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My 300 hour top-up yoga teacher training in India

Now a month has passed since I finished my top-up yoga training in India. I have now had some time to process my whole experience. It has been difficult to write and prioritize what I should mention, as I have learned and experienced so much, but I think I have written a nice little insight. Feel free to write a comment if you have any questions or there is something you want me to elaborate on.


After years of searching, I finally found the right yoga school for me!

There are an incredible number of yoga courses on the market and it can be a jungle to find your way around and assess what is good or not. I have actually been looking for an education for several years, and finally found this one which I thought sounded exciting. There are also many different styles of yoga, so I also spent a lot of time finding one that met my needs.

Personally, I would only take a course that was approved by Yoga Alliance, and I also only take other yoga teachers' classes that have a course approved by Yoga Alliance. Just because you are trained through Yoga Alliance, it does not mean that you are necessarily a good teacher. Of course, it also depends a lot on how much you yourself are into it. However, the Yoga Alliance has some guidelines that you as an educational institution must follow and I thought it was at least fair. Very few programs in Denmark are Yoga Alliance approved and I think it is primarily because they cannot meet the requirements and have the level of education to be YA approved.

In 2015, I took my 200-hour yoga training through Yoga Alliance. I did that in a beautiful place in Sweden, far out in the forest, next to a lake. There was plenty of room for contemplation. I obtained the title 200RYT - RYT stands for "registered yoga teacher".


Rishikesh – The spiritual capital of Yoga

In December 2023 I traveled to India to take my top-up yoga teacher training of 300 hours. Thereby I have achieved the highest yoga teacher training possible through Yoga Alliance. And the title 500RYT. It was a great and educational month, but by no means a vacation.

I chose to do my education in the Indian city of Rishikesh. Rishikesh is also referred to as the birthplace of yoga and the capital of yoga as it is a very sacred place for yoga gurus. The whole towns atmosphere is very spiritual and is built around the yoga lifestyle. Rishikesh is also completely meat and alcohol free and it is not possible to find these things in the city. One of my favorite yoga teachers on the program was in his late 20s and has never tasted alcohol. He didn't know what tequila was and even thought that the "worst thing about himself" was that he smiled/laughed too much. Yes, then you really have to be a good person - but he really was!

All my yoga teachers at the training were very amazing and authentic. They were actually all ordinary people who are part of society in the same way as the rest of us. They have spouses, friends, other interests outside of yoga such as fitness, music or something else. However, they all also live the yoga lifestyle, which i.a. is to follow some personal and social codes. They also follow daily routines that are consistent with the yoga lifestyle. Most people in Rishikesh share the same belief in life. It is therefore not difficult to live the yoga lifestyle as no one drinks alcohol and goes to bed early to be ready for yoga exercises at sunrise.

All my teachers were incredibly humble and never talked themselves up. You felt that their knowledge and experience was authentic and that they themselves live in accordance with what they teach. Likewise, they did not share their spiritual experiences, experiences through meditation, etc., as they consider it to be private. In the West, I both see and experience that both my and other students often start to cry during a yoga class. This is completely normal and of course okay, since in yoga we open and loosen a lot. It also happened at the training, some cried during our teaching. Our teachers kept asking why the person was crying and that he couldn't understand why she was crying. So emotions like that are not something they work with in Indian yoga, it's more private. Likewise, I didn't feel it was okay to say no to being pushed deeper into a position. I have a number of injuries and am proud of what I can do and the level I have achieved. Sometimes they pressed until it was painful and even if you asked if they would please stop, they kept saying they had to. So there wasn't so much "listen to your body and respect your limits" about the teaching :D But then you also got to try the "real" yoga from India.


Anyways! Back to Rishikesh. Rishikesh is located in the northern part of India near the city of Dehradun in the state of Uttarakhand. Located right on the famous Ganges River, Rishikesh is another pilgrim city for Hindus, yogis and other sages who want to feel the energy of the city. There are many "Ashrams" (see description below) and yoga schools in Rishikesh. Many serious yoga practitioners from all over India have gone to Rishikesh and now live and live there according to the yoga lifestyle. In particular, Rishikesh also got on the world map when the popular music group, The Beatles, arrived in the city in 1968, they stayed for several years in Rishikesh to study yoga and there is now a whole Ashram named after them which now functions as a museum.

Life in an Indian Ashram

An Ashram is a description for a spiritual or religious place where one can go and practice. There are often some guidelines and daily activities you follow such as karma yoga, meditations, studying the sacred texts etc.

