Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School
Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School is a steadily growing teaching academy in Rishikesh, India. They have new recruits at the start of every month and are turning out newly trained Ashtanga Yoga teachers into places all over the world.
I have recently had the privilege of studying with their institute and gaining my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Certificate with them.
As a personal trainer I have always promoted the benefits of yoga and stretching. I was practicing and teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga to my clients for a while and became quite well known as being the ‘Yoga Chick’ in Ibiza even though I was not qualified.
This year after finishing work for the season I thought it was time to get my Yoga Teacher Training certificate and the best place to do this was in India.
I looked online and decided on a school in Rishikesh. Originally thinking of going to Goa but a good friend of mine suggested that I go to Rishikesh.
So I did my research on the other schools in the area I found the Ashtanga Vinyasa course that I wanted to attend: Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School
Here are a few questions answered on my experiences in India at the school.
WHY DID I CHOOSE RISHIKESH VINYASA YOGA SCHOOL?
The course was the 200hr Yoga Teacher Training and was the type of Yoga I had been practicing at home.
Cost of the course was well priced, and they provided all your Ayurvedic meals (apart from Sunday night) and the accommodation was included too.
Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School offered activities on our free day to the local sights which was also included.
Plus there was an Ayurvedic massage thrown in too 🙂
WHAT MADE ME DECIDE ON RISHIKESH?
It is a lot quieter than other areas in India, especially if you have been in Delhi or in the surrounding areas. I had spent two weeks travelling around the Golden Triangle before arriving in Rishikesh and when I got there I felt relief.
Rishikesh is promoted as being the birth place of Yoga, it is very spiritual and many famous people including the Beatles had gone to study in Ashrams in the area. There are lots of places to worship and there are so many drop in Yoga classes available and guest appearances of famous Yogi’s to go and see.
Also, Rishikesh is so beautiful with the Ganges flowing right through it. There are waterfalls, white water rafting trips and hiking treks into the Himalayas and this is what sold me…..I was also told by a good friend that I would love it.
HOW DID I GET THERE?
Before the course began Rishikesh Ashtanga Vinyasa school set up an email chain so that we were all in contact before the course. Some of us arranged to share a taxi from New Delhi. This is what I did with a few of the other girls – it took 5hrs and cost 5000 rupees, the equivalent of €60
Alternatively you can fly from New Delhi to Derradun which is a 1 hour flight and will cost the same about €60. From there you take a taxi to Rishikesh which will cost about €20.
Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School also provide transfers which you can organise directly with them.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE FIRST DAY
We were told in the confirmation email that a welcoming ceremony would take place on the fist day and that we should bring something white to wear. The majority of the group had not bought anything, so we went out and bought something the night before (there are lots of places in town).
After breakfast we went up to the hall in the same building where the ceremony took place. It lasted a couple of hours, there was singing and prayers, and offerings and we were blessed with the bindi spot and rice.
Then we had lunch and a free afternoon for us to find our bearings in the area.
WHAT WAS THE TIMETABLE?
The course was comprised of Vinyasa flow in the morning followed by lessons in Philosophy, Alignment, the Ashtanga Vinyasa class, Anatomy and Meditation
Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School structured its timetable like so;
05:30 – 06:00 Wake up, drink tea
06:00 – 06:15 Cleansing
06:15 – 08:00 Vinyasa Flow
08:00 – 08:30 Breakfast
08:30 – 09:30 Break
09:30 – 10:30 Philosophy
10:30 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:00 Anatomy
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 15:00 Break
15:00 – 16:30 Ashtanga Vinyasa
16:30 – 17:00 Shower / Tea Break
17:00 – 18:00 Anatomy
18:00 – 19:00 Meditation
19:00 – 20:00 Dinner
HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE IN THE GROUP?
In total there was 20 of us from all around the world. Australia, Hawaii, Mexico, UK, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Canada… the list goes on.
We were split into two groups for the practical classes for Vinyasa in the morning and Ashtanga in the afternoon. Taking place at the same time in two different halls. Then for the theory classes we were all together.
After about two weeks had passed when we had learnt the majority of the Ashtanga series we were put into one big group. It was a little crowded to start but eventually we all found our way…and to be fair it was nice for us all to be together 🙂
WHAT WERE THE TEACHERS LIKE?
Honestly the best bunch of people I have ever met. The teachers were great and were all dedicated to helping us with our practice.
