Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Yoga Instructor Course (YIC) at SVYASA

SVYASA, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana is a University that has been created following the ideals of education from Swami Vivekananda. I found the website surfing the web. The program seemed interesting so I decided to follow the one month Yoga Instructor Course (YIC).


I came to the university straight from Gokulam, Mysore. The train ride from Mysore to Bangalore was very easy. The train was not crowded at all and it was just a three hours journey. But once in Bangalore things got more complicated. I called SVYASA and they told me that it was just five minutes away from the train station. That was great news but it was a bit odd because I was sure that I read on the website that it was about 30km away from the city center. So, anyway I took a rickshaw and once we arrive to the place I realized that this was not the university at all, it was what they call the City Office. Ok, I had to admit that this was not a useless trip cause I had no idea how to reach the university anyway. They were very kind to explain me how to get there. I had to take another rickshaw to go the bus station (one of the most chaotic and dirty bus stations that I've seen). From there I had to take a bus to a place called Jigini and from there another rickshaw to the campus. This was a one hour and a half journey and not such a nice one because of the traffic, the pollution and because I was new to this town. And the worst thing is that I have to do this trip 4 times cause I needed to go to the FRRO to register myself..... another nightmare.

Finally I arrived at the campus but as soon as I arrived I got a bad feeling. I cannot tell what exactly it was, it just didn't feel right, it didn't feel like a place where I would like to stay at all. Just a few minutes there and I already wanted to leave. I actually got a similar feeling the day that I had explored their website, but... you know... there was only one way to know how it really was.



The YIC was going to start the 1st of September but I arrived 15 days earlier. I called them before and they had told me that I could stay there until the beginning of the YIC, but what they didn't tell me is that you are allowed to stay in the campus only if you are following a course. So I had to sign up for the Promotion of Positive Health (PPH) - Yoga Therapy course. Some times they call it PPH and some times Yoga Therapy so I still don't know what was the real name. This is a weekly course so the idea was to follow it for three weeks until the beginning of the YIC. I decided to pay only for one week to see how it would go. I had to pay US$225 to follow a one week course that I didn't really wanted to do and nobody could tell what the course was exactly about. I had to discover it on a daily basis. I was a bit lost the first day cause I didn't know where to go. The schedule that they've given me was not updated and it didn't include the locations of the classes. I think they gave me the final schedule in the middle of the first day.

As soon as the course started I was even more convinced that this was not the right place for me. I didn't wanted to stay there at all and certainly not for a month doing the YIC. The first day everything was bothering me. I didn't like the hatha yoga teachers at all, they were students that had been studying there for only 2 to 3 years and they seemed to have only an academical knowledge. I didn't like their teaching style at all and I found mistakes in everything that they did. I didn't want to get any advise from them and I didn't want to talk to anybody at all. As you can imagine I was actually having a really bad attitude, my cup was definitively full. It took me some time to realize this but then I tried to empty my cup.... well, at least a little bit :-) It took me a couple of days but then I was able to make the best of my time at the university and with a bit more objectivity I decided that one week there was definitively more than enough for me. My sincere intention was really to follow the YIC course and even another course that they call YIN - Yoga Intensive - (some students told me that they never heard about it) but just after a few days or even just minutes I totally changed my mind. So I cannot tell you how exactly the YIC is but this can give you an idea about the experience. I heard that almost none of the foreigners that come to the YIC course likes it. I guess this just have something to do with teaching style and culture. I talked with several Indians and they all seemed to love the course but for all of them this was the first experience with yoga.

I cannot tell what exactly made me feel the way that I was feeling, but if you want to know a bit more of the course and what I like and didn't like you can continue reading.

The bad

  • I was very enthusiastic about going to a yoga university that follows the ideals of Swami Vivekananda, he is like one of my heroes, but although there was a big monument of him and a picture from him here and there I still didn't feel his presence at all, everything felt just so empty.
  • The university did feel like a university, but in the negative sense, I mean in the bureaucratic work and in the academical formation of the students. They learn yoga in a very technical or academical way, and even that doesn't feel right. I hated the hatha yoga teaching style, it was horrible. They talk all the time, is like a continue chattering so you can not enjoy any of the asanas (postures) that you are doing. Imagine somebody telling you to relax, expecting you to relax, but telling you to relax again and again without any time for you to really... relax!. It's ridiculous. And they teach everything in such a mechanical way. I didn't feel a heart, passion or love for what they do. I didn't like the sequences either, maybe I am just too used to the Sivananda style; and it was extreeeeemly slooooow, is like Hatha Yoga for a 80 years old person with no flexibility at all. On top of that there was something in their attitude that I hated. Is like somebody starting a new job right after finishing his university studies, he thinks he knows everything and tries to surprise everybody with his knowledge but in reality he doesn't know anything at all!, no real life experience. Besides, I would normally expect from a teacher to know more than the book but with a few questions that I made I realized that they knew only exactly what the book says or even less.
  • Although I was following this PPH course, also called Yoga Therapy, in none of the classes nobody explain us how the practices were related to health, actually they didn't explain the practices at all! Sometimes during the lectures they would mention something but it was nothing specific because the lectures where for almost all the students of all the programs.
  • There were very few foreigners at the campus. I just saw a couple of japanese and koreans. I was not surprise since the campus doesn't feel like foreigners friendly. In the YIC that had started the first of August there was only one foreigner. Luckily for me there was a girl from my own country, Ecuador! and even from my own city! What are the odds? She is doing one of the long term programs, a three years program! That's very impressive. She must be a real yogi to survive there for 3 years :-P and she has almost completed her first year. She really made my week. We talked a lot about yoga, life and we were able to share so many experiences from the university and from past courses. She also gave me a very good tip about another place to follow yoga courses in Bangalore, the Atma Darshan Yogashram.
  • I found the schedule quite silly. We would have a relaxation practice just one hour after lunch and another relaxation practice right after dinner; a sure way to fall sleep. You can find the full schedule at the bottom of this post.