I spent 28 days at a yoga ashram a little outside the center of Rishikesh. It was quieter and we could walk down to the Ganges river. Our ashram was a large building, but in good condition, especially compared to the surrounding buildings. There was not much nature, and rubbish everywhere. Really all over the street. The streets are further characterized by cows, which act as the kings of the streets. The locals were very smiling and welcoming. Every time I went out I was asked if I wanted to take pictures with the locals. In Rishikesh itself there are many tourists, but where we stayed we were almost the only foreigners in the area.

I went in December and it was so so cold! During the day it was okay, but inside our rooms, in the dining hall and in the yoga rooms it was freezing cold. I always wore at least 2 layers of clothes, bought extra wool blankets, socks etc. But I still froze without limit. The others also froze, but the Indian approaches to e.g. freezing or being hungry is part of life and you have to put up with it.

We were a total of 12 students at the ashram. 8 studied in the 200 hour group and we were only 4 in the 300 hour group. Nice that we got the opportunity to ask about all the things we wanted.

We were served 3 meals a day. Personally, I loved the food and thought it was delicious. I have been a vegetarian since 2015, so the food we ate was very similar to what I already eat every day. We were served a lot of rice, beans, lentils, sprouts, tofu etc. I did miss my oatmeal and some fresh vegetables, but it was delicious. Furthermore, we had some special evenings where we e.g. tried the local food from the mountains. We also had a workshop where we learned how to cook Ayurvedic food. Of course, we ate all meals sitting on the floor, as both yoga and ayurveda consider this to be better for our digestion. One morning we did 108 sun salutations, it was fun and challenging. One afternoon we did Acro yoga, it was also a fun and different way of doing yoga. The yoga school also had a "spa" department, where we, among other things, could get lovely Ayurvedic massages etc.

We had the same teaching program every day from 6 am to 7:30 p.m.

We had Sundays off.

Our program looked like this: (in the following I will go into more depth with what each part contained)

6-6:15 Shat Karma

6.15 – 7 Pranayama

7-8 Meditation

8-9:30 Asana Hatha Yoga

9:30 Breakfast

11-12 Philosophy

13: Lunch

13:30-15:30: Homework + self study

15:30-17: Ayurveda + Anatomy + Yoga Therapy

17:18:30: Alignment/Adjustment

18:30-19:30: Asana Ashtanga Yoga

19:30: Dinner

20:30: Self study/free time


Shat Karma

Shat Karma belongs to the Hatha Yoga Tradition. Shat means "six" and karma means "action".

Shat karma involves 6 different practices in purification. The meaning of hatha yoga and shat karma is to create a balance between the two main energy flows we have in the body, namely Ida and Pingala. You will thereby also achieve physical and mental cleansing/purification as well as balance.

Every day we performed different shat karmas. Further, we did other shat karma, but they cannot be done every day, but only a few times a year. Jala Neti and Sutra Neti help to clean the nasal passages. This makes, among other things, so that you can breathe better in and out through the nose when doing breathing exercises/pranayama. We did them every morning first thing after getting up.

Jala Neti is also known as nasal irrigation, where a special pot is used to clean the nose. The water must be lukewarm and a little Himalayan salt added. The reason for lightly salting the water is that the osmotic pressure from the water corresponds to what we have in our body's fluids and thereby will not create snot. If it feels uncomfortable, there is too little or too much salt in the water. I'm thinking of making a guide on how to rinse the nose at some point.

The second nose cleaning practice is called Sutra Neti, where you clean the nose with a string. I really tried to do this practice as well, but I just couldn't get the string through my nose and out through my mouth. It is normal to sneeze a lot and have vomiting movements. The others on the team did it daily and said it only got easier. I've brought the string home with me so maybe I'll get up the courage to do it.


Once during our stay we did Shankhaprakshala or Varisara Dhauti where you wash your internal organs. In this practice, you drink several liters of salted water. After you have drunk the water, you do a sequence of 5 yoga exercises, which help to get the system going. It is supposed to set things off so well that you spend the next time in the toilet cleaning everything from the inside. You have to repeat this up to 8 times or until what comes out is as clear as water. Then one's interior has been completely cleansed. I threw up only after drinking the salt water, but tried again. Out of everyone on the team, I was the last to get the system going, but it happened. The rest of the day we rested, you are not allowed to sleep, and ate very light food in the form of some kind of lentil and rice soup.

One more time during our stay we did Kunjal Kriya, which is described as a practice where you throw up water. The practice is performed in the morning on an empty stomach. Again, you drink lukewarm but more salty water while sitting in the tailor's position. You try to drink 6 glasses of water or until you don't feel you can hold it down any longer. The water is then thrown up. If you have problems getting the water up, you can use your fingers to help.



Pranayama is often described as breath control or breathing control. Granted, while this is true, it does not fully cover what pranayama actually is.

