Yulia Parfenova about Yoga Teacher Training Course (240 hours, RYT 200 Yoga Alliance Certificate) in April and May 2015 (2016-10-24 00:26)

Himalayan Yoga Academy truly is a great space for learning. The course is filled with exceptional teachers, and a really interesting and intense program of education. I deeply enjoyed my 5 week stay at Himalayan Yoga Academy. My Yoga Teacher Training course was an unforgettable experience in colourful India.

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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 :-)!

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!

As part of my long way home from Korea to Wisconsin, I decided I’d like to make a stop in India. I wasn’t sure for what exactly—maybe stay at an ashram where I could find a guru and learn about the meaning of life or learn how to meditate for hours on end and eventually get in touch with my own inner guru. I began looking up possible ashrams when an exciting though occurred to me—why not take a yoga instructor course? It had been something I’d thought about for years, but it was always financially out of reach. Not so in India… since I planned to be there anyway, the airfare was already covered. Furthermore, the cost of a 4 or 5-week yoga teacher program is a fraction of the price compared to what I'd find in the U.S. What's more, unlike the programs in the U.S., yoga teacher training programs in India include room and board! Ultimately, taking a yoga teacher training course seemed like the best option to not only fill my time in India, but also delve deeper into my spiritual side and deepen my yoga practice. Alas, my online search for an ashram shifted to a search for the perfect yoga school.

Immediately I knew the location of this yoga academy had to be Rishikesh. This city was thought to be the birthplace of yoga and currently considered the yoga capital of the world. Rishikesh is situated along the sacred Ganga River and at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. It is a place brimming with forehead-painted swamis dressed in orange and a myriad of ashrams for yoga and meditation.

The next criteria on my list were A) a small class size and B) a school that offered only a few classes per year. I hoped to get to know all the individuals in my program. For this reason, I sought a class size of 25 people or less. Also, I didn’t want a yoga teacher training (YTT) program that spewed out yoga teachers like some kind of factory production. There are plenty of these types in Rishikesh—they offer a new YTT course beginning every month. I felt that the drawback of this model is twofold: (1) teachers become tired and lose steam from the repetition (trust me, as a teacher myself, I know this to be all too true) and (2) the factory model is great for making money, but when that’s your goal, how much are you willing to invest in your students?

Since I knew what I was looking for, my search was easily narrowed down to one YTT in particular: Himalayan Yoga Academy (HYA). This program is 5 weeks, unlike the more common 4-week model (in my opinion, 4 weeks seemed like a very crammed schedule). Additionally, at the time, the YTT program was offered only 1-2 times per year. The course had breadth which appealed to me—an introductory, broad scope would allow me to delve deeper into anything of particular interest following the course. Lastly, unlike other YTTs with a “guru system” where one guru, or teacher, teaches all classes in the program, HYA used the academy model—like an academy, the school provides a teacher who specializes in what he or she is teaching for each class. Basically, I was sold.

Upon my arrival, I was amazed to find the website may have in fact undersold the YTT program! I was in awe of my surroundings—the turquoise Ganga, the soft, fine, white, sparkling sand of the beach in front of my home, the pure, fresh air from the mountains, the footpath along the river connecting me to a nearby area filled with vegetarian restaurants, shopping, and live music. I was taken aback by the incredible individuals from all over the world in the yoga program, by the teachers who were so genuine, kind, and open, and by the staff—cooking for us, preparing our halls, putting on concerts of traditional Indian instruments and kirtan (devotional chanting)… it all seemed too good to be true. I had been traveling for 3 months prior to settling into Rishikesh, so it was wonderful to finally have a place to call home, roommates to befriend, and 3 wholesome meals to eat each day.

We quickly fell into the HYA routine—waking up before the sun to rinse our nostrils and sinuses with the neti pot, learning the breathing practices of pranayama, purifying our body through shatkarma techniques, and hitting the mat for an asana class—all before our first chapatti of the day! Following breakfast, the rest of the day was filled with any combination of yoga philosophy, methodology of teaching yoga, teaching yoga practice, anatomy, meditation, ayuerveda, zen classes, and more asana classes—occasionally mixing it up with kundalini, acro, and yin yoga. On Sundays we had the day off--either a day of rest or a day of adventure with HYA (white water rafting on the Ganga, hiking a waterfall, exploring spiritual caves, teambuilding activities at Mystic Beach, etc.) There were other highlights during the 5 weeks—like the neem-green mud bath, prakshalana cleanse (look it up, haha), watching the sunrise over Rishikesh, and movie nights.

Over the five weeks, my classmates and I formed astoundingly strong bonds and we began to feel like a large, multicultural family. Because the course was demanding physically, mentally, and even emotionally, it was crucial to have the support from classmates. That familial atmosphere kept everyone afloat through the end of the course—you could count on others to offer you help or encouragement when in need. It was an incredible feeling to be a part of this family and to all learn so much during such a brief timespan.

As an individual who practiced westernized yoga for many years, I was amazed to realize how very little I knew about yoga! The seven limbs aside, asana (what westerners think of as yoga) was reintroduced to us in a way we all learned a great deal. Thanks to our structural yoga instructor, Ashish, my classmates and I were tested daily on our preconceived notions of poses and postures, which were fortunately replaced by proper technique. Ashish’s class had me wondering what I’d been doing all these previous years in yoga classes... clearly not proper asana!

On the teaching side of things, HYA offered us a methodology of teaching class and also teaching yoga practice. In the methodology of teaching class, we learned about elements to be aware of when sequencing a class and which factors to consider when creating an asana class. The class had beneficial aspects to it, though much of the time it was difficult to follow or too much information given too fast to process. Our instructor was certainly knowledgeable but sometimes the information wasn’t conveyed in the clearest fashion. Fortunately, we were able to hone our individual teaching methods over a series of practice classes where we taught asana classes to our fellow classmates. These practices were always followed up by feedback from our instructors and classmates. This practice was incredibly useful and helped prepare us for our final exam where we taught our classmates a 10-minute segment of an individually-made, full class plan.

Although five weeks of structural alignment, other asana classes, and teaching practice were certainly beneficial to me, they in no way situated me to be an amazing yoga instructor. Yes, I passed the exam and now hold a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certificate (woohoo!), but to be the best teacher I can be, I realize I must further my self-practice. I view HYA as the gateway to a long yoga journey. I've only just passed through the threshold and taken my first glimpse at the true essence of yoga. Now I will take it upon myself to continue my practice and strive to be the best yoga practitioner and teacher I can possibly be.

Our last few days at HYA consisted of passing our final exams, breathing a collective sigh of relief, and celebrating with our yoga family. Saying “until next time”—never goodbye—some of us parted ways after the five weeks and a few of us traveled together to see the Taj Mahal, visit Varanasi, and chill beachside in Goa. It was an incredible adventure—one I’m so glad I embarked on. We’re already planning our return to India for the 300-hour course so we can become Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 500 Yoga Alliance certified! :)

So, until next time,

Namaste.

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!

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.

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