Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels & Amsterdam


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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Yin yoga TTC with Joe Barnett in Brussels, March 2015

joe barnettIn March you have the unique opportunity to study with an amazing yoga teacher, Joe Barnett.

Joe, ERYT-500, has been teaching for over a decade. Joe’s main focus is Functional Anatomy for Yoga. He is a senior student and teaching assistant of Paul Grilley, a true Yoga Scientist responsible for the rise in popularity of Yin Yoga. After years of apprenticing under Paul, Joe began traveling internationally to train yoga teachers.

When not training teachers, Joe’s play time is spent practicing, teaching and drawing others into AcroYoga.

Program – Yin Yoga & Anatomy: Understanding A Practice Of Surrender

23-27 March, 2015

5 Days/ 30h Teacher Training (Yoga Alliance Certification)

joe barnett 2Yin Yoga is a simple practice. We settle into an asana for 3-7 minutes and slowly relax to allow the connective tissues to be stretched, stimulated and strengthened.

The alignment rules are also simple: We listen to our bodies and lead ourselves into the shape that follows the natural contours of our spine, pelvis and hips.

However, bringing ourselves into this simplicity, being still for minutes at a time, can be challenging. Listening to our bodies requires a power of discrimination.

In this training, we will analyze, observe and practice all of these elements of Yin Yoga in depth.

We will examine ourselves with ancient meditation techniques that guide us into a steady awareness. We will study with slides and by articulating the joints on a skeleton. But mostly, we will have an interactive, hands-on study and examine each other with anatomical range of motion (ROM) tests.

The study culminates in a truer understanding of the infinite variety of human bodies, and the basic techniques to guide each Yin Yoga student with their unique skeletal structures into the appropriate asana for them.

Date: 23-27 March at 10:00-17:00 daily

Price: 450€

Location: Sampoorna Yoga Studio

REGISTER NOW, you won’t regret it.

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Prenatal & postpartum yoga TTC weekend with Carla Anselm (USA)

20150206_162158The past 3 days I’ve spent learning about and practicing prenatal and postpartum yoga. As a yoga teacher we get people with lots of different bodies and conditions in our classes. Pregnant ladies or young mothers can definitely do yoga, it’s actually very good to prepare for giving birth and to get back into shape (mentally & physically) after giving birth. However, there are several things to know about a pregnant body, one can’t simply do everything that one is used to as the body undergoes lots of changes and needs to protect the fetus.

Hence, I’m extremely pleased to have been able to train with Carla these past 3 days. There was theory & practice, lots of laughing, getting to know the other students, yummy lunches by #Oups catering,  sunshine and sharing.

Next steps for me are to develop a class appropriate for each of the 3 trimesters of pregnancy and to teach a class to a pregnant lady. So if you are pregnant (or know a lady that is) & are based in Brussels, let me know, so we can arrange your free prenatal yoga class !


20150207_115546The 20 hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training offers already certified yoga teachers the opportunity to learn how to safely guide pregnant students through each trimester of pregnancy including the postpartum period. Learn to adapt yoga practice to support, nourish and honor the journey of pregnancy, as well as the benefits of practice and the contra indications.

Teachers will explore the anatomy and physiology of the birth process alongside yogic philosophy in order to safely welcome pregnant students in their classes with confidence.

Through sounding, relaxation, pranayama and modified asana, we engage techniques to harness the inner strength, focus and stability called for in childbirth and motherhood to promote health and well-being.


Carla Anselm (RYT 500, Doula) has been a student of yoga for over a decade. She began her training in 2001 at Shatki Yoga Center in New York City. Continuing her training within the Iyengar tradition, Carla completed François Raoult’s Essential Teacher Training and Advanced Teacher Training at Open Sky Yoga Center in 2007. In 2009, she was certified as an Advanced Restorative Yoga Teacher by Judith Lasater. Carla is also an experienced doula and prenatal yoga teacher. Filled with curiosity and the call to live her yoga practice with an authentic voice, Carla continues her studies with both François Raoult and Dr. Douglas Brooks.

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

Sivananda Paques

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).

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