The good

But of course not everything was so negative. There were also some very good points for being there:

  • If you are a foreigner this would be an excellent opportunity to get very close to the Indian culture. You will be sharing plenty of time with Indian teachers and classmates.
  • Most of the lectures during the Maitri Milan were excellent. Some of them were given by the Professor H. R. Nagendra, the chairman and also faculty member. He inspires respect and appreciation, he is very knowledgeable in Indian Philosophy and Yoga and for many he is indeed a real yogi. He use to work for the NASA and as a consultant for the Harvard University. To the regular students he give classes on the Upanishads, and I heard they are excellent. There is also a swami in the Campus. Unfortunately I didn't manage to talk with him but I heard many good comments from other foreign students. He also gives classes for the long term programs.
  • They have a good collection of books to sell and also a library. They sell books from the Bihar School of Yoga but also many books written by Prof. Nagendra and other professors of the university. I read the book that I received for the 1 week course and, although the editorial looks very cheap, the content of the book was pretty good. The books seems to be based on research from different sources but also based on the experience gained with real cases treated at the University, based on different ancient yogic texts and based on the insights from Dr Nagendra. I ended buying two more books although I didn't want to buy more cause I already have enough and my backpack is already quite heavy.
  • The university works also as a research institute and they have lots of papers published based on studies performed in the campus. So if you are interested in research and the application of yoga as a therapy for different kind of ailments then this is the place to be.
  • There is a lot of knowledge, techniques available for you to learn. OM meditation which includes practicing external trataka on the Om symbol and loud chanting of the OM; Mind Sound Resonance Technique (MSRT) which is actually the repetition of certain mantras verbally and mentally to induce a meditative state of mind, this is actually a very interesting technique; Cyclic Meditation (CM) which is something like a deep relaxation technique, very sloooow and boring (I prefer Yoga Nidra); Pranic Energisation Technique (PET); Instant Relaxation Technique (IRT); Quick Relaxation Technique (QRT); and Deep Relaxation Technique (DRT)
  • I like the fact that we did practice the Yogic Kriyas and not just talk about them. Actually we didn't talk about them.... unless I missed that class. The kriyas included The Neti (nose cleansing with solution made of water and salt), Jala Neti ( cleaning of the complete nostril passage using a sort of rubber string) and Vaman Dhouti (drinking about 1 liter or more of salt water and then throwing up everything to clean the stomach) but I didn't feel that I was getting good advise while we were doing the practices. We also practice Trataka (gazing at one point) using the flame of a candle. We did this for 2 or 3 days I think.
  • The classes normally started on time but for some strange reason I was always late :-P
  • For me the food was pretty good, maybe that's just because I looooved Indian food :-P It was Indian vegetarian but not too spicy and you can eat as much as you want. I hated the breakfast, they would offer us only soup, but I always manage to sneak into the kitchen and order some fruit with curd (yogurt), perfect for me :-). But please, don't ask me about the cleanliness, even the Indians in my class were complaining about that. That's a bit funny since one of the Niyamas (fixed rules) from the Ashtanga Yoga path mentioned in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is "Saucha" which means "Cleanliness".

So, in conclusion, if I had to stay at this university the only thing that I would do would be to go to the morning lectures, talk with the swami and read the books. I certainly wouldn't like to learn their teaching style neither their Hatha Yoga style. But I do have to admit that there are some positive things so it is up to you to make the best of your stay if you decide to follow any program here.

