Are you thinking about following a yoga teacher training? You will discover that there is a myriad of possibilities to choose from. One of the most important question is where would you like to do your teacher training: back home or abroad? If you want to do your yoga teacher training abroad, the most popular destination is India, the birthplace of yoga. But that’s not the only reason why you should definitely consider going to India for your yoga teacher certification. Here are 12 benefits of attending your yoga teacher training in India.
India is the place where yoga originally comes from. So when you go to India, you will actually learn about yoga from the source. The foundations of yoga are thought to date back for at least 5000 years. Teachings on yoga first appeared in the Vedas, ancient philosophical texts from India, and later in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Later, more extensive descriptions were recorded in the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. In contrast, it is only about 200 years ago that yoga was introduced in the West.
Yoga philosophy is deeply rooted in the culture in India. Therefore, teachers who have grown up or lived in this culture themselves have a profound understanding of yoga as a lifestyle and not merely the physical practice. They will help you to integrate the teachings of yoga in every aspect of your life, not just the practice on your mat. You will also learn about the rich background, the history and traditional approach to yoga. Learning yoga from the source will enable you to provide more depth and insight as you start to teach.
When choosing India as your destination for your yoga teacher training, you will most likely live in an ashram for at least a month. Living in an ashram is an unique experience, helping you to dive deeper into your training. An ashram is a residential school, a place that is solely focused on learning. It is therefore simple and minimalist, without unnecessary luxuries. Living in an ashram also means you will stick to a structured and disciplined program, based on the yogic lifestyle (also see below). Living in an ashram in India will:
Read more: What to Expect at an Ashram?
You will be far away from home, in a completely different environment than you are used to. A yoga teacher training in India therefore can be an immense challenge for your comfort zone. Expanding our comfort zone is an effective way to work on personal growth. Going out of your comfort zone might cause temporary fear or anxiety. It therefore takes courage to do so. But once you have taken this step, it will show you your inner strength and help you to overcome fear in future challenges.
India is well-known for a strict and result-driven educational system. Discipline and structure are therefore important ingredients during a yoga teacher training at an ashram in India. The structured program at an ashram will help you to fully focus on your learning process. There is hardly any distraction, as you are away from home and not connected to the internet most of the time. A 200 hour yoga teacher training in a month can be intense, but with no other obligations or activities, you will be able to learn much more than you could ever imagine. The structure of the program will enable you to learn and practice in a dedicated way. There is nothing else you must do or think about; completing your yoga certification course is your only and most important purpose during your stay.
As India is a popular destination for following a yoga teacher training, you will find yourself in an international group. People from all over the world travel to India to learn about yoga. This diversity in the groups offers many different perspectives on life. As you study and live together, it is mind-opening to exchange ideas and experiences. This international character not only enriches the teacher training experience, you will also build new friendships that might last for the rest of your life.
Going to India for your yoga teacher training has many advantages. If you like to travel, this is a very important one. Traveling can be another way to learn about yourself and change your life. India is a country with many different faces, full of experiences and challenges. Traveling in India means learning new lessons, as well as deepening those you have learned during the yoga teacher training. You will see things that make you reflect and gain new perspectives. Therefore, traveling in India and following a yoga teacher training perfectly complement each other!
A few places in India are especially famous in the yoga world. You might be interested in visiting some of these places to extend your knowledge and experience:
For many people, a yoga teacher training signifies a change in their life. It might be the start of a new beginning or a dream coming true. It could also simply mark the choice to finally start following your heart. The teachings of yoga in India help you to reflect and spark an ongoing process of self-development. What is meant exactly by the ‘Self’ is at the core of yoga. You will definitely learn more about this question in a yoga teacher training in India.
Another reason to choose a yoga teacher training in India can be the relatively lower price. A yoga teacher training is always a significant investment. However, as costs for living and accommodation are significantly lower in India, the total price will be cheaper. Some courses include everything, others require additional booking of accommodation and meals. But even if you add the costs of your flight and visa, you can do a teacher training in India on a lower budget than in the West!
India has a vast and varied landscape, and although it has a large population, you can find remote places in more rural areas as well. For example, the Arhanta Yoga Ashram India is located about 20 km away from the town of Khajuraho. It is surrounded by lush nature and a peaceful environment. The hills, green fields and the river create a calm and serene atmosphere – the perfect place to practice yoga. The ashram itself reflects the same peace and quiet, aiding you to turn your attention inward and find the focus to learn.
Following a yoga teacher training in India allows you to live the yogic lifestyle. The yogic lifestyle involves getting up at sunrise, eating a balanced diet and engaging in physical activity as well as rest. This is based on the 5 points of yoga:
All of these elements are included in the structured program at the ashram. You will often start with meditation early in the morning, which is a good way to develop the habit of daily practice at the start of your day. The daily yoga asana classes will allow you to improve your own practice considerably throughout the teacher training. The meals that you eat, mostly in silence, are purely vegetarian, nourishing and healthy. You will notice the effects of consistently eating a balanced diet over the course of a month. Altogether, the yogic lifestyle helps you to build new, healthy habits. You will feel better in your body and mind. This is a good foundation for your yoga practice and a healthy lifestyle in the long run.
Educational systems are different all around the world. In India, the traditional way of learning at an ashram is called the Gurukula system. Children would be sent to an ashram to live, study and work with the main teacher (guru) for several years. They were expected to be part of the community, not only doing their schoolwork but also participating in maintenance duties. The teachings in India are often based on this system. During a yoga teacher training, you will have the opportunity to be part of the community in the ashram, working, living and studying together.
Traveling to India and following a yoga teacher training are both experiences that can radically change your life. Gaining new insights, overcoming challenges and meeting like-minded people all will make memories that you take with you forever. What’s more, the whole experience will change something inside of you.
If all of the above sounds amazing to you, a yoga teacher training in India is probably the right choice for you. The complete picture of all these reasons is more than just the sum of its parts. I can tell because of the hundreds of e-mails I have received from our yoga teacher training India graduates thanking me for this truly life-changing experience.
Although a yoga teacher training in India has many advantages, it is not the best option for everyone. Reasons not do your yoga teacher training in India are:
In conclusion, there are a lot of reasons why you should definitely consider doing your yoga teacher training in India. You will learn about yoga from the source, experience the ashram life, and dive deeper into your own learning process. Other advantages are the international character, the lower price and the beautiful environment in India. If you like, you can combine your training with traveling around this fascinating country. Altogether, it will be an experience of a lifetime that will probably leave a long-lasting positive impression on you. After your yoga teacher training in India, you will go home with new insights, inspiration and experiences that will enrich your life.
Ram is Founding Director of the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams India and The Netherlands. Within the last 10 years, the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams have become renowned internationally for their professional yoga teacher training courses, and have up to present trained over 4000 yoga teachers from all over the world.
Born in New Delhi, India, in a traditional and spiritual family, his yoga and Vedic philosophy education started at the age of eight years as a part of his primary school education. Presently, he is the lead teacher for various teacher training programs. He teaches for several months a year in India and the rest of the year in the Netherlands, where he also lives with his wife and two children.