What a Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh is Really Like

This spring I completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India. My 30-day training was hard, physically, emotionally and spiritually, but ultimately so worthwhile.

Yoga Teacher Training improved me in a myriad of ways, from my posture to my anxiety to my downward dog. Ultimately it was a humbling experience; I realized I had so many things I wanted (and needed) to change about myself, and I left the training a calmer, kinder and more patient person.

Rishikesh_Yoga_School_class
My awesome, international classmates!

Why I chose to do my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh

I chose to go to Rishikesh for my Yoga Teacher Training for two reasons: India is the birthplace of yoga, and India is the cheapest place in the world to do a Yoga Teacher Training. My month-long program cost $1,250 and that included instruction, food, and accommodation- quite the bargain!

So I wanted to show you a day in the life of a yoga student in Rishikesh, as well as share with you you the logistics and costs.

India_Yoga_School_Rishikesh

A Day in the Life of Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh:

6:30 Wake up

I wake up to my alarm at 6:30 a.m. for my first breakfast of a Luna bar and a handful of almonds. (Thanks to my dad for sending snacks all the way from the states!)

7:00 Shatkarma

Today we are performing shatkarma on the rooftop, a cleansing ritual we practice every other day. While one morning this meant imbibing a half-gallon of saltwater and vomiting (I chose not to partake for ahem, “feminine” reasons), usually shatkarma just means we cleanse our nasal passages with a neti pot. Which is way, way easier than puking.

7:30 Hatha Yoga

Next up is hatha yoga. It’s a great class to wake up to because it’s a lot gentler than vinyasa yoga!

“Hatha” is a combination of “HA” (our right side, associated with aggressiveness, action, the sun) and “THA” (our left side, associated with stillness, peace, the moon). Thus, Hatha yoga practice is the unification of our right and left. Hatha yoga is the foundation of all modern forms of yoga, and its mastery gives you a solid base to progress in other forms of yoga.” – Vinyasa Yoga School

We end the class with pranayama, or breath control, which I find boring and unpleasant.

9:30 Mantra class

After hatha we have mantra class, in which we learn to chant Sanskrit mantras. Our resident monk, Swami-ji, teaches this class. While many students complain about this class because they “didn’t come all the way to India to sing”, I love it because I think the hymns are beautiful. And okay fine, I love to sing.

10:30 Breakfast

And finally, second breakfast! (Why yes, I am a hobbit who needs two breakfasts.) Every morning we have a western breakfast of fruit and toast, paired with crazy delicious chai.

Though sometimes the power is out during breakfast so we can’t toast the bread. Considering toast is my favorite food I’m quite the sad panda on those days.

11:30 Yoga Philosophy

In yoga philosophy, we learn all about important Hindu texts and ideologies like the Yoga sutra, Bhagavad Geeta and the eight limbs of yoga. I enjoy yoga philosophy because I find Hinduism fascinating, though sometimes I mix up the texts- there’s a LOT of yoga philosophy to learn!

12:30 Therapy

Therapy is everyone’s favorite class. In therapy, we essentially learn how to give a really good massage. My favorite subsect is marma therapy, in which we learn how to manipulate pressure points and release energy blocks in the body and mind.

1:00 Anatomy

Okay, I’ve never been much of a science/math person so anatomy is admittedly not my favorite class. And by 1 p.m. I start to get hungry and I’m kind of over sitting on the ground. But still, it is useful to learn about the body’s muscular and skeletal systems in reference to yoga.

2:00 Lunch

After anatomy is lunch! Lunch is a simple, vegetarian meal of chapati (flatbread), steamed vegetables, dahl (lentils) and fresh vegetables.

A typical dinner at Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh

I won’t lie- this meal was great for the first week but I grew tired of it quickly as it’s nearly identical each day.

2:30- 5 p.m. Break

After lunch, we take a much-needed break. I spend this time either reading Game of Thrones in my room, drinking mango juice on the Ganges with classmates or practicing my yoga flows upstairs. (Okay fine, I did the latter option like twice. A girl’s got to get her GOT on.)

