Arhanta Yoga Ashrams 50-Hour Yin YTT: an honest review

I completed the online 50-hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training from Arhanta Yoga Ashrams in September 2018.

Arhanta Yoga Ashrams has physical locations in India and The Netherlands, but I completed the 50-hour Yin yoga teacher training through their online yoga academy.

Their online program purports to be identical to their in-person training.

logo-arhanta-yoga-ashram-org

Prior to this training, in 2016 I completed a 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in India, and I have been practicing yoga since 2013. I have experience teaching at studios and private settings. Yoga is my passion and I chose to complete the Arhanta Yoga training to further my yoga education and dive deeper into my personal Yin practice.

I am also in the middle of developing a free DIY 300-Hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training, so I thought this 50-hour training would be an excellent inspiration! And it was 🙂 . It also gives me the official title of “Certified Yin Yoga Teacher.”

This is my honest and personal review of my entire experience with Arhanta Yoga Ashrams Online Academy, including:

  • Cost and value
  • Required materials
  • Accreditation and certification
  • Content- what you learn
  • Overall learning experience
  • Summary of pros and cons

I have also included helpful reading suggestions throughout this post for those not quite ready to commit to a training program, but who still want to learn more about Yin yoga.

NOTE: If you have any questions or comments about Arhanta Yoga Ashrams Online Academy after reading this post, please leave a comment below and I will answer ASAP. I am very happy to answer any questions. Same goes for all my other reviews.

Let’s begin!

COST AND VALUE

The course is sold out of The Netherlands, so the advertised cost is in Euros. It is €580, but when I enrolled there was a 30% off popup that put the course at €380.

I paid $456.29 USD.

Check to see what today’s exchange rate is for your currency. When I enrolled, I paid $444.30, plus an unfortunate $11.99 foreign transaction fee. I should have used a credit card that waives such fees, but I used the credit card tied to my PayPal account.

So, was it worth it?

To be honest, that’s hard to say.

It’s definitely worth it if you need the 50-hours to maintain your certification, as it’s hard to get 50 CEUs for that price. But unless you’re a practicing yoga teacher or someone who needs that official credential, this program is probably not worth it.

I’ll get more into the quality of the education in a moment, but let’s just say that if your primary goal is to learn Yin yoga, I’d probably start by reading The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark. It contains just about everything you need to know and costs less than $12.

REQUIRED MATERIALS

While you can technically do the entire program on your living room floor with the blankets, pillows, and couch cushions you probably already own, here are the yoga props you’ll be asked to use:

ACCREDITATION AND CERTIFICATION

The program is accredited with Yoga Alliance, International Yoga Association, International Yoga Federation & CRKBO (Netherlands).

Online programs cannot give any contact hours. You get 50 non-contact hours.

This is what the final certificate looks like:

screenshot-2018-09-14-at-11-37-18-am.png

CONTENT- WHAT YOU LEARN

The program is divided into 9 modules, some of which contain significantly more information than others. There is also a brief orientation section and a final exam. Here’s a screenshot of what the Dashboard looks like, taken a week or so before I completed the program:

arhantamodules

The material was released ~7.5 hours at a time, over the course of 7 days. This means you cannot finish it any faster than 7 days. I took about 3 weeks because I chose to spread out the practice time; otherwise, I would have had to do several hours of asana per day, which I think is overkill.

Almost every single video was PowerPoint-style with voiceover and theme music. The theme music was the same for every video, so it got really old. The voice almost sounded like a robot. There were a handful of inconsistent mispronunciations and grammar mistakes, but it didn’t detract too much from the overall experience. I just notice those things, especially after I’ve shelled over several hundred dollars.

In reality, the course material did not take anywhere close to 50 hours to complete. Often, “7.5 hours” of video/quizzes/assignments/PDFs would be released, and I’d finish it all in less than an hour without rushing. I am not sure how they calculated 50 hours for the program.

Let’s get into the specifics of what each of the 9 modules covers!

1. History of Yin Yoga

  • 3-minute PowerPoint-style video with voiceover
  • 4-question quiz
  • 2-page PDF

This section covered the basics of how and when Yin yoga came to be.

Alternative: All that information can be found in the introduction of The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark.

2. Yin Philosophy

  • 2 PowerPoint-style videos with a voiceover (2.5 min each)
  • 2 quizzes (4 questions)
  • 2-page PDF

This section was the very basics of Taoism, without really connecting it back to yoga at all. I found it pretty disappointing and boring.

Alternative: If you’re interested in learning about Taoism, I recommend reading the accessible and witty The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff or the original Taoist text, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.

3. Yin & Yang

  • 2 PowerPoint-style videos with a voiceover (2.5 min each)
  • 2 quizzes (3 questions)
  • 2-page PDF

Focusing on Yin and Yang organs, this section begins to get into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but only in the most basic sense. Again, it fails to connect with how it relates to yoga and felt monotonous.

Alternative: If you’re interested in learning more about TCM, I recommend reading Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold. It’s my favorite TCM book and is very accessible to the TCM newbie.

4. 12 Meridians

  • 13 PowerPoint-style videos with a voiceover (1-3 min each)
  • 12 quizzes (3-4 questions)
  • 31-page PDF
  • 1 Assignment

Not going to lie, this section was hard to get through and the “90-minute” assignment took less than 5 minutes. The monotone voiceover started to get to me about halfway through, so I took a snack break. Like the previous two modules, this section failed to make the connection between TCM and yoga.

Alternative: All this information is much better explained in Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold.

Here’s a screenshot showing what all those voiceover videos look like:

Screenshot 2018-09-12 at 4.51.23 PM

5. 5 Daoist Elements

  • 7-page PDF

This section was literally just a PDF, which I found disappointing because I find TCM element theory super fascinating. It was about the 5 TCM elements: earth, wood, water, metal, air.

