Strict or more relaxed?
A few years back in 2016, I decided to do a yoga instructor course to add knowledge and new techniques to my exercise repertoire. Yoga is a vital training element these days.
There are some very traditional schools in India, where they still live and teach in an ashram, and the teaching methods are more than 60 years old. They are very strict and have traditional rules people have to obey.
In Goa, with fantastic beaches and wonderful weather are the more relaxed schools. There you can find some grass and have a techno rave on the beach after your yoga teaching sessions.
I am just mentioning two extremes, but there are also many, many moderate schools and locations.
The question was now which school to choose. The beach, the mountains, or lively Rishikesh on the river Ganges. Or was it better to choose which kind of teaching I preferred? Old school traditional or a bit more relaxed and open.
I decided in favor of the mountains, where a very well known traditional school has an ashram. I traveled from New Delhi to Rishikesh and then four hours by taxi to the Ashram in the Himalayas.
Rules and regulations
On arrival, the head gave us a police registration form instead of a cup of tea, which we had to fill out. Some people came from Canada and others from faraway countries and had a long trip behind them, and they could hardly keep their eyes open.
The next day, in our introduction, the head gave us numbers instead of our names. Other rules and regulations were similar. I could hardly sleep and breathe. As a free spirit, I found the grave and strict atmosphere unsettling and far from the nature of yoga.
Then I decided to leave. I lasted three days, which is not long at all. But I felt great and liberated when I left, though I had no certificate in my pocket.
But the calling to do a yoga instructor course was still there. I decided on the beach. Warm weather and a relaxed atmosphere. I was sure that this time my choice was right.
Goa, here I come!
I left on a plane to Goa and caught a taxi to the beach. It was the first time, and I loved the relaxed atmosphere. We had a tremendous welcome ritual in the camp, and everybody was happy. On the second evening, the group gathered on the beach to a techno party. The teachers came giggling with a joint in their hand. Some of us enjoyed a drink and others a joint or two.
After just a few days in the camp, our respect for the whole set up diminished. I realized that I had landed in the complete opposite environment. From rules and regulations to a ‘we take things not so serious’ atmosphere.
Anyway, in the end, I finished my yoga instructor course with a certificate in my pocket. I learned useful yoga techniques, but I also learned a lot more.