The one thing I don’t do? Walk the streets. This is the hottest time of the day in India so I avoid the heat, cows, monkeys, and crows by not venturing outside.

Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh
My friend McCall at work doing a headstand!

5 p.m. Vinyasa

After the break is the most physically strenuous class of the day, vinyasa. As a person with the natural flexibility of a Russian lumberjack, vinyasa is my daily torture session, but one from which I leave feeling refreshed and proud of myself.

Also during vinyasa, it’s often 110 degrees outside and the instructor turns off the fans.

Rishikesh_Yoga_School_vinyasa

6:30 p.m. tea break

After vinyasa, we have our second cup of chai of the day!

7:00 meditation

We cap off the day with meditation. Interestingly enough, meditation is both a physically and mentally strenuous practice. Although the longest we ever meditate is for 45 minutes, my upper back aches something fierce and my brain takes ages to quiet.

Sometimes we meditate outside under the stars, which is lovely. I love watching the sunset over the Ganges and hearing the peacocks squawk in the mountains.

8:00 Dinner

And after all that work, we enjoy a well-deserved dinner. Dinner is simple and vegetarian, just like lunch, though I’m often too tired to eat much.

Rishikesh_Yoga_School_Food

The final test

The last week of classes we taught classes to our fellow students. This was the toughest part of the course as we had to put our yoga skills to the test and direct two hour and a half long yoga classes (both hatha and vinyasa). We also had our final yoga philosophy and anatomy exams.

A review of Vinyasa Yoga School in Rishikesh

In Rishikesh, I attended Vinyasa Yoga School. The training cost $1,250 which included training, three vegetarian meals a day, hotel accommodation and a weekly field trip. (Or as I not-so-lovingly called them, the weekly clusterfuck.) The training was 30 days long and six days a week.

I loved the instructors at my school but was less fond of the management- essentially every time we voiced a concern, it fell upon deaf ears. Also, the owner tried to get us to pay under the table which was shady, needless to say. The hotel where we stayed was passably nice but the power went out 10-15 times a day and there was no AC.

What to pack for your Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh:

1. Your own yoga mat and towel

2. Iron pills

3. Pepto Bismol and Imodium

4. Shorts and sleeveless athletic tops (it’s hot!)

5. Eye drops

6. Face wipes

7. Headlamp

See my full yoga teacher training packing list here.

. . . . . . . . . . .

Overall I would recommend doing a yoga teacher training in India. While there are some downsides, it was so interesting to learn about yoga where it comes from. Although if I could do it again I might’ve done it somewhere rather than in Rishikesh as Rishikesh is quite touristy and dirty.

Related posts:

Should I Do a Yoga Retreat in Bali or India?

How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali

What to Pack for a Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh

Have you ever been interested in doing a Yoga Teacher Training Rishikesh? If not, where would you rather do it?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

85 thoughts on “What a Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh is Really Like”

  1. this is really interesting. I’ve been debating doing this but have been looking into doing it in Nepal or Thailand, just for logistical reasons. Did you feel like you needed to have a really solid yoga practice before hand? I don’t have a lot of chances to go to classes here in China right now

    • Actually there was one girl who had only done yoga three times! That being said I would definitely advise being in great shape before showing up, and preferably with at least a few months yoga experience.

  2. This post was great. I’ve been really curious about yoga school for quite some time now. How far along were you in your own practice before deciding to do yoga teacher training? Just curious!

  3. This sounds like it was an amazing experience! In theory, I’m tempted to do a course like this, but in reality I’m just not sure I’m enough into yoga. Maybe one day, though!

