– From the Roots of Yoga to Contemporary & Artful Asana–

 – From the Roots of Yoga to
& Artful Asana–

We are very thrilled to be launching an exclusive opportunity to train with Alex Hammer (@alexx_hammer) at Gyan Yog Breath in Rishikesh, India!

From the 1st until 18th December 2024, Alex will be leading a Yoga Alliance certified 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training that leads participants from the roots of yoga in India to artful asanas and contemporary teaching methodologies.

With a focus on strength, flexibility, and goal-setting, Alex believes in the power of enjoying the practice while working towards self-set goals. Whether you’re a yogi, dancer, contortionist, athlete, or simply someone seeking mindful movement, don’t miss out on this unique opportunity!

We believe that this 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training will be an amazing chance to grow as an individual and fine-tune your asana practice while learning all about the background of yoga and the powerful, ancient yogic techniques. In the following interview with Alex, you can learn more about Alex’ journey, his training and what to  expect

An Interview with Alex Hammer – About his 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh

Can you share with us your personal journey with yoga and how it has impacted your life?

Sure! My journey started in 2015 or 2016. I once came home from partying and had had too many drinks. It was around 3 or 4 am in the morning and I randomly opened YouTube and it randomly suggested a video of Kino MacGregor demonstrating third series of Ashtanga to me. I clicked, watched, and fell in love with the movement.
 I started to practice the exact same night after I had watched the video.

The impact of yoga in my life has been huge ever since. I don ́t even know where to start. It really has changed everything. I think the easiest way to describe it is that
I hadn’t known who I really was before yoga and with yoga the journey to knowing myself began and is still going on today.

What inspired you to become a (yoga) teacher and guide others?

The impact Yoga had on me was so huge that at some point I did not even ask myself anymore what I want to do on a professional level. For me it was clear that I want to do Yoga and only Yoga, all day, every day. Also, I think being a teacher is a little bit in my nature. I’ve always loved to discover things that work best in a pragmatical sense and to share them with others.

No matter if it is about general goals, like for example becoming stronger, more flexible or just getting in shape or about more specific goals like achieving a certain position or movement, I just love to help people moving towards and finally achieving their goals.

But most importantly, I want to show people that practicing yoga can actually be very enjoyable. I say that because sometimes people think that it must be very hard. This might be true in the very beginning, but as soon as you start to reconnect with your body and once you manage to choose the right intensity for you, moving the body and perceiving all the sensations while being in a certain position becomes the best thing on this planet. Enjoying the stretch, my friends. That ́s the way.

How do you feel about offering a 200 Hour YTT in Rishikesh this year and guiding others to learn more in-depth from you?

I am very thankful for this opportunity and so excited about it! I think a training that offers so much space for asanas allows us to really dive deep into all the details and intricate layers of the practice. Also, for me personally it is really a blessing because practicing together with others and ideally in person is the most beautiful thing for me.

Rishikesh holds a special place in the hearts of many yogis. Can you tell us about your connection to Rishikesh and what motivated you to return there for this training?

It is indeed a very special place. For me personally it was the place where my journey truly started. I did my first Yoga Teacher Training at Gyan Yog Breath in Rishikesh. It was after Rishikesh that I started to teach, and I have been teaching ever since. For that I am super thankful, and I often look nostalgically back to my Rishikesh experience. That I have the chance now to come back to this very special place as a teacher and to be part of the journey of others, whether it is just starting or it already has started, means a lot. Also, I would like to invite everyone who has the chance to experience the magical energy of Rishikesh for themselves. Such a vibe!

As someone who has trained in Rishikesh before, how do you plan to incorporate the unique energy and spiritual essence of this sacred place into the training experience?

I think Rishikesh makes this easy for us. It is very hard if not impossible to not get caught up in the magical flow and energy of Rishikesh. Still, sometimes it becomes even more enjoyable if we truly forget about everything else and simply perceive by immersing ourselves in the flow. So, we will try to do that from time to time. Sometimes before and sometimes after our practice.

What’s the main style(s) you are focusing on during the 200 Hour YTT?

It will be Hatha for sure. First of all, I think it is a great way to gently and patiently open the body up and secondly it really invites you to look within.

What specific teaching methodologies or techniques do you plan to emphasize during the training to ensure participants receive a well-rounded education in yoga?

