As some of you know, I have not long got back from a trip to India to complete my 300hour Yoga teacher training.I completed this training with Sampoorna Yoga school in Agonda which is a beautiful location in South Goa.
The 300 hours programme is for yoga teachers who have already completed their 200 hour course.
After teaching full time for a few years now, I felt I was ready to dive deeper into my teaching skills. I knew I needed something more. I knew I had more knowledge to learn, more wisdom to gain, and more experiences to be had.
Of course my journey doesn’t stop here, but in fact, I feel like its just getting started… and that excites me!
Anyway, I won’t ramble on too much, but I was asked a lot of questions about this trip, so I thought I would share my short breakdown and weekly summaries of my time at Sampoorna.
I’ll start by describing a little bit about the Sampoorna yoga village.
I arrived in Goa on the 17th January, so I had a few days in a near by guest house (Fatimas Guesthouse, which I highly recommend!) before making my way to Sampoorna School on the 19th.
If you can arrive a few days earlier in Goa, I recommend it! I found this the perfect way to get settled in and get used to the local area and new surroundings, as well as having some time to relax and recharge a little before the course started.
There is a lot to take in in the first week, especially if it is your first trip to India. You will find you feel quite tired, especially with being in a different environment with new people, a new schedule, eating different food and starting a completely new way of life, so these few days were a really good decision.
When I arrived I found Sampoorna made everything so comfortable, and from the initial check in, I felt welcomed and cared for.
The staff showed me to my room, which was in the Sampoorna Hill Top cottages, at the top of the mountain. Yep... we had A LOT of stairs to get up there! - However, it was worth it! My room was lovely and I had a beautiful ocean view, as well as being fairly close to a couple of the main yoga Shala’s.
On the 19th, in the evening before the course started, we had a welcome meeting and dinner. - and I will tell you now, the food served was incredible! Everyday was something new. We were fed three meals a day, in buffet style so you could have as much as you desired. All the food is healthy, hearty, fresh and honestly just all so delicious.
Week 1 started with an opening fire ceremony with the 300-hour and 200-hour classes coming together to open our courses.
The significance of the fire ceremony is to gather together and pray for overall growth. We prayed for wisdom, to perform the right actions, to remove negative emotions, to set intentions and to inculcate positive qualities.
The class size at Sampoorna is up to about 30 students. Alongside the 300-hour course there was also 2 classes of 200 hours taking place. The yoga village therefore had around 90 students studying at the time I was there and I understand this is usual during the season. The 200-hour students had a separate dining area and did their classes separate to us so we actually didn’t interact with them too much.
Well, we certainly jumped straight into things! As you can see the timetable for the first week was intense!
We start everyday staying in silence until 10am. We start our day at 6:30am with a 90 minute to two hour led Vinyasa practice every morning with one of the teachers. As you can imagine, this was probably one of my favourite parts of the day! There were two main teachers who alternated teaching everyday, and although both have quite different styles of Vinyasa, I loved each and every class.
We then followed our practice with tea and bananas 🍌- this little snack is very much needed after class!
After a refreshment, we moved into pranayama and meditation class. - I knew this wouldn’t be easy for me. However, I’ve really enjoyed diving back into my pranayama and meditation practice, and in fact, during the second half of the week, Sudhir, the course director and the teacher of the meditation and philosophy classes, treated us to some yoga Nidra, which, after the intense and busy first few days... we were all VERY grateful for. 🙏🏽
For our first few theory lectures, there was quite a bit of revision from the 200-hour course in the anatomy and philosophy areas, which was useful as most of us on the course have studied the 200-hour course in different schools and for some of us this was a long time ago.
We also started our classes in Alignment and Adjustments and sequencing. - which were my favourite classes and I found I could really get involved and engage with them!
Learning more about how to adjust and being comfortable with adjusting was one of my goals for the course because I hadn’t felt hugely confident with this from my 200-hour teacher training and did minimal adjustments with students in the classes that I was teaching before the course.
I thought these classes were the perfect mix of demonstration by the teachers and practice through adjusting other students.
We also had a class called ‘student teaching’ and at the end of the first week we had to teach a 20-minute sequence based on the goal of a ‘peak pose’ to a group of students. Even though I have been teaching classes for 2 years this was surprisingly nerve-racking! I think this was because it was the first exercise and because we were teaching other teachers, there was a fear of being judged. There was no real feedback given for this first exercise as it was just a chance to get used to the teaching. However, as imagined, the group of students were supportive of each other and it was a good opportunity to get to know people better in the teaching group.
There was a quite a variety of teaching experience amongst students across the course. Some people had completed their 200-hour training recently and had not taught classes yet whereas other people had been teaching for years.
There were a few days this week; especially on the days where we had our student teaching classes, that physically, I felt absolutely exhausted!
Every evening we also have a second asana practice, and, admittedly, I struggled with this, spending a lot of time in a child’s pose. This is unlike me... so I really knew I was tired!
However, we also had a few evenings where we had some beautiful yin and gentle flow classes whilst watching the sunset. 🌅
By the end of the first week the group was really coming together.
On Saturday, we had a group activity, which probably gave me the most joy and pure connection with others, that I have felt in a long time. It was all very emotional!
We started off.. very randomally with some dancing. Around 40 minutes in fact; jumping around, dancing freely and just completely letting go. We were all dripping with sweat, laughing uncontrollably with the biggest smiles on our faces.
We then had a go at some animal flow yoga... this was so much fun and definitely a practice I want to explore more in the future!
After this things became emotional. We had some partner yoga, some bonding exercises, and I really felt apart of a special group. There was some real love and connection going on, it was special to be a part of and an incredible way to end our first week.
I wrote this on SUNDAY! Which was a VERY much needed day off.
