Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How to Find a Yoga Teacher Training in India [TTC Suggestions]

How to find a yoga teacher training in India

[Updated 2019] Finding a yoga teacher training (TTC) in India is a real challenge. There are hundreds of TTCs all around India, if not more. Where to start? Do not worry. In this blog, I'll share with you a few tips to find the right TTC for you. And I've also included a few yoga TTC recommendations that I'm sure you'll like.


Is One Month Enough to Become a Yoga Teacher?


Most of the yoga teacher training courses that you'll find in India are a one-month intensive training.

Some people complain that one month is not enough to become a yoga teacher.

They are absolutely right, it isn't.

But with the proper training, in one month you can learn everything that you can possibly learn to help you get started on your teaching path.

Yoga teacher trainings don't make good teachers. To become a good teacher all you have to do is to teach.

A TTC simply gives you the tools to begin your journey. Your education will never end. You will definitely continue refining your skills with time, practice and further education.

This means that eventually, after doing your yoga TTC, you will probably decide to do another TTC in a different school, tradition or style of yoga. Or you might like to complement your education with workshops.

Keeping this in mind might make it easy for you to realize that you don't need to find the perfect TTC. This is just the beginning of your never-ending yoga education.

Believe me, once you start your yoga education you'll never want to stop.


How to Find a Yoga Teacher Training Course in India


1. Listen to the omens


I'm sure you already know this but it's good to keep it in mind. There is no such thing as the best or the perfect yoga TTC. It doesn't exist. Don't search for it.

There is however a TTC that is meant for you. You just need to find it. Duh!

The question is, how to find it? Well, like I always say, listen to omens, or listen to your heart. Let it guide you cause it knows for sure where you need to go.

When I did my first TTC I was not thinking about becoming a yoga teacher.

I simply wanted to learn everything that I could learn about yoga. I wanted to dive as deep as I could and I wanted to have a real ashram life experience.

This motivation led me to the right places, although, like the masters say, “It is not you who have chosen to be here, it is the gurus who have silently guided you to them.”

Indeed, even from my early childhood, the masters were guiding me to them.

If you would like to know more about this experience you can visit my blog How the Search for the Ultimate Truth Led Me to Yoga.


2. Find out what you really want


But ok, let's get more practical. To find a Yoga TTC the first thing you need to figure out is what do you really want.

Ask yourself these few simple questions and then go in the direction where you feel the most joy:


  • What is your motivation to do a yoga teacher training course?
  • What styles of yoga are you interested in?
  • Do you want to start teaching right away?
  • Are you looking for a training focused on the adjustment of asanas?
  • Are you looking for a training that has a lot of theory?
  • Are you looking for a traditional training that has a guru lineage behind?
  • Are you looking for a residential training with everything included?


3. Decide what is your next move


What are you planning to do after your TTC?

If you do want to become a yoga teacher then my recommendation is to start teaching right away.

The best way to do this is by volunteering as a teacher at the ashram or yoga school where you are planning to take your TTC.

Teaching yoga at the same school where you have taken your TTC offers you a comfortable and safe environment to get started. Some yoga schools do offer this possibility to their students.

So if this is in your plans then this can be another criterion to find a yoga TTC.

After I completed my teacher training at the Sivananda Ashram I decided to stay as a staff member for one month.

This was the perfect opportunity to face my fears and start teaching yoga. It wasn't so hard because I had the support of the more experienced staff.


4. Ask for a recommendation


The best way to find a yoga TTC in India is by recommendation.

You can talk with your yoga teacher, or with your yoga buddy that has completed a TTC, and ask them about their training. Would they recommend it to you? Why?

If you can't find a recommendation from a teacher or friend then you can look for them online.

That's probably why you are reading this blog, but another good place to find yoga TTC recommendations is in BookYogaRetreats.Com (affiliate link).

BookYogaRetreats has more than 100 yoga TTC listings in India, and most of them include customer reviews.

Find one that is appealing to you and read the reviews. Make sure the reviews are honest and objective though.

