My teacher says that you don’t go and find Yoga, but Yoga finds you. If you are reading this, it’s because you are already in its network of wonders.
It has been two years since I did my teacher training and finally I feel I’ve gained the confidence and capacity to articulate words that describe my experience and motivate the reader in taking this step forward. Now, to all of you wondering how a teacher training is, I will give you my UNIQUE and INDIVIDUAL experience on the following lines.
I took a 200 Hours Yoga Teacher Training in India in 2017, after having a solid (ish) asana practice for less than a year and a half. I got to learn about Sanskrit when I was around 17 years old when a glossary of Sanskrit terms landed on my hands and fell completely in love. The sound of each word, the depth of its roots,… just the exotic touch of each union of letters, totally blew my mind.
I can say that from the Eight Limbs of Yoga, asana was definitely not the first one I practiced on a daily basis
I loved the Philosophy, and I loved the science resulting from it. Yoga and Ayurveda are competing for the first position in my passion’s list. Just a few weeks after my discovery, I became a vegetarian and started switching my habits and routines to a more mindful ones. Besides all this affinity towards Indian Ancient Wisdom in the adult period of my life, I had already felt the call to visit Mother India herself since I was 10 years old. Fair enough, I decided to embark on a deeper journey in the land of Yoga.
CHOOSING THE PERFECT LOCATION
After a year practicing Yoga asana, I visited Bali. I found a very cheap roundtrip from Barcelona to Bali and I quit my job to visit what was ‘the best place for Yoga’ (besides India). I totally loved the vibes, the healthy food, the kindness of its people,… well I just loved every second spent on the island.
The trainings there were way beyond my budget at that time, and I also had the strong feeling that India was the place for me, I just knew once I decided to go, I had to be ready for a long trip.
India it’s a vast country. I didn’t know anything about her cities that could give me a hint on where to look first. I did long research. I started asking my favorite teachers in Barcelona and quickly got to know about Rishikesh. The Yoga Capital of the World. There are hundreds of schools offering trainings there, but I read some horrible reviews, others not that bad… was not easy to find the right school for me. One of my teachers and friend Amanda Quiambao (an amazing Yoga Teacher and co-founder of Shambala Barcelona) told me about her YTTC experience with Rishikesh Yog Peeth.
The school had trainings almost every month, and the price was very affordable (around 1,400$). The reviews were outstanding but of course, what mattered the most for me was Amanda’s insight.
I made my mind, booked my flight to India and saved my spot for the next 200 Hours YTTC.
THE REALITY OF THE SCHOOL
The school arranged a taxi to pick me at the airport and the driver was there waiting with my name on a sheet of paper. From Delhi, it’s a 6-hour drive to Rishikesh, but we took a couple of breaks in between and a breakfast stop.
We arrived at the school before noon. The place was a big green building located away from the hustle. It might had around 50 rooms in total, spread out among 3 floors. My room was simple but spacious with a private bathroom and a balcony; clean, with all the essentials covered.
We had 3 shalas in the building and the main Yoga shala was just on top of my room, equipped with all the props needed for the practice. I remember that for a few months I thought I had lived in an ashram. It totally had the vibe: a community of Yogis, many Yoga Shalas, dining room, a little grass deck to hang out, teachers living under the same roof… It was a dream. It was great.
I arrived in India a few days before the beginning of the course and luckily, the management offered me to stay at the school (at no extra cost).
The food at the center was nutritionally quite poor. We had a thali for lunch and dinner, normally consisting of lentils, some kind of vegetable mixture, and chapati (bread) or white rice. The only fresh food we would see was the fruit given for breakfast and a little cucumber and beetroot salad served with almost every meal. We had an Ayurvedic restaurant super affordable next door, hence many of us would “scape” for breakfast or for dinner to taste a delicious chickpea omelet, a coconut chai or some naughty pancakes.
