The practice of yoga has swept the globe as humans seek alternative therapies to liberate the mind. In an era that demands so much of our attention, yoga has become a path of refuge for many, helping us to connect deeper with our mind, body, and soul. You’ll now find a yogi community in almost every country across the globe. In the US, the number of yoga practitioners is expected to reach 55 million by 2020. This staggering growth reflects a shift towards a more mindful culture, where esoteric practices are being used to improve both mental and physical health. With such a large increase in the practice of yoga worldwide, the demand for teachers is increasing, and so is the number of teacher training centers.
Before choosing a teacher training center (TTC) set your intentions for the training. Do you want to focus on a particular style of yoga? How many hours are you willing to commit? What is your budget? What are your reasons for undergoing teacher training? Once you have those answers, you can seek out a teacher training center that resonates with you. It’s important to note that yoga teacher training centers have become booming businesses, which has resulted in some centers operating with a lack of authenticity. That being said, there are a number of genuine centers around the world offering yoga teacher training in various disciplines, and we’ve put together this guide as a start.
Why yogis choose India
India’s spiritual roots run incredibly deep. Considered the birthplace of yoga, many students choose to come to India for their training to gain an immersive experience in one of the country’s many ashrams. Students also choose India because of the variety of related subjects offered, including Ayurveda training, mudra training, and kundalini yoga training.
The best places to study yoga in India
Earth Yoga Village, Goa: This eco-conscious yoga village is located in the jungle beneath Goa’s flourishing Western Ghats. The school provides a supportive environment for students to reconnect with nature and themselves through their 200-hour intensive hatha teacher training. The course consists of 27 days of community living, asana, meditation, pranayama, and mantra practice through self-discipline and awareness of the nature of mind, body, and spirit. Earth Yoga Village also offers training in yoga nidra, yin yoga, and holistic yoga.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $1,250 – $3,300 depending on accommodation choice
Mukta Tantra Yoga, Rishikesh: Mukta tantra yoga describes itself as the “essence of all Asiatic Mysticism,” incorporating education surrounding chakras frequencies, breathwork, sound healing, vibrations, and consciousness. It offers a comprehensive 200-hour kundalini and chakra yoga teacher training that will take you on a highly spiritual journey inward. Kundalini yoga is an increasingly popular form of yoga that aims to awaken the kundalini energy, which lies coiled at the base of the spine. In kundalini yoga, practitioners use breathing exercises, physical postures, chanting, and meditation to unlock this powerful energy. The kundalini practice is endorsed by famous stars including Kate Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Russell Brand.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $1,650
Sivananda Ashram, Kerala: Surrounded by the endless backwaters and forested hills of Vazhichal, the Sivananda Ashram is located in India’s southern state of Kerala. The four-week, intensive, 200-hour residential course is based on the ancient Gurukula system of India where teacher and student live together. Expect a rich new experience while you immerse yourself in the traditional way of life of an Indian ashram, including the consumption of locally sourced vegetarian food. Devotional practices, traditional to India, are an integral part of the course, including daily communal mantras and satsangs.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $2,335 – $2,760 depending on accommodation choice
Ayur Yoga Eco-Ashram, Mysore: The Ayur Yoga Eco-Ashram is located in the peaceful surroundings of an 18-acre organic farm in Mysore, Karnataka. The ashram extends a socially and environmentally conscious arm with initiatives such as eco-friendly living, vegetarian living, and a charitable trust that works to educate local farmers about the benefits of organic farming. The 200-hour hatha teacher training includes the methodologies of the asanas, pranayamas, and meditation techniques.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $2,400 for a twin-share room
Why yogis choose Bali
Bali is sometimes referred to as the “island of the Gods,” with ancient spiritual beliefs embedded in the culture. Engraved temples depicting ancient Gods line the streets, and devout locals pay daily tributes with offerings of money, food, and water. The energy of the island is remarkably spiritual, despite the concern of over-tourism, and attracts many spiritual seekers each year.
