My yoga TTC in India family


After a month long yoga boot camp at Himalaya Yoga Valley in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, I finally graduated with my Yoga TTC (teacher training certification). Woot!

Muscles aching, belly battling waterborne parasites, while hurdling through two asana classes a day and intensive schedule of studies and teaching practicums…  It was a lot! Along the way, I accepted my body’s shape-shifting to Dharamsala’s Indian-Tibetan hill region surroundings. Injury and bad diets (aka carb-loading for lack of veggies) happen and horrible toilet habits are spawned as a result of getting sick in Mother India.

But good things come out of these things as well.

Getting my Yoga Teacher Training in Dharamsala

I formed a family and a lifestyle that was my a warm cocoon, in the secluded sanctuary of Dharamsala, away from the blistering stains and antagonizing bustle of Mother India.

I’ve met people, who’s yoga practice was so focused, it blew me away. Others, who have unique backgrounds from designers, heath care practitioners, physical therapists and … then there was me.  Every one is a teacher and like a family we occasionally have our moments. Cliques form, people mix and don’t mix. Each person has their own individual way, philosophy, practice, belief… and from this fury of passion, juices flowing in harmony and discord,  acceptance and flexibility is born.

But what binds us all is that we went through a month-long yoga TTC in India… and survived.

yoga teacher training certification in india, yoga ttc india

Yoga teacher training certification program


Left: Autum, an acupuncturist. Right: Maria, a massage therapist who used to care for monkeys in Africa! Middle: me… still undecided but just left teaching ESL in Korea.


What is it like living in Mcleodganj (Dharamsala)

Anchoring myself to a place means having time to  get to know its community and live its lifestyle.  For me, this is  an exciting perk of long-term travel and the part I’ve been looking forward to. You get to spend your time in a place, exploring it and gaining a deeper understanding of it.

I like to think it’s about creating relationships.  Relationships are what makes the places you visit beautiful, meaningful.

On weekends, I can trek the mountains or visit the neighborhood town of Bagsu.  I wanted to live in Dharamsala, so I purposely chose a yoga school in Mcleodganj (the official base of the school is in Goa, but they run a program seasonally in Mcleodganj.

Of all the Indian ashrams and Ashtanga yoga training schools, I narrowed it down by location. I wanted to be in Dharamsala..  in the mountains,… in a Tibetan community. The Dalai Lama’s residence is in Mcleodganj, so you’ll be seeing a lot of crimson robed monks in the streets. The temple home of the Karmapa is a taxi ride away.  I wanted the Be attitudes of compassion and mindfulness to be a constant reminder to me in my environment.

Even though Tibetan monks are a very passionate sect and there is still much political unrest for Tibetans!

The Sidarth House mcleodganj, guesthouses in mcleodganj dharamsala, long-term rentals in mcleodganj, places to stay in mcleodganj

The Sidarth House: One of the many guesthouses in Mcleodganj and where I’m staying for a month, while doing my training.The Sidarth House mcleodganj, guesthouses in mcleodganj dharamsala, places to stay in mcleodganj, long-term rentals in mcleodganjMy huge room with a view and outdoor balcony

The Sidarth House mcleodganj, guesthouses in mcleodganj dharamsala, places to stay in mcleodganj

My apartment kitchen The Sidarth House mcleodganj, guesthouses in mcleodganj dharamsala, places to stay in mcleodganj, toilets in mcleodganj Spacious bathroom
The Sidarth House mcleodganj, guesthouses in mcleodganj dharamsala, places to stay in mcleodganj, long-term rentals in mcleodganjCloset

music, flute player, indian snake charmer

 What’s in a room name?

Each room at my guesthouse  has a theme and a name. For me, a name encapsulates an essence and an energy. I’m in “Music“.

Each room has it’s own name and theme

Originally, I was in “Ocean“… until I saw it.  First floor, basement-level, corner room, dark, lifeless, dead energy. No flow.  And though it opened to a lovely patio sun deck, I had no balcony to bring in light or air. It didn’t sing.

