My 200 Hours Yoga TTC in Rishikesh – Shaun M. Leonard

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My journey into Yoga and way to my 200 hours Yoga TTC

I was first introduced to yoga during physical therapy for a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula I suffered playing college football. From that point forward, I began supplementing my strength and conditioning program with yoga to improve joint flexibility, mobility, and stability. Following my college career, I decided to take a step back from weight training. And I began to attend yoga classes a few times per week to maintain my fitness.

 

One day during a Vinyasa Flow class, I unintentionally entered a state of meditation. When I realized what I  experienced, it made me wonder if there could be more to yoga than just physical exercise. It was that moment, that created a desire for me to seek a deeper understanding of the history of yoga. And that search is what lead me to one of Rishikesh’s top yoga schools: Akshi Yogashala.

My experience about learning yoga in India

As soon as I arrived at the campus, I knew I am exactly where I supposed to be. And I am doing exactly what I supposed to be doing. The entire Akshi family – from reception to facilities management, from dining services to the gurus (yoga teachers) themselves – immediately embraced your presence. And they humbly welcomed you into their community. During orientation day management of the course clearly outlined the structure of the program. They met expectations and requirements. And the start of our journey as students and teachers celebrated with a fire ceremony.

 

The 200-hour yoga teacher training course itself was immersive and demanding. But at the same time, it was fulfilling and manageable. Words can’t really explain the experience in its entirety – it is simply something one has to live on their own to truly understand and appreciate. However, after the first day of class, I realized something. That yoga is more than physical fitness. In fact, I realized that I had never practiced yoga before. What I have done before is called practicing asanas. Moreover, yoga isn’t about handstands and impressive backbends. Yoga is an approach to life; a way of living based on thousands upon thousands of years of lived experience.

My realizations about YTTC in Rishikesh

My 200 hours teacher training course was a success. But, not because I achieved an advanced asana, passed a written examination, successfully led my own class, and received a Yoga Alliance certification. My 200 hours  yoga TTC was a success. Because it made me realize that as a teacher, I will always be a student first, and a guide second. And that piece of knowledge gained directly from the wisdom shared at Akshi Yogashala.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 200 Hours (Testimonial)

Shaun M. Leonard, RYT 200

Boston, MA, U.S.A.

Vrischikasana

Vrischikasana or Scorpion pose. How to perform

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Vrischikasana, scorpion and history

Vrischikasana or scorpion pose. Once upon a time, there was a sage who was bathing in a river. When he stepped on the river bank, he found a scorpion trapped between two rocks, desperately struggling to escape. The sage freed the scorpion by moving the rocks. As soon as it was free, the scorpion stung the sage with its poisonous tail before scampering away. An onlooker laughed and told the sage that it served him tight to save a scorpion. To which the sage replied, “ I behave as per my nature and it behaved as per its own.” What is the connection between Vrischikasana and scorpion?

We must each live our lives as per our nature. Other people should not influence. The story draws on a very important yogic philosophy – swabhav or our inner personality. Do we live our lives true to our nature or do we constantly adapt or pretend to adapt to the environment around us that knots our minds, knots that can only be removed through yogic practices?

Vrischikasana according Hindu methodology

Hindu methodology associate scorpion with the goddess Chamunda. People also know her as the scorpion-bellied goddess. She is depicted as a gaunt, emaciated goddess with many arms, who is associated with crematoriums and battlefields. She is surrounded by corpses and ghosts and feeds on the entrails of the dead. Therefore, her concave stomach displays a scorpion which adds to her ferocity. She is a frightening goddess.
This image, in non-Hindu mythology, gods and goddesses take various forms, some romantic, some lovable, some delightful and some frightening. They express all human emotions.
Thus, for Hindus, this is the form of the goddess. Even the crematorium, ghosts and goblins are part of the divine scheme of things.
In tantric traditions, by meditating on this inauspicious, frightening and undesirable things that we can see the true nature of the world and attain wisdom.

How to perform Vrischikasana or Scorpion pose

This posture resembles the curled tail of a scorpion ready to strike its prey. And incorporates the challenge of a backbend into an already tricky inverted position. A common problem that students face while practicing this asana is the floor. In the sense that their face touched the floor when they get up into the inversion. This is caused by an initial fear response which compels the practitioner to bring their shoulders as far forward as possible. When, in fact, the ideal position for the shoulders is directly above the elbows.
This orientation offers the most ground clearance for the head, and by stacking the upper arms bones vertically, the balance is then reliant on bone support instead of pure muscular exertion.
You can learn  asana Vrischikasana and more others yoga poses in our Yoga Teacher Training Course.
Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health

How yoga benefits your mental health

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A healthy mind is a state of well being

Do we all not know people who are suffering from mental health problems like depression? With changing lifestyles and food habits, mental health concerns are escalating globally, with stress, anxiety, and depression becoming common diseases.