  4. Dear Ashley,

    I loved hearing about your on site training, yoga in India. It
    was interesting and informative. What an experience!!
    Love,

    Gamma

  5. This was really interesting to read! I wonder how this differs from yoga school in the United States? Something I’ve observed just by reading a couple of experiences is that for Americans or more Western-minded folks, the trend tends to be more about the fitness whereas it seems yoga is meant to be more holistic from an Eastern point of view — a way of living and approaching the world, beyond the movement. Anyway, thanks for sharing and I liked this approach to sharing about your experience — the day in the life approach! :)

  6. I have been wanting to do a yoga training course probably since college. It’s cool to hear about a “day in the life”, sounds like it was intense!

  7. Fascinating to read! I applaud how you travel and expand your knowledge and all things! I somehow think the French wine and such is JUST as heart opening mind you, (smiles), and therapeutic, and yet this was delightful and impressive to read! Great job! Cheers! – Leah

  8. That looks long, but incredible. I would love to take a month for a training like that. That had to be such an amazing opportunity! I am excited for that post you mentioned about the ways India changed you. I think that’s the most amazing thing about new experiences, you can gain so much in places you don’t realize. What are your plans now that you are yoga teacher certified?

  9. Sounds tough but worth it! I love yoga- I’ve tried a few different forms but mostly practise hatha. I love vinyasa but there isn’t anywhere that offers it near me. Have you tried ashtanga? I’m switching to that session next week but I heard it is really tough!

  10. I completely and utterly admire your strength, courage and determination, but I won’t be doing a Yoga Teacher Training course any time soon! Unfortunately, as much as I like the martial arts (I used to do karate as a kid and then moved to Tai Chai as an adult), I’m not really into yoga or pilates, which is pretty huge in Berlin where I live. ‘Far too intense. I’ll stick to hiking and skiing LOL!

  11. THANK YOU for posting all about your experience! It is so interesting! I am very interested in doing a yoga retreat/training this coming year and am currently researching places. How did you decide on the place you chose? And are you happy you decided to do it there? I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by all the options but this one is within my price range and looks pretty great. Really appreciate any insight into your choosing this place!

    Thanks in advance! xx

  12. thanks, this was a very nice post. Could you tell me what changes you saw in your own body/energy/skin, after this course? and that of others? especially with respect to the shatkarmas? thanks.

  13. Hi, I’m actually considering yoga teacher training in rishikesh, in this very same school! i was curious why you considered the weekend trips a “clusterfuck” haha. i thought they were supposed to be a nice break from the training? also i thought that hotel qube is a new and modern hotel, so it’s good to get feedback regarding this. i thought they had a/c available!

    • There actually wasn’t AC, but there were fans. The fans only worked though when the power was on (obviously) which was quite sporadic. And honestly the weekly trips were so bad I would probably just skip them entirely.

  14. Hi Ashley

    just discovered your blog, and Im reading and reading :) wanting to pack my bags right now. In the yoga teacher section, you talk about a guy you met, who did a meditation course in Nepal ?? Do you know where it was ? Name of the place?. Furthermore you mention that you ( in retrospect) would consider doing the yoga teacher training in another city due to the pollution …..any suggestions where then?

    thanks! …. heading back to reading your other posts now :)

    Greetings,

    Christina

  15. Ashley, I stumbled upon your blog while doing a research paper ! And the crazy part is I am suppose to do the same YTT ! Please reach out to me !

    I have a ton of questions ! :)

  16. I just found your blog too while prepping to pack for this same course. I leave next week already(!) and had a question for you. My flight arrives in Delhi late at night (11pm) and I’m debating just heading straight to the school by taxi or staying over at a hotel near the airport and finding my way there the next day. Was it an easy place to get to – in that you’d be comfortable arriving there in the middle of the night? Or would you stay over at an airport hotel and just travel during the day?

    • Hi Linda, personally I would without a doubt stay the night and travel during the day- the roads are horrendous and frankly I wouldn’t feel safe as a solo female traveler driving for six hours in India at night. Hope that helps and have a great time!

  17. I have come back and reread this post several times now. I plan on doing a YTT course later this year and I appreciate you providing so much information about the course and the experience. Also, it sounds like taking a prenatal multivitamin during the course might be helpful to keep iron levels up?
    Many thanks,
    Martha

  18. Hi Ashley,

    What made you decide to do the yoga teacher training course? Why this instead of a yoga retreat? Do you intend on teaching yoga or was it more bang for your buck? I’m debating between both.