The daily schedule:

04.30 to 05.00 AM Wake up and ablution (make yourself ready)
05.00 to 05.30 AM Om Meditation
05.30 to 06.30 AM Special Technique (Just Hatha Yoga practices)
06.30 to 07.00 AM Yogic Kriyas
07.15 to 08.00 AM Maitri Milan (reciting verses of the Bhagavad Gita and a lecture right after)
08.00 to 10.55 AM Breakfast (in the time table it actually said "juice" be we never got one) and free time (or a treatment in naturopathy if you paid more)
11.00 to 11.55 AM Lunch and rest
12.00 to 12.55 PM Parameters (they would measure your heart rate, blood pressure, weight, etc.)
01.00 to 01.55 PM Cyclic Meditation
02.00 to 03.00 PM Lecture
03.00 to 03.40 PM A snack (again, juice according to the schedule) and/or a natural treatment if you paid more
03.45 to 05.00 PM Special Technique and Pranayama
05.00 to 05.55 PM Tuning to nature (walk around the campus or do whatever you want)
06.00 to 06.25 PM Bhajan (chantings)
06.30 to 07.25 PM Dinner
07.30 to 08.10 PM Trataka or Mind Sound Resonance Technique (MSRT).
08.15 to 09.25 PM Happy Assembly (games) or Satsang. After a few minutes in my first "Happy Assembly" I tried to ran away and I promised myself never to come back :-P we were doing this game of running around chairs and then when the music stop trying to find a place to sit. I was trying to loose all the time but I always had a chair next to me :-/
09.30 PM Juice/Special Drinks ( I never received this)

How to reach the university?

From the Bangalore train station take a rickshaw to the Kalasipalya Bus Stop. From there take the bus that goes to "Jigani". Once in Jigani you need to take a rickshaw to the university. Just ask for Vivekananda Ashram or Prashanti Kutiram.

For more information you can visit the SVYASA website.

Related articles


Where to register in Bangalore?

The foreign registration office is in Infantry Road, Commisioner of Police. This is very close from the MG Road area. It takes about 20 minutes walking from the Brigade Road and MG Road corner but it certainly not a nice walk. A rickshaw should be about 17 rupees but almost none of them will like to take you there cause it is to close for them.

Phone: 91 80 22942186 / 22943246
Fax: 91 80 22200920


To read about other ashrams that I've visited please go to the Ashrams page.

46 comments:

  1. Very informative!!!

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  2. I would like to share my experience here too. I am a YIC student (June 2011).
    1. I got sick twice during my stay there, some of the plate/cup is not clean and no spoon is provided; fruit was not often provided, I only had 2 mangos during my stay (2 days before I left, they changed the International dining room to a new room, and they started providing fruit.) I also heard that drinking water provided is not safe, so I bought bottle water most of the time.
    2. At the first night of my stay, in the middle to the night a guy (he was fierce) came to knock my door, luckily I was staying with a local Indian, and my roommate told me that he is a mental patient from the hospital(the university and hospital share the same premises). I think they should have a guide in every building at night;
    3. A camera which belongs to a student was stolen, but finally it was returned.
    4. A foreign lady student was molested in the middle of the night in her room; I heard that she didn't lock her room. Students were advised to go back to room after the last class(9:30pm); is that the only thing they can do???
    5. A student was locked from outside his room by robbers, so that he would not able to come out to ask for help; there is a village nearby our campus, our campus is so big and isolated;
    6. For the lectures, there are different teachers came to teach something and go, I find it very messy; you can't tell who/what is coming next. Professor H.R.Nagendra only came to the class once.
    7. I think their exam is so... They may ask Swami Vivekananda's father name!! Date of birth???
    8. Trataka was not taught by qualified teacher, it was taught by University Degree student (they called organiser); some student joking and playing with hand phone, mosquito everywhere...
    9. The lecture/asana hall... is so warm, no fan, no air-cond, I felt so sleepy in most of the lecture. No chair is provided.
    10. The Yoga Coordinator, Sumant, I personally think that he is a yoga teacher with NO LOVE. I lost my luggage(the airline lost it), I was in the campus with 2 set of clothes, for 14 days. I went to airport twice for my luggage. Every time I ask for permission to go out, he always talked VERY unfriendly. He shown no concern about HIS student AT ALL.( A lot of my same batch friends, always asked me about my luggage and shown concern, and one even help me to call the airline...they show so much of LOVE). I booked my returning ticket on 29th Jun; I asked Sumant on the very 1st day whether I can go on 29th, the first question he asked is”Had you paid the course fee?” Before the final exam, I asked him again for the permission to leave on 29th, his reply was terrible, and I never see a yoga teacher like him. I was told “No certificate if you leave on 29th”. I left on 24th, before the exam, without certificate. I am not a yoga teacher, I don’t need a certificate! For me the learning process is more important than the certificate!!
    11. This university is very famous in India. I think a lot of local people attend the YIC, is because of the certificate, for their career;

    12. During the morning asana class, there are many organiser came to assist (I think it is part of their course), but I think sometime they actually disturb the class; some of them just do nothing. They did give wrong info sometimes!!!

    The daily schedule:
    5-7am – Asana/Pranayama/Meditation/Kriya (weekly)
    7-8am – Seva (Normally finish in half an hour)
    8-8:45am-Praying
    8:45am-Breakfast then rest
    11am-1:15 pm-Lectures
    1:15pm-Lunch then rest
    3pm-5pm-Lecture
    6pm-7pm-Praying
    7pm-8pm-Vivekananda’ story
    8pm-dinner
    8:45pm-9:30-Game/Trataka

    I hope this help those who are thinking of going there for courses. HOPEFULLY this may help the university to improve.

    Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

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  3. Thanks for also sharing your experience. I'm sure other people will find your comment very useful.

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  4. After reading the post and the comment above I really need to reconsider my decision to do some courses from SVYASA.

    As an Indian I've heard only from Indians that it is a good University. But I guess it's just in terms of providing a certificate which is what most people in India look for.

    Thanks for the post it is very helpful to all those considering to do a course there.

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  5. Thanks Anisha, good to know that you found this information useful ;-) But note that although I try to be objective this was still my own experience which could be completely different from yours if you happen to go there.

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  6. I just finished my YIC in march .I had a horrible experience.total waste of time.it is all theory and unwanted ,useless lectures not even related to yoga not good ..

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  7. Thanks for your comment. Could you tell more about your experience? Are there any positive aspects about the course? Thanks for sharing.

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  8. EVEN I FINISHED MY YIC IN JAN. SOME ARE GOOD SOME ARE HORRIBLE. ESPECIALLY THE FOOD, HARDLY MANAGED THE WHOLE MONTH. CONTINUOUS LECUTURE IS BORING AND UNFORTUNATELY THESE LECTURES ARE HARDLY RELATED TO YOGA. WENT TO LEARN YOGA. BUT ONLY FIXED FEW ASANAS ARE TOUGHT WHOLE MONTH. NOT MUCH USEFUL. MR. MOHAN IS THE BEST TEACHER. AGAIN MR. DAYANADA IS AN EXCELLENT YOGA TEACHER. BUT MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE ASHARAMA ARE VERY UNFRIENDLY AND ARROGANT.

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    Replies
    1. hi there, I totally agree with u. I did my YIC in Jan 2012. I think ur my batch mate

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  9. LOLOLOLLOL SO ABSOLUTELY TRUE...FOR THE GOOD AND THE BAD IN SVYASA. YES, NO HIGHER ASPIRATIONS IN THEIR TEACHING METHODS...BUT THEN THERE IS DAYANANDA,A SWEETHEART, A GREAT YOGI INDEED. GOTTA LOVE HIM. BREAKFAST WAS A NIGHTMARE LOLOL YES, FLOOR WAS WET, NO FRUITS AS PROMISED, PEOPLE WERE LOUD DURING MEALS...BUT MY DEAR MIMI AND MEAZA...WE FOUGHT TO THE LAST DAY TO GET OUR PROPER DAILY SHARE OF CHLOROPHYLL AND WE MANAGED TO TURN THE UNBEARABLE TO SOMEWHAT MORE OF A YOGUIC EXPERIENCE!!! IF YOU ARE INTO YOGA YOU SHOULD STILL TRY THE SWAMI VIVEKANANDA EXPERIENCE HAHAHAHAHAH, A MASTER LESSON INDEED.

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  10. BTW, WITH REGARD TO PREVIOUS COMMMENT: I WAS IN BATCH 109...

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  11. Indeed a helpful insight into the way coursed are conducted at SVYASA. I was interested in their "MSc Yoga & Management" program, though i practise Satyananda yoga in the Atma Darshan Yogashram close to my house.From what i read above , i can definitely say that the way they teach and practise Yoga in the AtmaDarshan Yogashram is definitely superior to the SYASA way.If Iam to do an Instructor course in Yoga , I feel now that doing it in Bihar School of Yoga is the right way to do it.
    Thanks.

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  12. Oh absolutely, you can't even compare BSY with SVYASA. BSY is a real ashram and an appropriate place to learn yoga, SVYASA is a "yoga university" where you learn yoga academically missing the real spirit of yoga

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  13. My story is a bit different.I joined YIC in chennai(distance education).A fat,cunning,useless lady called UMA SRINATH was our instructur.Neither she knows anything about yoga nor she demonstrated anything useful except tratak and boring cyclic meditation.I got a feeling that my money is wasted.For gods sake dont think of doing YIC from chennai.

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  14. I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. I didn't know they had a distance education program. I can't hardly remember about the cyclic meditation, I think I found it as a quite interesting practice, but yes they did teach it in very boring and mechanical way.

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  15. Thank you folks for the reviews. I think I need to reconsider my decision of studying here. I would now visit the place first since I am in Bangalore.

    Dear Marco- Could you please suggest me any good place to practice/study yoga especially Hatha yoga and therapies. Is there a way to contact you?
    My email: verhandlungssicher@gmail.com

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  16. Hi there. Yeah I think the best is that you take a visit to the place and do a short term course to get a feeling of what it really is like. For hatha yoga with emphasis on meditation I recommend the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. I don't know any yoga therapy place to recommend. You can contact me using the form available in the contact tab.

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  17. This is a scaredy article to read, and with similar comments about sVYASA! I finished their YIC at one of their off campus afficiliated centres.

    I want something more substantial and am seriously considering signing up for their 15 months Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy. I am hesitating big time now after reading all of your comments. Indeed everyone has a different journey, and holds a different opinion, however, thanks to all for being so upfront with your experiences!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, i also go today to join the YIC and actually i got student visa also to do the pdgyt course 15month. i am afraight now :-/ ... I went there 2 days ago and saw they have a kast systhem.. i feels so sad now that i took this decission. could you or anyone recomment a good yoga theraphy course? I really like to learn well. thanks!!!

