During the teacher training my course we had a discussion on how hard it was to choose a teacher training school and to know if it was the right one for you. We also thought it would be good to know what to bring, their are lots of little bits of information on the internet but they can be hard to find. My travel blogger buddy Erin the world wanderer and I decided to give you as much relevant information as possible to help you make a decision on a yoga school.
Rishikesh Yog Dam is run by Arvind, with his beautiful wife, son, and two cheeky dogs, Jackie and Tiger . Arvind was working in one of the larger yoga schools and decided to branch out and create a new one. He found that he was unable to give the students the quality teaching time and one on one instruction with the large class sizes that they catered for; with classes of up to 30 students!
At Yoga Dam all classes are; small, personal and will not have more than 15 students. On my course we had 11, this was the perfect number and allowed for each of us to get huge amounts of individual instruction. We all got along wonderfully, and as there wasn’t too many of us we were able to explore rishikesh together with out it becoming too complicated.
The rooms are very basic with a double bed and bathroom, you need to bring your own; toilet paper, towels, and top sheet. This is not a problem as toilet paper is cheap and easy to find, you may just need to bring a sheet and towel with you as they are not as easy to find. (I used an old dress as a towel :/ not that I minded.) There are beautiful views from the rooms and the sun streams through the windows and door that opens to the balcony.While you are here keep in mind that a big part of the course is to learn more about your self and taking yourself away from the material luxuries of the western world.
At first the schedule looks quite hectic, but once you get into the routine its clear there is allotted spare time between classes. I would recommend taking some of that time to study, there is a lot to take in and it feels good when you are keeping up and able to join in on the class discussions.
Starting the day off at 6am with a hot Tea ( Tea became the all-time favourite thing for most of us)
6:15am: Mantras, Pranayama, breathing and cleansing exercises (Shatkama). If you have never done this before it can be quite a shock. I advise you to try all that the school offers, I’m not going to tell you everything as it might put you off a little, but when you learn the benefits and feel the benefits you will be happy you gave everything a go. Vikal was running this class for us, he has the sweetest heart. If anyone is going over to look for an Indian husband I would start with Vikal!
7:15am: Morning asana class with Yaspal Again another sweetie, the tutors are all so humble, kind, warm hearted people that I could not fault in any way. (unfortunately for Erin Yaspal is married) :o! Yaspals morning hatha class was tough in a good way, at the end of a class we felt amazing and energised. He had a very balanced teaching style symltainoulsy making us laugh and whipping us into shape (apparently if you go to one of his indian classes he might actually whip you with his belt to get you moving into position, fifty yoga shades of grey haha!). We asked most of our teachers how long they had been practising yoga for, some only four months, some four years and some 10, they were all as flexible as each other, but they agreed that Yaspal was very good! So it appears the indian belt whipping method works, I might hire someone to do that for me if it help me achieve my goals faster! (kidding of course, ill push myself and take it easy on my body, I like to think its just as effective )
9am: Breakfast…. and as one of the girls loved to quote “mmooooorrrreeeee ttttttteeeaaa!!!”
9:30: Philosophy, this is something i truly loved. DR G, was our teacher and had the biggest smile, even when half the class would be baffled and confused at his concepts he would smile, laugh and tell us a story that would always help in the explanation of his point. I enjoy philosophy as it is what lead me to practise yoga, so it was not too hard for me to understand, for my mum on the other hand, coming from a very christian background she was not as open to his concepts and would question some of his more controversial points (it is always good to question!). She was hesitant to come to some of the classes but I pulled her along, by the end of it, I found her to be so much more open minded than I had ever seen. Accepting that no matter what background or religious preference some one has, we are all just on a journey that is shaped by our environment, the challenges we face and experiences we immerse our selves in. I found my mum was closer to god through this undertaking and not afraid of what others are offering.
10.30: The Anatomy classes where incredibly interesting with aryuvedic medicines and acupressure also being. If you are not from a scientific or medical background (which most of us were not) learning the names of the bones and muscles can be quite overwhelming. After putting it in to practise and seeing where they are all located within an asana it begins to make more sense as to why it is important and how you can help someone who may have issues, or just to know what you are stretching and why it is beneficial for you.
11.00:lunch and free time until 4.In this time you can explore rishikesh, study, doing some yoga, its very easy to get caught in the shopping, it is pretty amazing!
16.00: Is the last Asana class of the day. It is lead by the director Arvid. Arvid is a very good teacher, he understands what it is we need, listens to our questions and made us feel so at home. Within these classes were a range of things starting from sun salutation corrections, adjustments, massage and instruction on leading your own class.
All in all this is the basis of your day, weekend activities are also arranged which are always a highlight of the trip! Arvid makes sure that you happy with your stay, confident in your classes and shares his world with you. I have only complete gratitude for the staff at Yog Dam who consistently turn out amazing classes and work incredibly hard getting very little time to them selves. The are dedicated to making you a confident and competent yoga teacher.
For the small price you are paying you get a life time of experience,a month of full board meals, accommodation, weekend activities, friends you will treasure for life and a chance to gain your yoga teacher training in what i think is the best yoga school in Rishikeh.
Even writing this I miss every moment shared dancing with our teachers, playing karob until midnight, the singing and joy you hear in their voices.
I went to rishikesh hoping to find highly enlightened teachers and students that could show me their ways, I of course learnt that we are all human, we are here together trying to find a healthy balance in our lives. I have learnt things I did not realise I would, made friends I will keep forever, found things within myself I forgot where there, seen things in others that I knew where there but needed coaxing out.
Of course I have not been to any other schools in rishikesh.We experienced a few yoga classes outside of our school which I also recommend doing. It is great seeing the different styles of teaching and finding things you would like to incorporate in your own practise. I suggest putting 100% into your time here, attendance and all, it is well worth it! We all felt a lot more confident in our yoga but also realised there is so much more to learn, you can only start somewhere, and even if you don’t feel confident to teach a class, start with your friends, start with free classes. Know that while you are teaching something you are also teaching yourself twice as much.
I felt sick a few times, breaking out in a rash and then on a separate occasion having vomiting and the dreaded Dehli belly, of course these things happen in India and the tutors are very understanding if you can not make a class.
Be prepared for:
>Up and down of emotions as yoga can do this (plenty of support is provided)
>All vegetarian food (delicious may I add)
>Beggars including sages, they may not be real sages.
>To be pushed out of your comfort zone.
>Feeling the best of health and experience being in balance and at peace!!!
I hope this has helped you in making a decision. I will just say once more how this experience will change your perspective on life, and just give you an ultimate time!
Follow the link to look at more on Yoga Dam 200 RYC Rishikesh yoga teacher training school; Yoga Dam.