To make things easier for you I have included below a few good recommendations of TTCs.

Make sure you save this article cause I will keep adding more recommendations in the future.


5. Get familiar with your school


If it is somehow possible, I would recommend that you get to know in person the school, ashram or yoga teacher with whom you intend to do your yoga teacher training course.

Pay a visit to their school and practice with them for a little while.

I know, this is a lot to ask, but it is the best way to get a good idea if this is the right training for you.

Every yoga training that I've taken I did them at ashrams or with teachers that I had previously visited or practice with. So I was already familiar with their teaching style and with the general atmosphere of the school.


6. Don't let others opinions influence your decisions


Whenever you ask for feedback about a school or ashram, you will probably also receive negative comments about them.

Every organization, especially when they are big, has a dark side, and if you are looking for the negative you'll certainly find it.

Even gurus get a bad reputation. You can easily find online all sort of negative stories about all the best known Indian yogis.

Don't let other people negative talk get in your head and influence your decisions. Listen carefully to what matters to you but then follow your intuition.

There were several things that I didn't like about the Sivananda Yoga TTC, like for instance the price or the big group sizes. But there are many other things that I did like. I chose to focus on those things instead.

Many people have a very negative view of Mother Theresa's work and her true intentions.

Regardless of these comments, I had a great experience volunteering at her mission in Kolkata. I only experienced and witnessed positive things.


7. Don't consider it an expense but an investment


Yoga teacher training courses can be ridiculously expensive, and considering the cost of living in India, I'm sure most of them are overpriced.

My advice is that if you think you've found a good yoga TTC, and if you do have enough to pay for it, then don't let the price dissuade you from what you know feels right to you.

Think in abundance and remember that this is not an expense but an investment that you'll keep with you for the rest of your life.

I think the prices of the Sivananda TTCs are ridiculously high. Especially today in 2019. But at the same time, I am so grateful that I was able to afford them.

That experience added so much to my life that I am really not able to quantify. Way beyond becoming a yoga teacher.

You can definitely find some reasonable priced TTCs though. I've included a few in my recommendations below.


Yoga Teacher Trainings in India that I Recommend


1. Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course


If you are looking for a Yoga TTC that is not only focused on a physical practice but also on the spiritual life then I think you might like this training.

The Sivananda TTC is probably one of the oldest yoga trainings you can find in India. Maybe 90% of yoga teacher trainings in India are influenced by the Sivananda TTC.

Ok, that's just my own estimate, but if you go through any TTC's teachers bio you'll notice that most of them have followed this training.

I did the Sivananda Teacher Training Course in 2010 at the ashram in Neyyar Dam, Kerala. A couple of months later I completed their advanced TTC at their ashram in Madurai.

To me, the most important thing about this training was the connection with the guru lineage.

Yoga asanas you can learn anywhere, but having a spiritual connection with a tradition, with the gurus, it's invaluable. They will accompany you along your path if you are open to it. Very few TTCs can offer this.

In my opinion, this training was very complete. It is a hatha yoga TTC including plenty of yoga asana practice, pranayama, and philosophy.

While you do this training you live in an ashram experiencing the ashram life and following the strict daily routine. So it was not just a TTC but also a training for the mind.

⇒ Click here to read more about my experience doing the Sivananda TTC


2. Swami Krishnananda Hatha Yoga Vidyapeeth (Inteyoga), Mysore


This is one of the most affordable yoga teacher trainings you can find in India. It's so cheap that you can spend less doing their one month TTC compared to living for one month anywhere else in India, for real.

They are truly not focused on making money, like at most yoga TTCs, but rather on providing a life-changing experience. More than a TTC this is a personal yoga retreat.

A few of my friends have done this TTC and they loved it. I was so curious by their excitement that I decided to visit their ashram for a day.

After meeting with the ashram directors and teachers, and realizing that they are indeed authentic, I have decided that next time I go to India I will do one of their courses for sure.

