A day in the ashram life (my 200 hour YTT)

I have completed my 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training with Arhanta Yoga this week and I’m extremely grateful for the experiences and the achievements I have made during the intensive course.

As some of you have already followed my journey on instagram, you may have noticed that it has been a very transforming time for me.

During the 4 weeks I have earned so much more than just a certificate saying “you’re allowed to teach yoga anywhere in the world now”. It was an experience with a lot of ups, but also downs, opening my eyes in many ways and revealed

Due to the fully packed daily schedule, I didn’t have time to sit down and write a blog post. I was rather busy with studying and dealing with myself. Therefore, I’m more than happy to finally share my first impressions.

In the following I’m going to explain how my everyday life looked like during the 26 days of being in an ashram to become a yoga teacher. Take your time, it’s a little longer than expected, but definitely worth the read :-).

Thanks for being part of my journey. I will share more (perceptions, emotions, struggles, learnings) about the course in the next days.

What is a Yoga Teacher Training?

I did a 200 hour Hatha Yoga (classical yoga) intensive course in Khajuraho, India. I was trained in asana (yoga postures), how to teach hatha yoga (teaching skills), meditation, pranayama, anatomy, yoga & vedic philosophy, basics in ayurveda, how to build up a yoga business, and chanting.

What is Arhanta Yoga?

A company from the Netherlands offering 4 yoga courses a year in India :-).

Arhanta also means mastering the 5 senses.

What is an ashram? And how does Arhanta Yoga put it into practice?

In India in ancient times, the tradition was for students to live, work and study with their teacher. This is called the Gurukula system (‘guru’ meaning teacher; ‘kula’ is family).

The Arhanta Yoga Teacher Training Course follows the same ancient model.

The course is an intensive four weeks program.

Please remember 100% attendance is essential for the successful completion of the course.

This is a practical as well as experiential course; theory gives you understanding to practice, and practice gives meaning to theory. (taken from the Arhanta manual)

How does the ashram look like?

The ashram is somewhere in nowhere. There are guards 24/7. It’s very quiet. It might seem like a prison as there are small fences around the big “campus”, but it’s more than safe and definitely extremely beautiful. Let me show you some pictures:

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The ashram in the middle of nowhere.
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The gate.
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View from one of the rooftops in the morning after meditating.
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The small hall in which most of the lectures took place.
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The dining hall.
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The big hall in which some yoga classes took place.

Where did you sleep?

I shared a double room for 26 days with someone I’ve never met before and it worked out perfectly. Everything is basic and minimalistic. Pictures will show more:

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Yes mom, I did wash the clothes myself ;-).

What was special about this place concerning the structure?

Definitely the rules. In case you’re interested, go ahead:

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The one that hit me the most on day 1 was: do not ask to make any exceptions. There were no exceptions and there was nothing to discuss about any exceptions.

What was your daily schedule?

Okay, let’s get started.

5:15 h – 5:45 h Wake up

Getting ready, doing oil pulling with coconut oil, getting dressed in our uniform, making the bed (at least for the first 3 weeks, I tried really hard to keep this as a habit, but hmm…), brushing teeth, grabbing my yoga mat & meditation cushion and head out for the small hall to be IN TIME.

Side note: in time in an ashram means, if you’re not in the room 15 minutes before the class starts, you’re already late.

6:00 h – 7:00 h Meditation & Breathing Exercises

For all the yogis this means starting with Kapal Bhati, Anolum Vilom, etc. At some point bumble bee was introduced to us, so we also had a little entertainment here. Also, we were introduced to different pranayamas.

For all non yogis: We were taught different breathing exercises and started with short meditations. We were told that by the end of the class we could sit still for 25 minutes without moving. In the beginning inconceivable, in the end a normal routine.

7:15 h – 7:45 h Breakfast

In complete silence. Always warm, unsweetened breakfast with 2 bananas and tea.

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The time in between breakfast and the first lecture was mostly used for further studying.

8:45 h – 11:15 h Lecture: How To Teach

In this class we were taught how to teach asanas and warm up exercises. Therefore, we learned the methodology and techniques to teach and and correct asanas. Also, we were taught important aspects, such as environment settings in a class (mat settings, music; yes or no, how to welcome a student, etc.).

In the first week it was basically only sitting in the classroom, listen, and make looooots of notes. The second week started with teaching our first class. Every day it got more difficult. First, you only give instructions. Then you also have to watch the timing (very important in yoga!). Then you have to correct your students. Then you have to give Sanskrit names to all poses (i.e. sun salutation is surya namaskar).

Side note: Sanskrit is a language of ancient India. All yoga scripts are written in Sanskrit.

And finally, you have to teach 90 minutes in perfect sequencing. That’s the exact moment when you feel ready to teach and you’re excited to take the exam to officially become a yoga teacher.

11:30 h – 12:00 h Lunch

In complete silence. Food with a little spices, rotti, and herbs plus a salad.

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12:00 h – 12:45 h Karma Yoga

Selfless duty is one part of yoga. According to Swami Sivananda: “… Karma yoga is essentiell for building concentration and will-power. Service purifies the mind and makes us realize the oneness of all.”

Side note: Swami Sivananda was a Hindu spiritual teacher and a proponent of Yoga and Vedanta. 

Together with 6 other people, I was responsible to clean the small hall in which we had almost all lectures. Other students cleaned the pathways, took pictures (as we were not allowed), did gardening, were responsible for ensuring the attendance, etc.

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13:00 h – 14:45 h Lecture: Yoga Philosophy / Anatomy

The main lecture explains the vedic principles, philosophical knowledge of yoga and important facts about anatomy.

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15:00 h – 17:00 h Class: Asana (Yoga)

This class was a perfect opportunity to improve the own asana practice. We learned how to do advanced yoga postures, as well as variations of asanas.

17:15 h – 17:45 h Dinner

During dinner we were allowed to talk. For dessert we always had some fruits.

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18:00 h – 18:45 h Wifi/ spare time

The only time during the day which allowed you to take some time off. I mostly took a (cold) shower, checked if internet was available, listened to some music, had nice conversations or just relaxed for 45 mins.

19:00 h – 19:30 h Evening program / self study

The evening program was not daily, but they always changed the program. So sometimes we did chanting (singing), sometimes we had another lecture (about life topics or ayurveda), sometimes we had a yoga nidra class (sleeping yoga), and most of the time we studied :-).

19:30 h – 20:00 h Tea

A little time to have nice and meaningful conversations.

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20:00 h – 21:30 h study time

There was a lot to study. However, I never felt like I HAD to do it. It was more like I WANT to do it. So it was not a force to study at all. Though, I must say it took a lot of discipline as our brain was already working for 14 hours by that time. It was never easy, but it was worth the effort.

21:30 h Lights out = sleeping

Mind and body were definitely tired after the above described days. No struggle to fall asleep at all! Also, knowing that the alarm is going to ring at 5:15 am again made you want to sleep as soon as possible.


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In between there needed to be some time for improving our own practice.
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The baby cows at the ashram.

Sunday = day off

The only day we could take a break from our strict schedule. Mostly we used the opportunity to go to Khajuraho town to eat (a looot), buy nuts (as sweets were prohibited at the ashram), or get a relaxing massage at the health temple.

 


Again, I’m more than grateful that I had the opportunity to stay at this special place for a month. It’s a place where a lot of transformation took place.

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Teachers and their students (now teachers too :-)).


I’m going to share more very soon. In case you have any questions, ask! I can highly recommend this course (and its absolutely passionate teachers) if you’re interested in learning more about yoga and the philosophy. 

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