Undertaking yoga teacher training (YTT) is a challenging and life changing journey in many ways. If you’re thinking of becoming a yoga teacher, or just want to learn more about yoga from the source, then India is the first place that comes to mind.
As the birthplace of yoga, you’ll find the most authentic and affordable yoga teacher training in India and one of the most popular places to head is the holy town of Rishikesh – known as the yoga capital of the world.
Rishikesh – The Yoga Capital of the World
Rishikesh is located on the banks of the sacred river Ganges in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India surrounded by forests and mountains.
This holy town is full of temples, ashrams and is known as ‘the yoga capital of the world’ because of it’s deeply spiritual atmosphere and the huge amount of yoga schools offering yoga teacher training in Rishikesh.
But with an almost overwhelming amount of options how do you choose which program to go for?
How to Choose a Yoga Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh
Firstly, consider your intentions and personal preferences – do you want to train to be a yoga teacher and change your career, or are you just looking to learn more about yoga, or to have a spiritual experience?
All are great reasons for doing yoga training, but if you want to gain a qualification to teach yoga then you need to complete a 200 hour yoga teacher training course.
Even if you don’t want to teach, the 200 hour program will give you a comprehensive understanding of yoga and immersion in the yogic lifestyle, so if you have time I recommend doing a full 200 hours YTT.
A comprehensive 200 hour YTT will teach you not only about the asanas (physical yoga poses) meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) but will also delve into the fascinating history and psychology that underpins yoga.
You’ll also learn all about anatomy, physiology, alignment and teaching methodology. Most 200 hour packages also include accommodation and meals.
Secondly, consider which type of yoga you prefer and look for programs in that style. Some YTT’s focus on a particular style of yoga, like traditional Hatha yoga or Ashtanga and Vinyasa. If you don’t want to narrow down your options just yet you could go for a multi style program.
One of the most important parts of choosing where to do yoga teacher training in Rishikesh is checking out the reputation and reviews of the yoga schools. Ensuring the school is Yoga Alliance Certified is one step to ensuring a comprehensive syllabus and the qualification to teach yoga all over the world, but it goes further than that.
There are literally hundreds of Rishikesh yoga schools and unfortunately they are not all equal. Some are more like yoga teacher training factories purely focused on profit with huge group sizes of 30 or 40 students and little personalised attention.
So do your research thoroughly and try to check reviews from previous students to ensure you find a quality course that fits your needs.
Jiva Yoga Academy – Best Small Group YTT in Rishikesh
When I was choosing where to do my YTT, one of the things that was really important for me was ensuring that the yoga school provided an authentic experience with holistic, traditional teachings and experienced teachers who live the sacred yogic path as a lifestyle.
And I didn’t want to just be another number is a huge class, I wanted to be able to receive adjustments and personalised recommendations to improve my practice and get as much as possible from the experience.
If you’re also looking for a small group yoga teacher training in Rishikesh check out Jiva Yoga Academy who pride themselves on offering an intimate, family environment with small class sizes and personalised attention for every student.
Having small class sizes allows for more personalised attention, recommendations and adjustments, which means there’s less chance of injury and more opportunity to ask questions and form close friendships within the group and get as much as possible from the experience.
Their 200 hour Hatha and Ashtanga yoga teacher training is certified by Yoga Alliance USA and takes 24 days. The comprehensive syllabus explores ancient yogic and spiritual practices in depth including asana, meditation, pranayama, kriyas (yogic cleaning exercises) mantra chanting, yoga philosophy, anatomy, ethics, lifestyle and teaching practice.
Jiva Yoga Academy also provides holistic healing and teachings on Ayurveda – an ancient life science also originating from India.
The course is led by experienced Indian teachers who all hold at least a master’s degree in yoga and are passionate about sharing their knowledge and lifestyle. The course aims to provide not just a certificate but a holistic and empowering journey towards the inner self and an experience of living life on the yogic path.
There’s no prerequisite to join the 200 hour yoga course, beginners are welcome although if you have a good level of fitness and some experience of yoga it will be advantageous.
Jiva Yoga Academy is located in a peaceful part of Upper Tapovan surrounded by nature and away from the noise and traffic of the popular town. It’s still just a short walk to the Ganga river where some of the yoga classes are held, and all the shops, cafes and temples in the town are within easy reach.
Comfortable accommodation and 3 vegetarian meals a day are included in the course price which starts at $1,280.
If you don’t have time for a full 200 hour training but want an in-depth introduction to over 50 asanas and ancient yogic practices Jiva Yoga Academy also offer the opportunity to complete 100 hours yoga training which only takes 11 days.
There are A LOT of Rishikesh yoga teacher training courses, but because of authentic, expert teachers and the small class sizes, Jiva Yoga Academy stands out as one of the best.
Still, don’t just take my word for it – do your own research, check out the Jiva Yoga Academy website for more information and check the reviews on Google before making your decision.
If you need more tips check out my other articles about yoga teacher training in India