Being in “Music” feels livelier and I literally, have musical instruments as decor in my room. I don’t know how to play them…  But that doesn’t matter.  Getting settled in, I’ve already met “Happy“, “Taj Mahal” and “Sun“.

So far the yoga student’s (of this program) personalities are aligned to their room names. “Happy” (Autum) is bursting with bubbliness and Red Bull. The “Taj”(Kristina) is graceful and elegant, with a very statuesque demeanor. And “Sun” (Maria) is strong, confident and centered.  I’m hoping our room names are indicative  of the energy, talent or personality, we bring and will share with others in our teaching.

indian musical instruments, Indian sitar, indian guitar

Indian sitar?.

mcleodganj road, dharamsala

Me in Mcleodganj!


Food in Mcleodganj

Mcleodganj is a crosstown of Tibetan, Indian, hippy and Asian. Food wise, you’ll find Tibetan, Indian, organic vegetarian, Japanese and Korean restaurants. Lots of  fresh fruit and veg stalls in town and grocery stores for basic necessities.  Practice standard food safety tips for traveling abroad, where it comes to street food.  Water is still quite bad here, so drink only filtered or bottled. There’s a handful of vendors in town who will sell purified water whereupon all you need do is bring a pitcher or water bottle and pay them to fill it up. It’s cheaper than buying bottled water.  Or you can bring a SteriPen water purifier. Here’s other options.

what is sherpa food, mcleodganjSherpa Food vendor

 Best Travel Insurance for Yoga in India

My yoga school made travel insurance compulsory. For good reason. Yoga enthusiasts get hurt and the training program is like training for a mini yoga olympics. The worst case in our program was that one of the students broke her toe and had to go to the hospital. But several others were getting anything from pulled muscles, back spasms, … I got sick, we were all dropping like flies.

Although there are good doctors and hospitals in the big cities, you might not always have access to them. Also, traveling in India has its obvious risks–  standards and regulations are different from the U.S., so safety precautions and measures aren’t always perfect. I went with World Nomads to cover my entire trip and it was the cheapest I found.

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15 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi
    This seems to be a nice blog
    However I’m not able to read it due to the links on the left (the FB, Twitter,etc)
    How can they be removed so we can read your blog???

  • […] through my yoga teacher training in Dharamsala, my teacher Lalit, told us the real practice of yoga is not about twisting the body into a pretzel, […]

  • Hello!

    Could you kindly provide the name and contact details of the yoga school you attended?

  • Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful experience! I am looking forward to joing a TTC in Dharamsala as well. However I am also confused after I found so many schools. I am interest in the multi-style programs but several schools offer them as well. I trust your recommendation of Himalayan Yoga Valley. But schools like Trimurti, Parimukti, Universal Yoga with Vijay, and Kashmir Shaivism all seem very good also. I still find it hard to choose.

  • Thank you for sharing this blog,

    Yoga is a Hindu physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline. Yoga is a philosophy of Hindusim that requires mental, physical and spiritual connection in order to achieve enlightenment. Lord Shiva was the first yogi as per the authentic Vedic texts in which Yoga was first taught.

    200 Hours yoga teacher training India has been designed to understand and experience the yoga deeply with its full meaning and attention. The 200 hrs yoga teacher training provides a comprehensive knowledge about the proper asana pranayama madras bandha, shatkarma, anatomy physiology methodology philosophy Alignment and much more one can expect from a yoga teaching course.

    Yoga is a Hindu physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline. Yoga is a philosophy of Hindusim that requires mental, physical and spiritual connection in order to achieve enlightenment. Lord Shiva was the first yogi as per the authentic Vedic texts in which Yoga was first taught.