They were young and lively and were always up for a dance when any tunes came on. Especially from time to time in Meditation they would all jump into the room to have a boogie. Also, if there is a birthday in the group there is no doubt a cake would be there for us all to share…. I can’t remember how many cakes we had, but it was quite a few. LOL
DID I ENJOY THE FOOD?
The Ayuvedic food was good. You could select what you wanted to eat as it was displayed on the counter and you all lined up to serve yourself.
Breakfast: We normally had porridge and cereal, some people had both but I generally stuck with porridge with a dab of peanut butter and honey. Sometimes we had pasta for breakfast and this was a wonderful surprise especially when we got further into the course and we could pretty bunch predict what we were going to eat that day.
Lunch: Variations of vegetable / chickpea curry with rice and some chopped uncooked veg like carrots and radishes.
Dinner: Chickpea curry or a pea mix that we put into chapati’s. It was always chapati’s for the evening meal and rather light. We never had rice.
WHAT DID WE DO IN OUR FREE TIME?
There was quite a bit of free time in the day; there was a break after breakfast and then three hours after lunch before Ashtanga. We would socialise in the courtyard, relax in our rooms or some of us would pop out into town.
We were all connected on What’s App; Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School set this up when we arrived. As we were a friendly bunch, if people were going out from the school a general invite was sent out on the group. So if we felt like it, we went for coffee or to the waterfall or for something to eat etc…
Sunday was our free day but we had a compulsory excursion with Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School. On our first Sunday we went to Kunjapuri Temple on the bus and saw the magnificent views across the mountains and temple. We also had a great day out at the waterfalls where we took a walk and spent time swimming in the falls.
On the last Sunday, everyone got together in the courtyard and painted Henna tattoos on their hands.
DID WE DO CLEANSING PRACTICES?
Of course… when in India and studying Yoga!
We woke up every morning at around 05:30am, had some tea and then waited for the warm water to come out from the kitchen for the cleansing practices. We started with jala Neti where we flushed warm water through our nostrils with a jug and then blew it out using a breathing technique called kapalbhati.
After practicing jala neti for a week we were then introduced to Trataka (eye neti – we would call it) where we used two small pots with rosemarry water and placed them over our eyes for 1 minute. During the minute we would keep our eyes open and move the eyeball around to cleanse the complete eye.
We did the Dhauti and Bhasti cleanse where we had to drink 2 or more glasses of salty water and focuses on the cleansing the digestive tract by either being sick or letting it pass through. This was not the most pleasant out of the cleansing practices but was worth the experience.
On the last week we tried the rubber neti process. It was a little harder that we all thought as the rubber tube had to go up your nostril and pass through your thoat to clean the nasal and throat tract. Not many of us could perform this as it was a little painful or it was difficult to find the way with the tube. Those that could manage it said that they felt that it was very rewarding and the nose felt a lot clearer…. I wish I could have done it to be fair!
HOW HARD WAS IT?
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is not to be seen as an easy form of Yoga. You practice for three hours a day; Vinyasa Flow in the morning and Astanga Vinyasa Yoga in the evening. The teachers at Rishikesh Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga School taught us quite quickly over the 4 weeks. This is because we had to get through the whole series before the end of the course.
As we ventured into the course we all found that we were getting a bit tired and some of us were suffering with muscle soreness. I think I hurt in a different place everyday towards the end….
You do have time to rest and it is strongly recommend that you do so. The teachers will encourage you to continue and not take a break to recuperate. They say that if you push through that this is when you start to see the changes with your practice.
I agree that this could be the case but when you are tired and sore you need to take a break from time to time. There were some of us that needed to skip a session to get a little bit of extra time to take rest.
WHAT DID IT TEACH ME?
Rishikesh Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga School not only taught me how to teach. I learnt all the basic fundamentals on what it takes to be a good teacher and all the main principles which encompasses Yoga.
I was able to take away many skills and ways to expand my knowledge. I know that I will always be improving my practice in Yoga, there is so much to think about and to continually learn.
It also taught me that everyone is different and that no matter what, Yoga is not about being perfect. Yoga is about you and your journey to self-discovery.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?
Yes! After completing the first series with Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School I will definitely contemplate doing the second series (that is obviously if I can master the major skills from the first series). There are many people from my course that were thinking of doing the same after they qualified.
The people that were in our group were just amazing. We had such a strong bunch of fun, happy individuals, I am so pleased that I got to study with them… maybe we could all go back at the same time next year for series 2 😉
If you have any questions about Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School and would like to get in touch then please feel free to drop your query in the comments box. 🙂
Looking for some motivation? Head over to my instagram for fitness, food and mindset inspiration.