Interview With Prashant Jakhmola: The Yogic Visionary Behind Yoga Vidya • Y

Interview With Prashant Jakhmola: The Yogic Visionary Behind Yoga Vidya • Y

In the serene town of Rishikesh, known as the Yoga Capital of the World, the Yoga Vidya School stands out as a beacon of authentic yogic education. At the heart of this transformative institution is Prashant Jakhmola, a dedicated yogi and visionary whose journey and passion have shaped the school’s holistic approach.

In this interview, Prashant shares his inspiration for founding the Yoga Vidya School, his personal yoga journey, and the unique methodologies that set his yoga teacher training program apart from others in Rishikesh.

Join us as we delve into the mind of the man behind one of the best yoga teacher training school in Rishikesh and explore how his deep-rooted knowledge and innovative practices are cultivating a new generation of yoga practitioners and teachers.

What inspired you to found the Yoga Vidya School?

I was conducting drop-in classes in Rishikesh, catering to the eager learners who sought to deepen their understanding of Yoga. The demand for such practices was remarkable, prompting me to successfully organize these classes for the local community and some tourists. And with time, it became apparent that the limited duration of these drop-in sessions, lasting no more than two hours, left little room for comprehensive explanations. Despite the ample practical experience, students often grappled with uncertainties regarding the philosophical and other facets of Yoga. It became clear that the majority of individuals were solely focused on the physical aspect—the asanas.

Subsequently, an increasing number of students approached me, expressing their desire for a comprehensive course that encompassed not only the physical dimension but also deeper dive into Pranayama, Meditation, Philosophy, and other important elements. This fervent request served as the catalyst for my vision of establishing a community that would unite Yoga experts from diverse traditions, all with the aim of educating dedicated students. It was at this time that Yoga Vidya was founded, the name Vidya, which signifies ‘knowledge’ itself. Through this platform, authentic Yoga knowledge is imparted to all who are seeking it.

How has your personal yoga journey influenced your teaching style and the curriculum at Yoga Vidya School?

Being one of the recognised teachers in Rishikesh, I had the opportunity to teach in various yoga schools that were running successfully in Rishikesh and other parts of India. There were around 6 to 7 classes per day.

That was a blessed time for me to experiment and apply all the learnings from my practice to my teachings. It was a great opportunity to immediately share whatever I experienced during my practice, which gave me a clear understanding of the techniques I applied on myself and served as proof that they really work. This greatly expanded my teaching profession. Being a good listener helped me grasp concepts faster, which was an advantage in my profession. It allowed me to receive knowledge and implement it effectively. I graduated in Biology, which supported me in experiencing and teaching the deeper effects of Yogic practices on the human body.

As I mentioned above, I taught in various successful yoga schools in India, so I had the curriculum in my hands. Almost every school, especially the yoga teacher training school, had a similar curriculum at that time, and many important topics related to the practices were missing. For example, no one was touching the history of yoga, the foundational Sanskrit words that could help students pronounce and understand the true meaning of mantras or asanas correctly, which I believe should be added to the curriculum. These are a few points I noticed and I believe that teachers should have at least a basic understanding of these subjects in today’s time. This motivated me to create a curriculum with added information for comprehensive yogic experience.

What sets Yoga Vidya School apart from other yoga teacher training programs in Rishikesh?

Yoga Vidya School stands out because of its comprehensive and holistic approach to yoga education. My extensive experience of teaching in numerous yoga teacher training schools of Rishikesh, allowed me to understand the missing aspects of yoga, a gap in the depth and breadth of yoga curriculum.

Our school was founded to address these gaps and offer a more complete yoga education, beyond only the physical aspect. We integrate traditional yogic techniques with a modern approach in a way that is accessible and transformative. Our curriculum is designed to evolve the students’ experiences. We believe that true learning follows personal experience.

This approach fosters a genuine transformation, as students gain discipline, clarity and a profound connection to their spiritual as well as professional path. To offer the best experience of learning with maximum comfort, we provide a safer environment and comfortable rooms in the residential campus, along with delicious yogic food.

Can you explain the concept of the ‘Triangular Pyramid Teaching’ method that you use at Yoga Vidya School?

The concept of the Triangular Pyramid Teaching concept stems from my personal experience. I believe that the first phase in the transformational journey is experience. True learning begins with experiencing, and that happens with complete trust and belief in practice. Once you have experience, you can really explore things clearly without any doubts. The second phase is learning.

I prioritize experience over learning because I believe that learning should always be pure and should come after a range of experiences. This way you can choose which learning has the true potential to transform others as well. Sharing or teaching is equally important. As I said earlier, I used to practice myself and experience it first and then used to share the technique with students while teaching, which helped me to see the immediate results and effectiveness of the methods.

How do you integrate traditional yogic teachings with modern practices in your training programs?

I believe that merging traditional yogic teachings with modern practices is essential in today’s world. The traditional teachings alone will not attract people. It can be daunting due to their demand for strong discipline right from the beginning, which modern minds find challenging because of numerous factors.

Therefore, it is crucial that these valuable traditional practices should be practiced in a gentle, more adaptable way. In our courses, we modify many intense practices to easier versions while retaining their true essence. This approach allows individuals to receive the knowledge in their own way, gradually experience the benefits and naturally seek deeper dive into the traditions as they progress.

What are some of the most profound transformations you’ve witnessed in students who have completed your teacher training programs?

The most profound transformations I have witnessed in students who have completed our teacher training aren’t solely about gaining direction in their professional lives, instead they gain discipline to experience traditional practices while staying with us. A common transformation is the consistency they achieve in their spiritual path. I see clarity and happiness on the faces of the students, indicating that these practices truly help them understand better and recognise their potential.

Many students have shared their feedback as even just one month of yoga teacher training has made them more positive and see the clear vision of their lives. They discover the confidence on the path they need to take for personal growth. Additionally, I noticed a strong desire in them to share their newfound knowledge with others. They become more humble and genuinely committed to helping others, embodying the true essence of humanity—growing together while helping each other.

Originally published in