What you pay and what to expect
- costs: 1250 dollar (early bird)
- length: four weeks, 200 hours.
- week schedule: classes from monday to saturday
- courses: hatha and ashtanga practice each one and a half hours per day, meditation, kryas and mantras, pranayama, philosophy, anatomy
- final exams: written (questions to all classes, but you obtain the questions beforehand) and oral (sing a mantra and five to ten minute presentation)
- certification: Yoga Alliance Certificate
- accommodation: hotel outside of the ashram (about four minute walk, some also obtain a room at the ashram), simple room without furniture but warm shower and balcony
- wifi: at the ashram and at the hotel (but very bad connection sometimes)
- food: three times a day (sattvic-diet), water and tea (and sometimes even a lassi)
- material: books (yoga sutras, pranayama, hatha), a shirt
- one day trip: going to the Ganges river
A day in the ashram
My alarm is going off. It’s still dark, vey windy and quite cool outside (I need to wear a fleece sweater!). Every second day I have to meditate for half an hour on my bed, the other days I’m going to class “kryas and mantras”. This early I found it very hard to do anything…
5:30 – 6 am: kryas and mantras
Every morning it starts with „Ohm“, cleansing and prayers. There are six different kryas (cleansing techniques) to cleanse the mucosa and the mind. One of the first things you do is the nasal cleansing. For this you use a watering can for your nose, fill it up with warm, slightly salted water and rinse each nostril.
I’m quite surprised how easy and uncomplicated this works. I can definitely recommend this to anyone with nose problems. While this worked really good for me, some other techniques I couldn’t even watch others to do it: e.g. cleansing the stomach (you simply drink a lot of salted water in a very short time, about seven glasses, then you force your body to throw up…I couldn’t make myself drink one glass!)
6 – 7 am: pranayama
It’s all about breathing techniques, since the breath is the life energy force. Breathing does actually have a big effect to still the body.
7 – 7:15 am: tea
Saves you from starving!
7:15 – 8:45 am: ashtanga yoga
Finally some yoga! Ashtanga yoga is a series of 74 poses (asanas). The complete sequence is always the same. While going through the sequence one has to use ujjayi breathing (breathing through the throat like darth vader), abdominal lock (contracting lower abdomen) and root lock (closing the anus). If you do everything correctly it is really exhausting!
8:45 – 9:30 am: breakfast
There is aways pulp with cinnamon and honey, something salty (e.g. rice with veggies or chickpeas) and fruits.
10 – 11:30 am: self-study/ self-practise
Well, I usually use this time for a nap…
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: philosophy
My god, this class is held by a very emphathic teacher! He might be a monk. The whole one and a half hours he sits there and talks about philosophy and we just stare at him in great astonishment. Topic: the yoga sutras from Patanjali, the “bibel” of yoga. He raises questions like:
- What is the meaning of time for our present living?
- What is the essence of yoga?
- Do we really need a god?
- What is the ego and how does it influence our life?
- Why are people unhappy?
After every class I get a wow-effect. I wish I could conserve every minute from it and actually use the wisdom to change my daily behavior right away. Of course, it’s hard to really live without all the conditioning you have learned and lived with all your life.
12:30 – 1 pm: lunch
They serve a lot of carbons, proteins, almost no fat and for sure only vegetarian food. It’s okay but not very spicy (I usually always pour a lot of ketchup on my food to get more taste). Lunch has to be taken in silence for eating is like meditation…but nobody really takes this seriously.
1 – 2:30 pm: time to study
Yoga is actually only for the smaller part really a physical activity, it’s more a philosophy to find your inner self and get free from superficial things. Die spiritual part is based on the yoga sutras, the codex. We have to learn the philosophy, the language “sanskrit” at least for some counting and the asanas, a few of the mantras (songs/prayars). Unfortunately I don’t really use this time very efficiently…the problem is that there are also many other nice things you can do: like sun bathing, sleeping, eating outside (which you shouldn’t!) or get a tattoo?!
1:30 – 2:15 pm: anatomy
I’m sorry, but I really think this class is useless. Of course I think it is good to understand some scientific background to the e.g. mucosa, the digestion system and so on, but our teacher was quite bad in simplifying all the information or concentrating on the most important. Instead, I felt like she squeezed all her medical information of maybe four semesters in university into four weeks! But if you learn how to use all this information it can be interesting to know how yoga influences the body in a scientific way (the pranayama, kryas, asanas).
4:30 – 6 pm: hatha yoga
Hatha yoga is the base of all yoga styles. For me I could only see small differentes between hatha and ashtanga yoga. The main difference is that there is no strict routine, you stay in poses a lot longer, breath in the poses and don’t really use the three locks.
6:30 – 7:30 pm: meditation
Close your eyes, relax all the muscles but with your back straight and fall into silence. Meditation is about detachment of the body and the mind. For me, this class gets most of my attention, because I never meditated before in my life and I have a hard time to handle the stillness of body and thoughts. But I reckon that this is very important for yoga, maybe the most important.
7:30 – 8 pm: dinner
Again, there is a lot of sattvic food and no talking.
After dinner the day is usually over. I go to my room, take a shower, read and go to bed at about 10 pm. Sometime we go for a “drink”…there is no alcohol in Rishikesh and you’re not allowed anyway but it’s nice to have some spare time to talk all the “normal” stuff over a cup of tea…
I participated in a yoga teacher training from 20th, October – 15th, November 2014 in Rishikesh – India at Shiva Yoga Peeth.