This Rishikesh Yoga Survival Guide is for the modern female aspirant. A student of Yoga. A guide to help you on the journey with your new love, Yoga. A student learning to be a teacher. How to choose the right Yoga School. What is Rishikesh Yoga like? World Capital of Yoga- Can you find ‘your tribe?’
We all start out the same. Escaping from reality, 9 to 5 jobs. Being a yoga teacher sounds like a dream come true. Apart from that, many are searching. Big gullible eyes, wandering souls, searching heart. Looking for answers. Searching for the truth. Taking a plunge to discover the spiritual side of yoga. Or maybe you only realized spirituality exists upon arrival in Rishikesh. Are you ready to be brainwashed? Will you survive the spiritual ego lingering in Rishikesh ‘Yoga classrooms?’ That messes with your heart and your brain? How do you know who you can trust? Who is telling the truth? Is spirituality a cult and do some aspects of Yoga fall under it?
Many people come to Rishikesh just to experience yoga in India. To take a class with a real yogi. A teacher from India, born and raised under the Yogic lifestyle. Other’s have come searching for something. Rishikesh is a spiritual city with Good Energy flowing from the Holy Ganga. A place to discover and learn more about the meaning of life. Hinduism and spirituality. A place many travellers go to find themselves. ‘Their tribe’, their inner light or whatever you want to call it.
I expected every one of India Nationality to practice Yoga. I stereotyped. Boxed and assumed. Guilty as charged. I made a lot of nice local friends from 2 cities. Rishikesh and Dharamsala. They allowed me to shed light on my confusion of ‘Yoga Culture’ and Hindu mythology. My ‘guru’. We will call him my Yoga Guide. Shed light on Yoga during a difficult time of trying to find my ‘Yoga Tribe’.
Not every Indian person practises Yoga. To me, it seemed like the Yoga culture got lost. Not Hinduism. Or was it only available to a set few? Some didn’t practice at all. For others, it was part of their education. They went to Ashrams and studied the Yogic way of life. It’s not the same Ashram as a Yoga school- where Teacher training takes place.
There is no real way. Trust your intuition. The connection is important. You need to feel like part of the family. Go there, check out the vibe, feel the energy of the place and people. This ensures that your expectations match the reality. Most courses in Rishikesh run through-out the year, starting at the beginning of each month. If you have the time and money go a couple weeks prior and scout out the schools. Most courses have about 7-15- students a month. The less the better. Getting a spot is easy. On a side note, it’s good to understand that Teacher Training Schools are created under Yoga Alliance from America. There is no regulation in the Yoga world. You make an online subscription. Pay to have the license. That’s it. Viola. You now are a Yoga School in Rishikesh registered under Yoga Alliance from America. I asked my Yoga Guide about being registered with Yoga Alliance. He said, “But who are they?”
The truth is you have to confirm. People will ask if you’re a certified Yoga Teacher. I guess it’s up to you. To be certified, commercial and confirm or to experience Yoga authentically. According to Yoga Ashrams in India. I’m not trying to put any organisation or business down. It’s the way the world works. Everything is down to business. Don’t get me wrong. Not even I am that authentic. Realization hit hard in India. You can see the difference between a real ashram and a Yoga School.
Knowledge is power. We can’t always connect with people in person. We can connect virtually and see their online presence. What past students have said and what style or lineage the school follows. Use these platforms when choosing the right ‘Yoga School’, certified by Yoga Alliance. From America. First experience a Yoga Retreat or holiday. Because according to me and what I understand from my Yoga Guide. It is not necessary to be Certified. At least not if you are looking for an authentic Yoga Experience in the real Ashrams of India. Or ashram lineages that have branched out in other countries.
It’s an expensive endeavour. The thing is the true essence of Yoga got lost. It’s become a business. A yoga business. I too am guilty of this. Everyone is. It’s just how modern society works. Capitalism, regulations, boxing of people. A real Ashram doesn’t have an American stamp. Yoga was born in India, not America. A price tag from the Capitalist Superpower. What is the point really? In the ashrams it’s free- you can go to do Seva or service. This is not advertised in the yoga schools. They would go out of business. Many teachers tell you that they don’t take foreigners. This is untrue. White lies are common in India, especially the Yoga Schools. I fell under this and it’s half the reason I’m writing this article.
This is a real thing. You may only understand once you’ve experienced it. I’m writing this on behalf of so many women that have fallen prey to Gurus. Claiming to awaken kundalini or heal you spiritually. It’s very much a sexual invasion of the intimate energy of the self. There are many male ‘yogis’ claiming to be more than what they really are. Fake. There was a case while I was in Rishikesh. Apart from that, I witnessed it myself. We will call them Yogi Energy Vampires.
This is someone who identifies your light or your pain and offers to ‘heal’ you. Or tries to persuade you into healing. A kind of healing that may leave a negative imprint on your being and brain. It’s not ok to infringe on someone’s personal space. A Yogi Energy Vampire is someone who can read you. They understand and can see your energy. They can easily feel what you are longing for. See and identify your pain. If you can see the energy and feel people’s vibrations. You understand heartache. Is it just purely because they want to get laid? Or is it some form of sexual control that enlivens them? Yes, I do believe in Sex energy. I also see many of these Energy Yogi vampires (Yoga Teachers at the Yoga Schools) infringing on women looking to heal. Emotionally and spiritually.
I’m not the only one who asked this question. There are many others. It is rare to find. I only heard of one female Yogini at the end of my Rishikesh trip. Yoga teachings in Rishikesh are predominantly given by males. I am not saying all male Rishikesh Yoga teachers have bad intentions. No. I had some of the kindest, most sincere teachers. But there are some that play on your emotions. Read you and negatively affect your personal growth, mental and spiritual well-being. Majority of Yoga students are female and most school all have male teachers. So you can just try to picture what it’s like. When a man is in some sense idolised and put on a spiritual pedestal. Try to be objective.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. The point of this article is to help you choose what is best for your yoga journey and personal spiritual growth. It shouldn’t be taken that seriously. My friends and I created a theme song to help shed some light and laughs on this experience. The seriousness that is spiritually and Yoga. How some people have taken advantage of this spiritual journey.
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