My Experience at All Yoga Teacher Training in Bali
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 5 years now and it’s changed both my body and mind and transformed my life in many ways. I’m mainly into Hatha and Iyengar yoga, but when All Yoga Teacher Training in Bali invited me to experience their 200 hr Ashtanga Teacher Training Course I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about Ashtanga yoga – a more dynamic yoga style than I’m used to, and explore the beautiful, tropical, Balinese island of Nusa Lembongan.
Thinking about undertaking a yoga teacher training course can feel a bit overwhelming so in this post I’m first going to review the All Yoga Teacher Training Course (YTTC) and then write more about my personal journey, insights and experience of yoga teacher training that goes way beyond the certification. (There’s also a juicy discount code at the end if you feel inspired to start your yoga teacher training journey! 😉 )
So read on for a detailed review of my experience at All Yoga teacher training in Bali.
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About All Yoga
All Yoga have been running comprehensive and expertly designed 200 hr Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training courses in both Bali and Koh Phangan, Thailand, since 2009. Both magical, beautiful and spiritual islands that I’m lucky to call my second homes, after Goa, and both incredible places to take the journey of yoga teacher training.
The All Yoga YTTC takes 23 days, is accredited by Yoga Alliance, and will deepen your practice physically, mentally and emotionally as well as giving you the skills to become a knowledgeable and confident Ashtanga yoga teacher anywhere in the world.
The Bali courses are located on the quaint, stunning island of Nusa Lembongan, 30 mins by boat from Sanur in Bali. I really fell in love with this island that I regard both as Bali’s hidden gem and newest emerging hotspot, and the All Yoga beachfront shala is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever practiced in.
The course is run by a super knowledgeable, friendly, fun and approachable international team in a paradise location. There’s plenty of physical practice, the theory is presented in an interesting and engaging way and there’s lots of practical teaching experience.
Yoga teacher training is an intense and challenging journey in many ways but it can also be a truly transformative and life changing experience and one that I was glad to take with All Yoga.
A Typical Day at All Yoga Teacher Training in Bali
Days in the beautiful beach front All Yoga shala start at 7.30 with Kriyas (purification practices) Pranayama (breathing exercises) and mediation before our morning yoga practice. (Normally we practiced the full Ashtanga Primary Series but we also did a few sessions of Vinyasa and Rocket Yoga).
After yoga practice we had a 2 hour break; usually we went to one of the restaurants on the beach to eat, swim and relax.
Afternoons started with interesting and engaging lectures on subjects like yoga history, philosophy and anatomy and physiology before going into asana clinic where we broke down the asanas to study and perfect them individually.
Next we put what we had learned that day by pairing up for teaching practice. The day ended with another yoga practice (usually the shorter modified primary series) in the open sided beach front shala as the sun set over the ocean.
After the class it was playground time where the trainers stayed behind so we could practice any asanas we were having trouble with or just try to perfect our handstands!
Evenings were free to explore the local restaurants, do homework or work on group projects and rest.
The training was 6 days per week for about 3 weeks with Fridays off. On our days off some liked to just rest and get a massage but for those who wanted to explore more of the beautiful, tropical island All Yoga helped to arrange group snorkelling and diving trips and tours of the neighbouring island of Nusa Penida.
All Yoga Teacher Training in Bali – Daily Schedule:
7:30 – 8:30 Kriya (purification practices), Pranayama (breathing exercises) and Meditation
8:30 – 10:30 Morning Asana Practice
10:30 – 12:30 Breakfast/Lunch Break
12:30 – 2:20 Lecture (History of Yoga, Philosophy, Anatomy, Physiology etc.)
2:20 – 3:00 Afternoon Break with tea and fruits
3:00 – 5:00 Alignment/ Asana Clinic and Teaching Practice
5:00 – 06:00 Evening Asana Practice (Normally Ashtanga Modified Primary Series but we also did a few Yin sessions too)
6:00 – Optional open end Playground to practice any yoga poses you want to improve
The asana practice was mainly Ashtanga, primary series, both led and Mysore style, modified primary series but we also had some fun doing vinyasa, rocket and yin yoga too.
We also played some games and they also held fun and unique workshops to help us to build strength or specific skills to master some of the trickier asanas which will also be useful if we want to teach weekend workshops. My favourites were the handstand and svansana workshop!
The All Yoga trainers and other students
All Yoga teacher training is limited to 22 students per group and there are 3 main instructors and other experts who come in to teach in their fields. The trainers – David from Spain, Seline from Switzerland and Kholis from Indonesia were all super knowledgeable, fun, down to earth, friendly and approachable. You can read more about the trainers on the All Yoga website.
