Why you should do your YTT in India


If you’ve ever contemplated doing a yoga teacher training, consider this your call to action. And definitely consider heading to India. Here’s why:

You will learn the true essence of yoga

Yoga in the West is typically watered down, focusing almost exclusively on the physical aspect of yoga. The physical practice, better known as asana, is only one of the eight limbs of yoga and is not yoga in its own right. In training in India, you will be exposed to and expected to practice the other seven limbs. These include: discipline, moral observances, breath control, withdrawal of the senses, concentration, meditation and union of the self and the Divine. Obviously a month is not long enough to become a master on subjects that have been thousands of years in the making, but at the very least, you will leave with an introduction of what they are.

It will cost less than getting certified at home

Yoga Teacher Trainings in the U.S. cost upwards of $3,000. My program in India cost $1,500. In addition to the course, that cost covered my month’s accommodation, three meals a day, and one weekly excursion. Add in $1,000 for a roundtrip flight and it’s still less than getting certified at home.

There won’t be any outside distractions

You’re going to be pretty disconnected from the rest of the world. Unless you have an international data plan (which costs short of a million dollars a month), your cellphone is going to be nothing more than camera to take photos of the cows in the road and a calculator to convert rupees to dollars. And while my school and a few cafes accommodated us Westerners with free wifi, connectivity was usually poor. At the school, I would be lucky to get two minutes of FaceTime in before the wifi would stop working for the day. Refreshing social media and news apps also got pretty frustrating, so it didn’t take long before I would give up and put my phone away. However, I considered the bad wifi to be a blessing. My interest in scrolling through Instagram abated and I didn’t feel so bombarded by the bad news circulating the media. Because of this, I found it easier to concentrate on the course, myself, and the present moment.

You’ll make friends from around the globe

Like every other abroad program I’ve participated in, I thought I was going to be surrounded by Americans. But to my surprise, there were only four of us out of 40 students. There were a few Germans, some Argentinians, a Brazilian from Australia, an Australian from Brazil, one from India and so on. On the first day, we all swapped our reasons for coming to India and I was struck by how similar all of our stories were. Though our cultures, religions and backgrounds differ, we all felt captivated by yoga and pulled to India. I promise you that after making friends with such likeminded and incredible people from all around, the world will seem a lot smaller and infinitely more comfortable.

It will change you from the moment you step off the plane

India is vibrant and full of life. And all of this life is out in the open for you to experience— the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is India:

You walk into a shop and almost immediately fall into a deep conversation with the shopkeeper about the value of honesty. Outside that same shop, you find a beggar with a single arm and no shirt, sitting upright against the wall, clutching his prayer beads and waiting for someone to throw money in his cup. And around the corner, someone is burning a pile of garbage despite the extreme heat. Behind you, a cow stands in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and provoking drivers to slam those damn high pitched horns. But it’s okay because the bells of the ashram ring, signaling a call to prayer.

In my opinion, there is nowhere better to apply your yogic knowledge than a place that stimulates your mind and colors your thoughts. A place that both drains and revives you of your energy. A place that is going to flip your perspective on society, humanity, and life itself.

Namaste,

Mary

XX

 

Rishikesh, India

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In the months before I got to Rishikesh, I would daydream of what the city was like. I don’t remember exactly what I imagined, but I do know, reality exceeded my expectations.

Rishikesh, also known as “The Yoga Capital of the World,” is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India. The sacred River Ganga flows through the center, separating Rishikesh in two. But, the entire city preaches oneness since yoga literally translates to the word “union.” Rishikesh is filled with yoga schools, ashrams, spiritual centers and visitors from all over the globe paying pilgrimage to the holy city. “OM,” the sound of the Universe and the most well-known Sanskrit chant echoes throughout, literally and figuratively.

Here, life is simple. Everyone lives, eats and breaths yoga. I mean it. Asana is practiced throughout the day, aryuvedic food is served at every meal, and inhales and exhales are very much a part of everyone’s awareness.

So far, I love Rishikesh. Even though, I’ve only been here a week, I’ve already learned a lot about my self and my body, established beautiful friendships, climbed a mountain to visit a meditation cave and celebrated Holi like a local. Below are a few pictures that have captured a glimpse of these amazing events.

Namaste.

To London, India & Beyond!

BIG NEWS! I’ve decided to pack up my love for yoga and take it with me all the way to India to become a certified yoga instructor.

My journey to India and ultimately to my Self begins on March 1st (though you could argue it began 22 years ago, but no need to get all esoteric and spiritual on you quite yet).

My sister, Brittany, and I are set to fly to London, where we will no doubt enjoy a few days’ worth of tea and crumpets with some art and museums sprinkled in between (and by art and museums, I mostly mean bakeries and pubs). From there, Britt will fly back to the States and I will journey on to “The Yoga Capital of the World,” otherwise known as Rishikesh, India.

While in Rishikesh, I will be attending a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course. For a month, I will be living by the regimented schedule of ashram life, which begins at 5:30 AM with morning tea followed by yoga, pranayama (the study of breath), anatomy, more tea, philosophy, more yoga, and you guessed it, meditation.

This will be an entirely new experience for me as I have never been to India, nor have I ever willingly committed myself to anything that would require me to wake up at the ungodly hour of 5 AM. But, I couldn’t be more excited. I am so unbelievably grateful for my path and I encourage each and every one of you to follow your passions because they will certainly take you to some amazing places!

Namaste.