Should I take my yoga teacher training in India? I get asked this question all the time. I personally did my first big training, my 200-hr., in North America and then I did my 300-hr. in India. I think I did it exactly right, and I’ll tell you why….
First off, India is a beautiful country with amazing people and a rich culture. I’ve been there twice and I really recommend that everyone visit, especially if you have a special place in your heart for yoga. Studying in India is a unique and fascinating experience that every yoga instructor should have. But I don’t think you should do your 200-hour there.
In North America we have been teaching yoga, in a very substantial way, for about 45 years. Yoga is a living, breathing science that is always changing and developing. North America has developed it’s own version of yoga that is VERY focused on the physical practice. There are advantages and disadvantage to this (too many for me to go into here), so I am not going to make a judgement on if this is good or bad, it just is. If you want to teach yoga in North America it is important that you have a solid understanding of anatomy and the ‘style’ that we have developed here. Unfortunately (or fortunately) you won’t get this type of training in India.
In India you get a more well-balanced training. They will go deeper into the philosophy, history. meditation, mudras, kriyas etc. It is a wonderful experience and I think EVERY teacher should do it at least once.
To work and teach in North America, where we value the body and the physical practice so much, you need to truly understand how intricate the body is and how the Asanas (postures) affect the body. I know several instructors who took their 200-hr. in India and come back unprepared to teach in the North American environment. In addition, a program here in North American will introduce you to meditation, philosophy, history etc. The exploration just won’t be as thorough as in India.
I didn’t originally plan to do my training the way I did, it just worked out that way. However, learn from my knowledge. Do your 200-hr in North America so that you can truly understand anatomy and how the puzzle of the body works in different asanas. Then you will be fully prepared to teach here, where you live. After a few years of experience, as your practice develops, take a trip to India to deepen your joy and appreciation for all that yoga is!
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