    • I actually had done a yoga retreat in Bali, so I wanted to step-up my game and learn a lot more about the history and deeper knowledge of yoga. Funny enough, I’m actually not planning on teaching. I think India in general is more bang for your buck- it’s super cheap to do a retreat or Yoga Teacher Training!

  19. I’m signed up to go to this school in January, and my main concern in the wifi not working or having no cell service. I have a boyfriend in the states and I want to make sure I can contact him while I’m away for a whole month.

    • That’s a good question. So I called home but the wifi was spotty- there are some places in town but frankly it’s not great anywhere in Rishikesh. You can definitely send emails and Skype- just not the Skype won’t be crystal clear!

  20. I am going India this feb to do 300 Hour meditation teacher training at Shree Mahesh Heritage, they claim that it is the first school who is offering certification course and i got the good feedback from past students. After my 28 days meditation teacher training , i would certainly like to go for 200 hour yoga training. would you please share me syllabus of vinyasa ttc which may help me to join. I am referring this website.
    http://www.rishikeshvinyasayogaschool.com

  21. Hey Ashley! Thanks for the post! I am seriously considering Vinyasa Yoga School but want to make sure I’m making the right choice. It sounds like you wouldn’t have chosen the school again if you could make the choice. What kind of complaints did you pass on to the owner? What concerns did you have? Thank you!

    • Honestly I just thought the owner was good at marketing but didn’t really care about the school. Whenever we needed something to be fixed he would say, yeah, yeah, we’ll fix it and rarely did. Frankly I might not go to Rishikesh at all, and might go somewhere super remote in the mountains or somewhere beachy like Goa.

  22. Hi Ashley,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog about the Yoga training. I am looking at doing at 200hr teacher training course this summer and can’t decide between Rishikesh or Ubud in Bali. I have currently narrowed it down to Vinyasa Yoga school in India or Blooming Lotus in Bali (have you heard of it?). They both look great, although Bali obviously a lot more expensive, but I primarily want to get better at Yoga and be able to teach it confidently. The one in Bali seems to have a lot of theory about it. At Vinyasa Yoga school, did you delve into other types of yoga such as pre natal etc… ? Also, was there any reading that you did during the course? The Bali one is suggesting a lot of books, whereas the Vinyasa Yoga School doesn’t seem to mention reading or ‘homework’. Any advice greatly appreciated.

    • Ooh, tough choices! For me, I decided to study in India because it’s a lot cheaper than Bali and also it’s the birthplace of yoga. However, I definitely would say I prefer Ubud over Rishikesh and Indonesia over India. Bali is magic :)

      We didn’t do anything with prenatal yoga but we did dig deep into subjects like anatomy and yoga philosophy which I liked. Anyway, best of luck with whatever you decide!

  23. Just came across your post, I might do my teacher training in Rishikesh at Shiva Yoga Peeth. I believe they will be teaching ashtanga vinyasa flow and hatha yoga. I’ve been practicing power vinyasa yoga in canada which I love but really enjoy the vinyasa deep flow more. Learning about eastern traditional yoga do you think doing training in the east would help/benefit one becoming a teacher who would be teaching in the west i.e canada. I’m having a hard time deciding going to india for my YTT because of this. my other option I’m considering is baron baptiste power yoga YTT

    • I think training in the east would be hugely beneficial… I’ve had having India on your yoga “resume” is very impressive to other yogis in the west and can help you get a job!

  24. I did my training at Jeevmoksha Gurukul Risihikesh, The class size allowed each of us to work on some of our own interests and difficulties. Also small class size allowed each of to teach a full 90 minute class as well as micro lessons. You think you know what you’re going to say and do, but its more challenging than it seems. We had the opportunity to get to know the teachers and learn about modern Indian culture in addition to studying the historic. It gave us a chance to live a simple yogic lifestyle with good food and time for reflection. Even though it was a quiet life, it seems something exciting happens everyday.
    I would say I was happy with my decision to do may training in Rishikesh.

