So you have decided to take yoga to the next level and consulted good old Google about a teacher training course. As always,Google knows a lot, the pages are endless and courses are marketed in every corner of the globe. As appealing as perhaps a month in a Hawaiian paradise seems, there is something about the mystical land of India that resonate. Here are five reasons as to why you should pack a yoga mat and head to India.

Reason 1: India is the birthplace of yoga

India is the birthplace of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. Originating over 5,000 years ago, the word ‘yoga’ was first mentioned in the Rig Veda – the oldest of the sacred text.
Thus, learning yoga in India teaches you far beyond the western interpretation of asanas (poses) and into the philosophy and inner workings of this ancient art form. You will meet Gurus, masters and Swami’s and be immersed in the history and lifestyle of true yoga.

Reason 2: India is a fascinating contrast to Western Life

I have been blessed to visit many Asian countries, yet I chose to return to India asthere really is no other country like it. Having the second biggest population in the world it is still a developing country. Scattered with harsh contradictions of wealth and poverty, it will frustrate you and enchant you to the same degree. The noise and smells alone are overpowering, cows and dogs rule the streets, I have learnt to always look where I am going to avoid a very messy foot. The roads have no rules and yet with ‘Indian magic’ the impossible is possible, forget a seatbelt and just trust that you will get there somehow with this crazy driver, no GPS and no road signs!

The experience of India is so far removed from our normal lives; it will put your life in perspective and make you realise the true meaning of tradition, beliefs and unity of family. Indian time is another concept that you will learn to grasp; time just does not exist, just relax or as they say ‘take rest’ and go with it.

Yoga in India is also vastly different to the western interpretation, my understanding was the practice of asanas alone, in India it is a lifestyle with the government recently declaring the 21st June ‘World Yoga Day’ making yoga part of the curriculum.

Reason 3: Incredible value for money

If like me, you have limited funds,India represents the best value for money to take a yoga teacher training course (TTC). Prices of a yoga TTC average at around $1500 for a month long course including the training, accommodation and food. This will include tuition from authentic Indian teachers, deepening your practice.

Shopping and eating out is very cheap, the bargains I have come across are endless from clothes to home decorations. A three course meal will cost around$3 and a manicure and pedicure around $10. Bartering and becoming the shopkeepers ‘lucky friend’ is all part of the experience. Cottage industries and wares from Kashmir are abundant along with traditional tailors, who will sew your clothes for a very reasonable price. Come with an empty suitcase and support the local economy.

Reason 4: The Culture and India’s landscape

The numerous lush forests, dense jungles and awe inspiring mountains make up this beautiful landscape; an ideal environment in which to relax, restore and revive the body. It is said that India is actually a continent holding twenty-nine countries, as each state is vastly different from its neighbour. The choice is endless however there are two main locations which are rich in the history of yoga and Ayuveda in tradition. Rishikesh in the North isthe original birthplace of yoga nestled alongside the holy River Ganges set against the backdrop of the Himalayas. Kerala at the Southern tip is the birthplace of Ayurveda in the South with it’s famous backwaters and breathtaking beach landscapes. Having visited the more touristic spot of Goa along the way these two areas are by far more of a traditional Indian experience, after all that is what we are looking for.

The land of spice and mesmerising colour, a confounding tide of humanity will greet you leaving a lingering memory of the remarkable people you meet along the way. These peoplewill always be more than willing to share their culture, homes and hospitality.Traveling by myself I have always felt safe. I know that the kind, inquisitive locals will always be more than willing to help me get to my destination, in exchange for a chat about where I am from and how I live in my country.

Reason 5: Spirituality

India and it’s mystic charm has always drawn people searching for something more,“the spark of divinity in everyone of us that can energise our lives” Eknath Easwaran.From the many temples, shrines and ashrams that are part of the daily life of the many cultures and religions that thrive together in India. Visit the magic of a temple with all its traditions, colourful gods and offerings. Attend the mysterious traditions of a Satsang, Pooja or a fire ceremony. Lose yourself in the vibrations of chanting and mantras whilst learning to focus your mind and meditate like the Buddha. Your journey will take you to places and experiences no other country will offer.

Author's Bio: 

Sophia is a recovering Londoner, having quit the corporate rat race to take a yoga teacher training with Rishikul Yogshala in India. She has yet to return...A brave and scary gamble to some; but an inevitable and natural journey towards contentment after years of introspection and asking the all-important question 'WHY?'