the answers.

The most valuable lesson I learned from Bharath was that becoming a yoga teacher means becoming a yogi first! It’s not only about showing asanas to other people, having a perfectly trained body, and doing this happy OM-thing together.

It starts with your own daily practice, implementing meditation and yoga philosophy into your daily life, and bringing body, mind and breath together. This trinity is called ananda (bliss). You meet life with less fear and worries, and with more presence, grounding, humbleness, kindness and love… and for this you get the right tools from Bharath and his team.

Overall, I had a fantastic time at IndeaYoga. I met wonderful people, especially my lovely classmates. For a good reason, yoga means union, and this is what we had, 18 different nations united.

Moreover, I experienced a challenging, high-level teacher training which I can highly recommend, and I feel blessed to have met Bharath and his beautiful family, Neda, Rahsmi and Krishnan, who made this time so special to me.

I started to love myself again, closed the circle and let go for the better….

Namaste!

For more information about teacher training programmes with Bharath Shetty, visit the IndeaYoga website.

Photos courtesy of the author.

The Yoga Institute, Mumbai

In the middle of the hustle and bustle of one of the largest cities in the world, Mumbai, you will find the oldest organized yoga institute in the world – The Yoga Institute. Located on an acre of plush vegetation, The Yoga Institute draws people of all ages from across the world thanks to the simplicity, sincerity and non-profit focus of the Institute.  As the sign at the entrance gate states, “Welcome to the Heart of the Modern Yoga Renaissance.”

You can also find The Yoga Institute in our book “Yoga in India: a journey to the top yoga places”.

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