The other students were a mixture from Europe, Asia and Australia and I felt blessed to be part of a friendly and supportive group. The trainers gave us fun ice breakers and getting to know each other exercises so the group energy and dynamics were great from very early on.
At the start it was probably a 50/ 50 split between people whose aim was to teach yoga as a career and those who simply wanted to learn more and deepen their practice. By the end of the course most of the students (now newly qualified yoga teachers) were feeling keen and confident to teach. I was worried because sometimes I’ve encountered elitism in the Ashtanga yoga community but everyone at All Yoga was really nice.
A lot of people wonder how can you become a confident and capable yoga teacher after just 3/4 weeks of training. How do you get enough teaching experience in? At All Yoga Training you begin to practice teaching right from day 2, first by breaking down the poses and repeating the instructions from the trainer whilst doing them and then working in pairs taking it in turns to instruct each other.
Knowledge is reinforced through repetition with the daily led asana classes, self practice (Mysore style), asana clinics and teaching practice. By breaking down, studying, practicing and teaching the asanas in sections the students gain the knowledge and confidence to teach a full 1 hour class of modified primary series Ashtanga yoga at the end of the training which gives them the certification.
The trainers will observe your teaching and progress every day and give feedback and if you are struggling can find different ways of learning to suit you better. At first I thought that if I wasn’t able to do every full pose in the primary series perfectly that I would fail the course but that’s not the case – what’s more important is your attitude and how well you teach and share the knowledge of yoga, not how strong or flexible you are. That’s why it’s called a yoga practice!
At the first teaching practice everyone panics and goes blank; its totally normal, but soon you gain knowledge and confidence. The system they’ve developed works really well and they have a 99.9% success rate, which is impressive especially when you think that, for many students, English is not their first language. It was incredible to witness how students who were not confident to even speak English at the start of the course ended up being able to teach the yoga sequence in English.
By Day 10, we, the students, started to teach the whole class kriyas, pranayama and meditation which really helped to improve confidence in public speaking and help us find our teaching voice. By Day 11 we started doing self practice Mysore style which helped us to memorise the sequence further, find our own flow and develop our own self practice.
Yoga Philosophy and Theory
The practical aspects are complimented by daily lectures by visiting expert teachers including Dr Ganesh Rao, a mentor for Philosophy and Yoga Ph.D. students at Mumbai University who flew over from India for a week, and Wendy founder of Yoga Seeds studio in Singapore who flew over for a week to teach us anatomy and physiology.
You might think that a lecture would be boring but actually I found them really interesting and engaging, Everyone at All Yoga always encouraged us to ask questions and there were lots of group activities, and even a bit of massage practice in the anatomy lectures! One of my personal highlights of the course was listening to Dr Ganesh’s Yoga Philosophy lectures. He has so much knowledge about Patanjali’s yoga sutras and gave us a real insight into yoga way beyond the physical asana. What we learned here is life changing and super useful not just for teaching yoga but with every aspect of our lives.
But don’t worry, All Yoga approach this in a non dogmatic way, they will not force any religious or spiritual beliefs on the students – they will not even force you to be a vegetarian – it’s up to each student to decide their own path.
Towards the end of training there are also workshops on sequencing and how to structure a class and lectures on the business of yoga including ethics and practical tips for making a living as a yoga teacher that help to prepare students to work in the yoga industry.
The final exam is to teach a full 1 hour Ashtanga modified primary series class to one other student. (To have every student teach the whole group would just take too long). But it’s nothing to get too worried about as you’ll get a lot of teaching practice throughout the course. Three days before the final exam you start to practice group teaching and the day before there is a mock exam. The most important thing is that you can instruct the correct asana sequence, breath, dristi and flow. It will almost feel natural by the time to exam comes around that you will hardly even feel like you doing an exam. You don’t even need to know the Sanskrit.
Location, Accommodation and Food
The location of the All Yoga shala – right on Jungu batu Beach on the small, tropical island of Nusa Lembongan – can’t be beaten. I really fell in love with the island which is only 30 minutes by boat from Bali but is so much less developed. I’ve practiced yoga all over the world and this is the most beautiful shala I’ve been lucky enough to practice in. The shala is made out of natural materials and is open to the beach meaning that you catch the sea breeze and watch the impossibly clear, turquoise sea with the boats bobbing and waves breaking on the horizon while you practice. Once you finish the sessions, jumping into the cool water while you wait for a smoothie bowl or salad from Ginger and Jamu is so refreshing and just blissful after a sweaty ashtanga session!
