This topic always gets me a little fired up because (see my post I wrote while in India here) so many people tried to convince me not to go. Ironically, it was the best experience of my life.
So I’ve already told you that yoga teacher training schools are usually much cheaper in India and many other places around the globe than in the states. Travel while you learn, etc.
But why go to India? It scares a lot of people, right? The overpopulation, the polluted air, all the “dangers” like rape and kidnap…
It gets under my skin when people talk about this stuff and this stuff only. Why are we focusing on all the negative aspects of this country, when the same negatives actually apply in so many other places? Many of those rates are actually higher in the U.S.
According to Nation Master, crime levels are 17% more in the U.S. than in India. Drug use: 43% more than in India. Rape rate: 15 times more in the United States than in India. Actually.
You can see the stats for yourself here http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/India/United-States/Crime.
So when people say these things, it’s just not correct. But these ideas spread and stick because some people love demonizing other nations and cultures. And bad news is fun to repeat. The whole reason people have enjoyed gossiping since the beginning of time has been for the shock factor. Delivering news we believe gives us value, makes us interesting. We know something they don’t, so it’s fun to inform them. Unfortunately, that news is usually negative because misery loves company.
I’ve gotten a little off track, but the point is that India is no more dangerous than anywhere else in the world — or at least the U.S., in terms of countries. Although hearing all the bad things that were apparently awaiting me when I landed in Delhi did make me nervous, I’m so glad I did what was calling to me instead of letting people deter me.
I truly wouldn’t have wanted to get my first 200 hours of YTT anywhere else in the world but in Rishikesh, India. Why?
I learned so much about yoga that is rooted right back to its very birthplace, in Rishikesh. I learned the art from its source. I was shown the true meaning of yoga in all its many facets, infinite compared to what I was taught in the western world’s version. The experience was an authentic one, and I would absolutely recommend it.
India is the most spiritual place I’ve ever experienced. Rishikesh is all about pure living and peace. People will say “namaste” for “hello” when they see you in the streets. You’ll be hard-pressed to find meat or alcohol anywhere in the city (alcohol is illegal).
Oh, and eating healthy is actually affordable! This place is heaven for vegans, vegetarians, and people who just like eating healthy and drinking super-food juices because these places are on every corner in the Rishikesh city center.
Since Rishikesh has become such a hub for YTT, you’ll meet lots of very cool people from all over the world as well (but you’ll probably be surrounded by good people already at your school!)
You’ll see monkeys and cows everywhere, eat amazing food, hopefully see other beautiful cities in India, and probably be inspired to continue traveling the rest of Asia. Yes, be careful like anywhere else. Be smart. Don’t go places alone at night.
Be ready to get a lot of stares if you’re white. Be prepared to be asked for photos. Say no, sorry, if you’re uncomfortable (I said no when it was men asking, but women and children I didn’t mind). Those were about the only things I had to get used to that was unlike anywhere else I’d been. Everything else is really common sense.
The moral of the story is, don’t always listen to the majority vote. Sometimes, maybe even go the opposite way. Path less traveled and all that…
Definitely consider getting your YTTC in Rishikesh!