Where to study Yoga in India
Whether you want to teach yoga or deepen your own practice, training in India can’t get more authentic. Camilla Marsh spent some time at a yoga centre in India and we are delighted to share her experience, her tips and recommended yoga training schools.
He was clad in nothing but a loin cloth. His grisly grey beard and wild wayward hair framed his gaunt but youthful face as his eyes shone with the wisdom of a thousand stars. I knelt on the blanket before him as the perfumed steam from a nearby pot mingled with smoke from his hand-rolled cigarette, sending secrets trailing to the universe above. Perched on top of a wild mountain summit as a South Indian summer night swooped in, he touched my head, muttered a blessing, and dropped a small banana into my outstretched hands. It was the single most powerful experience of my life.
And my time in India had been plentiful with such moments of magic.
India is like no other place on earth. Since returning, I’ve had many people ask what it was like to live there for four months. My only real reply - “you have to experience it for yourself”. India is a powerful, vigorous country. She is majestic and menacing all at once. She forces you to confront your fears and challenge your beliefs, not to mention any notion you may have once held regarding personal space. You will share overnight train rides with four generation families, sip sweet chai on street corners bustling with traffic and livestock, and talk cricket with tuk tuk drivers as you try not stare at their missing teeth and bloody betel-nut-stained gums.
In India, you’ll lose your senses and find your soul.
My trip there had been a purposeful pilgrimage to complete my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. Shortly after touch down in Bangalore I’d caught a train to a small village 40kms away where I attended Shrimath for 21 days. Shrimath is one of the lesser known yoga schools but has earned an excellent reputation through word of mouth. There is no greater testament to its excellence than those who have been through its doors. And since attending in February 2016, I have become one of its greatest advocates.
At Shrimath, I didn’t just learn to teach yoga, I learnt to live yoga. Every day for three weeks we lived a yogic life. From our morning mantras that sung in the dawn from its sweet slumber, to our daily asana sessions, sharing time at the village school and meditatively minding the vast garden in the late afternoon glow. It was at Shrimath I learnt to eat with my hands and think with my heart. I learnt about the reign of the stars and the moon over our earthly existence, I became privy to a select few of the treasured Sanskrit secrets. I learnt about the power of thought and the service of selflessness.
It’s difficult to put into words the wisdom our teacher bestowed to us beneath the cool canopied respite from the Indian sun. As I listened, my gaze would follow the deep crevices of the overbaked ground as slowly the patterns of my life started to shift together. The way I viewed myself had changed forever. And this eruption of epiphanies was all before the spiritual excursion to the living saint who blessed my existence with a baby banana and a handful of dates.
In India you’ll quickly discover that what is too commonly known in The West as the latest way to slim down and show off, is in fact a sacred blueprint to life, passed down from ancient traditions. You will soon see the intimate connection between body, mind and spirit, and acquire simple, lifelong processes to help uncover your true purpose and key to happiness. Come with no expectations and an empty mind, and you will walk away with all the answers to the questions you’d never even thought to ask.
If you are thinking of doing your Yoga Teachers Training in India, here are some of the schools I can personally recommend.
Recommended yoga schools in India
There’s no need to be nervous about travelling to India. As long as you are cautious and alert, you’ll be fine. It’s an intimidating country and it’s got a bad rap, but just keep your wits about you, embrace the craziness of its culture, and you’ll soon fall in love with its characterful chaos.
My top tips for travelling India
- Don’t drink the tap water!
- To be safe don’t drink the water placed in jugs on restaurant tables.
- Always carry wet wipes and hand sanitizer with you.
- Don’t pay for a hotel room before you have gone up to see it (unless you have pre-booked online).
- If a hotel bed looks particularly unclean, lay down a sarong and cover the pillow.
- Book train trips as far in advance as possible, seats get booked up fast.
- Settle a price with tuk tuk drivers before you get into the vehicle.
- Solo female travellers, always say yes when asked if you have a husband. A fake wedding ring doesn’t hurt.
- Don’t travel alone on the public busses at night.
This article has been written by Camilla Marsh, a yoga teaching, hula hooping, free writing nomad who trails the earth in search of beauty, magic and adventure. She writes about all things holistic, health and happiness related.