The yoga teacher training runs for 23 days, 6 days per week with a day off on Fridays. On days off there is great snorkelling, diving and surfing and lots of beautiful places, beaches and temples to explore around the island. But if you just want to rest and rejuvenate with a Balinese massage and do your homework that’s OK too. I’d recommend arriving earlier before the course starts or allowing some extra time afterwards so you don’t miss out on exploring this stunning island.
One thing that makes the All Yoga teacher training course in Bali different from other retreats and training that I’ve been on is that it is not on a campus/resort and food and accommodation are not included although free dormitory accommodation at Nyuh Gading Hostel and Homestay is offered to the first 10 students to sign up. It’s just steps away from the beach and the shala and there is a nice café, chill out area and swimming pool and the staff are super lovely.
I felt there were advantages and disadvantages to this. On one hand it was nice to not be ‘stuck’ on a campus and to be able to pick my own accommodation, to explore this beautiful island, to choose where and what I want to eat each day and to be able to have a break from the yoga scene if I wanted some time alone. But I also found that this takes up more time and energy than when I go on a retreat that is on a campus where meals are included and you don’t have to think about where to go to eat and wait for food.
Selecting your own accommodation also means that you can bring along and share accommodation with your partner, friends, or family even if they are not doing the course. But I wouldn’t personally recommend this as yoga teacher training has a packed schedule, with homework and a group of new yoga friends, and can be a life changing journey of self discovery which I feel is best taken alone and with time out from normal responsibilities. But it’s an option if you really can’t bear to leave your loved ones.
There is plenty of choice in accommodation for all budgets close by, including some nice homestays and budget guesthouses just a stones throw away. (See here for my recommendations for the best places to stay in Nusa Lembongan) There are also plenty of tasty, local ‘warungs,’ cafes and restaurants close by where you can find both Indonesian food and international cuisine. Many restaurants nearby serve healthy food like smoothie bowls, avocado toast, healthy salads and fresh juices at reasonable prices. (See here for my recommendations for my favourite restaurants in Nusa Lembongan.)
I spent between 50,000 IDR and 100,000 IDR for most meals which is only between roughly £2.50 – £5 per meal. I spent about 3,500,000 (about £190) on food over the 23 days – that’s only roughly £8 per day. Bear in the mind that after 3 hours of ashtanga yoga you will probably need to eat more than you usually do so adjust your budget to allow for the increased appetite that comes with an intense work out and stay hydrated as it’s hot and humid and you’ll sweat alot!
My Personal Experience with All Yoga Teacher Training in Bali
I’m not going to lie and say that my Asthanga yoga teacher training was all easy, serene and blissful – it’s so different from a yoga retreat! Yoga Teacher Training can be a challenging, transformational and intense roller coaster journey – both physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. The yoga teacher training journey will be different for everyone and the lessons learned and transformation is so much more than just gaining a certificate. This is why, even if you don’t want to teach yoga, undertaking a YTTC is still a really worthwhile experience to deepen your practice and learn more about yourself and about yoga.
All Yoga recommend that you have at least 6 months of regular Ashtanga, or other dynamic yoga practice, or high intensity sports/fitness training background. I’d had a bad experience at an Ashtanga yoga class many years ago but as I had practiced Hatha and Iyengar yoga for about 5 years I thought I would be OK. I quickly realised that there is a big difference between the more gentle forms of yoga I have been practicing and the more dynamic Ashtanga yoga.
Luckily, the All Yoga team were all really friendly, down to earth and approachable and gave each student a lot of personal attention and support – both on and off the mat, and didn’t berate me even though I didn’t have a background or much experience in Ashtanga yoga. BUT, if you are considering doing Ashtanga yoga teacher training then don’t be like me and do it without much Ashtanga practice preparation.
Ashtanga is a much more physically intense and tiring style of yoga than Hatha, so do yourself a favour and start a regular dynamic yoga practice so you don’t need to find it as physically challenging as I did. There are many different styles of yoga and Ashtanga yoga might not be the best style for everyone Check out this guide to the different styles of yoga and how to find the right yoga style for your personality. Once you find a yoga style that you love, and a teacher that you like, in your home town I would recommend committing to going to that yoga class at least 3 times a week for 6 months – 1 year to prepare for the yoga teacher training.
You only get one body and so you need to look after it and make sure that it’s ready for the training. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be able to do every pose perfectly to join a yoga teacher training! 🙂 But make sure you’re fit enough if you plan to do a very physical training like Ashtanga or power yoga.
At first, I found 3 hours of Ashtanga yoga a day very physically challenging and I was overwhelmed that the practice was too intense for me, that I wasn’t strong enough or flexible enough, that I would never remember all the Sanskrit. I worried that I wouldn’t pass the course because I couldn’t nail every full pose perfectly every time and because I didn’t look like the perfect yogi that I’ve become so used to seeing on Instagram. I pushed myself too hard in the first few days and was seriously sore all over my whole body and had doubts if I could complete the course without injuring myself badly. I beat myself up for not being ‘the perfect yogi’ and for not being able to master every single pose.
