Do You Have to Go To India to Be a Legit "Yogi"?

I was chatting it up with some fellow yoga teachers and the topic of going to India came up. 

One said, "Why do you have to go to India to study yoga?"
The other said, "It's an amazing experience, I learned so much!"

Some say that many studios in India have become commercialized and Westernized. Others say it's important to study from teachers who were in the direct "lineage" of the gurus. 

What's your take on this? Yay or Nay? Read the following dialogue that happened on my IG:

  • I think to be a "legit" teacher you have to be willing to keep learning about the origins. I don't know everything about yoga philosophy and history, but I make an effort to teach what I do know about the origins. (Yoga sutras) I don't think location matters, but it does sound fun to travel to India for yoga.
  • I heard that the experience in India can be either wonderful or off-putting. Haha! That's great you make the effort to understand the history ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ
  • @healthiernotions are you an Ashtangi? I get mixed opinions on studying with Sharath and Saraswathi
  • samantha_visual_libraryTempted... but heard now engages a v young and v serious crowd (ie a glass of wine in eve is frowned upon)... so still debating
  • life_by_yagnrainI think it depends on one's intention. Whether it be learning mostly asana & some philosophy or the reciprocal. I do believe the Indian style of teaching is far different than the style practiced in western countries. I studied at different ashrams in Rishikesh. But I truly had a desire to study yoga as a whole in a location where it was immersed by practice & not just asana, and to be near the Ganges River. It was a westerner ran school, but the instructors were local & genuine. It would be like saying you can only teach karate, if you studied it in Japan. I truly believe it's up to the individual. I personally and a nerd & love to get information from the source, which ever topic it may be. But that doesn't mean I'm not willing to learn from non direct lineage in any teachings. I've met monks in Asia who barely meditate & people in the states who meditate at least 2 hours a day. Same with yoga, there are people who only practice asana & don't focus on the other 7 limbs. One's own karma will lead them into their depth of study & practice.
  • healthiernotionsI think it depends on the style of yoga. Plus, a whole other ballgame if you want to share the practice with others. Take Ashtanga for example. There are many talented authorized teachers to learn from if you can't make it to India. Doesn't make you non legit if you can't travel all across the world. Yoga is for everyone just like Sharath says. But if you wish to share the Ashtanga practice, I do believe you should first go to India to respect the lineage and learn from the source.
  • healthiernotionsAnd yes, I am! If you are an Ashtanga practitioner I recommend it! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ˜ƒโœจ
  • @samantha_jane_fitnesssdo you mean having wine in India is frowned upon?
  • @life_by_yagnrain same here. I'm intrigued to experience what kind of life exists that would facilitate a group of people to seek solace and meditate for hours a day and become the first of the Yogis
  • @healthiernotions I was considering going to KPJAYI first but I've been dealing with some injuries and felt I should study some Iyengar first to get the alignment foundation down. I also couldn't rationalize paying $550 USD per month if there's 80 students that Sharath is helping! But it is still on my radar! I really love Ashtanga too ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • yogawithdrlyanhLoved my experience in India but training with good teachers anywhere is key with self motivation to learn with openness! Xx
  • wikenyogaI've asked myself that question many times ๐Ÿค” Besides having small children I don't want to leave/ take with me, I'm sceptical going there. I'm a part time introvert so I think I would freak out with all the people there.. all the time๐Ÿคฃ I'm also allergic to very enthusiastic yogis who think everything is amazing all the time...omg I sound horrible๐Ÿ˜ณ Also I'm scared! I've read about womens rights down there, the cast system and I don't like it ๐Ÿคค I don't like that yoga in the beginning was made for the origin doesn't seem all that great to me. So the question is...are my fears fear? Is my scepticism preventing me an experience of a lifetime? ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜€ Perhaps I need to go to teach myself a lesson and see for myself what the fuzz is about ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’™ (wow...longest comment ever)๐Ÿคฃ
