Planning to join a yoga teacher training course in Rishikesh, India? Read this first.
Yoga in Rishikesh is now synonymous with yoga teacher training courses offered by a number of schools in Rishikesh. If you are a real believer of the ancient art of well being, then Rishikesh is one of the very few places where you can find your answers.
There are several Yoga training centers around Ram Jhula (Swargashram), Laxman Jhula, and Tapovan area. These Yoga schools provide several yoga courses such as Yoga teacher training program (YTTC 200, 300 or 500 Hours), yoga retreats (5, 7 and 10 days) and yoga classes (daily drop-in classes). Yoga Teacher Training Course is for someone who wishes to teach yoga in future and requires a formal certification recognized by Yoga Alliance (U.S.).
Joining a yoga retreat is more like having a small break from your daily routine and following a spiritual and disciplined life in a school. The school provides accommodation, food and yoga classes during the retreat period. Typical class duration varies from 3 days to over 10 days.
Daily drop in classes are open to anyone who wants to take a class or two at his own convenience. The classes are held on a regular basis and schools around Laxman Jhula market area conduct such classes. The fees for a class vary from INR 200–300 (USD 3–4).
Rishikesh is a city in Dehradun district of Indian state, Uttarakhand. It is in northern India and located in the foothills of Himalayas. It is approximately 25 KM north of the city Haridwar and 43 km southeast of the state capital, Dehradun. Ancient practice of yoga and meditation originated in the city and therefore Rishikesh is known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. The variety of schools offering yoga courses, the inherent spirituality in the atmosphere, and the presence of Ganges make this city unique in its own way.
How to Reach Rishikesh?
There are numbers of travelling options such as by air, train, bus or taxi to reach Rishikesh comfortably and safely. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, approximately 35 kilometres away from Rishikesh. Low budget Indian airlines such as Air India, Spice Jet and Jet Airways have daily flight from New Delhi to Dehradun. Average airfare from New Delhi to Dehradun is 40–50 USD one way. You can carry up to 15 KG in the check-in baggage and another 7 KG in the hand baggage. Additional weight is charged at INR 100–150 (USD 2–3 per excess KG).
Since the number of flights to Dehradun is limited, those who are getting off at New Delhi Airport late evening can take a taxi from New Delhi to Rishikesh. Average price of a taxi ride from New Delhi to Rishikesh is around 70–80 USD. Please book the Taxi in advance and from reliable source only (such as registered taxi service providers) prior to landing in Delhi.
Those who are comfortable travelling by Bus can take a bus to Dehradun/Rishikesh from Kashmiri Gate ISBT. Buses depart from morning till late evening (9:30 -10:30 PM) from Kashmiri Gate ISBT to Rishikesh every day. You can find both non A.C., ordinary to luxury Volvo bus services from Kashmiri Gate ISBT. Please note that the number of Volvo buses to Dehradun/Rishikesh is limited and the schedule of the bus departure from New Delhi is fixed. You can book the Uttarakhand state government bus service online or check the details of Volvo bus Services from New Delhi to Rishikesh. Please refrain from taking any bus service other than that provided by the government transport corporations (Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh Transport corporation). Please note that the buses may get fully booked through online portal on the day of their departure. If you are planning to use a bus service, don’t be a victim of the uncertainty and book your seat in advance.
Ordinary, non A.C. bus trip from New Delhi to Rishikesh costs INR 250- 300 (USD 4–5), whereas Volvo bus trip costs INR 700–800 per trip (USD 10–12). If you are not extremely tight on budget, prefer Volvo over ordinary (extra 6 dollars are worth the convenience).
The closest railway station is Haridwar. Although Rishikesh does have its own railway station, there are not many trains running from the station. Some popular train services from New Delhi to Haridwar are: Shatabdi Express (A.C.), Jan Shatabdi Express (A.C.) and Mussoorie Express (both A.C. and Non A.C. coaches). You can check the availability of the trains through the Indian railway portal.
A.C. train reservation from New Delhi to Haridwar costs USD 10–12.
Why Yoga in Rishikesh?
Rishikesh is widely known as a centre for studying yoga and meditation. Approximately 35–40 well established yoga centers provide different courses such as yoga teacher training programs, yoga for learners, hatha and ashtanga yoga courses, daily drop in yoga classes etc.
Some yoga schools are registered with Yoga alliance USA, whereas other schools focus on teaching yoga in the old traditional Indian method. If you are confused about which yoga school to choose, you should ask yourself the following questions:
• Do you value the certification provided by the Yoga Alliance (USA) more than that provided by the traditional Indian yoga schools?
• Are you comfortable in following an extremely restrictive and rigid routine or you don’t want to go that far to earn a certificate?
If you are looking to earn Yoga Alliance U.S. certificate and curious to learn yoga but don’t want to follow extremely rigid rules and regulations of Ashrams, go for Yoga Alliance certified schools. If you want to embrace the yogic life for a month and can accept restrictive rules and regulations of Ashrams, go for traditional Indian Yoga Schools.
However, before enrolling in any course you should do research about the school and its facilities. Since learning yoga in a particular environment is a matter of personal choice, the preference for a school varies from one person to another. While researching about a school, you should focus of the following points:
• School location (Tapovan, Jonk Village (Swargashram), Laxman Jhula)
• Class size
• Accommodation facility (Shared or private, A.C. / Non A.C.)
