Ambika Yoga

Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels


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Treat yourself to a yoga vacation in a Sivananda ashram

I’m very lucky as will be able to go to the Sivananda ashram in Orléans next weekend. This is also where my Sivananda journey started some 6 years ago. I’m treating myself to a long weekend reconnection time with myself, yoga classes, fabulous vegan food, nature, satsangs and lectures by swamis.

Did you know you can also give yourself this gift? 

TTC 2012 Canada (82)Any time you want, you can go to an ashram near you. The Sivananda organisation has founded 9 Sivananda Ashrams around the world – in Canada, India, France, Austria, Bahamas, and the United States where you can enjoy yoga holidays (short or longer time), do your TTC, ATTC, or themed (certification) courses, as well as become a Karma Yogi.

A yoga vacation consists of more or less the same schedule as the TTC, albeit less intense: morning satsang; morning yoga (asana) class; breakfast; karma yoga; lecture; free time; afternoon yoga class; dinner; evening satsang. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect to yourself, to relax and stay healthy.

Discover an ashram near you and enjoy!

Om shanti -ॐ शान्ति


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Book your Yoga holidays in December

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In the beautiful oasis of peace, the Sivananda ashram nearby Orleans, France (a mere 4 hour drive from Brussels), they organise a wonderful program for the holidays.

There’ll be 2 daily yoga classes, special lectures with (guest) swamis, Bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion with lots of chanting), meditation, silent walks, delicious veggie & sattvic food. It’s an amazing way to spend your holidays.

Program in French & English.

Practical details

  • Date:23 December 2016-1 January 2017
  • Price: from 63€/ night in a shared room
  • Address:  Ashram de Yoga Sivananda – 26 Impasse du Bignon – 45170 Neuville aux Bois
  • Contact details:  Tel + 33 (0) 2 38 91 88 82 – e-mail
  • MORE INFO

Om shanti -ॐ शान्ति


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Offer yourself a great gift: take your yoga TTC this winter

I’ve mentioned in a post before that doing the Sivananda yoga Teachers’ Training Course (TTC) changed my life for real. Hence I’d like to share with you the upcoming possibilities to take your yoga practice and your spiritual development to the next level: Sivananda Yoga centers and ashrams around the world offer a full month’s intensive TTC.

Simply choose your location and register to benefit from the numerous advantages of making this important step towards a more balanced and dedicated yoga practice:

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===>>> Read more about the why and how of doing your TTC.

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Om shanti -ॐ शान्ति

 


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How to choose your yoga teacher’s training course (TTC)?

Quite frequently I receive inquiries from students regarding choosing a yoga teacher’s training course (TTC). In the blog post I’ll give some tips & pointers as to what to look for when selecting your TTC.

  1. Certification/ credibility
  2. Timeframe
  3. Which type of yoga?
  4. Where to go?

1.) Certification. First of all, the TTC needs to give you a certification that’s recognized by the international yoga alliance (Yoga Alliance for the 200 hours standard for a Registered Yoga School (RYS200)). 200 hours is the first level, there is also 500 hours: +300 hours in an advanced TTC, or special certifications for prenatal and kids’ yoga. 

The RYS200 level is a requirement for most studios if you want to work somewhere as a teacher afterwards.
Even if you don’t want to become a teacher (just yet), the credibility of your TTC depends on whether or not it’s a certified course.

  • =>>> The Yoga Alliance accreditation is a way to find out if the course is serious about its teachings.

2.) Timeframe. Some TTC are organized during a full month gurukula-type intense course: you’ll spend the entire time in an ashram immersed in yoga. Other programs offer the TTC spread out over 2 years or more.  Either way, you never stop learning, you learn most when you begin to teach.

  • =>>> The type of TTC that works for you is a personal choice. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

3.) Which type of yoga? First consider which type of yoga you like to do and then which type of yoga you would like to teach (if you consider doing the TTC in order to become a teacher).  You’ll naturally be drawn to the yoga you’re doing right now, however, is that the yoga you should be doing? Is it the yoga that suits you best? You might want to try different styles of yoga to see if there’s one that’s more your type. Also look at where you’ll want to teach, what type of teachers are most in demand?

  • =>>> I would recommend doing a hatha yoga TTC to correctly learn the basics of traditional yoga: the philosophy, asanas, breathing & meditation techniques, chanting, teaching techniques, … Afterwards, you can take other certification courses such as yin, prenatal, flow yoga, kids, acro, Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga.

4.) Where to go? Talk to your current teachers, as well as to other teachers and listen to their experiences and recommendations. If possible, go and visit several ashrams to find out whether the energy of the place suits you. Call or email the ashrams that you are interested in but that are too far away for a short stay and ask them all the questions you have. Try to find reviews online (such as on yogatrail or even on Tripadvisor).

  • =>>> Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it’s your time and money and energy that you’ll invest in their course. Go to the ashram or the course where you feel there’s a connection between the place and its teachers and yourself. Try to take enough time to be able to make a well-informed decision.

