People often ask about the specific benefits of taking a Yoga Teacher Training in India, and specifically, what is it about Rishikesh that has yogis and yoginis returning again and again! There are so many reasons!
We have been offering Akhanda Yoga Teacher Training in India (YTT 200 and YTT 300 in Rishikesh specifically) since 2005 and at Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram since 2007. Students in Canada had been telling us that they wanted to travel to India but didn’t want to go alone. Others mentioned that their non-residential YTTs did not give them the opportunity to really take on the yogic lifestyle, daily schedule, food in the way an immersion program could. And so, we started the program because we wanted to offer students a safe and all-inclusive way to travel and train at the same time, while living according to yogic daily cleansing, vegetarian eating and practice routines. This lived experience is so powerful and gives new teachers confidence that they have really experienced yoga at a deep level while living 24-hours a day in the Ashram for a month!
Even more important, perhaps, while studying YTT 200 or 300 at Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram, students are surrounded by the profound Vedic and Ayurvedic symbols and daily rituals in a very organic way. Fire puja exposes them to the deeper meaning of the elements and Vedic chanting, excursions to Ganga Aarati (the sunset riverside ceremony) reinforce an understanding of the use of water and light within the broader yoga tradition. While learning the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and about the chakras and energy flows in the body in class, students are exposed to symbols, drawings, yantras and meditations that impart these teachings in a very tangible and experiential way.
Why Rishikesh? Rishikesh means the place of the sages. Yogrishi Vishvketu has lived and practiced yoga in and around this area for much of his life. It has been a sanctuary for yogis for thousands of years. It is a small Ashram village outside of the bustling town between two suspension bridges over the Ganges between the rising hills to the Himalayas. The focus of this whole village is yoga from shops selling mala beads and singing bowls to cafes serving ginger lemon tea. The white-sand beaches next to the clear, turquoise Ganges offer an inspiring place for special afternoon beach yoga! Rishikesh is truly a unique and pastoral setting for Yoga Teacher Training and retreats and is special within India for its clean and fresh hillside setting.
Akhanda Yoga Teacher Trainings in India begin with airport pickup, transit to the Ashram and an orientation to the Ashram and the village of Rishikesh. We also have several jet lag days excursions to help students feel grounded and connected to this special place. The programs conclude with a celebratory graduation ceremony that ties together the colours, music and culture of northern India with a meaningful rite of passage into our supportive teaching community.
For more information about Akhanda Yoga Teacher Training in India and to view insightful short films about the programs at Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh, please visit www.akhandayoga.com.