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Student Review of Ashtanga Yoga TTC in Dharamsala at Abhinam School By Carolyn

For those of you who are thinking of doing your Yoga Teacher Training at Abhinam School, I thought I’d write an overview of what you can expect from the 200 hours course, in case it helps you decide whether it’s for you. I recently finished my 200 hours Yoga TTC in Dharamsala and know how difficult it can be to find the right school for you with so many out there.

Abhinam School is perfect for anyone who is interested in delving deeper into Ashtanga yoga, whether that be to go further in self-practice, or to begin a career as a yoga teacher. The teachers at Abhinam are all passionate, dedicated and excellent in their specialisms. I left the course feeling far more confident in my own practice and also feeling ready to start teaching yoga classes, comfortable in my ability to share what I had learnt. This was in a large part down to the course structure and the teachers, as well as having the drive to work hard throughout the month – it’s a very intense course so you need to have passion and determination to get through it successfully!

Abhinam teaches Ashtanga with alignment, and in the teaching methodology classes each asana is studied individually with intricate focus on correct alignment as well as the adjustments that can be given. This teaching methodology class was a two hour class every afternoon. It often meant spending most of the 2 hours in only a few postures – nearly two hours in Warrior 2 and you will realise the power of this asana!!  Our teacher Maki explained clearly and precisely the positioning of the body in each asana, down to the tiniest detail, to help you get into the asana perfectly (or as near as possible!). Learning the modifications is just as important as the final pose and these teaching methodology classes enabled us to explain multiple modifications for every asana in our own teaching, including the correct use of props. This means that you can teach Ashtanga to all levels and abilities – not just the super bendy!

This focus on alignment and practicing injury-free yoga continued during the anatomy and physiology classes. Namito emphasizes how important it is to understand which key muscle groups and bones are involved in which postures. A good understanding of anatomy helps a teacher to structure a yoga class, for example if you are building up to a difficult position at the end of class, the buildup asanas should focus on strengthening the key muscle groups used in the final posture. Understanding the bone structure of the body helps teachers to understand which positions can cause strain on certain joints. This awareness ensures as a teacher you know when to guide students away from injury or pain. Namito’s stories about injuries he’s seen as an orthopedic surgeon are a reminder on the importance of understanding your body and its limits. Namito might question your knowledge on the spot to check the class is following, so listen up!!

I loved the strong focus on the spiritual aspect of yoga, and the idea that even in ashtanga we can be meditating whilst practicing (one day I will achieve this!). Deepika taught our yoga philosophy classes and it’s like she’s speaking straight from the heart when she talks about the yoga sutras, she totally drew us in and my mind was completely blown  – be warned, it completely throws into question everything in your usual daily life!!

There are so many other aspects of the 200 hour course I could mention, the incredibly close bonds you will form with people, how much you will learn about yourself, the unexpected challenges you will face, the emotional outpours, the stark improvements you will witness in your practice, and so much more. The main thing I would say is if this is something you are really interested in then just go for it, and give it your all. I was deliberating for so long over whether my practice was strong enough to do it, whether I would be a good teacher, and self-doubt was holding me back. Luckily I went for it and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. My practice and love for yoga is stronger than ever, I’ve discovered the joy I get from teaching others, and I’m now starting a whole new journey, collaborating with others who are on this path too, to spread the yogic love!  <3