My own experience was definitely a life-changing experience.
Based on my preferences, availability and budget I chose the 1-month intensive TTC in the Sivananda Yoga Ashram Camp in Val Morin, (Montréal) Canada. What I loved about this TTC is that there’s an option to continue with an advanced TTC anywhere in the world in a Sivananda yoga ashram or center.

I chose this 1-month intense program, as it was the best way to get my certification during my holidays from my fulltime job. A lady I met while in San Francisco told me she’d done this TTC and that she absolutely loved it. It is traditional Hatha Yoga and I’d been doing that for a couple of years already.

swami_Vishnu_peaceplaneI chose the Sivananda ashram yoga camp outside Montreal as this TTC was the first of its kind outside of India, it has existed over 50 years and in this time delivered lots of graduates all around the world. It was actually Swami Sivananda’s disciple Swami Vishnudevananda who started the first ashram outside of India right there in Canada !

In order to prepare myself for my TTC I’d gone to the ‘sister’ ashram in France beforehand. This way I became familiar with the daily schedule, the asana classes, Satsang, the philosophy, the teachers, the food. The beautiful and peaceful ashram inspired me to choose their TTC.

The yoga camp in Val Morin (just outside of Montréal, Canada) is simply amazing. The energy there is so powerful and pure. The grounds are splendid, well taken care of by the karma yogis), the accommodations are really good: I stayed in the dormitory which had recently been built and we each had our own little room with a bed, table, lamp, cupboard and window. You could close it with a big curtain to have your privacy. The vegetarian/ vegan food is amazing and the teachers are too. There’s an Indian temple on the hill where we went for certain pujas (Indian ceremonies) as well as an outside pool. Nearby is the small town of Val Morin where we would go on our ‘day off’ to stroll or have some brunch. There are washers and dryers. We would often go for morning meditation silent walks at 6AM and that was such a great way to start the day.

TTC 2012 Canada (82)During the actual TTC, I disconnected from Internet for 21 days. This social media disconnection helped me to immerse completely in the teachings, without any unnecessary distractions. Living in a big (75 people) group, having a strict schedule every single day (except Fridays) and hardly having any time to myself was equally intense. Additionally, Karma yoga is part of the TTC and I found myself cleaning the washrooms every single day… A wise Swami explained me that it was intended to teach me something and in my case it was most likely learning to let go: clean, and then offer the clean washrooms to the community and NOT get upset when somebody would soil it. I can share here, that it wasn’t that easy to do.

Ambika certificateLiving together with people you didn’t know beforehand is not always easy, but it turned out to be a very enriching experience. To start with, there was already the yoga connection between us. I’ve met some truly wonderful people in the ashram that I continue to cherish and consider as friends wherever they may be around the globe.

The TTC days were long and filled with lots of information, knowledge and actions. It was sometimes tiring, but always inspiring. It taught me to be more in the present moment, to be humble as a person, teacher as well as a student. That we never cease to be students of life and yoga. Yoga = life.

I sincerely hope that if you’ve taken the time to read through my story, that it’ll help you to decide on your TTC and that your own experience will be at least as good as mine.

Don’t hesitate to share your personal story here or to drop me a message if you have any questions or remarks.


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To live and breathe yoga, visit one of the wonderful Sivananda Ashrams

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Lucky me when I discovered Sivananda by talking to a yoga teacher in San Francisco back in 2010. In Spring of 2011 I went for a yoga holiday to the  Ashram nearest to me, in Orléans, in France. It felt like paradise!

There are currently 9 Sivananda Ashrams around the world – in Canada, India, France, Austria, Bahamas, and the United States. Most offer the Yoga Vacation program all year round.

As a guest you participate in the morning & evening Satsang, there are 2 yoga classes per day & 2 delicious meals per day. Besides you will enjoy spiritual lectures, silent walks and occasionally religious ceremonies (Pujas) performed by Indian priests.

The French Ashram is a true oasis of peace, it’s located in a small village outside of Orléans and there is only nature around, so it’s very quiet. It’s an excellent place to get away from a hectic lifestyle to focus and concentrate on inner peace and restoring the balance between your body, mind & soul through yoga.

The daily schedule might not be your idea of a holiday, but it’s really easy once you get in the rhythm of the Ashram life. It’s sort of soothing to know there’s only the Ashram schedule that matters, no other distractions or responsibilities matter there. Hence, you can fully focus on your Sadhana (spiritual practice).

ASHRAM DAILY SCHEDULE
5:30 am – Wake-up bell
6:00 am – Satsang (silent meditation, Mantra Chanting and lecture/reading)
8:00 am – Asanas, Relaxation)
10:00 am – Brunch (wholesome delicious, vegetarian meal)
4:00 pm – Yoga class
6:00 pm – Dinner
8:00 pm – Satsang
10:00 pm – Lights out

Check out the nearest Ashram to where you are to enjoy the peace & yoga vibrations for a long weekend, week or longer. I’ve been to France & Canada and would love to visit all the Sivananda Ashrams & yoga centers all around the world.

You can go on a yoga holiday, follow a specific program or workshop, study to  become a yoga teacher (TTC) or become a Karma Yogi and life and work on the Ashram for a specific amount of time.

More info
Ashram France
Ashrams worldwide