  25. Nice blog with valuable information, by visiting lots of Yoga blogs, I came to know the benefits of Yoga Teacher Training and recently joined one of the popular Indian Yoga training “Akshara Yoga School” that provides yoga education, learning and experience.

  26. I have done my 200 hour yoga teacher training course with Akshi Yogashala and it was great experience for me. The teachers was awesome, food was great and room was very clean. I want to recommend this school to all my friend and all other yogis who want to go for yoga TTC in Rishikesh. This is best place to learn yoga.

    Check here for more info. https://www.akshiyogashala.org

  27. Hi Ashley,

    Great article!

    Can I ask: what plug-in do you use for that short bio on the upper right of your blog post?

    Thanks!

    Heather

  28. Thankyou so much for posting this article! I have been interested in the yoga school you went to and its good to read your experience. I was wondering about how you find the heat there? I have tried hot yoga and it always makes me dizzy, I’m worried I may struggle if the studios are super hot. also I know you said that you did the training to deepen your own practice, but do you feel like it really prepared you to teach? I would actually like to start teaching my own classes after I am qualified and I’m worried that I will have the qualification but wont feel prepared. do you get to practice teaching whilst you are on the course?
    :)

    • Hi Bella, so it was definitely hot during yoga, especially once the rainy season started. I remember some days it was 110 degrees! I’d check that the studio has AC before signing up if over-heating is a concern. And yes, I did feel prepared to teach after the course – we got to practice teaching quite extensively :)

  29. Hi Ashley, Thankyou of your reply. I was just wondering what time of year you went on this yoga training? thanks :)

  30. Hi Ashley, Thanks for sharing this nice blog with valuable information. I have done my 200 hour yoga teacher training course with AYM (Association for Yoga and Meditation) Rishikesh and it was great an experience for me. The trainer was awesome and food was good. I recommend my all friends and other yoga students who also want to go for yoga ttc in India. It is the best place to learn yoga and join the yoga teacher training course.

  31. Whereas I adore the ethos of this i don’t think I would be structured enough to do it. As a vegetarian myself those meals would bore me I think I wouldn’t eat the rest of the time I was there they don’t look very appetising. Kudos to you for sticking it out though no doubt you got an awful lot from it though. I would love to do something similar but something maybe not as structured, bit more laid back with a mixture of meals as no one can eat the same basics every single day.

  32. For the “What to pack” section, I was a bit disappointed to see that you are suggesting people bring shorts and tank tops. India is a somewhat conservative country, and although Westerners get something of a free pass, it’s not really socially acceptable to be seen wearing shorts. This could be different in where you went in the country, but where I have been, it is certainly the case.

  33. Hello, i would like to enquire which institute you did your yoga training in because it is such a bargain!

    Was the area safe enough for one to explore? or you had no time to do any sight seeing at all?

  34. I am embarking on my journey to the Vinyasa Yoga School in March…
    Do you have any recommendations? I am hoping to get a job teaching when I come home … Are you in touch with anyone that worked out for?

  35. Namaste Ashley, A wonderfully helpful post. (series of posts)
    I am preparing for a TTC in Rishikesh, leaving soon.
    As I read your post 2 things popped out at me.
    Our shared love of toast and singing, – favorite food – I look forward to mantra class!
    L~~

  36. Great post. Thanks for sharing your experience to the world. Well, yes india is a very good place to learn yoga.

  37. Great post. Thanks for sharing your experience to the world. Rishikesh is a land of Rishis (Saints and sages), spiritual masters, Pilgrimages and yoga lovers. This city is blessed by nature. Holy mother the Ganges comes from the tress of Lord Shiva and blesses this city with purity, natural energy and with divine vibration. Spiritual lovers can feel the inner connection and inner peace at this location.

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