Our most popular offering over the years has been the First Level Intensive Course, an excellent introduction to Hatha Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Laya Yoga, and Tantra Yoga. It also includes theory and practice on techniques from Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Nidra Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga, thus constituting a genuine example of "Integral Yoga" (as defined by Sri Aurobindo).
Information and explanatory lectures are given on a variety of related topics such as: diet in Yoga, healing through natural methods, purification and cleansing techniques, Ayurveda, yin/yang balancing, relaxation, physiology and psychology in Yoga, mastery and transmutation of the sexual energy, Eastern philosophy, mental concentration, the use of music in Yoga, and meditation, to name but a few.
Additionally, Swami Vivekananda and the senior teachers are available for consultation, questions, and to offer personal guidance and counseling.
Each class is accompanied by a free, comprehensive set of printed materials that contain information about the techniques of the day and various other esoteric topics; at the end of the course, these form an inspiring and profound 150-page Yoga textbook.
Films on relevant topics are shown most evenings after the course, and Swami Vivekananda holds special discourses each week in addition to Q&A sessions. Throughout each month in the evenings we also hold bhajans, special meditations, community dinners, and parties.
The introductory First Level Intensive Course is especially designed to accommodate newcomers. It runs in a cycle, so that you may begin and continue at any time. The first day is free, so simply drop in for a session – but be prepared to be hooked for many years! Students may also, if they wish, treat the course as simply a Yoga retreat. We offer six hours of instruction daily plus the films and other activities mentioned above. You are welcome to join us for all classes and events at your level, for one day, one week, two weeks, or the full month; any option is acceptable according to the opportunities available to you.
This course is also taught during the year in India (in both Rishikesh and Dharamsala) and Mexico, and occasionally elsewhere in the world; check this website for details. Since autumn 2006, we offer this course monthly with no annual hiatus at our Koh Phangan center. See Calendar for exact dates. Yoga Holiday packages are available at our Koh Phangan center. Below is a sample daily program for the course in Thailand:
DAILY PROGRAM / Monday - Saturday
08.30-10.30 Morning lecture and asana practice
16.00-18.00 Afternoon sun salutations and asana practice
18.00-19.30/20.00 Lecture, questions and answers
Films and other special events are announced separately, and follow the course in the evening.
While the First Level Intensive Course gives a deep understanding of Yoga, it is still only an appetizer to what Yoga actually is and what it can do for you and the rest of the world. See Curriculum Overview for a full outline of our instructional phases, an explanation of the curriculum blocks of study, and details about the intermediate and advanced course teachings.