    I love how I’m learning things about myself mentally, physically and spiritually and how they are all connected. Going through my daily life I find myself thinking about the things I learned during my yoga practice. Things like my breathing, posture, letting go of things I can’t control and living in the present moment. Physically yoga has helped tremendously with my flexibility and strength. With my new eating plan and practicing yoga I have lost a little over 40 lbs. I’m starting to feel muscles in places I didn’t even know I had muscles!

    I’m so thankful that I found YogaStair! My journey is ongoing and always changing with every yoga practice. I love the fact that I feel better.

  • […] choice to take my yoga teachers certification in India wasn’t obvious, until I lived in Asia. Before that, the notion of flying to India […]

  • Hey, why did you chose to do your teacher training at the Himalaya Yoga Valley? I am going to do a teaching course in Dhamarmsala but finding really difficult to chose where to go. If you have some comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • @Tiago: It depends on what you want to get out of the program and what program seems to focus its attention on giving you that. Of all the locations of authorized yoga ttc on Yoga Alliance, I narrowed it down to where I’d love to stay for a month. I wanted my environment to educate me towards a yogic perspective. Dharamsala was it for the Tibetan/Buddhist aspects, etc… and it was perfect.

      I had two schools I was looking at also- both, had slightly different philosophies and energies. I studied their course listings, checked for FB pages, even emailed graduates. One focused heavier on a philosophical aspect, I’d always thought I idealized for my studies. I wanted to go deeper into my practice but I also wanted it to be useful. Himalaya on the other hand, was more well-rounded, with a bit of everything, plus the business and application of it in a western society. In the end, I chose the school that could give me what I couldn’t give myself or learn on my own… the business (I have a background in the arts and not knowing how to apply my skills to the business world made it harder for me, personally). Also, what I liked about Himalaya although a bit more expensive, they really focused on getting their teachers comfortable with teaching. It’s very hands-on and they get you into teaching right away. These were my personal reasons.

      I’m not sure what school you’re looking at, but keep in mind no school is perfect. I think there’s always going to be an aspect we’re a bit dissatisfied with. Just trust that the choice you make for yourself (based on your personal reasons) will be right for you and it will be! Good luck to you, Tiago & hope that helps!


    The Bhagavad-gita is universally renowned as the jewel of India’s spiritual wisdom. Spoken by Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead to His intimate disciple Arjuna, the Gita’s seven hundred concise verses provide a definitive guide to the science of self realization.No other philosophical or religious work reveals, in such a lucid and profound way, the nature of consciousness, the self, the universe and the Supreme.So read Gita minimum once and if possible read daily one chapter and this help to make a miracle in your life mean first destroyed your accumulated sin(Paap) and rapidly increase your virtue,remember critical problem in life is depend upon quantity of your sin and Luck and Happiness in life is depend upon quantity of Virtue(Punya).

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  • great post I love this land of lamas

  • Congratulations! It sounds like it was an amazing experience. I really want to get more into yoga when I get back from South America – I’ve only done little bits here and there over the last few years and you’ve inspired me to get serious about it.

    I can’t wait to hear where your adventures take you next.

  • […] archive: GRRRL Traveler, retreats & spas ← 10 Beach Photography Tips – getting great beach shots with your digital camera Official Launch Date: July 1, 2011 How do I get an article listed on TravelBark? 1. Write great content that will be useful to travelers. 2. Tag it with #travelbark on Twitter and we'll take a look. If it rocks, it should be posted within 24 hours. (Optional: you can also tag it with the destination or topic – e.g. #Mexico or #Rome.) 3. Repeat. There's no limit to how many quality links we'll add for any one site. Once a page is added it's accessible forever in our searchable archives. Note: As we build up our archives over the next few weeks we encourage travel sites and bloggers to send us their best articles from the previous 18 months. Anything from after January 1, 2010 is eligible for being linked to. What types of articles are you looking for? Informative detailed pieces that will be helpful for current travelers and those planning a trip. Look through the posts we've currently linked to and you should see a common theme. And don't worry, if you tag it with #travelbark and we don't accept it – no harm done. Publications […]


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