Before I arrived in India, I was already practicing Yoga. Once a week, I would wander down to the Art Centre not far from my house and follow the instructions faithfully for an hour. It was time out of the house, away from work, away from the demands of life for me. I loved it. Looking back, I actually only saw it as an exercise to keep myself a little more flexible since I suffered from back stiffness and never really thought too much about it.
Not long after I arrived in Bangalore, I found a studio and started attending by myself 3 – 4 times a week (I had the luxury of time suddenly!) My passion for it was slowly but surely growing. Some-time later, when my friend asked me if I wanted to do the TTC (teacher training course) with her, my first reaction was to laugh. Was she serious? I had never thought of that. I was just doing it for exercises, to kill time. I wasn’t ‘good’ at yoga. (“My hamstrings are tight! I can’t do all the poses!”) But then I reflected; it had been such a great tool for me in the past (no more back pain!) – why shouldn’t I learn more about it? Of course, I would never teach, but I could learn enough about it for my own understanding so I could practice at home on my own. When I researched a little more and looked at TTCs back home in the UK, I couldn’t’ believe what a bargain they seemed in Bangalore. Suddenly, I felt I’d be mad not to take the opportunity! I would never learn so much from attending classes and reading on my own.
So, I signed up. I gained my RYT 200 that year and never looked back. I started to teach (!) and kept attending as many workshops as I could, (YIN, Hatha, Pranayama, Yoga Nidra, etc.) before then taking the Prenatal study (RPYT) and most recently the RYT 300. My expectation was that I would learn for me and that’s what I did. Nobody can take any of that away from me. Only, now I am so passionate about the amazing benefits of yoga as a discipline, I can’t help myself -I have to teach as a way of sharing it with people.
Many styles of Yoga are derivatives of Hatha. This is a balanced practice which uses asana and pranayama (breathing practices) as preparatory practices to prepare the body for the higher methods of mediation.
It is derived from Hatha and was developed and popularized by K.Pattabhi Jois during the 20th century. It is a prescribed flow of asanas or vinyasas organized into different series. It is dynamic and requires stamina and strength as you move continuously with the breath.
This really just means there are a set series of movements to provide ‘flow.’ It can be dynamic and energetic but also soothing and calm depending on the teacher. Many studios offer this as a way of practicing yoga with a little pace to exert more demand on the body for fitness, stamina, and strength such as in ‘Power Yoga’ which combines this technique with repetitions.
If Hatha practices are considered ‘Yang,’ then this is the opposite. Postures are named differently to Hatha and have English terms. The postures are held for between 2 and 5 minutes (sometimes more!), and there is a ‘rebound’ or rest between each posture. With ancient roots in China, and developed in the west by Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink in the 1970s, it is described as a meditative style which accesses the deeper connective tissue in the body but also the focus and discipline of the mind.
WHY DO THE TTC IN INDIA?
It connects you to the Indian culture more deeply and profoundly.
Within the course, you will not only learn the poses and how to teach them, but also a good deal of Eastern anatomy, philosophy, and basic history. It’s a great way to interact with a very special part of the Indian culture.
It’s a great way to make local and international friends.
It might be slow to get going, but you’ll undoubtedly come away with some great friends. After pair work, group work and assignments you’ll have connected and bonded with people you would never have met otherwise.
Compare the prices to the US and Europe, and you’ll be paying potentially thousands of dollars less. What a unique opportunity to do something you may not feel you could justify back home.
Perhaps you use yoga as a means of keeping healthy and strong – and that’s great! – But it has so much more to offer you. If you study Yoga in India, you will learn how this discipline can be used as a personal practice and the tools that can impact in every area of your life.
Its hard to leave the house without seeing someone carrying a yoga mat! It’s easy to find a studio and committed teacher wherever you travel in India, which means when you go off exploring you can still grab a little ‘me’ time. Also, you’ll always have people to go to class with and won’t stand out as ‘that hippy’ that does yoga!
It helps you deal with the stresses and strains of ex-pat life.
Living abroad and away from home may be fun and rewarding in so many ways, but it’s not always easy. Small obstacles and challenges can quickly become irritations and at times seem insurmountable when you’re feeling unsettled. Yoga will not only bring a great community of people to support you but also techniques for grounding yourself, finding your calm and bringing back perspective – ready for the next challenge!
HOW TO BECOME YOGA CERTIFIED
There are lots of options if you would like to study yoga in more depth and gain RYT (registered yoga teacher) status. Here a few which I can personally recommend. Always talk to people who have done it if you can; get a feel for the style and the split between theory and practical, so you know what you’re entering into. Find out the schedule and who the teachers will be. The responses you get will give you an indication of how structured the course is and how organized the administration, and teaching teams are.
Places to undertake the TTC (Teacher Training Course):
a1000 Yoga, Indiranagar
Yoga Alliance Registered
Amrutha Bindu, JP Nagar
Yoga Alliance Registered
Total Yoga, Whitefield
Aayana Yoga School, Jaynagar
Yoga Alliance Registered
TTC200, Hatha, Vinyasa,Yin
Akshar Power Yoga Academy, Whitefield
WHAT IS THE TTC 200/ RYT?
Teacher training course 200 hours / Registered Yoga Teacher
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RYT200, RYT300, AND RYT500?
TTC200 is ‘level 1’ – a good and broad introduction to the fundamentals. Within the course, time is split between asana and alignment, anatomy and physiology, philosophy and teaching pedagogy.
Level 2’ is the 300 hours training which is more detailed and philosophy based.
RYT 500 is a combination of the two.
HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE?
TTC200 is usually taught over 6-8 weeks, with several weeks after to complete assignments and undertake teaching experience.
TTC300 will take a little longer, but the schedules vary from provider to provider.
WILL I BE READY TO TEACH?
Yes. You may not be confident to teach strangers immediately, but you will undoubtedly be ready to subject family and friends to your new skills!
CAN I TEACH BACK IN MY HOME COUNTRY?
If the studio you train with is registered with Yoga Alliance and recognized in your home country, it will be straightforward. If not, you may have to retrain in your home country.
WHAT IF I’M NOT FLEXIBLE?
No problem! You don’t need to be a contortionist to be a good teacher. You need to understand the body and how each asana can be expressed in different ways depending on the strength and flexibility of the student.
Photo from David Kuba