So, you have decided to take the journey of a lifetime- to the magical home of yoga, India, and towards your new career as a yoga teacher- congratulations! These are exciting times but can be daunting if you have not yet traveled to India. In this article, we will discuss traveling to India for Yoga Teacher Training and how you can get here and explore this beautiful country with ease.
Topics covered in this article are
- The best way to get economical flights to India
- Getting to our center
- What to pack
- Staying Healthy & Safe
- Weather, cuisine, language
- Being Culturally Appropriate
Over 10 million tourists traveled to India in 2019, and with good reason- the unique tapestry of life, history, architecture, abundant nature, vibrant cultural landscape, and amazing cuisine is a huge draw to people. Taking your Yoga Teacher Training in India helps you immerse yourself in the culture you are studying- yoga and life in India are so closely weaved together, that even outside of the yoga shala you will still be experiencing yoga.
We have over 15 years of experience welcoming yogis from around the globe to our little piece of paradise by the Arabian Sea. Himalaya Yoga Valley is located in Mandrem Beach, Goa, a small fishing village known for its beauty and safety, we are lucky to live and work somewhere where we can leave our doors and hearts wide open! We know many of our trainees like to travel around India after their training, so as well as discussing coming to India, we will also help you with some tips for getting around after you have done all of that hard work of getting qualified as a teacher.
Travel to India
The first thing is first- dusting off your suitcase and booking your flight. We recommend using Skyscanner.com or Kayak.com to find flights to India. We are located in Goa, which is a smaller state, so we recommend that you undertake two searches to find the most economical route to our center.
Option A) Search from your departure airport to Mumbai, Delhi, or Bangalore- followed by a second domestic flight search to Goa. There are multiple (excellent quality) domestic airlines that fly from all of these major hubs to Goa for very reasonable rates and flying into a major hub instead of Goa, which is a smaller destination with fewer routes can be more expensive. You may also want to stay a night in one of these cities to get a feel for India on a macro level before you arrive at a more quaint experience here with us in Goa. We also recommend finding a flight from your destination to the UAE, and taking the 2.5-hour flight from Sharjah directly to Goa with Air Arabia- you will need to search for this flight directly on their website https://www.airarabia.com This is a very economical, truly convenient way to get from a major midpoint hub to Goa, and it breaks the journey up nicely.
Option B) Search from your departure airport directly to Goa- obviously having your flight under a single ticket PNR has its benefits (such as not having to collect luggage and check it back in when you arrive in India) and sometimes with airlines like Air India and Qatar Airways you can get very economical and convenient flights that take you to Goa without having to find a domestic flight.
Right now, given the situation with airlines, Heathrow Airport restricting landings, oil prices, and the summer holidays you may be seeing prices coming in a little higher than usual for flights to anywhere in the world, including India- when the school holidays are over in Europe and the backlog of luggage is cleared, you can expect to find prices for flights to India coming back to the usual rate of around €500-€800 return depending on when you fly.
If your application for yoga teacher training with us has been approved, you will receive detailed information on getting your visa from our admissions team- here is a brief overview of the process for those who are yet to apply.
India offers 30-day on-arrival E visas for many nationalities- the process to get these visas on arrival is simple, you find our eligible countries, the details of the visa, and apply online at https://www.evisasindia.org/. Some countries not listed on the E-Visa scheme require travelers to India to get a paper visa in their passport by taking a visa appointment and making an application with their local Indian embassy. You can simply search “Indian embassy near me” to apply. Give yourself 15 working days for this visa. The paper visa can be issued for up to 6 months, so if you want to do some traveling after your training this is also a better option than the E-Visa.
We will organize your taxi pick up from Goa airport with one of our local drivers, these drivers are like family to us and are from Mandrem itself and all of them have been ferrying our trainees safely to and from the airport for us for more than a decade. You can also get a government taxi from the taxi stand at the airport if you wish. Always use a government-registered taxi bureau which you will find just before you exit the airport in all major cities.