But through the yoga philosophy classes and the support of the friendly, down to earth trainers and the rest of the group I learned that you don’t need to be perfect at every yoga pose to be good enough and realised that this goes not just for yoga but also applies to many things in life. Once I realised I was being too perfectionistic even my work, writing and other areas of my life became less stressful and more productive without the high expectations I had placed on myself and I felt I could just be myself. Read more here about overcoming perfectionism with yoga and meditation.
I learnt to be humble and to use the modifications instead of injuring myself and not to push my body so far or to beat myself up if I couldn’t do every pose perfectly. As a result my practice became a lot easier and more enjoyable. I noticed that every day, even though the practice was the same, my body and/or mind was slightly different and I had to accept where I was that day, to practice ahimsa (non violence) to myself also, not only to others.
Once I did this I noticed that every day I found I could go that little further, the practice got easier, and I could feel the body and mind benefits of the repetitive nature of Ashtanga. ‘Do your practice and all is coming’ as Patanjali says. Every day as I practiced I could feel my body changing subtly, my posture and breathing becoming better, my body becoming stronger and more flexible. My mind began to calm down and I became less concerned with keeping up with the self inflicted pressure and high ideals of perfectionism that is promoted through social media and is now being recognised as harmful for our self esteem and mental health.
The interesting thing about taking a step back from our own practice, witnessing the growth of others on the course and opening up about our feelings, experiences and vulnerabilities and starting to observe and teach others is that I realized that no one else in the group was perfect either. Everyone has different bodies and finds different poses easy or difficult. Some days and good and some days are not so good.
There is a style of yoga for everyone, Ashtanga might not suit everybody and there are slower, more gentle forms of yoga (Check out my other recommendations for yoga teacher training courses in Bali here). Just do what you can do each day and be grateful to your body. Trying to push yourself to achieve that perfect pose, body or life you see on Instagram isn’t actually reality and far from the real point of yoga. This was something really valuable for me to learn, both on and off the mat, but the lessons you learn in YTT will probably be different depending on what you need to learn.
I think it’s quite common to go through a period in your YTTC where you have a mini breakdown where it all gets a bit intense but this is what makes it transformational and where the breakthrough/ magic happens. Many things that you learn on the mat also apply to other areas of your life as well, for me for example I became more confident with public speaking through teaching practice, less perfectionist and had to learn to be kinder to myself and when to stop pushing myself so hard.
The YTT schedule is intense but the training process with the twice daily asana practices, daily teaching practice and repetition and homework makes it possible for everyone to learn, pass and succeed as long as they have an open mind, positive attitude and the discipline and motivation to practice everyday.
I learned to trust the process and listen to my body. I realised my body was capable of much more than I thought it was before and I have to accept it, be grateful for it and love it for how it is. Maybe I’ll never master every asana enough to make the perfect Instagram photo, maybe my body just isn’t built that way, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t work towards it a little bit more everyday and it doesn’t mean that I’m not good enough to do a yoga teacher training in Bali.
Yoga teacher training is just the start and what you will learn on a YTTC is so much more that just a certificate to teach yoga! 200 hours is just the beginning and All Yoga encourages us to carry on learning and practicing as there’s still so much more to learn.
Now I’m even a bit of an Ashtanga convert. After the training I can do the majority of full primary series with ease now – thanks All Yoga!
What is the cost of this life changing experience?
The course costs from USD $2,950 /USD $3, 650 but there are discounts the earlier you sign up. You get $700 discount if you sign up at least 4 months before so its really worthwhile to get organised and book in advance here. Don’t forget if you are one of the 1st 10 students to sign up you get free dormitory accommodation. (You pay a deposit to secure your place; you don’t have to pay the whole fee at once). You can also get a $150 discount just for reading my blog by quoting ‘Global Gallivanting’ when you enquire.
Check out All Yoga’s website and download their course brochure for more information. You can do the training on magical Koh Phangan island in Thailand or in Nusa Lembongan in Bali – it’s the same program but the teachers may vary.
You can check out my Instagram All Yoga YTT story for pics and videos from the course. I much prefer posting on Instagram stories now as there isn’t so much need to have the ‘perfect’ shot each time so I feel like I can share a bit more of real daily life. Also check out All Yoga’s Instagram Stories for daily updates so you know what you’re getting into before you sign up!
Have you done yoga teacher training? I’d be really interested in hearing what you learned beyond the certificate?