To all those for whom this may concern or for the curious (hey, me too), the situation regarding studying yoga in India is that you indeed need a Yoga Visa.
What you need to do:
1) Contact the institution that you will be studying with and obtain a study application (required for both the visa and while in India);
2) Contact your local Indian Consulate and apply for a STUDENT visa with all the required documents. In Toronto it's $115;
Of course, there is no actual yoga visa and a quick call to your consulate will confirm this. In Toronto, the attendant on the phone had no idea what I was talking about. I had to find 3 different ways of asking the same thing before he finally understood and replied, "There is no yoga visa."
It would appear as though there is a place on the student visa that allows for you to write down where you will be studying. However, I am only assuming this because the guy I spoke to at the consulate only agreed with me. He never actually said so himself and seemed a bit unsure as to what I was referring to.
Unfortunately, none of this answers the question regarding studying at more than one school while in India. And I have no idea if this applies to Northern India.
Check out the below descriptions at the Ashtanga institute in Mysore: http://www.kpjayi.org/practice.html
From March 2010, all students coming to study at KPJAYI must enter India on a yoga visa, as required by Indian law. You may email firstname.lastname@example.org for admission letters from our Institute to include with your visa application form to the Indian Embassy in your country. Upon arrival, students should follow the relevant registration formalities with the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) in Mysore.
Read also the details from Yogacharya's school: www.atmavikasayoga.com
"Ministry of external affairs has now made Y visa [yoga visa] mandatory to all foreign nationals interested in studying yoga in India. The rules are very strict and the local Police authorities are implementing it very seriously. Kindly oblige and apply for a yoga visa [not just a tourist visa] when you plan a yoga trip to India. You will need a letter of admission from a reputed Yoga organization to obtain a visa. Please write to email@example.com to know the admission rules at Atmavikasa."
The Journey So Far
- Heather Morton
- is a perennial teacher and devoted student of yoga. Having made 18 extended trips to India she studies with her teachers annually. In 1997 she founded and directed The Yoga Way (TYW), Toronto's only school for 6-week yoga programs and not drop-in classes. For 15 years, TYW was a part of the growing Toronto yoga community and supported many charities by offering karma classes. As a teacher she holds many academic degrees including a BFA (Fine Arts in Theatre) and a Masters of Education. With a published thesis on Yoga for Children in School, her post-graduate work was a 2-year ethnographic project in the Indian school system. Heather has produced 2 dvds, meditation cds, a backbending manual and podcasts. Freedom of the Body DVD is the first of its kind as an instructional practice to the backbends of yoga. Heather has been featured in the Toronto Life magazine, The Globe & Mail, Yoga4Everybody and other on-line sources. She contributes to MindBodyGreen, Hello Yoga in Japan and Elephant Journal. She writes to inspire and share her experiences with others on yoga as a life's practice.
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