On the one hand we will have a follow-along-style class because I think that it is useful to also see certain positions and movements, in particular in the very beginning. But then there will also be led-style classes where you try to follow just by listening to what
 I say. This is a great way for me to really observe what you are doing and to eventually give you some specific tips, tricks, or adjustments. Moreover, we will also have a look on how to adjust a person or to modify a certain position or movement to the need of an individual. Sometimes by using props, sometimes by using the wall and sometimes by using solely the body. 

We will learn how to move a certain position to gently open it up if it is very blocked and to learn how to self-adjust it. We will learn how to strengthen certain areas of our body that we just opened to ensure longevity, sustainability, mobility and in general a balance of flexibility and strength. Furthermore, we will emphasize intensity management to not overwhelm or get frustrated with ourselves and finally we will also try to learn to really enjoy the sensations of the practice in the particular moment by choosing the right intensity for us.


How do you plan to support the individual growth and development of each participant throughout the training, considering their varying levels of experience and backgrounds?

This is not a problem at all. I think mixed level classes are the best. By emphasizing intensity management, we will find the right still challenging and yet still enjoyable intensity for everyone. Also, absolutely every position or movement can be modified, adjusted, or has a softer precursor in case it is not yet accessible at all. Moreover, I think mixed level classes are by nature a good way for development if experienced within the right attitude. I think that because naturally they have a lot of space for inspiring on the one hand and for being inspired on the other hand.

What role do you believe self-reflection and introspection play in the process of becoming a yoga teacher, and how will you encourage participants to cultivate these practices during the training?

I think self-reflection and introspection are of the greatest importance. In yoga in general, but once you are teaching and guiding others. Because then you have really the potential to do greater harm than doing good. The good side of the coin is that you have of course also the potential to do a lot of good and that you can really help people or give them a wonderful to magical experience.

For that professionalism should be a minimal requirement. Of course, we are all human beings and not perfect. It is probably impossible to stay 100% self-aware all the time and it can happen to get triggered or to trigger others. Still, we should really make an effort that this does not happen, or we should notice it, once it is happening, so that we can back off a bit and take a different path or approach eventually.

Hatha yoga is a great way to learn to turn inwards. By holding positions longer and for more often with breaks in between we have the chance to observe what it is happening within ourselves in sometimes enjoyable, sometimes stressful, sometimes brave, sometimes anxious, sometimes egoistic, sometimes altruistic, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes blissful situations. By reflecting further on these feelings, we learn that it is ok and inevitable to have them but that we still can control our attitude towards them.

Can you share some more insights into your 200 Hour YTT in terms of class contents and learning outcomes?

Definitely! Our goal will be to achieve a certain amount of flexibility on the one hand and strength on the other hand. Most importantly, we will start to understand how to progress further in both directions on our own and how to help others to progress further in both directions. In terms of stretching, we will have a look on all the areas that we can open and strengthen. These are the themes of Backbending, Frontbending, Shoulder Opening, Hip Opening – Splits, Hip Opening – Deeper External Rotations and Twisting. In terms of balancing, we will have a look on Armbalances on the one hand, and on Inversions (Shoulderstand, Headstand, Forearmstand & Handstand) on the other hand. For both topics, stretching and balancing, we will have a look on intelligent sequencing, alignment, adjustments, modifications, drills and exercises, and injury prevention.

Additionally, we will learn to choose the right intensity for us and for others. We will start to enjoy our practice and moving our bodies so that the practice becomes an anchor in our daily lives. We will learn to focus on a single thing and to find back to it when the mind starts wandering. Finally, we will get to feel, to experience and to know ourselves in completely new ways, ways we could not possibly imagined beforehand.

Please share with us some more words of wisdom. Do you have any life quote/motto that helps you to stick with your practice in such a disciplined way?

Well, in the beginning I used to tell myself “Let ́s not overthink this! Let ́s just get on the mat and let ́s get started. It ́s 99% practice and just 1% theory, right?” But practice has become easy because I have learned to enjoy it really and deeply. For me, practicing has become easier than not to practice. I am almost addicted to it. I just have to do it if
I want to feel well, calm and in peace with myself. I think I am a bit of an overthinker naturally. Practicing also helps me to get out of my head and find back into the moment – to feel and to reconnect with the flow. So just enjoy your practice, I guess. Don ́t think about it as something you have to do to check it off your checklist.

We hope that this Interview could show you some more insights about the training and Alex’ motivations and focus. We invite you to embark on this enriching journey, no matter where you are in your practice. Take the first step towards self-discovery and growth with Alex as your guide!