No practice on Sundays, just a beach walk, brunch, some sun bathing, finishing with a full body massage (HIGHLY recommended) and a delicious dinner from my favourite Agonda cafe, Zest!
A perfect day to reset and recharge ready for the new week ahead.
Well... what a week!!
This week definately had me challenged both physically and mentally.
The week went SO quickly. Quicker than I ever thought time would go here!
I suppose with the full on time table, I had no time to think about what’s going on and each day was just over before I knew it!
I feel that the physical practice was far more intense this week. We had our usual 90 minute/2 hour practice each morning, but along with this, we had a lot of student teaching which involved more practice, as well as some extra evening classes.
I found that my morning practices this week were the best yet. I think this was due to the fact that I was now settled and familiar with the routine, the teachers and the style ect which meant that I found myself really able immerse into my practice each day, and this felt amazing.
This week in student teaching, we taught 25 minute flows on Tuesday, and admittedly this was ALOT of physical practice because we were a group of 7 and had to get through everyones session in two hours! We were all so exhausted, but found energy from somewhere to keep going to support each other.
On Thursday, we had an earlier finish. However, for the penultimate lesson of the day, we had an asana practice. I thought, due to the physical and mental demand of the course so far, we would have a yin or a gentle flow style class, and I was getting myself quite excited for it!
However, when we were in class... we ended up doing an hour of sun salutations! They were the full Surya Namaskar A Ashtanga variations which..... well, was intense!
Half way through I had a mental battle. I thought.. I can’t do this, but with the energy and the breath of the group, I had this big energy lift, managed to finish and probably had one of the best savasanas I’d had so far! I know we all felt incredible afterwards!
Friday morning came, and I was tired, but of course I managed to get through. We ended our day with more student teaching and this time we worked in pairs and taught each other a 50 minute flow. I really enjoyed this as it felt like I hadn’t taught a full class in a while. I definitely had a post teaching high!
Saturday morning practice was a full two hours.. and a very strong practice at that! I was exhausted afterwards but absolutely loved the sequence and the class. After lunch we had an inversions workshop which I was dreading due to being so exhausted. I just felt like I needed rest, however, I ended up finding a boost of energy and absolutely loved it!
Afterwards though, I was wiped out! We were finished by 5pm and I headed straight back to my room for a nap.
Luckily though we were now done for the weekend and I could have a very relaxed Sunday in preparation for our third week ahead.
The third week with a busy timetable!
This week I had my first wobble. During the second half of the week, admittedly, feelings of exhaustion began to take over and I had a little breakdown and cry about how I ‘couldn’t go on’ and ‘just wanted to go home’.
Luckily, being with my friend Lisa kept me going, and being able to just cry to her for 5 minutes whilst she gave me a kick up the bum really helped get me back on track!
As always; there was a lot more learning to be done this week and a lot more to take in. I found myself at times becoming stressed about the anatomy and philosophy theory aspects as I felt I was really struggling to take it all in.
I realised that I had to accept that I had time and I had to trust that the teachers will be making sure we were ready for our final exams.
I guess I don’t have too much to say about week three though. We were over the half way mark, and it was all about continuing to dive deep, continuing to learn and to embrace each moment.
My weekly mantra, or intention I set for myself was ‘Just keep going’ - in every sense.
And that I did. I kept going. I rested when I could and I made sure I was kind and compassionate to myself.
On Saturday we finished the week with a great backbending workshop, which, the same as last week, I really didn’t want to attend, but did and thoroughly enjoyed it whilst picking up a lot of teaching points.
On Sunday; I rested. Although the severe urge was there to dive into the books, I didn’t stress myself out with studying too much. I knew I needed time to chill out and come back to myself, and that I did.
This left me feeling ready to wake up Monday morning for our last week here!
After the wobble I had in week 3, I entered week 4 feeling relaxed after a blissful Sunday spent with my friend Lisa.
When I saw the timetable for our final week on Monday; I felt even more at ease. We had a less intense timetable and we had a two hour lunch!
Week four, the final week, meant it was exam week! We got given our practical exam slots, which was where we would pair up with another student and teach a 90 minute vinysa flow class together, teaching 45 minutes each. I teamed up with a friend Sarah, and our slot was Wednesday morning which I was happy about as I’m most definitely a morning person!
Knowing there wasn’t long left helped get me through the final push of all the theory classes and during this week I did really feel that all the knowledge we had been learning was starting to make sense and come together.
We were busy practicing LOTS of yoga trying to get through everyone’s practical exams along with lots of study in preparation for our written theory exam which was on Friday.
By Wednesday, my practical exam was out the way and I felt a lot more relaxed and ready to enjoy our final few days here.
I felt that the team of teachers had prepared us extremely well with their knowledge, wisdoms and the essential elements we needed to learn for our theory exams.
Friday came, exams were done and we all felt like they went really well... as I said, they had made sure we were prepared!
Once exams where done, we weren’t finished yet! We still had a few more yoga classes to go. On Friday afternoon we had a Vinyasa class which was the final one with one of the teachers, Kiran, which as always, was just incredible. However it certainly left me feeling very emotional and some tears were shed!
Saturday was our last day here at Sampoorna. We had our final practice with the other main teacher, Rowena, which again, was incredible. In fact, I feel so grateful for both of the teachers. They have inspired me with their admirable teaching skills and classes more than they could have imagined.
After class, we had some free time before….. GRADUATION!
Our closing fire ceremony, graduation and final evening together was just so special. Oh and definitely emotional!
Overall; this short summary doesn't do this experience justice. it was just so incredible.
I learnt SO much in terms of my teaching skills, but I also learnt so much about myself.
It was an emotional rollercoaster and extremely intense, but I loved every minute of it and I am so grateful to all the wonderful teachers, staff and fellow students for making it such an amazing experience. - I know that I will most definitely be back.