      Delete
  18. i was thinking to join bachellor degree in yoga at the university will you give your opinion,is it prefarable or not . and iam an indian
    .

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  19. @ Anonymous: Well, if you want to do a 15 months program just go for it, try it for one month and then you can decide if you really want to stay that long. Nothing like having your own personal experience about the place :-) Thanks for your comment.

    @Tarun: I'll quote one of the comments above "IF YOU ARE INTO YOGA YOU SHOULD STILL TRY THE SWAMI VIVEKANANDA EXPERIENCE HAHAHAHAHAH, A MASTER LESSON INDEED." The point is that the experience can be so challenging because of all the negative aspects that ultimately becomes a great lesson. You know, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" :-) but considering that you are from India you might find it easier to adjust than a foreigner. The decision is yours

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  20. This shows that the quality of edication has deteriorated at university while spreading the wings to other cities.
    I had done my yic in 2006 and it changed my whole life, philosophy and practicality..
    We were 120 and 40 foriegners most fantastic batch from all over tha world.. Om shanti shanti shanti..

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  21. I did a month long YIC course last year. Mentioned below are my comments.

    Areas of improvement
    1) the Main coordinator needs to be friendlier, he looks very unhappy with life in general.
    2) they need to have a better time table, waking people up at 4 am, teaching them yoga asanas for only 2 hrs a day and spending the rest of the day in USELESS, irrelevant activities is a huge let down for people who come from far of places with the prime objective to learn yoga.
    3) forcing people to attend satsang/bhajan twice a day EVERYDAY is painful. that is 2 hours of my precious time (everyday)... and i rather spend it the way i choose to!!
    4) they insist on making you walk barefoot in the dining room area...which is absolutely okay with...but their floors were so wet and dirty that the soles of my feet were black and cracked for an entire month.
    5) the toilets are DIRTY
    6) the INSIST that you sit for lectures in dark, HOT, and HUMID halls with no ventilation, no fans, and definitely no air conditioning.
    7)the guy who takes 18 classes on Swami Vivekananda is an absolute nutter and a SADIST. He insures you do not move, flicker or even as much as change you sitting position in his 75 minute class which by the way is more about HIM than about Vivekananda. this class is taken in a mosquito infested, hot n humid hall with no ventilation whatsoever. He is RUDE, ARROGANT and full of himself. he is about 85 years old and has completely lost it!!
    8)It's difficult to understand the accents of most of the YIC coordinators/instructors and some faculty as well.
    9)Most participants are clueless and to what is the next session/lecture etc as coordinators fail to share this info with them in advance.
    10) Lots of Useless last moment sessions are put in everyday to make the participants feel that lots is going on. Where as besides the first 2 hours in the morning and maybe another two hours post 10pm is the only well utilized TIME.
    11) some very senior professors, like raghuram, subramanyam (not swami) , nagendra, Mr Ashok etc who take about 2-3 lectures each (in the entire 30 days) are worth listening to.
    12) they had just one instructor in the morning to teach a batch of about 70 people.

    Strengths
    1)The campus is huge and peaceful.
    2)The food is bearable.
    3)the morning classes (asana/pranyama) are good...you can see the difference in yourself post 15 -20 days.
    4)The instructor who takes these classes good at his job. though its difficult to understand his accent.
    5) the main Yoga hall is nice/airy and spacious (though has lots of mosquitoes)
    6) one gets a broader knowledge on Patanjali YOGA.

    BTW they do not teach Hatha Yoga, it's Patanjali yoga.

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  22. I saw fees structure of the courses but fees structure is too much ,they should subside the fees structure or remove the name of "Swami vivekananda". That is arrogance and hypocrisy of the institute. Yoga for humanitarian not for business purposes.

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  23. Marco.. An asthma patient and about to reach 100 kg, 22 year old person. I wanted to do YIC to reduce my weight and have a happy breathing process.. Is going to vyasa worth it?? Suggest me a better place for that in South India.. Btw I'm from Kerala.. Expecting your reply.. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sandeep,

      If what you are looking for is a place to help you improve your health and to treat your asthma then I think SVYASA might be the right place for you, considering also that you are from India. They are very focused on yoga therapy and they are constantly doing researches so I think this is a good option for you. I don't know more places to recommend you. All the best.

      Delete
  24. I attended a yoga instructor course at svyasa.edu.in this winter. They charged foreigners/Indians USD 900/225 for the monthly 4 week course. Recommendation: Yoga Alliance certified institutions (1 very good, 1 good, 1 OK, 1 poor for me so far) or regularly attending classes before/after the course to bridge the gaps.

