India is THE place to learn Yoga
The same way you would go to Argentina to learn Tango, or to China for acupuncture, the roots of Yoga sink deeply into the India culture.
“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother
of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only”
― Mark Twain.
But in my opinion, there is another crucial thing to explain about India to the yogis who have never been here:
India can make you feel alive like you’ve never felt before.
It is the best “Life-school” I have ever been to.
India is the country with unbelievable contrasts taking place simultaneously. It is the birthplace of four major religions of the world and has over 150 languages with a population of over 1.2 billion people. It is hard to imagine the unity India holds with such vast diversity.
It cannot be expressed in words, you need to experience it yourself.
Let me quote one important Hindi sentence Indians often say with a smile of resignation and hope at the same time. According to me, their national motto should be:
Sab Kuch Milega! (Everything is Possible!)
What are the reasons to choose India for your Yoga TTC?
1. The opportunity to experience sacred places
Thousand of Yogis and Yoginis have been meditating for centuries in holy places like the banks of river Ganges in Rishikesh or at the gate of the Himalayas. You can really feel the vibe they have created which nourishes your soul.
Rishikesh, which is the capital of Yoga, is not the only example. There are hundreds of holy places such as Leh, Bodhgaya and the astonishing Varanasi, which attract pilgrims from all over India and world. People come in thousands to bathe in the sacred waters of River Ganges to clean themselves of sins and to attain a better afterlife.
2. There are plenty of options of Yoga TTCs to choose from!
From simple Ashrams to luxury resorts, from Iyengar to Tantra, India has the most Yoga Alliance registered full-time Yoga TTCs in the world after the USA.
3. It is really affordable
Compared with the average 2000-3000 $ that you will have to invest in a Yoga TTC, in India you can find a good TTC for around 1000 $.
And this will include accommodation and food! Sometimes even excursions, ceremonies, student materials, clothes and Ayurveda massages!
Furthermore, livelihood is very cheap there. According to Economist’s “World Cost Of Living Index 2015”, India is one of the cheapest countries in the world.
You can eat with 1-2$ and stay in some Ashrams for as little as 5$ per night. The crazy everyday circus comes for free 😉
And I need not go further into writing about all the wonderful quality clothes, oriental goods and other Yogi items with such challenging prices you could not say no to.
Definitely, India is the cheapest place on earth for Yoga Teacher Training.
4. It will boost your Yogi inner skills
The following useful sentence stays engraved in stone in my mind. We say it when any difficulty appears (which is quite often in India) “Everything is part of your practice”. It includes everything from a noisy street or a fan that turns off because light has just gone again.
I like to joke saying that India really supports your awakening process, but mainly because if you are not awake, you can be run over by a car, a bike or even… a cow!!
Here, it is a really noticeable phenomena. Anyone in his first meditation in India will open his eyes big and wonder: How it is possible to be “shanti-shanti” in such chaos?.
After the adapting period, (which can last days, weeks or even a month for some people) he will be able to be peaceful inside even in the most hectic street of Delhi.
5. It is the favorite country for vegetarians
India is the promised land for the cows and for the vegetarians. Hindus are mostly vegetarians, so, at times, you may surprise people by asking for “non-veg” food.
However, you will be amazed with the wide variety of vegetarian dishes India has to offer you. In my first 2 months, I had tasted all the delicious (and really cheap) dishes I could. And only at the end, did I realize that I did not eat meat at all! And I was not missing it at all 😉
Even more, in cities like Rishikesh there are areas where alcohol or meat are forbidden, which is a great help for your detox.
6. Indians embodies spirituality
Even though most of Indians do not practice Yoga, you will feel totally understood when you start talking about karma, dharma, soul or life propose.
Karma is a big thing for Indians who mostly believe than every action has deeper consequences than the ones we can see.
Hindu gods and mythology are part of their everyday life. You can see them everywhere, which creates a feeling that they are also alive, hanging around with them.
Although, in urban cities like Bombay, Delhi or Calcutta, youngsters have distanced themselves from religion, they have managed to keep alive family practices like gratitude cultivation, praying and surrendering to the higher intelligence.
Almost all of the higher symbols in India were spiritual beings, like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Swami Vivekananda, Buddha, Osho, Ravi Shankar, Tagore, amongst a few.
