Rishikesh is the yoga capital of the world! If looking for a place to do a teacher training, take some meditation classes or yoga classes you can either plan in advance by doing some research online or just show up. Most of the schools have pretty thorough websites with times and days of classes. Some schools did not seem to have a website, though and others may not certified by the Yoga Alliance.
We found that the Yoga Alliance schools have a list of about 40 or 50 schools in the Rishikesh area and that most of the information is on their website. Sometimes the school information is outdated though. Best to check the schools website directly and then contact them. The choices of schools can be overwhelming.
It also depends what you are looking to do in Rishikesh. If coming specifically for a teacher training, you can book online and pay the non-refundable fees and then show up the day of your course. You can also show up and get into a class that may still have spots left. The school I attended had an available spot, so this would have been a good option for someone just showing up.
What schools are best? It really depends what you are looking for.
Many of the schools have daily drop in yoga classes in the hatha or ashtanga vinyasa style. They also have many meditation classes. Many of the ashrams offer yoga for free and you can just pay a small donation if you feel like it. Most of the yoga you get with the ashrams will be basic in nature. Ashrams are holy places so they focus more on the chanting and calming, meditating effects of yoga.
How long do the teacher trainings take? We found that the majority of teacher training courses for the 200 hour courses take a month. They are pretty intensive, usually 6 days a week from about 6AM till until about 6PM. Every school has a different itinerary, but that is about the standard. If you opt for an ashtanga vinyasa course, it may help to be in somewhat good physical shape before attending or you may be sore for the first few days. The teachers we had jumped right into sessions and there is little time for personal rest.
Kriyas…..if you don’t know what they are, look into them specifically when signing up for a yoga course. Hatha yoga is big into kriyas, which essentially is “purification” of the body. This includes nasal cleaning with a neti pot and/or a rubber tube into the nasal cavity which comes out of your mouth, induced vomit by ingesting salt-water and diarrhea by drinking several liters of salt-water. And these are the basics.
Some schools leave the kriyas optional. Some schools are a bit more serious about them. If this does not sound like your cup of tea, just double check with the school first to see if it is mandatory or not.
What else will you learn in a teacher training course? Bandhas – which are the internal body locks, pranayama – breathing techniques, mudras – symbolic hand gestures, yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy and many, many asanas – postures.