This is a residential hatha yoga teacher training course with an emphasis on yoga therapy, following mainly the Sivananda tradition.

The ashram director and main teacher, Dr. Ashutosh, was a teacher at the Sivananda Ashram for several years. He has also spent plenty of time at the Bihar School of Yoga.

⇒ Click here for more reviews, inquiries or to check availability
⇒ Click here for my full review of their ashram and their TTC


3. Surinder Singh, Swasti Yoga Shala, Rishikesh


I always recommend Surinder Singh yoga classes to my friends. He is a very genuine yogi, and one of my favorite yoga teachers in India.

I joined his open yoga classes for the first time in June 2011 and again in October 2018 for a couple of weeks.

He teaches classical hatha yoga. His classes are the perfect balance between being gentle and challenging at the same time.

Surinderji offers a very affordable yoga TTC at his school Swasti Yoga Shala. If I was searching for a TTC this would be one of my first choices.

The TTC includes accommodation and food, but you can choose to pay only for the training to find accommodation and food on your own. I would suggest taking the whole package. It would be far more convenient.

Be aware that Surinderji likes to keep things simple and informal. He is definitely not business oriented and his website is very basic, so it might take him a while to reply to your enquires. Like Cat Easterbrook mentioned in her blog:

“I was aware that organization and email communication were not his strong points. Although he is an ex-engineer, when it comes to planning and organization, he is more cave yogi than yogipreneur.

[...] His response to my request to study with him was a simple: ‘You’re most welcome ji’.

A deposit wasn’t necessary, nor was an application form – I just had to trust that an email saying ‘you’re most welcome ji’ was my official confirmation of being booked on a one month long intensive teacher training course.”

⇒ Click here to watch the interview that I had with Surinder Singh in Rishikesh
⇒ Click here for a detailed description of Surinder's TTC by Cat Easterbrook


4. The Himalayan Yoga Tradition Teacher Training Program, Rishikesh


If you are interested in meditation I can definitely recommend you to take the Himalayan Yoga Tradition Teacher Training Program (HYT TTP) at the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama in Rishikesh.

This training was the perfect complement to my Yoga TTC at the Sivananda Ashram. That's because meditation was a bit weak at the Sivananda ashram, but it is the main teaching at the Himalayan Yoga Tradition.

On the other side, the hatha yoga at the HYT is way too gentle. I wouldn't recommend it if you are mainly interested in asanas. It is ideal as a second training though, to incorporate meditation into your practice.

Similar to the Sivananda TTC, what I appreciate the most about this training is the connection with a lineage. Every teacher is a dedicated meditation practitioner, disciples of Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati.

This is a long term training. There are three levels and it takes one year to complete each level.

Unfortunately, I later realized that this doesn't work for me. I would have preferred a one-month intense training instead of a long term program. I took the HYT TTP in March 2012 and I still haven't completed my TTP Level 1! Lol.

⇒ Click here to read my detailed description of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition TTP


Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Courses in Mysore


If you are interested in an ashtanga vinyasa yoga teacher training, then the place to go is Mysore.

There are many excellent ashtanga yoga teachers in Mysore and each one of them offers his own TTC.

But I wouldn't recommend you to go straight for a TTC. If possible, you should first practice for at least one month with one of these teachers before you sign up for their training.

Most of these ashtanga yoga TTCs are not too expensive, but they are also none residential. Whenever you practice yoga in Mysore you usually need to take care of your own accommodation and food.

Be aware also that each training is different. Some TTCs focus only on asana practice and adjustments. Other TTCs give a more comprehensive training including philosophy, chanting, pranayama, and anatomy.

I would suggest you read about Chidananda, Ajay Kumar and Kushal Ram. I've heard they offer very complete trainings.

You can read about them in my list of the best ashtanga yoga teachers in Mysore.

I have interviewed many teachers in Mysore, so you can go through these interviews to find out who is the teacher that you would like to practice with.


Which Yoga Teacher Training do You Recommend?


