The Gurukula System and Yoga Teacher Trainings

Ashiyana Yoga School posted on 04 April 2017

In ancient times, as mentioned in the Upanishads, the teachings of Yoga were passed on by the 'Guru' - 'Gu' (darkness) 'Ru' (remover), in his or her home, to the 'Kula' (extended family of students), over a period of 12 years.

In the 1970s, Swami Sivananda, one of the great and most influential teachers in India in the last 100 years, sent his student, Swami Vishnu Devananda to the West to share yoga where he considered it was needed most. Swami Vishnu Devananda established an ashram in Montreal, Canada, and condensed the twelve year 'Gurukula' system into a month long, intense course that gave students a strong foundation in the pure teachings of yoga, philosophy and asana. This was the original format that is now widely used and called a ‘200hr YTT’, and there are now hundreds of schools and teachers...and an overwhelming amount of choice!

Yoga Teacher Trainings (YTT) come in all shapes and sizes, and which one we find ourselves doing is usually the sum of a thousand decisions and choices that we have already made. If you are reading this, you may have been thinking that you’d like to train in India.


India represents and holds thousands of years of yoga history, practitioners, teachers, gurus, scriptures and texts, ashrams and holy mountains. We imagine what we are looking for may be more tangible there. We may find our own ‘guru’ and tap into a lineage of teachings that come from a source of ancient wisdom that we can make relevant and find meaningful today.

Or, we may be looking at Goa because lying under a palm tree next to the Indian Ocean after 200 hours of practicing and studying is more appealing than going home on the bus or tube! But ultimately, whether we do our training in Goa, Honolulu or Brixton, we are looking for a source that will enrich our lives, inspire our spirit and awaken our minds and bodies so that we can share this in time with others.

Here at Ashiyana, there are no ‘gurus’. Our teachers are also lifelong students, on the path of self discovery and personal enquiry, and are here to share their experience with you. We are all on the journey together and our trainings are a hub of learning, sharing and equipping our trainees with the knowledge and skills to embark on a teaching journey themselves.

Spending one month together in the home-from-home that we call Ashiyana creates a ‘family’ of friendship and support. We have held over 17 trainings here since 2010 – each one unique and beautiful in its own way. Many of our trainees have returned to Ashiyana to live and teach here.

Teacher Linda d'Antal and students from Ashiyana 2016 Modular YTT

Our sister studio, Treehouse Yoga in London, holds our Modular YTT. Here a small group of yogis (14 max) study in the home studio of the teacher over 6 months. We immerse ourselves in the art, science, spirit and love of the practice, both at the studio and by developing a sustained self practice at home. At the end of the course students and teachers all go to Ashiyana to complete the training and lie under the palm trees!

This modular course is more of an ‘apprentice style’ training, as trainees join in the classes and student community of the Treehouse and can observe and over time, assist. The next course starts this July in London, and completes in Goa in November 2017.

If you are considering becoming a teacher, it is our intention to deliver the highest possible quality training, and fully support and welcome you, in whichever course you choose.


A Few Spaces remain for this training



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