Alternative: Again, all this information is much better explained in Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold.

6. 7 Chakras

  • 8 PowerPoint-style videos with a voiceover (1 min each)
  • 5-page PDF
  • 1 Assignment

This section introduced the basics of the 7 chakras, which I’d covered in similar shallow depth during my 200-hour training in 2016. I was hoping for more substance here, as chakra theory is pretty interesting when you start getting into it (it’s like Maslow’s Hierarchy, but better!). Each video was only about 1 minute, so not a lot of practical information was covered; most of the information was symbolic or esoteric. The 45-minute assignment took about 5 minutes.

Alternative: I recommend reading anything by Anodea Judith, especially her bestselling Wheels of Life, which gets deep into each chakra. She also wrote a book called Chakra Yoga, but I haven’t checked it out yet. Please comment below if you’ve read it!

7. Yin Anatomy

  • 5 PowerPoint-style videos with a voiceover (3-5 minutes each)
  • 3 live lecture videos (~2.5 hours total video)
  • 5 quizzes (3-5 questions each)
  • 20-page “Yoga Anatomy” PDF
  • 1-page “14 Segments and 10 Myofascial Groups” PDF
  • 1-page “7 Archetypal Asanas” PDF
  • 1-page “Yin Asanas- Potential Target Areas” PDF

This section was better than the last, as it finally had videos with an actual human on the screen. The live lecture videos are of the teacher, Ram, teaching what looks like a live yoga teacher training class. Ram seems like he’d be a great teacher in person. You don’t see the other students, but you can hear their questions. The video quality is what you’d expect from a cell phone.

Alternative: To learn yoga anatomy a fun way, I recommend The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book: A Visual Guide to Form, Function, and Movement. You might also check out the classic, Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews.

8. Teaching Yin Yoga

  • 28 PowerPoint-style videos with a voiceover (1-2 minutes each)
  • 6 live class “how to teach” videos
  • 1 Assignment
  • 2 JPG downloads
  • 55-page PDF

This section is all about breaking down each of the 27 Yin yoga poses (+2 extra relaxing poses), along with contraindications, benefits, and alternatives. All the information in the PDF was exactly the same as what was in the 28 voiceover videos, down to the word. The “how to teach” videos were less about how to teach, and more about how to access or do each of the poses. The assignment is to practice each of the poses for 15 minutes each and email your time log to Ram.

Alternative: All of this information can be found in The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark.

Here’s a screenshot with one of the live classes:

Screenshot 2018-09-12 at 4.46.38 PM

9. Sequencing

  • 1-page “Sequencing Tips” PDF
  • 4 1-page Yin Yoga Sequence (90 min, 90 min, 75 min, 60 min) PDFs
  • 2 Assignments
  • 1 live Yin yoga class with Ram (90 minutes)

This section was the most time-intensive, but also the most fun. It’s where you get to practice Yin! Unfortunately, there is only one video class. The rest are PDFs, with little more than the pose names in order. You are expected to practice each of the 4 sequences once, and then teach each of the 4 sequences 3 times (for a total of 12 times teaching). You then log your time and email it to Ram.

Here’s a screenshot showing what the sequence PDFs look like:

screenshot-2018-09-12-at-4-48-21-pm.png

10. Final Exam

  • 26 questions

Like all quizzes in the program, the final exam is multiple choice and pretty simple. You also have unlimited retakes. It took me a few times to get the minimum 80% because this course did not do very well at helping you retain all the information covered.

OVERALL LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Working my way through the material was kind of boring. I can’t ignore that fact. So much of the information presented was disconnected and never explicitly tied into Yin yoga, so at times I was left wondering how it all related.

While the asana (yoga poses) information was excellent, it can all be found in a book for much cheaper. The voiceover videos sounded like a robot reading a book anyway, and the live classes breaking down the positions were not a quality I would have thought to pay for. At the end of the day, all this information can be found for free on YouTube.

I am also really disappointed with how few live lectures and video classes there were. I would have liked audio classes at the very least. This entire program had the feeling like it was outsourced to a freelance website for $100. I don’t know. It just didn’t feel very professional. I’m still glad I did it though, as I am a yoga teacher, I love learning, and I was willing to pay $450 to find out if this course was any good.

SUMMARY OF PROS AND CONS

Here is the breakdown of the pros and cons of this course:

PROS

  • 100% online
  • Self-paced
  • Entertaining teacher
  • Well organized and structured
  • You can watch videos up to 2x speed!
  • Lifetime access to all materials
  • Yoga Alliance 50 CEU eligible
  • Reasonably priced for 50 CEUs

CONS

  • Boring voiceover videos with a monotone voice
  • Low quality live lecture/class videos
  • Limited quantity of live lectures
  • Only get non-contact hours (you cannot get contact hours for online courses)
  • Only 1 live yoga class
  • Majority of practice was based on basic PDFs
  • Expensive if you just want to learn for the sake of learning

Overall, I think the quality was just too average to recommend. I would only recommend this program to someone who needs the CEUs for Yoga Alliance certification or who wants to be a “Certified Yin Yoga Teacher” for whatever reason. Considering there is no in-person component, one-on-one attention, quality control, feedback, or other benefits of a live training, I do not think it is worth the ~$450. Unless money is no object, this course just isn’t quite worth it for your average person.

I will admit that it’s kind of fun to go through a program and doing so can keep us accountable, but I think anyone with a real interest in learning Yin yoga can benefit just as much by reading The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark and watching YouTube videos.

Have you gone through the Arhanta Ashrams 50-Hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training online program? How was your experience? Are there any yoga books you think I should have included?

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