Classes were held Monday to Saturday, for 31 days. Sundays were off. The morning class was a two-hour Ashtanga-Vinyasa sequence to really strengthen all the muscles in the body and gain flexibility. Those classes became harder every day and every week. By Wednesday of the second week, the flows were insane. The holdings were unbearable. At some point, my mind was taking over, but Himanshu, our asana teacher, asked us to always remain playful. That was a keyword for me to remember during the whole course.
Don’t be serious,
After the hard part of the day, we would have an hour of Philosophy class, which was everyone’s favorite. Our teacher, Vijeth, was a wise and attractive young man, living at a slow pace and totally absorbed in the present. He would talk about the History of Yoga and ancient scriptures keeping the whole class gawking with his stories and experiences. He was a storyteller, and his presence was Royal.
The beautiful part of the day would end when Anatomy’s class began, just before lunch and after Vijeth’s dreamy session. The number of concepts concentrated in an hour was mind-bending. It was indeed an important class, but very few teachers know how to teach anatomy in an engaging manner. We would have an assignment daily, usually drawing the muscles and bones, and that helped a lot to memorize and understand the structure of our bodies.
After lunch, we had a couple of hours to take a walk around the area, relax or advance some homework.
Already rested and fresh, we would return to the load with a two hours Hatha class, where we would learn the specific alignment for the postures, their Sanskrit names, and their modifications.
The last couple of hours of the day were used to rather learn some meditation technique such as Trataka (flame gazing) or Yoga Nidra, or already halfway through the course, start teaching some little flows in small groups.
A NETWORK OF LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
My batch comprised 24 people, mostly women (only 4 men), from all over the world, and a range age from 19 to 60. The group was friendly, but I didn’t really engage with anyone too much. My plan was to stay focused inwards and allow the war of my shadow self and my light self set off.
During the training we had to work in groups or partners, and that helped us connect deeper with our fellow yogis.
Know that whatever triggers you or makes you feel in love with your colleagues means something, and everyone during the journey has a role.
Know that every single person in your training is looking for answers in their spiritual journey, even if some might look like only their Ego brought them there. That’s actually good! Crystallizing the Ego is the trippy part of the journey. And you are there with them for a reason, try to see the Divine lesson.
There are always those special people that you connect with instantly, utterly attracted by their energetic field
I had two of those cases during my training, and after over two years, they are my best friends and I’ve been traveling the world with them. I have to mention that none of them was in my specific group, but they were in the school during my training.
This experience makes you tap into your higher self and start attracting the same energy towards you, no wonder why probably the friends you make during that period will be lifetime partners.
This kind of course is not only training for your physical body, but also will affect your mental, emotional and spiritual body. During the 30 days the course lasts, you will be surely reflecting on important issues or needs of which you were or not aware. These issues are not visible to our physical eyes, and unless you look inside with your third eye, you won’t spot them. In my case, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the feeling of not being enough.
You will be surrounded by successful, beautiful, and at times competitive people. Teachers will be hard sometimes, and may be difficult to understand.
Surrender to the teachers, to colleagues, the place and to the practice
Whenever you feel a reaction coming up, explore its nature; find the starting point of that feeling or emotion. Most of our impulsive reactions come from a place where the Ego is ruling, and we have to release attachment to whoever or whatever you were once connected to, especially if it’s your “created/invented self”.
Be kind with your fellow yogis. They will go through the same or more than you, so just keep your composure and try to help as much as possible.
I would like to tell you that I came back home with great inspiration, amazing friends and lots of theory to apply to my daily routine, but the truth is that I never came back home.
India spell me in such a way that it just made sense to explore it more.
I’ve been traveling around the world for two years now, sharing yoga and meeting graceful people, creating connections and joining all the dots that create my imperfect life.
My takeaway is not a specific lesson, item or feeling. My takeaway has been the realization of freedom and the acknowledgment that everything I ever wanted was looking for me all this time. Understanding that every single step has taken me a little bit closer to myself, and that, my dear, that’s the real Yoga.