This 200-hour yoga teaching class has been extremely intense. It’s 3 ½ hours a day of lecture and 4 hours a day of yoga. Fortunately, Rishikesh Yog Peeth has some of the best yoga instructors in the world! They know how to keep it interesting and how to pick us up when we are feeling down. Seriously, they are at the top of their class and their patience and dedication inspires me. Here are some of my favorite instructors at the school.
Roshan was born and raised here in Rishikesh, India. He started learning yoga at age 29 as a means to get out of debt and 11 years later he is amazed at how it has changed his life. He said that yoga has vastly improved his relationships with his mom and wife. He teaches anatomy and physiology classes at the school and has an entertaining and light-hearted style that keeps us engaged. When I asked him his goals, he surprised me by telling me that this school is actually closing in March. Roshan and some of the other staff here are opening what I can only describe as an extraordinary new self-sustaining yoga village. It will be called Abhayaranya Riskesh Yog Peeth and is currently under construction about 5 kilometers out-of-town. It will be opening this June and they will be offering 21-day yoga retreats as the primary source of income for the community. I’m certain that I’ll be back to do a whole separate blog about it sometime soon.
Abhi is one of our asana instructors and has a kind and gentle approach. He is from the city of Ambala, India, which in near Delhi. He started learning yoga at age 18 and is now 20 years old. He is always telling us to listen to our bodies and likes to remind us that “yoga is not a workout, but rather a work in.” That means that it changes you from the inside out. He says that yoga has taught him a lot about himself and he lives by this simple rule: Live your life, love yourself and hurt no one. His advice to anyone that really wants to learn the lifestyle is to learn from a great guru and to never forget that your pain today will be your strength tomorrow.
Arpit is our teaching methods instructor. He is very nurturing and has a nice sense of humor. He began learning yoga at the age of 17 and is now 21 years old. He got into yoga at the encouragement of his older brother. When I asked him what he likes about yoga he said that it has brought him health, prosperity, more energy, and a sense of purpose.
Jit is another of our asana instructors. He has a sterner approach, sometimes bordering on a bit military in style. His classes were definitely the hardest, but I also saw the most dramatic improvements in my poses and posture as a result of his classes. I’ll never forget him shouting at us constantly, “spread-a-da-fingers!” Over the past month I’ve learned to respect and admire him for his commitment and dedication to his students. He said that he was a difficult teenager that was getting lost in a world of smoking, drinking and drugs until his older brother suggested he learn yoga. He began at age 18. 9 years later and he’s a healthy vegetarian that doesn’t drink or smoke. He says that the changes in him happened gradually and organically. He started out at Rishikdesh Yog Peeth as a kitchen server and is now one of their top instructors. He also taught in Thailand for a couple of years. When I asked what he likes most about teaching he said that he enjoys seeing the change in his student’s lives. After this school closes he will be starting his own school called Anadi Yoga Center in Laxman Jhulla near the Pyramid Cafe and Guru Ganga Guest House.
We have certainly been blessed with a great group of instructors. They have left a lasting positive impression on me and I now feel like we are part of one great big yoga family. Graduation is tomorrow and I will miss them all!