    Practical Classes
    Chanting, pranayama, asanas before breakfast, a theory class before lunch. Once a week kriyas were practised. First the asanas of the practice book were introduced. Surya namaskara was truncated and often too fast or held for too long for proper breathing. Asana practice was without modifications or props and usually few corrections bearing in mind a class size of around 50 rising to 100 in July.
    Theory covered the asanas of the book, a nice basic sequence. I had the impression that breathing was not properly covered though mentioned in the asana description. Trainees got a shot at teaching fellow trainees as the entire class was divided into groups of around a dozen trainees. Beware that Sunday is a regular day, not a rest day.

    Theory Classes
    The theory book main thesis is that bhakti/devotion, karma/action, raja/willpower and jñana/knowledge are 4 different paths towards the same goal. This is based on a collection of quotations, mostly from the Bhagavad Gita. The weekly schedule listed 3 theory classes per day, but these were taken by random teachers who often did not say what a lesson was about. Sometimes they left the impression there was a second lesson to continue, but there was not. I agree that theory should be linked to practice, but teachers mostly made comparatively trite observations linked to their own experience or justified anything with a Sanskrit phrase. For me it was too often a matter of enumerating and categorizing. You were expected to write a report, but you only had 1h per day available for research and writing and then suddenly half a day off.
    Others had commented on a boring Vivekananda lecture in the evening. I had the impression it was rather popular. You got general knowledge and gained some insights into India as long as you could accept the lecturer's at times narrow-minded view.
    Chanting from 8 to 9 in the morning was mandatory and checked, but not from 6-6.30 PM nor an English translation.

    Administration and campus life
    I was told the health certificate was mandatory, but without specifying what was to be listed. Then past YIC participants revealed it was not a requirement. I had been advised that both school leaver certificate AND university diploma were required if available, but in fact one was enough. Do write your motivational letter, though.
    Communication was poor and there were sometimes changes. You need to be in touch with fellow trainees to find out as there are no notices on the blackboard.
    The library was an unmitigated disaster: no catalogue and books without labels, so they cannot really be placed in order even if they were in the right section. And you do not have a clue about what is actually available.
    Apart from aiming at synthesizing East and West, they present yoga as the way forward to offset the ills of modern society including protection of the environment. Yet there is no recycling scheme in place apart from one waste bin with a barely discernible label plastic bottles.

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  25. [cont'd] Accommodation/food
    I liked the food, though if you stay longer you may grow to dislike it as it is repetitive. Indians were lodged in dorms and had more limited dietary options in contrast to foreigners, faculty members and VIP guests who have a separate dining hall. Foreigners get a single or double room. However, unless you are allocated to the modern distance learning building, expect it to be very basic, possibly only a bed and a chair, pegs, but no table, chest of drawers or wardrobe. You may also find it hard to cope with as the level of maintenance is low in contrast to BSY's atmadarshan in Bangalore, for example.

    Remark
    Though it is an independent university (called “deemed”), there are no foot- or endnotes required in the report, only a bibliography section listing literature. I found standards disappointingly low. The books, theory and practice, were published as a second edition, yet teeming with errors. Basic enumeration (1, 1, 2, 3, 4), spelling (skillful and skilful on one page) and factual errors like linking bhakti yoga to the intellect. The gravest error is in the practice book for surya namaskara, where they label one asana as bhujangasana but the photograph and the description depict urdhva mukha svanasana. This has never been rectified, neither in the teaching books nor in the books on sale that contain the poses. Under prone postures there is also bhujangasana, but the photograph and the description are correct and differ from the surya namaskara section. Research is rather strong with maybe 40 master and doctoral theses per year, but apart from one detail mentioned by a professor in passing, there was NO obvious knowledge transfer to the YIC classes.
    You may find the chanting nerve-wrecking, because theory states that mental repetition of mantras is more powerful than vocal one, but this is not practised. I can understand the desire to reunite students and faculty in a common event, but I only felt chanting touching the hearts of my fellow trainees when we or one of us sang a song in our group.
    With one exception, there was no critical approach to the scriptures but they were picked and taken literally. This is untenable if the teacher does not have personal experience like Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi or other luminaries. It resulted in moralising flashing Sanskrit, categorising with little understanding. In the Zen tradition of Buddhist meditation there are 10 oxherding pictures. Number ten is special in Chinese culture, but if you have a look, you can understand the development of Zen practitioners and it includes both social behaviour and experience during meditation. Contrast this with any development described in the theory book for any path of yoga.

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  26. I explicitly requested an air conditioned room and I was assured its availability. On March 20, 2015, I arrived at the Institute around 10 am. I met Ms. Shyamala. She tried to allot a non air-conditioned room to me. I was really surprised to know that there is no air-conditioned room available. She tried to convince me that City’s weather does not require air conditioning. During this conversation, a heated argument started between my cousin and Dr. Amit. I never thought that I will be a part of the broil, especially, in a yoga institute. I was really sad and decided to come back home. Ms. Shyamla, with her well intentions, insisted me to stay. she asked me to wait while she talks to senior management. After an hour or so, she was able to find a room which had air conditioning unit.

