Why Do We Do 5-Day Courses At The Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre?

One of our main goals at the HIYC is to help our students to develop into lifelong practitioners of yoga. One of the chief ways we hope to achieve this is by ensuring that all new students commit to at least one 5-day course with our teachers and assistants here at the centres in Goa and Dharamsala, India. Ideally, we recommend students to complete three or four 5-day courses because there is a progression over the weeks and evolution of the poses. In that time they will have a deeper understanding of all the core poses that do not change whether you are doing the introductory course or whether you are a teacher here at the centre. The poses evolve, both physically, in terms of the instructions given by the teacher at each stage, and in terms of your awareness of them at the subtler level. After 3 weeks of 5-day courses your awareness will be heightened and you will be greatly attuned to the subtleties of your body. So, the more courses completed the better but even two or just one week will furnish you with the skills you need to carry you on your own path to self-realisation.

We run the courses as 5 days in the hope that you’ll begin to practise on your days off. In reality, we know what the weekend means; late nights, later mornings and general over-indulgence but we do find that after week 2 - when we teach hanging - that students are more likely to come in on their weekend. And the more 5-day courses you do, the more you’ll find you miss and need your daily practice – especially on the days off.

We also find that 5-day courses ensure commitment from the students, for whom it may take a while to get into the rhythm of the HIYC yoga style. In the first week our bodies are adjusting to the schedule of the practice; to spending 3+ hours devoted to practice without talking, phones, internet, or any other distractions and to keeping our stomach empty for longer periods than we are used to. After the second and third weeks our bodies and minds become more accustomed, making the transition into self-practice easier. Many of us will recall our first week or weeks as full of confusion, maybe even boredom, and probably definitely hunger. And honestly, who can say they enjoyed shoulder stand in week 1, or 2? It takes a while, it takes commitment, it takes faith and trust in ourselves and in our teacher that this will pay off. And it will; as all the long term students can attest to. After several weeks of yoga classes at the centre you will reap the physical and mental benefits and that will instil a love and a need for sustained self-practice.

After 3 weeks, we might have taught you all the poses you’ll need, but this is a mere drop in a whole ocean of experience that awaits you once you turn within. We hope that by giving you this taster you’ll be ready to dive in.

Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Maria Chandler

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