What to pack
India is a modern country with plenty of options for commercial shopping as well as unique local crafts and artisan products. In any of the major cities, you can find all of the main clothing brands, supermarkets, malls, and the like so you won’t be stuck if you need anything in terms of clothes. And of course, there are all of the incredible local markets too! Pack light, but smart- 10 key pieces of clothes that can be blended and layered if need be, and one or two nice outfits for those special nights out in Goa if you want to experience the amazing restaurant scene there.
Here are some essentials
- Mosquito repellent and small first aid kit
- Non-synthetic, cool clothing for the hot weather
- Layers that you can build on if you travel towards the mountains and it is cooler
- Long loose pants that cover your knees and ankles for visiting temples and smaller villages in India
- Sarong or scarf for covering your head or shoulders if need be
- Any prescriptions you have (can be refilled in India if need be in most cases)
- A high absorbency towel for travel (we provide towels at our centre)
- Comfortable walking shoes
Staying Healthy & Safe
You have probably heard of the dreaded “Delhi Belly” and traveler sickness can indeed sometimes strike, however, there are some ways to reduce your chances of getting ill. Goa being a tourist destination has good food hygiene standards. In terms of safety- you will probably be warned by people who have never traveled to India, about traveling there, and you will be highly encouraged by anyone who has to jump on that plane!
- If you can wash it, boil it or peel it then you can eat it! Any food that has been cooked well in a busy restaurant is usually fine for consumption. Avoid salads (unless in a higher-end restaurant) and always wash your hands or sanitize before you eat
- Stay hydrated- fresh coconut water is the order of the day, plenty of water and in high temperatures we always suggest ORS packs in one liter of water that you sip through the day to keep electrolytes balance
- Vaccinations- please speak to your local travel clinic to get information on the standard vaccines that are available for travelers to India.
- Malaria tablets- our season runs in the winter (a 28-degree winter- don’t worry!) not during the monsoon time and therefore Goa is a low-risk destination when it comes to Malaria which is a water-borne mosquito-carried disease. You should discuss this with your own doctor before travel.
- India, on the whole, is a safe and friendly country, Goa is very safe and you simply apply the same common sense that you would at home, or in any country when traveling to India.
- Travel in first-class or 2AC for train journeys, use reputable travel companies, and if you wish to, you can register with your embassy on arrival in India.
Being Culturally Appropriate
India is on the whole an open-minded country, and the people are extremely welcoming, especially to travelers and those from overseas. If you are going to visit holy sites like mosques, churches, or temples then modest clothing is required for both men and women- in short cover your shoulders and knees and in some cases your hair. Goa is very relaxed, beach wear on the beach is perfectly fine and common. If you are traveling on to North or South India, where it is more conservative, a little effort around things like covering legs and shoulders is really appreciated by local people. In the major cities, it is very modern but can still be a good idea to blend in as you will probably already stand out!
Getting around India
The train network in India is like no other in the world. It is vast, extensive, and spans the whole country. We recommend traveling in 1st or 2nd AC if possible which gives you lots of privacy and even a bed to sleep in for overnight journeys. We recommend travel by train over the bus, and also private taxis which can get you long distances at reasonable rates. There are plenty of websites such as www.makemytrip.com to book travel in India and also local agents.
India has 121 languages, and 270 mother tongues but the main language spoken is Hindi. More than 10% of the population speak English and communication is rarely an issue. Most signs are bilingual with English translations. In Goa, most of the population speaks English and the local language is Konkani, with many of the older population still speaking Portuguese. All in all, you will usually be able to communicate with ease through English in India.
The food in India is as diverse as the country itself, but no matter where you travel in the country, the local cuisine will delight your senses! Vegetarians and Vegans will be absolutely spoiled for choice in India, meat has to work hard to compete for space on the menu, however, if you are not used to a plant-based diet you will still have plenty of options. Goa, being coastal is a fishing hub, and as well as vegetarian food, locals eat a lot of locally caught seafood.
Travel to India is best undertaken between October to April before the summer and monsoons start. During this period in Goa, you can expect temperatures to be between 28-34 degrees. All of our Yoga Teacher Training Courses are held during this period
Reach out to us
Do you have any questions about traveling to India for your teacher training? Drop them in the comments section below, or leave us a message on chat or by email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Enjoy your trip to India- It is a voyage that will stay with you for life!
The Himalaya Yoga Valley Team