  • @yogawithdrlyanh where in India did you study? ๐Ÿ’œ
  • @wikenyoga I guess you'll have to follow your truth with this one!! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
  • yogawithdrlyanh@rogue.yogi it was with @yoga_teacher_training_india xxx
  • brooklyntarot๐Ÿ™Œ
  • healthiernotionsSharath is wonderful with dealing with injuries. All you have to do is ask him for help. But if you are unsure perhaps Saraswati is a better option. And the $550 is worth every penny.
  • @yogawithdrlyanh thanks I'll check them out!
  • @healthiernotions that's really great to know. I did hear he was going to take a break soon. He's quite popular!
  • hisyogidudenessGood topic, and I liked reading others answers. The short answer is that IF material reality is an illusion, then geography is irrelevant. The long answer is that I would like everybody to study/learn some from me ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป
  • dontmesswithganeshAbsolutely not. I think it would be better if they all started coming here instead. We fly in chefs. Musicians. Athletes. Do I have to travel to Ireland to love and celebrate U2? Nope. They should come here. They will appreciate it a lot more. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜
  • @hisyogidudeness ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„
  • @dontmesswithganesh so true!! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
  • aliceonsyogaI don't thinks it's important where you do your training, it's more important who you do it with and what you want to gain from it. Each teacher has their own style, or curriculum they follow, so you should do your research and find what resonates with you. I'm personally going to India this year to do a training, but it won't be my only training, I would love to do as many trainings as possible with as many teachers as possible. India is also a very affordable place for some, so it's understandable that people go there. I've had lots of friends do theirs in India and have had an amazing training. Just do your research and follow your gut and your heart and I'm sure you will make the right choice. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ
  • ocaminhodharmaNope!!
  • almayoga25Nope, not at all. I don't even have a desire to visit India. I've seen pictures of my Yogi friends that have been and heard all their stories. Not impressed. I respect the lineage, always will but I believe we have great teachers here.
  • call__me__shifaIt depends which place u enroll...... there are genuinely (Yog Shala) good institutions
  • @nandayogasc Sounds like they had an "interesting" experience in India
  • @they_call_me_shifs which ones have you been to or heard of?
  • call__me__shifaIyenger in Pune
  • yoga_hippie_sullyAfter spending 2 weeks on a retreat in India last month, l must say that l've learned so much! Things that teachers in the western world (or most of them anyway) don't even mention during class! I guess you can do your research from anywhere in the world, however spending time in lndia has opened up a whole new world to me. I've now decided to go back in December for a month to learn how to teach ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • @yoga_lucky_sully that's very dope. I'm also aware of what the Western and Eastern yoga world focuses on, and it's very nice to pick and choose what parts of both we want to continue practicing. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž Congrats on your experience! I will be there from mid November to mid December. Which part of India will you be in?
  • @they_call_me_shifs I'll be studying Iyengar in Dehradun. There's so many choices ๐Ÿ˜†
  • yoga_hippie_sully@rogue.yogi l'm going to @krantiyoga in Patnem, South Goa
  • @yoga_lucky_sully cool I just followed them
  • yoga_hippie_sully@rogue.yogi Cool. That's where lll start anyway, let's see where my heart takes me. You're right there's sooo many choices!
  • @yoga_lucky_sully yeah I'm so certain it won't stop there...or maybe you'll stick with the same path, but it's all good as long as you keep going :)
  • johanna_nashI've got a fab teacher, trained in the UK, who's never been to India. She definitely respects the lineage though. Sometimes it's not financially possible to go to India, or family commitments prevent it.
  • @johanna_nash totally understand. So great that your teacher has access to quality yoga that she can carry on!
  • shawnlgratefulI guess it depends on who's approval you seek.
  • rogue.yogi@shawnlgrateful yeah and what funds you have!
  • shawnlgrateful@rogue.yogi God for sale no thanks!!! I'll help the poor then I'll be enlightened to my purpose