The Spiritual Side of Yoga Teacher Training

Spiritual yoga meditation
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If you’re considering yoga teacher training then you might already know that yoga is more than just exercise – it’s a holistic lifestyle and transformative spiritual practice too!

Yoga combines physical postures, breathwork, meditation, philosophy and spirituality and has the power to transform not only our bodies but also our minds and spirits.

Whilst there are many books you can read about spirituality and yoga, it’s something that you really have to experience first-hand to understand and integrate into your daily life.

There’s no better way to do this than by joining a yoga teacher training (YTT) program where you’ll learn not only the physical poses (asanas) but also the complex philosophy and spirituality that underpins yoga.

So, let’s explore the connection between yoga and spirituality, and how yoga teacher training can help you on your own spiritual journey. 

Spiritual Yoga Teacher Training at Jiva Yoga Academy, Rishikesh, India
Opening ceremony at Jiva Yoga Academy teacher training in Rishikesh

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The Connection Between Yoga and Spirituality

The Origins of Yoga

Yoga has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. It originated as a spiritual practice in ancient India over 5,000 years ago and has since spread throughout the world.

The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to unite or join. The practice of yoga aims to unite the mind, body, and spirit.

The earliest evidence of yoga is found in the Vedas and the Upanishads, ancient sacred Indian texts that describe practices aimed at attaining spiritual enlightenment and connecting with a higher power.

One of the most popular books to learn about yoga philosophy and spirituality is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which describes the 8 Limbs of Yoga as a path to spiritual growth and self-realization.

Spiritual yoga training

Yoga Philosophy and Spirituality

The philosophical foundations of yoga are based on the idea that everything in the universe is interconnected, including the human body and mind.

So, whilst yoga is a spiritual discipline rooted in Hindu philosophy, it can be practiced by people from all walks of life, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs.

Spirituality (and yoga) goes beyond religious practices and beliefs. It is an inner journey of personal growth, seeking purpose, meaning, and a sense of interconnectedness with the universe, other people, and a higher power.

Through regular yoga and meditation practice, by quieting your mind and focusing on your breath and body, you can tap into a deeper sense of awareness, consciousness and find inner peace.

Over the centuries yoga has evolved and changed. Today there are many different styles of yoga and approaches to the practice but it is still much more than just a workout – it’s a powerful tool for spiritual awakening and personal transformation.

Yoga class on the banks of the holy Ganges river
Yoga by the holy Ganges river. Photo credit: Jiva Yoga Academy, Rishikesh

Spirituality and Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga teacher training programs cover much more than just learning the asanas or physical yoga poses. Most YTTs take between 2 weeks and 1 month to complete, during which you’ll get to dive deep into the spiritual and scientific aspects of yoga.

In addition to daily yoga classes, which incorporate meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises), you’ll also learn all about yoga philosophy and anatomy as well as how to teach yoga to others.

There are numerous reasons to take a yoga training course and many people do so not to become yoga instructors at all, but simply to deepen their personal practice and experience this spiritual growth and transformation for themselves.

The intensive and immersive nature of yoga training programs provides an ideal opportunity for physical, emotional and spiritual transformation in a supportive environment guided by experienced yoga teachers within a like minded community.

Rishikesh. Photo by Gokul Gurang on pexels

Yoga Teacher Training in India

If you’re interested in spirituality, then there’s no better place to undertake yoga training than in India – the birthplace of yoga and a deeply spiritual country.

When you study yoga in India you’ll be immersed in the yogic lifestyle, experience the spirituality of India first hand, and learn traditional and authentic yoga from highly experienced teachers – it’s also one of the most affordable places in the world to do a YTT!

Whilst there are many options when it comes to yoga teacher training in India, the holy Indian city of Rishikesh is, in my opinion, the best place to experience authentic and spiritual yoga teacher training.

Rishikesh is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas along the sacred river Ganges. It is a deeply spiritual place known as the yoga capital of the world and is home to numerous temples, ashrams and yoga schools.

It’s important to note that there are hundreds of yoga schools in Rishikesh offering teacher training programs. It’s become big business and there are many schools taking huge groups of students to maximise profit which leaves limited time for individual support.

Yoga teacher training can be a life changing experience but it is also challenging, so it’s important to be able to get plenty of personal support from your teachers and not just be another number in a huge class. If you’re after a spiritual experience, then be aware of this.

Yoga in Rishikesh, India. Photo by Gokul Gurang on pexels

Rishikesh – The Yoga Capital of the World

One Rishikesh yoga school that does offer authentic spiritual yoga training in an intimate, family-like environment with small group sizes is Jiva Yoga Academy.

Their school offers Hatha and Ashtanga yoga training courses that are certified by Yoga Alliance USA, and they limit their group sizes to ensure each student receives personalized guidance on their practice and spiritual journey.

Jiva Yoga Academy offer a comprehensive 200 hour yoga teacher training program which takes place over 24 days and covers ancient yogic and spiritual practices in depth, including:

  • Asana (yoga poses)
  • Meditation
  • Pranayama (breathing exercises)
  • Mantra chanting
  • Kriyas (yogic cleansing exercises)
  • Mudras (gestures)
  • Bandhas (energy locks)
  • Ayurveda (an ancient life science also originating from India)
  • Yoga philosophy
  • Anatomy, alignment and adjustment
  • Ethics and yogic lifestyle
  • Teaching practice

Successful completion of the 200 hour YTT provides you with a certificate to teach yoga anywhere in the world, and experience of living life on the yogic path as a holistic and spiritual journey towards the inner self.

If you have limited time you can also try a 7 day holistic healing yoga retreat, or a 100 hour YTT course which takes 12 days and will give you a solid introduction to teaching yoga. If you have already completed a 200 hour training, they also offer an advanced 300 hour YTT for those who want to go deeper.

All yoga programs include accommodation, vegetarian meals and airport pick up to ensure your experience is smooth and stress free.

Jiva Yoga Academy is located in a peaceful part of Rishikesh in Upper Tapovan. It is surrounded by nature but just a short walk from the holy Ganga river and all the temples, shops and cafes. So you get the best of both worlds, a serene place to practice yoga whilst still being able to experience the unique spiritual atmosphere of one of India’s most sacred cities.

The courses are led by supportive and experienced Indian teachers who live the spiritual yogic lifestyle and all hold masters degrees in yoga and are passionate about sharing their knowledge and way of life.

As always, make sure you read reviews before signing up for any yoga program abroad, you can check out Jiva Yoga Academy’s reviews on Google.

Jiva Yoga Academy teaching training
Yoga Teacher Training at Jiva Yoga Academy in Rishikesh

Final Thoughts

Yoga offers more than just a workout, it’s a way of life that can unite body, mind and soul, it’s a path to leading a healthier, happier life that can be truly transformational.

Even if you don’t plan to teach, the best way to learn about yoga is by joining a yoga teacher training course where you’ll discover the philosophy behind yoga as well as the physical poses.

To delve deeper into yoga’s roots and embark on a spiritual journey head to India – it’s birthplace! If a spiritual yoga teacher training experience appeals to you then Rishikesh stands out as one of the best places to go to with it’s numerous yoga schools and temples.

Visiting India is bound to be a life changing adventure so be sure to do your research, check out reviews, and go with an open mind and heart to have the best experience.

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One Comment

  1. Hey people!!!!!
    Good mood and good luck to everyone!!!!!

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