Did you find this information useful to find and choose a yoga teacher training in India? Please, do let me know.

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments section below. Or if you've already taken a yoga TTC you could also talk about your own personal experience.

Feel free to share as much as you would like to. How was the training? What did you like the most about it? What were the pros and cons? Why would you recommend it to others?

Don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter so that you can follow me on my yoga journey. Once you subscribe you'll be able to download my free meditation eBook. Thanks for your support!

Oh and btw, to provide a great experience to my readers I moderate the comments on this blog. I reserve the right to reject any self-promoting or spammy comments. 

10 comments:

  1. The Sivananda Course run by Swami Govindananda is also very good. They are in Varkala and in the Himalayas. Its the exact same as we did in Neyyar dam but on a much smaller scale and more personalised. http://www.sivanandapeetham.org

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    1. Oh yes, I've heard many good things about him but I've never managed to meet him. He also does his TTC in Amboli, north of Goa. Thanks for sharing my dear Lakshyaji :-)

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  2. Yes I think price too high for a non-profit organization especially. Is good path on your own tho

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  3. I loved the teacher training with Vinay Kumar in the south of India, Mysore. His personal approach to each and one of his students opened my heart to my students as well. I will always be grateful for his unbending attitute and attention to the details and the willingness to crack us open to receive the real teaching of yoga. Check his website out for more info
    http://pranavashya.com/

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    1. Thank you Yogassia for sharing. I haven't done the TTC with Vinay but I practiced pranayama with him for a month. He is amazing. Here is the interview that I did to him a while ago: A meeting with a master yoga teacher - Interview with Vinay Kumar

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  4. Thanks Marco for the article. I agree that when the offer is big, it is often difficult to select the most appropriate training. Your article can help people to decide by themselves. I also made my first teacher training at Sivananda (in Tyrol, Austria) and just like you I did not do it to become a yoga teacher and I liked the rigid daily schedule and structure they impose to their students. It is all about training the mind. I remember that one student left the training at the end of the first day because she could not accept the fact that smoke, drink alcohol and eat meat/fish/eggs during the TTP was not allowed. I guess this is not an isolated case. Yoga is above all a life philosophy and to select well his/her training the student would benefit from reading Yamas & Nyamas of Patanjali, the mission and ethical principles of the organization.

    I found the TTP at HYT a great opportunity to learn about myself. Very grateful to have joined this training program. It is more that a hatha yoga teacher's training program. It teaches how to and the importance of being a life time student of yoga. It gives us the tools to start and develop a worth-to-live life. The in-campus training is intensive and the homework plan is even more. It reminds us to be patient and persistent... the goal is not to become a yoga teacher, but to become a sadhaka.

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    1. Thank you Maria for sharing your experience and your insights, much appreciated.

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  5. Hari Om, intresting approach! i like that you appreciated the yogic traditional path. I belong to Saraswati order, i have Guru, i am yoga teacher and after 25years, as i see all these 200hrs teachers, i feel a bit sad, because it's not that they are focusing only in Hatha yoga, but they are approchining it very superficaly!
    The questions that you pose, are very helpful for a new yoga aspirant, because is essential the MOTIVES! and every one who want to follow the yogic path, is good to know that is a self-evoloutionary path, and as you "grow" you influence your students more energetically rather physically. Om&Prem Io-Yogananda

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  6. I just completed a 200h Hatha yoga TTC with Surinder Singh in Rishikesh it was very good !!! There is not so much emphasis on the building of sequences but rather on bringing the students inward during asana practice, the clarity in instructions, the confidence, the adaptation of the asana according to the level of the students : The tools necessary to start in the teaching path. He also attach a great importance in the spiritual aspect of the practice which I particularly enjoyed.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Christelle :-) Surinder is such a wonderful teacher, I met him back in 2011 and I hope some day in the near future I'll have the opportunity to do a TTC with him. I wrote about him before in A good yoga teacher in Rishikesh? Try Surinder Singh's class

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