    After all this commotion, I started my medical checkup. It was a pleasant conversation though interrupted many times with other staff members for their personal and social reasons. Next, I was sent to some aura testing. I did not have any information why am I going through this test. Interaction with the technician was unprofessional. I was told to first deposit 500 Rupees and bring receipt back to him so that he can release the information of the tests. It made me uncomfortable. As, I was told in the e-mails that all the tests are included in the fee. While, I was looking for the place to pay the fee, a lady staff member, asked me to ignore him and go for further evaluations. She led me to a room where a big crowd was already waiting. After waiting for some time, my file was read by two other people, blood pressure was taken and asked to sit back again and wait. After waiting for a long time, I started inquiring about the approximate time for meeting with the panel of physicians. I was told to wait a little more and I will be examined soon. Eventually, I was able to talk to physiotherapist and natural therapist. Their treatment plan, just focused on my back pain issue, there was no mention of my hormonal disturbance. I was told again to wait to be examined by DIDI. During this time, I saw a blatant display of favoritism and disrespect of guests. Eventually, I walked out of the room requesting to be seen after the lunch. As, my back pain was making it difficult to sit in those chairs.

    After lunch, a lecture by DIDI, guests’ testimonials of miracles, and orientation, I was in a group with guests who also suffer from back issues. Another, examination and repeat of same medical history was done for three group leaders. At the same time, our team leaders were trying to arrange our time with DIDI and another lady staff member was pulling guests for drinking malt. What a chaos!

    After waiting a little more, finally, I was in front of DIDI. Again repeat of same medical and demographical information, I was told to follow the treatment advised to me before lunch. At 6 pm, in the evening, I got the assurance that assigned treatment is good. What a waste of time and efforts of all.

    After finishing the tratak session, dinner, and collecting my kit, completely exhausted, with severe back pain, I reached to my room at 9 pm. All the lights of the corridor were out. It was hard to open the lock in the dark. Inside the room air conditioning unit started making a loud noise and water started dripping. I tried to contact maintenance number but unable to connect with them. I walked back to main hall and found the same lady staff member. I explained to her my issue, she pointed me to a maintenance person. She told me that it is after 9 pm and her shift is over. I talked to the maintenance person, he told me that air conditioning unit is not his issue. I should talk to head of maintenance. He told me that nothing can be done till Tuesday. As Saturday, Sunday, & Monday are holidays.

    I saw Dr. Amit sitting in reception room. I explained to him my situation and my decision to leave the Institute. Unfortunately, my exhaustion, back pain, lack of trust and empathy in staff, and chaos of system forced me to leave that night.





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  27. I am doing the distance education of YIC. 2016. I will have to endure a week during May.All these comments make me very uneasy. still, having paid the fee, i will take it as a experience. God save me.:)

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  28. I have did my YIC from svyasa in Feb 2015.. And now I m doing msc yoga distance from there
    There is no negatives in ashram
    Those who r searching fault .. They can get it in lord itself .. Or if they will go to heaven then also they will get fault .. So don't be negative
    Open ur inner self and feel the silence .. Nature and enjoy satvik food there..
    I m loving my stay there ..
    Every time after completing my PCP .. I don't want to come out of the ashram .. There is peace .. No TV no internet no tea no cold drink . pizza .. Just yog and yogic activities

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    1. Depends what you are used to... But satvic food is different. The food here is spicy, only for patients it is not. The VIC Course I can recommend only for people who want to study longer here.

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    2. This place is fille with negative energy. Yoga is like music. How can anybody teach music after learning just for a month? Exactly,its unimaginable in the case of yoga too. No eligibility criteria. A person practising yoga for more than 10years and a person new to yoga are attending the same course!The place where men staring at female students,never ever to be called an 'Aashram'!!The students attending this course is the only positivity here.

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  29. Namaste, I am also a PGDYT Student here since November 2015 I stay in the Ashram or University. There are good aspects and also many bad aspects here. I will tell you my point of few also. Actually, I think only some Indians or ignorant people don`t see the truth here. Maybe it sounds hard, but its not that good for foreighners. The YIC Course is full of Yoga knowledge what they give you to study. Thats good, but you can never teach after this month. But many people do, what is not good. ...Most of the people can not study so much in this short time. In this month there is no break, you study every day, also holidays from 5am or 6am to 7pm. The knowledge is good, a lot about history, behavior, bhagavad gita slogas and philosophy of Yoga, but less practise and only for beginners, how to teach and more for this Arogyadhama place for the patients here. There are also rasistic Teachers here, who tell you about great india and bad foreign countrys. Some abuse students.

    The worst thing, the rooms have fungus and shelfs are very dirty and also this unhygine is everywhere to see. I had my karma yoga in the kittchen and almost every day there was fungus at the vegetables. Most of the time the vegetables are gone because of the unhygienic circumstances in the Kittchen and food places. They don`t wash the knifes, you see alwas a black string where they cut and because of the hot storage of the vegetables its also not much to wonder that the food becomes bad. There is no fridge.