To sum it all, I can safely say that spirituality it is part of India culture.
7. People are really welcoming
I have never met people who bond so quickly. Really! ‘Personal space” is a difficult concept for many Indians to understand. 😉
One great example of this friendly and inviting attitude are the Sikh temples, Gurduaras, which are spread all over India. These temples are open to everyone. They invite you with big smiles and offer food and sacred music for the soul. Even to sleep if you have the necessity.
It is very common that you meet somebody randomly on the street and that same day you will find yourself playing music with his friends or sharing stories in his house while eating delicious food his mum just prepared for you.
After visiting India you will probably have 50 new Facebook friend requests, and many of them truly asking you to come back soon.
8. There are great teachers
If you know how to find them, there are plenty of hidden spiritual gems. The most traditional teachers have kept Yoga alive in their peaceful ashrams or alone in contact with scenic natural landscapes.
Some Gurus and Enlighted beings are completely disconnected from the west spiritual supermarket and are living the real Yogi lifestyle.
There is also a new generation of teachers that are trying to harmonize the modern world they are raised in, with the eternal wisdom of the Vedas.
This is exactly what we are looking at on YogaTTC.info, knowledgeable and warm teachers with true passion for Yoga, who can build bridges between your western lifestyle and the ancient yogic wisdom.
What are the challenges in India?
1. Spiritual Supermarket
Sadly this is a suitable description for what many destinations and centers are becoming with the touristic boom.
Most of the Indians do not practice Yoga on a regular basis, but many of them realize that offering Yoga courses is a great business opportunity for making good money. This has created a rush of fake centers who are not interested in Yoga at all but only in your money.
One of our main intentions of YogaTTC.info is to help distinguish the Business oriented ones from the real-deal. 😉
2. East-West differences
There is no doubt that the Western and Indian cultures have different ways of understanding Yoga and life.
While in many western Yoga classes the focus is primarily on Asanas (body poses), you can easily find the opposite in India with classes where meditation and pranayama takes most of the program.
Besides that, in the west, we are used to our internal curiosity and autonomy, giving a higher value to “Progress” and “Individuality”. On the other hand, many Indian yogic systems are based on surrendering to the “Tradition” and the external opinion or a sole external guru.
It was impressive for me to meet many Indian teachers who were reluctant to assist other teacher’s class even once, if it is not his Guru’s.
Besides that, all the great Indian teachers you may find will have a very different lifestyle than yours. So, this will require extra efforts from you and them to understand the message and necessities of each other fully.
My advice here is, if you really want to take the most of the experience, you should empty your glass.
You must try to forget all you know about Yoga just for the time you are in India, and you will end up learning so much more.
- If this is a difficult aspect for you, I recommend you to choose a center with both Indian and Western teachers, so you can enjoy both worlds and even have some allies to understand better your opposites. 😉
Oh yes! Big challenge! If you look at it from western standards, this for sure, is a critical issue in most places in India.
If you wish to go local, you can safely assume that you will probably be in toilets that do not comply with all the minimum limits you have set before for hygiene.
However, inside your Yoga center you will have your own paradise. The YogaTTC centers work hard to meet western hygienic and comfort standards. They assure a healthy nutrition that allows you to follow the intense training.
- If you are a neat-nut maybe this will not be the best country for you. Unless, you only decide to stick to resorts with western-standard facilities.
But then, if you are not willing to be away from your culture, people and your way of living, my question is… Why you want to come to India? You have other amazing and neater Yoga TTC options like Indonesia or Thailand. 😉
The idea of traveling to India alone can be intimidating at first.
It was the same for me. Even though, I have travelled to more than 40 countries, mostly alone.
But despite being a fearless adventure-seeker, it is difficult to not get affected by the media promoting India as the “Rapist country” and your family and friends worrying to the death when you tell them about your plans.
But is just that it takes courage to take the first step, like anything else in life. 😉 After that, everything becomes easier and easier.
Looking back to my time in India, I can tell you, I did not feel threatened at all. I will go on to say even more. Once I started to understand the Indian way of thinking and behavior, I felt safer than in many other countries. Maybe, like me, they strongly believe in Karma. 😉
Anyway, it is always advisable to use common sense and have some standard precautions. Here you can find some great advise from Trimurti Yoga.
Have you already made a Yoga TTC in India? Please share your experience with us!