Best Yoga Teachers in Rishikesh (India)

This page lists Rishikesh yoga teachers currently teaching yoga at the Himalayan Yoga Academy.

Ashish Sharma, the best structural alignment yoga teacher in India

Ashish Sharma is young and yet very experienced teacher of hatha yoga. He was born, grew up and received his training in Rishikesh located in the foothills of the eternal Himalayas. Ashish’s insatiable longing for a deeper understanding of the practice of hatha yoga has led him to absorb the very essence of the classical hatha yoga. Ashish is a super-talented teacher and a gifted mentor. Practicing under his guidance gives you better control of your body and makes you stronger and more flexible. Your practice, however, only begins there. The power and pliancy of the mind work to develop a stronger will and enhance your intellectual facility, you begin to see the things earlier unseen.

Ashish Sharma has been practicing hatha yoga since 14 years under the guidance of numerous yoga teachers, yet he admits that his first and foremost teacher is his brother Pankaj Sharma, an internationally renowned yoga master. Ashish has been giving classes from 2007, and he has many students coming to Rishikesh every year to learn yoga exclusively from him. Ashish is, probably, one of the best yoga teachers in Rishikesh.

Ashish is teaching hatha yoga with special attention on body alignment and asana geometry. Having deep understanding of biomechanics of the body, he is excellent teacher to give basic comprehension of how body should work in each pose. Ashish pays special attention to people with spine and joint problems, he has very vast background in yoga therapy. Classes of Ashish have been proved essential in building overall understanding of body work for future yoga teachers. In every class, he gives true revelations on healthy engagements of muscles to avoid injuries and what you can do to optimize the effect. His classes are the best to go deeper into the body and gain control of the most subtlest and deepest muscles. That creates a state of very subtle concentration, without excessive effort, effects of which students feel long after the class has finished. Ashish possesses the blend of professional strictness with compassionate softness and good sense of humor, which makes his classes highly effective and energetically balanced.

Ashish Sharma is one of the few teachers of hatha yoga in Rishikesh who teaches the mastery of asana without much physical contact with the student. Ashish, like no other yoga master from the world’s yoga capital, understands what it takes to master asana. Ashish has practiced yoga since his early childhood and began teaching it in 2000.

Humble, modest and very competent in yoga asana, Ashish possesses all the qualities of a true teacher of yoga. Along with Sri Surinder Singh, Ashish is always named among the most popular teachers at the Himalayan Yoga Academy and Rishikesh, the world’s yoga capital.

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Kamal Bhatt teaches hatha yoga asanas, shatkarma, and naturopathy in Rishikesh

Yogacharya Kamal was born in family with deep knowledge of Sanscrit and ancient texts, so study of Vedic and other ancient text was part of his yogic education since childhood. Kamal is absolutely the best shatkarma yoga teacher in Rishikesh, India.

In 2006, he attained 1 year training course in naturopathy at National Institute of Naturopathy (Department of Ayush Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India).

In 2007, Kamal attained bachelor degree in Physical education from Barkatullash university, Bhopal.

In 2010, he attained Master of Science in Yoga from Uttarakhand Sanskrit University in Haridwar.

In 2002, Kamal participated in all-India Inter-university Yogasana Championship held at North Gujarat University, Patan.

In 2008, he co-founded International Free Yoga and Music Festival that lasted till 2014.

Kamal is master of hatha yoga techniques, and particularly shatkarma section. He is one of the best teachers in Rishikesh to teach cleansing techniques as he is well proficient with the most complicated shatkarmas. He teaches yoga from traditional perspective and combines approaches of naturopathy and natural living.

In the world's capital of yoga, Kamal Ji is perhaps the real-est yogi of all. His humbleness and kindness, immense compassion towards all living beings and non-fading cheerfullness combined with routine yoga practice make him one of a kind, true living yogi.

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Оксана Глаголь, преподаватель методологии йоги в Гималайской Академии Йоги (Инди

A Yoga Methodology teacher, Oksana leads Methodology and Practice of Teaching Yoga along with Level I & II Applied Yoga Anatomy at Himalayan Yoga Academy.

Her lectures on Methodology of Yoga are deeply structured and are absolutely comprehensive. In these lectures, any yoga practitioner – be it an experienced yoga professional or a raw beginner – will find all he or she needs to comprehend the art and science of Yoga at any level.

Practice of Teaching workshops carried out by Oksana are fun, exhaustive and transforming role playing games, interactive presentations and group practices integrated in a way that even the laziest student will eventually find him- or herself a professional in yoga.

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Yogacharya Sonu Yadav, Resident Principal Teacher at Himalayan Yoga Academy

Sonu Yadav is one of the youngest instructors at the Academy. Sonu Ji is an academically trained Yoga instructor. He holds a Master’s degree in Yoga Science from Sanskrit University and a complete postgraduate and graduate work in Yoga and Psychology. Before moving to Rishikesh he taught yoga in Chandigarh in his studio. He received a scholarship for his studies at the University of Patanjali in Haridwar. Today's Patanjali University founded by Ram Dev is an exemplary educational institution that holds integrity of the traditions of classical yoga, as described in the UpAneeshads, the Yogasutra, Hathayoga Pradipika and other classical works on Yoga.

At the Himalayan Yoga Academy Sonu Ji specializes in Shatkarmas and traditional practices of Hatha yoga Pradipika.

In 2015, Sonu completed a 4-month internship at Himalayan Yoga Academy. He is a modest, charismatic, intelligent, and focused student in the science of Yoga. Sonu’s yogic philosophy is followed in the tradition found in the Advaita Vedanta philosophy and as his main meditation practice being the Buddhist Vipassana. Sonu sees asana practice as fine art or art of dance, but he does not reduce the system of yoga as asana practice only, and is deeply immersed the entire holistic system of yoga.

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Dr. Usha Vaishnava, Ayurveda teacher at Himalayan Yoga Academy (Rishikehs, India

Usha Vaishnava has been working in ayurvedic environment since she was 12 years old. After long years of assisting a doctor Usha enters the Ayurvedic University with 150 year old history, well-known in whole India.

At present doctor Usha holds Master’s degree in Ayurveda and Bachelor’s degree in Medical Sciences. Usha Vaishnava is an accomplished doctor of Ayurveda with nearly 20 years of experience. Her specialization is panchkarma.

Since 2003 Dr. Usha has been teaching at the Himalayan Yoga Academy enjoying her huge popularity among students.

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Reviews by graduates

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.

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