Steven Smallwood about Yoga Teacher Training Course (RYT 200 Yoga Alliance Certificate) in November 2014 (2015-01-13 14:04)

I attended Himilayan Yoga Academy from October to December in 2014. I chose this institution due to positive reviews that I found on the internet and because of its location in the infamous destination of Rishikesh, India. I can give nothing but further positive review for this wonderful group of professionals who have put together a program that so far exceeded my expectations, I can easily say that it reoriented the foundation of how I live.

The teachers and organizers of the program are trained, educated, spiritually in-tune people. They are full of life and give all of their efforts to following the tenants of yoga and living with awareness to the inter workings of the mind and the society around them. I met and came to respect numerous people as figures who could teach me many things I had never discovered about myself. Himalayan Yoga Academy is a place of humor and calm, study and meditation, relaxed and focused conversation. In my opinion, they have developed a perfect atmosphere for learning yoga.

The program itself is diverse in subject matter and well-organized. It is a complete foundation for teaching yoga.

The 200-hour certification I went through was actually 240 grueling (difficult yet rewarding) hours of classes, with primary focus on Hatha Yoga. Structural alignment is one of the most important classes in the program, teaching the ins and outs of how to align the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons in order to perfect each posture. Immensely helpful. Asana (asana practice with less focus on theory of alignment) classes with Yogacharya Ashish are also integral to the program, and they are also demanding in nature, with verbal and physical adjustments given throughout each session. Meditation is another key course and becomes part of day to day life. We were encouraged to meditate before meals, before sleep, as much as we could. And of course we were given an assortment of meditative techniques during meditation instruction, along with many lengthy stints of group meditation.

Two other primary subjects are Pranayama (science of breathing) with Pandeyji and Shatkarma (health practices of yogic lifestyle) with Kamal. Both of these subjects are wonderful and taught with expertise. We also had courses in teaching theory, philosophy, and anatomy.

The program also offered many elective courses such as Kundalini, Zazen meditation, Zen massage, and Acro Yoga. We had the chance to receive instruction from many masters. For instance, meditation class went through four well-known and respected masters.

Excursions on Sundays are delightful and the destinations are breathtaking. It is incredible to spend a full week studying diligently and then reach Sunday and know that the experience is going to be one of a kind. Cannot express how awesome Sundays are. Waterfalls, rafting, sacred caves, time with friends.

I can go on and on about Himalayan Yoga Academy. I still haven't mentioned how good the food is, the many concerts to attend for free, or the unique setting that is Swarg Ashram. You can research the city itself to find out why it has become the Yoga capital of India.

I'll end with saying that going to Himalayan Yoga Academy brought me into the most positive, inspiring friendships of my life. People from all different nations coming together to be dedicated to studying the eight limbs of Yoga. Every other student attending was kind, open, modest, and ready to learn. Journey of a lifetime...

Thank you for reading!

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More testimonials

I completed my 240 Hour Teacher Training Course at the Himalayan Yoga Academy in March 2015.

It was one of the most enriching and life changing experiences I have undergone. The overall course allowed me to face and overcome some of my greatest fears. The teachers were all wonderful as they each provided a different yet inspiring and authentic approach to the practice of yoga. I made so many amazing friends that I still keep in touch with and learnt so much more about myself during the 6 week course.

I left India with a new zest to want to learn everything I could about Yoga and am so grateful for the time I had there.

This is a great place helped me to become a yoga teacher! I think this is the best place from which you can start becoming a good yoga teacher. Because the Academy offers you different teachers and different directions. Gathered in one place at once the best teachers in Rishikesh. I like that every minute we used for study and time was used efficiently. I liked the tests and examinations that the reminded me my student's time and helped to deepen knowledge. I liked the care that the staff showed us! I was delighted with the food and a wide variety of dishes. I found a lot of friends in this place! I love this place and will always advise it to my friends!

I've been there. It was an amazing experience.

It is difficult to find a good place to learn yoga. You know it's only a month and a half, and it is a lot of knowledge. But this school is a truely good one.

A big Russian influence make a really good and organized teaching programm (you don"t find this everywhere in India! ^^).

Class are very clear (even for those who don't have a very good english ;-)). Planning is intense but the time is nicely use.

Teachers there are passionate and make you love yoga more than when you start ( I didn't thought that was possible :-)) But not only.

You can't change a lot in that time (even with a strong mind) but after this course you have a knew comprehension about Yoga, about you, about the life around you...

At the end you are really proud of what you did and very happy<>/em to have this knew knowledge in your life. It is hard to find the right words.

And you will meet people from all parts of the world loving Yoga, India, and travel like you! A lot of good vibes from all people I met there.

Have a nice trip :-)!

The program was very detailed and well planned/organized. There was a strong emphasis on safety for students as well as teachers. Creativity and finding your own teaching style was also welcomed and encouraged. The variety of classes kept things exciting as well as helping to foster a diverse learning program. The staff was WONDERFUL and truly contributed to my great experience!

My experience with Himalayan Yoga Academy definitely changed me.

The 12 teachers from different nationalities, ages and backgrounds, following different Yoga perspectives helped me to open my horizon and change my own interpretation of Yoga.

All the classes were interesting and covered a lot of subjects, focused in giving you the basic tools to start teaching yoga. You learn about asana alignment, body anatomy, philosophy, pranayama, teaching methodology, meditation, yoganidra, shatkarmas, etc.

Classes are intense, start at 6AM and finish at 6/7PM with breaks for meals. You'll probably sweat and feel pain in muscles you didn’t knew you had, gaining strength through the course, flexibility and a better understanding of your body mechanics. You can still manage to get to know the mystical Rishikesh, her temples and shrines, food and clothing tents, see the sunset in a beautiful Ganges beach, drink some awesome fruit juices, meet interesting people from all over the world and get back to the ashram before the gate close at 10PM.

Teaching classes to your colleagues is part of the program and was my biggest challenge. Got my tongue-tied a lot of times, mixed words, but after 5 weeks I realize a big evolution and understood better that teaching Yoga is a never-stop-learning life. Made some good friends that I’m sure they will be forever.

The Ashram is a typical Indian building with a big dome and an awesome view over Tapovan. The shared rooms had bathroom and having a toilet was a good surprise. The food was good and from different countries, the staff very friendly but sometimes I ate out of the Ashram to eat some eggs, cheese and try different local things.

I feel very grateful for having the opportunity to learn in the holy city of Rishikesh bathed by the Ganges in a traditional Yoga Ashram. The HYA teachers, my colleagues and the rest of the crew made the difference.

I recommend it to any friend or anyone who is already a practitioner, wants to deepen his knowledge and gain teaching skills.

Hari OM

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