This is because it is not just oxygen that we draw in and out of our lungs. But ordered prana in Sanskrit can be translated as life cancer. So it is actually this life force that you work with in Pranayama. The direct translation of pranayama from Sanskrit is: control of the life force as your own experience.

There is a wide range of pranayamas, some of which are only for Yoga Gurus who have achieved a high level of enlightenment.

We worked for an hour directly with pranayama in the morning. Our teaching alternated between theory and practice. Some days they explained some of the theory behind it and other times we did the exercises ourselves. Another very important thing in pranayama is our bandhas or locks as we reffer to them in english. However, they are most often used for experienced yoga practitioners. There are three primary locks. Our root lock, stomach lock and chin lock. We learned how to add the different locks in different pranayama exercises. In this way, you can keep the energy inside and lift it up to a chakra that is located higher up. I have to do a post on bandhas too so I can elaborate on the meaning and their functions a bit more. Personally, I love pranayama and found them to contribute very positively to my life. I myself do pranayama exercises daily and I feel they ground me and lead the energy back to myself. Each pranayama has its own specific properties and effects. Some of the primary exercises we did were: Yogic breath, Nadi Sodhana, Ujjayi, Bhastrika etc.

I teach the various techniques at my yoga retreats. You can find quite a few breathing/pranayama exercises in our online yoga library. I also regularly write articles on the subject and you can find more pranayama videos in our online yoga library.



Meditation can be described as: Tatra Part Yek Tantra. Uninterrupted flow of concentration is meditation. Uninterrupted being, no disturbance of anything. You just are.

One of the 8 branches of yoga is Pratyahara which can be translated as "withdrawal of the senses". You don't smell anything, you don't hear anything, you don't feel anything. Nothing disturbs a chief. One exists and is just without disturbance.

We worked with different meditation techniques, but everyone primarily had a focus on concentrating and focusing on something specific. It is said that there are 112 ways to achieve the meditation stage. We worked with both passive meditations where you sit still and active meditations where you can be in motion.

Among other things. we worked with silent guided meditations, e.g. body scans, chakra meditations, 5 senses meditations. We did quite a few meditations for different mantras as well. Among other things. should we chant, whisper and repeat mantras to ourselves. Once we chanted (sung) 108 x AUM/OM. Furthermore, each mantra has a different meaning and effect when repeated with focus and attention.

As a yogi, you should be able to side in the same position/tailor position without feeling anything in mine. 3 hours and 45 minutes. You cannot meditate if you think about being in pain or something else.

Actually, we do physical yoga so that you can sit in meditation for many hours. It is important to sit with a straight back so that the energy can flow freely + one's organs are aligned.

I really enjoyed our daily meditations. Apart from the fact that several others on the team chose to see the meditation class as an opportunity to take a nap and there was snoring every day, which I found quite disturbing....


Asana Hatha Yoga

After our Shat Karma, Pranayama and meditation lessons, it is time for our asana class. Asana describes the physical positions that we in the West often describe as yoga.

In the morning we did Hatha Yoga. Ha stands for sun and yang energy and tha stands for moon and yin energy. Hatha Yoga thus describes both the physical but also the mental energies. Hatha is the opposites that exist in our lives. Heat, cold, comfort/discomfort, etc. Through Hatha Yoga, balance and harmony are created between the energies.

In yoga, Asana is described as: Steady comfortable posture. And must be practiced with: practice, patience and continuously.

It is said that there are over 84 million different positions. There is a position for everything in the world. However, according to the old Indian scriptures, there are between 15-32 depending on which text you start from.

I loved our Hatha Yoga mornings. But it was so incredibly hard. The hardest yoga I have ever tried. We typically had one "peak pose" which was quite difficult but spent 60 minutes warming up the correct muscles for the position, after which we played with the position and did a short cool down and of course always followed by savasana.

Yoga Filosofi

Our philosophy classes were exciting and our teacher inspiring. Yoga really requires a lot of dedication as well as discipline. And yoga is an opportunity to get to know yourself better. However, one must still study yoga as a science. Our yoga teachers have all studied yoga at university as well as studied for longer periods in ashrams with gurus.

According to yoga philosophy, yoga means: Union, control, Samadhi. Union control samadhi. Union = body, mind, self, unity, oneness. Control = control, posture, pranayama, senses, meditation. Samadhi = Withdrawal of senses / stillness of the mind. There are 8 branches of yoga that can lead to Samadhi, i.e. full enlightenment and freedom. Yoga is about achieving samadhi.

