My Rishikesh Diaries

For those of you who know me, my teacher training in India was a truly memorable experience that I would find very difficult to forget! I was already undertaking a teacher training course in the UK, but when I had the opportunity to take 4 weeks out, I just knew that I had to grab the opportunity of learning in India… and what better place than Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world.

So off I went, suitcase packed and ready for the adventure of a lifetime. However, when I arrived, like countless others no doubt, I wondered what on earth I had done! Here I was, confronted with this basic room, and an even more basic bathroom and what I would later discover, a constant layer of fine dirt on the floor! I felt so alone and so just sat down and cried! But then I thought, ‘Louise, get a grip, you can do this!’ So I picked myself up, put my flip flips on and figured I’d go and check out Rishikesh… or more precisely Ram Jhula where I was staying. I was fortunate enough to meet another girl (Steffi) coming out of her room just as I was leaving, who asked if I’d like to go join her for dinner. I had made my first friend! From that moment I knew I was going to love it in Rishikesh and experience something truly magical. And I have to say, Steffi played a big part in this… morning coffee on the step was a real treat on my day off!

Yoga teacher training started a couple of days later and boy, did I know it! For the next 4 weeks my day began at 5:30am and finished at 7:30pm. Classes included asana practice, philosophy, anatomy, pranayama and meditation, plus lots of study! For the first week my muscles were so sore from all the asana practice, particularly ‘yogic food’ in Ashtanga class! It was absolute torture, but it got me strong, both physically and mentally. Over the course of the weeks I saw my body change dramatically.. I had muscles I never knew I had! However, 2 weeks of ‘Delhi Belly’ certainly played a part in it, and at times I felt so weak from both this and a lack of sleep that I longed for our single day off each week. Yet throughout all of this, it just felt like home and I felt a sense of belonging.

Unfortunately a pulled muscle in my lower back put me out of action for a while, but whilst I was thinking that was it for me because I couldn’t do yoga if I wasn’t practicing asanas, I came to develop a greater understanding and respect for what yoga truly is, the union of the mind, body and breath. Meditation and pranayama play such a huge role in gaining control of the mind, and asana practice alone is not enough. I found that in addition to this, I was really enjoying learning more about Hindu philosophy and I was looking forward to my daily classes more and more as the weeks passed.

But the people I met and the friends I made are what really shaped this wonderful experience for me, and they will stay with me forever. My fellow students, the amazing teachers who just want to share their passion for yoga with you, and all those staying at the school all play a big part in the special memories I have made.

Was it tough? Absolutely.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Rishikesh is a magical city and a place you really have to see for yourself in order just to appreciate its mysticism… from the beauty of Mother Ganga to the crazy chaos of the traffic, it can’t help but get under your skin and steal your heart.

If you are thinking of doing yoga teacher training, then if you have the opportunity, book that flight and head on out to Rishikesh.. you won’t regret it!

Hari Om