The best places to study yoga in Bali
Akasha Yoga Academy, Ubud: Surrounded by the tropical jungles of Ubud, the Akasha Yoga Academy is a serene location to dive into the yoga journey. The center offers both 200-hour and 300-hour trainings incorporating energy-based classical hatha yoga, kundalini yoga, spiritual heart meditation, and the non-dual wisdom of Advaita Vedanta. Students practice to the sound of the afternoon Bali rains on the open-air bamboo structure erected at the center. Afternoons are rewarded with a swim in the in-house pool.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $2,550 with an early-bird discount available
Serenity Yoga, Nusa Lembongan: Escape the crowds on Bali’s main island and head over to the sleepy, less-crowded island of Nusa Lembongan. Here you will find serenity yoga, “built entirely on a foundation of love and respect for the ocean, for nature and for the community.”
This tranquil center located yards from the beach offers a range of courses, including 200-hour holistic yoga and 300-hour advanced vinyasa and yin yoga. The courses are spread out over 30 days, reducing the daily hours to nine, and classes are limited to a maximum of six students to ensure that each student gains maximum opportunity and exposure to the practice.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $2,900
Why yogis choose Thailand
Perhaps Thailand is still winning the hearts of Leo fans everywhere with the hope to find a paradise as pristine as the paradise represented in the film The Beach. Or perhaps yogis are drawn to the friendliness of the Thai people and the fact that vegan pad thai is always available and always affordable. Whatever the reason, Thailand is a very popular place for yoga teacher training.
The best places to study yoga in Thailand
Sunny Yoga, Koh Phangan: The secluded Thai island of Koh Phangan has seen an influx in yoga and meditation schools with Western influence. However, Sunny Yoga is one of the few schools on the island that is led by local Thai teachers. From humble beginnings, Sunny Yoga started from a small platform on the eastern side of the island with only a single 10:00 AM class. Nowadays, Sunny and Aom lead daily classes and teacher trainings, offering a 200-hour hatha and vinyasa based multi-style course. Located in close proximity to sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets, and lush waterfalls, mother Koh Phangan will connect you to the earth while you put your body and soul through this extensive training.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $2490 with an early-bird discount available
Samma Karuna, Koh Phangan: This awakening and healing center on Koh Phangan is one of the most comprehensive of its kind. Offering daily classes in almost all the esoteric practices — including yoga, meditation, kirtan, reiki, qi gong, tantra, tai chi, and more — the internationally recognized center has won awards for its safe, spiritual space, which attracts seekers of all kinds. The 200-hour yoga teacher training course offers asana practice and theory in hatha, vinyasa, and yin yoga, as well as various meditations, pranayamas, and training in anatomy and physiology of the body.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $2,694 with a volunteer discount available
Why yogis choose Nepal
Many travelers tell tales of spiritual awakenings and healings in Nepal, a resilient country that attracts the adventurous traveler. The southern province of Lumbini is the birthplace of Buddha, and therefore religion and spirituality have been deep-rooted in Nepali culture for millennia. This has attracted a yogic community and opened up the demand for yoga teacher training centers. Nepal is also one of the world’s most affordable countries for yoga teacher training.
The best places to study yoga in Nepal
Rishikul Yogshala, Pokhara: Learn yoga to the backdrop of the Annapurna range in Nepal’s lakeside city of Pokhara. Rishikul Yogshala is one of Pokhara’s most renowned teacher training centers offering 200-, 300-, and 500-hour holistic toga teacher training courses. Undergo cleansing rituals and practices for complete purification of the mind and body, and revitalize with Ayurveda massage from on-site traditional therapists. Students stay at the Infinity Resort Pokhara, a comfortable hotel with modern facilities. Vegetarian meals are provided three times daily, and there are also optional excursions available. The center is also committed to karmic yoga and participates in regular lakeside cleanups to promote environmental sustainability.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $1,700-1,900 depending on accommodation choice
Nepal Yoga Home, Kathmandu: Nepal Yoga Home is a leading yoga school located in Kathmandu, Nepal. Students live on site at the converted mansion tucked beneath the protected Nagarjun Forest Reserve, far enough from the chaotic city center to provide a peaceful retreat but close enough should you want to explore the spiritual landmarks of Nepal’s capital. The Yoga Alliance-certified ashram provides 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour training programs in holistic yoga, incorporating a mix of asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy, kriya, bandhas, mudra, and mantra chanting. Classes are conducted on the rooftop level of the home to panoramic views of the Kathmandu valley.
Price for 200-hour TTC: $1,400 depending on accommodation choice