The sage Pantanjali is the first to create structure in the ancient scriptures. He has written the Yoga Sutras which are considered the original yoga philosophy as well as the historical perspective. It is far from just about the physical practice of yoga, but much more about the whole yoga lifestyle. We read, chanted/sung and studied over 50 sutras/verses from the book, which gave a good and deeper insight into the meaning of yoga and its entire foundation. Pantanjali's yoga sutras are primarily about 3 things that lead one to Samadhi. 1. to remove impurities and ignorance from one's mind through the yoga sutras, 2. How to speak and write in Sanskrit 3. Remove impurities from one's body through Ayurveda.

Ayurveda & Yoga Theraphy

I have long been interested in Ayurveda, which is referred to as yoga's sister. Ayurveda is also described as an ancient health art. Ayur means life and veda means knowledge. Ayurveda focuses both the combination and the importance between man, the universe and the cosmic energy among all living and dead. Ayurveda consists of many things, but one of the biggest principles is TriDosha: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. If these are out of balance you will be sick, if they are in balance you will be healthy.

Ayurveda has two primary objects. The primary object is to maintain the health of a healthy person (prevention). The second object is to restore the health of a sick person (cure).

Yoga therapy is about helping a patient feel better through yoga and Ayurveda.

On the course, we learned about a wide range of physical and mental illnesses and how we can be cured through yogic and Ayurvedic methods. I thought this was one of the most exciting things about the course. A natural way to feel better. However, it requires that you are willing to work for it yourself.


Anatomy and physiology

The body is a whole universe unto itself. We delved into the body and its functions and systems. We talked about anatomy in relation to yoga positions.

Furthermore, we learned about other yogic concepts such as the nadis, which are energy channels that run in our body. Where the two primary nadis, ida and pingala, intersect, we find the 7 primary chakras. We talked about nadis, chakras etc. about the influence on the entire body's functions and systems.


Alignment + Adjustment

Why are there guidelines at all for how to position yourself in a yoga position? There are two general reasons for this and it is firstly to get the maximum potential out of the position and secondly to reduce the risk of being injured. Since we were on the 300-hour training and it is a prerequisite that we can align for most exercises in advance. Something I've spent an incredible amount of time geeking out on, as I thought it was so important. We went further and learned to look at our students' bodies and how we might can help them with various joint problems such as ankle, knee, shoulder problems etc. We also talked about the stories behind the positions. It was very exciting and one of the things I am most looking forward to incorporating more into my teaching. Do you know e.g. the story behind why they are called the warrior poses? There will be a video about that in our online yoga library.



Ashtanga yoga is a yoga tradition which is considered to be one of the most dynamic forms of yoga.

There are a total of 6 different series that you can practice according to your level. Ashtanga is also described as yoga therapy, as it is considered to be therapeutic for body and mind. In ashtanga you always do the same series and composition of exercises. I really enjoyed our Ashtanga at my training, but I also have somewhat ambivalent feelings. Ashtanga is very strict and you follow a series of exercises, without changing them or changing the order. Many of the positions are incredibly difficult and very demanding and there are very few who can actually perform the exercises correctly (not including myself (yet) unfortunately). Ashtanga requires a certain level before one can practice it. However, it is a very mental practice as you can immerse yourself in yourself, as you know which exercises are coming up. Ashtanga is also traditionally practiced even without a guide. However, I also thought it was a bit of a shame that you only do the same exercises, as there are so many good positions with different benefits. I continue to practice ashtanga, but supplement it with other forms of yoga, primarily Hatha, but also Yin.

In addition, you count in Sanskrit in ashtanga and there is a lot of focus on "dristi", which is the focal point you look at with your eyes in each position. There are 8 different ones. It is also used in e.g. Hatha Yoga, but it is particularly prevalent in Ashtanga. 



Every Sunday we had off and the first two Sundays there were trips planned to exciting sights around Rishikesh. The following ones I went on a trip myself with some of the others.

We visited e.g. Mata Balkumari Temple where we saw a beautiful sunrise over the mountains and then saw rituals performed in the temple. We also visited Neer waterfall, which was beautiful and with the possibility of bathing in it. There were a bit too many people, but if you continued up the mountain, you came up to some really nice hippie cafes in the mountains. I also went on some other good hikes into the mountains and otherwise we had fun in the Rishikesh center, which is right next to the Ganges river. Many good restaurants with a nice view. Also really good opportunity to go shopping here as they have many beautiful Indian things.



All in all a great month but great teachers. However, it was also a very hard and challenging month. You are at class every day and not much time to rest or think about what you have gone through or learned. I have taken many of the new practices home with me and they have become a regular part of my daily routine. It has been an exciting experience to live and live like that for a month in India. But it was also great to come home to European conditions again.

Thank you very much for reading along!

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti // Emely

I very much hope to see you on one of my yoga trips, retreats or online yoga! You can read more by clicking on one of the images below.


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