    The PGDYT Course: In Sanskrit they don`t teach the letters and most of the indians know already Hindi, so letters are the same, many words the people also know, so he teach only grammar and its only 1 semester, so you have to learn fast everything.
    There is Anatomy 1 and 2 .. Great knowledge, but less time to study this all if you are like me new to the subject. Many people studied something like this before, so its fine for them. I have problems to write and understand at the same time. The way of teaching is very complicated I feel, more memoriszing than understanding they want. Mediaton techniques are great, you learn and practise. Rooms are like indians, there is no difference, only that you get a room for yourself, but very smal. The girlshostel is very conservative. 7:30pm is dinner and 8:30 you have to be in the hostel, at 10 the Ward from the hostel screems around to be quit. every day... you need to get outpass from her also as a girl. for man its another responsible person. There is only 1 day free, but there are alsom holidays and teachers don`t come always to the course. You get freetime sometimes, but you wait long and they hurry than more with the class... the magement is bad, nobody know who is responsible for what or work hard, many people do karma yoga here and volunteer. they don`t care much... so all is very slow and you learn at first here to be patient.

    The place here is nice, very calm, many trees and with auto and bus you rech in half an hour a shopping center or 1 hour a mall. 1,5 - 2,5 the bangalore city.

    The Campuswater is ok to drink, also when the filter looks mostly dirty i never had problems. Patients also don`t like it much here because of the dirty towels, rooms and so on. They realy need to change this here...

    If you are very simple and you like to learn more about anatomy, sanskrit, slogas and you are open to thois kind of hindusism... (i don`t agree for example with our Veda teacher, he say there is not much symbloic in Bhagavad Gita, but I believe, its all symbolic, i a vessel of history...)

    Don`t come as a couple if you are not married... they srew you...

    All foreigners tried already to speak with Dr. Nagendra, or Guruji, but he won`t talk with us. Its more a money making place i feel, they don`t try there best. But still you will learn a lot here, i will write again after i finnished the course in 1 year. :)

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  30. Hi, very interesting and informative posts. I'm a bit concerned though; I'll be going next month. Is there wifi anywhere? Can one go jogging around campus? Could I take a day off to go visit Bangalore downtown? What are "must bring" items you recommend to make the staying and learning process easier and more enjoyable? Any advice or suggestions are very helpful. Thanks in advance

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    1. Hi SP
      I am also coming to the campus next month for the PCP's Im trying to find out what I need to bring and prepare. But so far, no luck. Also trying to find out who I need to contact to reserve a private room. Please share any information you might have.

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  31. Hi, for the YIC course is no free day and usually we can not go out, since the time is also less to study everything they tell it is also not such a good idea. Better to go out after the course. Sometimes there is also a excursion at the last day. Wifi you will get. Jogging is no problem, its a nice area. To take your own bucket would be good and all other things you can buy there in the salescounter. Buckets are not so clean which you will get. Also Bedsheed and Cover you should have, its mostly all not so clean what they provide. Mosquito net would be helpfull and strong tape and a string to fix it. I could do it somehow. Also buy some Mosquito repilent, there are many mosquitos :-P

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  32. Thanks!!! Very useful. I'll try to bring mosquito net ;)

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  33. Hi all!
    Thanks for your informative feedback on the course.
    I will be going for YIC course thins month and I am a little worried about how safe it is for woman students?
    Also will day scholars be attending the same campus (will get to see some crowd)
    Do they have accomodation for guest accompanying?

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  34. Namaskaram! It is very safe, now girls have to be also in the girls hostel after 7pm... Lets see how long this rule will last, by also without its very safe. All girls and boys are in different rooms, also for food (exept foreightners) and we have many security. Everyone stayscat the campus only, outside is nothing to stay. Also the is a security gate who check people in and out. We can go out only with out pass. But there are also guests allowed, 1 day is free for them to stay. They get any free accommodation.

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  35. I stay here already since one year and I can say DON`T COME HERE! Everything is fake! The exams, recordbooks, people treat the patients in arogyadhama not good and I doubt now after seeing all that it will be good for them. For physical purpose maybe yes, but mentaly it is like an armee center here. most of the people are rude, harsh and it is not clean and loud here. patients and students have sleep problems because of noise everywhere. Only because of the good fake advertising svyasa is called good university!

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  39. I recently completed the 1 week PCP for my distance YIC . I was very apprehensive to go there after reading the posts here . I went with the mindset that if I don't like it there, I will just leave immediately. The rooms allotted to us was shared accommodation with clean attached bathroom. I decided to stay and I am very happy I did. I had a wonderful 1 week of my life, living in the nature amidst all the vibrations from the shloka chanting. The food is inline with the ashrama lifestyle and you have to appreciate that everything is cooked fresh three times a day and no processed of any kind . There is a small fruit shop where you can buy fresh fruits.

    If you come here expecting a Spa kind of atmosphere, it can be a shock. It is a university with gurukula system in ashrama atmosphere. As for teaching Asanas, the students are expected to know the Asanas , at least , the YIC students are as this is not to teach you Asanas, but to teach you how to instruct. And the other theory matters covered and the maitri milan sessions are all part of astanga Yoga. It is a lifestyle , and I think the only one that is sustainable as compared to a capitalist and consumerism society !

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