Going Away to Study Yoga Versus Studying at Home21 Aug 2017
Autobiography of a Yoga Wally Part 2
Chapter on going away to study Yoga versus staying at home
As a yoga teacher who has studied a lot abroad, I am often asked about yoga intensives and
whether you should study yoga teacher training in one month long chunk on a beach in Goa,
or at home over a longer period of time. They both have their benefits, of which I am sure
you are aware of many – shorter training time, intensity of practice, immersion, heat (!!), etc.
but I hope you will find the benefits of my experience helpful to add to the mix.
The yoga school I attended ran its programs in intensive month long courses. Progressing
as you completed the syllabus and practical exams, and moved on to the next month’s
trainings and initiations. I did the training in chunks, my first month in Rishikesh was the first
Yoga I ever practiced and when I got hooked by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda there.
My sister, who was with me in India, was not so captivated and so did not stay the whole
month and we met in Delhi later, but that month changed my life forever.
A few years later, when I worked for Ernst and Young as a chartered accountant, I had the
luck to be offered 3 months of leave before entering into the next phase of my journey with
them. I jumped at the chance and headed back to Swami. He had moved the school to
Thailand, so I studied months 2-4 on the gorgeous beaches there. Once I had finished, that
was it for my career, I was on the path of Yoga and quit my job almost as soon as I returned
home. I happened to be following a year long 200 hour teacher training at the time too, and
that is how I met Julie and Sue my co-directors at Seasonal Yoga.
I then went back and forward to the school in Thailand each year until I had completed the
Hatha and Kundalini programs (26 months) and then started retreating with my meditation
What was interesting about going in and out of the school like that was being able to take the
teachings and then try to apply them for a few months before heading back for more
intensive training. This is great. Some of the other students there just stayed in the ‘yoga
bubble’ surrounded by beaches and other young practitioners also eating brown rice and
discussing the latest colonic advice. It was very easy to assume you were making progress
there, having amazing meditations with hours of practice each day and never losing your
temper, even when your ‘fan spot’ was taken by a new comer to the school.
I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if you removed these people and popped
them back into their family home for a week with their parents and siblings to see just how
evolved they really were. I know that I was a total Yoga wally for many years before my
regular trips back home to Glasgow brought me well and truly back to earth.
You see, when you remove yourself to practice yoga, it brings a sort of re-integration period
when you come home.
•Internal conflict at the vast differences in ethos of the two places,
•lack of community and support upon your return,
•gradual melting away of the impact of the training, and if you do not go away again all
the good may disappear completely,
•lack of compatibility of the teachings with real life- you are not able to really understand the demands of the life of a working parent, and so inappropriate advice on practices and depth may be given
•and the most important one - you separate yoga from life.
So, although I highly recommend going away and doing intensive periods of practice, these
should be integrated into the life you lead. They should support your growth of all the areas
of your life, your work, your family life, your studies, your place in society, as well as your
personal evolution, to allow a more integrated evolution of your whole being which will have
a lasting impact
Feel free to share! Click the 'F' below to share this article