• Teaching methodology (General theory vs. one-to-one mentoring). This information is hard to obtain, but can be found in the reviews section of independent portals such as Book Yoga Trip.
• Food quality (Meals served)
• Yoga hall details (To avoid practicing yoga in a cramped room with dozen others).
• Kitchen details.
• Certificate allotted (Yoga Alliance or traditional, Only Yoga or Yoga and Ayurveda combined).
How do I select a Yoga School from among a dozen of yoga schools in Rishikesh?
This is again an individual’s choice. There are almost 35–40 standard yoga schools available in Rishikesh, each with its own unique nature. There are schools that are old and then there are new schools. Please note that just because a school is older does not necessarily means that it is better than the newer schools.
Schools have their founder instructors and few teacher hires. Almost every yoga school in Rishikesh is following the same pattern. So your choice of yoga school largely depends on your individual preference. Here are the questions you should ask yourself before paying advance to a school (schools typically ask for a non refundable advance of 200 USD for reserving a seat).
• Are you comfortable learning yoga in extremely large class or you prefer small collaborative, home like environment with a tight-knit student community? (Old schools have higher class size.)
• Do you like a large class community or more personalized attention.
• Do you plan to practice Yoga in the heart of a busy market or prefer staying and practicing yoga away from the hustle bustle of the city? (Schools located in Swargashram, Jonk Village, and Laxman Jhula are located in crowded areas. Schools in Tapovan and upper Tapovan have more open surroundings).
• Are you focused solely on yoga teacher training program or are you looking to obtain another certification course on Ayurveda along with the yoga in the same period. (Schools that run Ayurveda Yoga Teacher Training Course (AYTTC) confer two certificates in Both Yoga and Ayurveda during the same period).
• Is there any specific teacher you would like to follow? (Yoga training comprises of various subjects such as Asanas, Meditation, Anatomy, and Philosophy etc. It is always better to choose a school with overall expert faculties rather than relying on a single teacher or on school’s reputation as deciding factor.)
• How important is accommodation or food facility to you? (Can you survive without A.C. especially during the summers when the temperature can get unbearable.)
At the end of the course all schools provide same kind of certification. Since all registered schools’ certificate carries the same weight, you should choose a yoga school based on your personal choice.
Preference/ School to choose
Prefer personalized approach, tight-knit students’ community, individual attention/ Schools with small class size.
Prefer learning yoga away from the hustle bustle of the market, in open surroundings/ Schools located at Tapovan/ upper Tapovan
Prefer to stay right in the middle of the market area or populated areas/ Schools located in Laxman Jhula, Swargashram/ Jonk Village.
Prefer double certification of Ayurveda and Yoga in the same period./ Schools that provide Ayurveda Yoga Teacher Training Program (AYTTC)
Prefer to learn Indian style Yoga, Ashram culture, and Hinduism./ Traditional Yoga schools not registered with yoga alliance, Ashrams.
Autorikshaw, private taxi and bikes are available on rent. A round trip to market costs INR 20–30 (USD 0.5) in a shared auto. Since all the amenities are available locally so you may not need to go a long way to get something you want.
Different varieties of food is available in Rishikesh. Both Indian and Western meals are easily available in restaurants and cafes at a reasonable price. Schools do not put restrictions on consumption of outside food.
Average Daily Expenses:
Apart from the money which is charged by the yoga centers for accommodation and food, approximately INR 1000–2000 (15–20 USD) are enough to spend in daily expenses like buying groceries or exploring Rishikesh in general.
Places to see:
If you want to explore the city, you can head to the downtown Rishikesh, where you can find various shopping stores near Triveni Ghat area.
You should not miss the Evening Arti at Parmarth Niketan, which starts in the evening (usually 7:00 PM in the summer and 6:00 PM in the winters). White water rafting from Brahmpuri (less intense) and Shivpuri (more intense) is another activity you must not miss while you are in Rishikesh. There are a number of rafting service providers located in and around Ram Jhula/ Tapovan area where you can book a trip. The per person cost for the rafting in the Ganges is INR 600 (USD 10).
It is worth going for a Panchkarma treatment session or Ayurveda consultation with an Ayurveda doctor. To avoid running into any self-styled Ayurveda expert, check for B.A.M.S. designation prior to going for a consultation. (B.A.M.S. stands for Bachelor in Ayurveda and Medicine Science, a four year graduation course in India).
Medical and Pharmaceutical:
The medical facility in Rishikesh is available 24X7. AIIMS (7 KM from Laxman Jhula), Nirmal Ashram Hospital (5 KM) and Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (23 KM) are some well-known hospitals. Allopathic, Ayurvedic and Homeopathic medicines are available in different pharmacies in Laxman Jhula area.
For Female Solo Travellers:
Rishikesh is safe in general. However, you should take precaution while you are traveling. Do not eat anything given by strangers, do not stay out late in the night alone. Every school has placed instructions given by the Police department. Please follow the instructions. In case of any problem, you can approach the Police. Police Stations are located in Ram Jhula/Swargashram area and on Tapovan Badrinath Road.
All images are property of Book Yoga Trip. Images are taken with permission from concerned parties.