A healthy mind is a state of well being where the mind is able to cope with the normal stresses of life and it can work productively even when placed under pressure.

Researches show that Yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly. Along with physical, it increases our mental flexibility.

As Patanjali describes in the Yoga Sutras, the purpose of Yoga is to still the turbulence of the mind. Apart from its numerous health benefits like removing constipation and improving bone health, Yoga can treat neurological disorders and improve mental health. When you shift focus from your body to your breath, anxiety is released and physical tension eased.

How Yoga Benefits Mental Health:

1. Clams Your Nervous System: Yoga helps us move from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system or from fight-to-flight state to rest-and-digest.
Our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) helps us to relax and when we activate our PNS through Yoga. We reside in the PNS state for a longer duration. That is because breathing deeply relaxes our senses, muscles and lowers our blood pressure.

2. Improves Self Worth and Confidence:
 Breathing practices (Pranayama) in Yoga increase the supply of oxygen in our brain thus helping us to focus better, improving our concentration and memory.

As we become more and more aware and confident in our abilities. We build a healthy ego as we do not need to prove anything to anyone. Thus, Yoga helps boost the positive energy of individuals suffering from depression. Practicing asanas daily teaches us to focus better. Yoga also increases our awareness of our bodies. When we are focused on our efficiency level increase, our confidence is boosted.

3. Makes You Happy: The brain releases happy hormones like Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Serotonin after a yoga session. These hormones are responsible for reducing stress and increasing energy levels and creativity.

4. Yoga Leads to Better and Deep Sleep: Restorative Yoga poses before sleeping act as an excellent tool to induce sleep. Certain yogic breathing practices relax the mind and aid in sound sleep.

Practicing yoga daily not only helps people who are suffering from mental health disorders, but prevent them in the first place. Psychotherapists globally are gradually accepting yogic asanas and breathing as one of the effective and natural ways to heal patients with mental health issues.

Read more:200 Hour Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh

Yoga teacher training in india

Benefits of 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in India

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Attend 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training (TTC) in India or not?

Whether you want to become a yoga teacher or you want to strengthen your personal practice, deciding on a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in India can be a difficult task. With new schools opening up all across the world, choosing where to enroll has never been more confusing. The birthplace of yoga – India – has been a popular destination for TTCs. But, is it right for you?

Tradition

Across the Western world, yoga has become popular because it is a valuable form of physical exercise. However, in Indian traditions, the foundation of yoga is the human spirit. Discovered in ancient Sanskrit philosophical texts, yoga has been revered as a holistic approach to life for thousands of years. As a result, these traditions have become firmly established in the basis of Indian culture. Students who choose a Yoga TTC in India get to experience this cultural authenticity first hand.

Rishikesh is Yoga capital of the World

Rishikesh is located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India. Many travelers and yoga seekers regard Rishikesh as the world capital of yoga. Brought to the attention of Westerners by a visit from The Beatles in the late 1960s, Rishikesh has served as a center for learning and practicing yoga long before the iconic rock band studied Transcendental Meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In fact, Indians seeking yogic education, solace, and even spiritual enlightenment have journeyed to Rishikesh for ages. Located on the banks of the Ganga River, it is home to the most reputable ashrams and schools in the world.

Affordability of Yoga Teacher Training in India

Yoga TTC’s and retreats can be expensive. It is not uncommon for students to pay upwards of $5000USD to complete a month-long program. Since foreign currencies – in particular, the Euro and Dollar – have a favorable exchange rate. Courses in India quite often provide a considerable financial advantage. Additionally, Tourist Visa’s are reasonably priced and relatively easy to secure when the purpose of your travel is to learn and practice yoga.

The Deciding Factor

When it comes time to make your final decision the most important factor is: You. You have to be honest with yourself and what you want to gain from your TTC experience. On one hand, a culturally immersive program in India is intense and requires commitment. On the other hand, the opportunity to study and practice in the land where yoga originated is definitely worthy of your consideration. While you research your options remember one thing: no matter where you choose to study, your journey into yoga will be well worth your efforts.
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