I have finally sat down to write this as so many of you have been requesting to hear my experience in India! It's now been exactly 2 years since I made the best decision of my life to sign up for the yoga teacher training (YTT). Believe me when I tell you this, it was a tough decision to actually choose the correct training for me because there are just so so many of them all over the world! So lets start from the top, with the most asked questions...
WHY DID I DECIDE TO GO ON A YTT? You know that little voice in your head that keeps on bothering you for days, weeks and in my case - for months to go and do something? I had this voice in my head for about 6 months that I wanted to travel to India or Bali, learn and delve deeper into my yoga practise. My mum was actually the first person to say those words out loud for me (she knows me better than I do sometimes!). I was in media industry in London, I loved the work but I just had this strong intuition that I need to find my voice through yoga, potentially teaching in the future. I honestly didn't even expect anything from the YTT, whether I'll like the idea of teaching, whether I'll be good enough for it (whatever that meant anyway). The circumstances aligned to my favour, I had a month that opened up when I could travel and emerge into a Yoga teacher training fully. HOW DID I FIND MY SCHOOL? It took me some vigorous research, many lists of pros and cons.. The first school that caught my eye was Sampoorna, I kept on coming back to it over and over and funny enough I went with my gut and chose to do my first 200h Ashtanga Vinyasa training there. I booked it on my birthday end of February and packed my bags to India beginning of April. HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE? First, decide if you can take 1 month off for traveling and training, if not, you need to consider doing the training in your home country, maybe even over the weekends. Schools offer many options here.
- As I could travel for 1 month, at first I was looking between Bali and India, I got an idea on prices and what it includes. Some of the schools offer training with accommodation & food, some are just the training and you have to find accommodation yourself or they offer both options and you choose what suits you. I knew that I wanted to immerse myself fully, live in the yoga village, eat and study with my fellow yogis. - Decide on what kind of style you'd like to learn. I stayed away from 'multi style' trainings as I don't think it's possible to learn and understand 'everything' in 1 month. You are bombarded with the information every single day - anatomy, philosophy, asanas, sanskrit names, meditation, pranayamas, creating sequences... And even then you only scratch the surface. It was quite overwhelming sometimes so imagine trying to learn and understand 4-6 different styles. - Budget. Don't forget to account for flights to the YTT destination. Expenses in India were pretty minimal as I wasn't traveling anywhere after and the only days off we had was Sunday. So the money went mostly on food, fresh coconuts for 50 cents, a few trips to nearby towns, taxi to/from the YTT and some souvenirs. - Accommodation. I knew I wanted to have a private room/hut so I could just relax after a busy day by myself. The price here was slightly higher but that was a must for me and I don't regret this decision. I had a huge bed, mosquito net, shower and a lovely terrace. - Read reviews. Everywhere. Look into teachers, look into the program. I also got in touch with a girl who recently graduated from there and she was kind enough to briefly talk about her experience. That gave me so much more confidence.
- Location. The ocean and the incredible jungle of Agonda was everything. Honestly, I could not image a more perfect setting. Agonda town was there too so if we wanted to go and explore away from the school we had that option too. Midway through our training the cafes, bars and restaurants started to close down as it was the end of the touristy season, but I didn't mind this at all as the beach was always empty, no tourists - just the sun and the ocean.
ABOUT THE ACTUAL TRAINING
As I traveled during off season, the training wasn't full, but to my eyes it looked like a big group - about 45 of use split into two groups with different teachers. I thought this number was big, I was worried whether the teachers will be able to look after everyone and it was never an issue! The teachers went above and beyond to treat everyone equally, give as much time to each student as they could. The school had 4 yoga shalas and we would rotate during each week - they were all spectacular! The days were intense - physically and emotionally... As mentioned earlier, we only had Sunday's off to have a quick trip, go and explore cafes in Agonda Beach, enjoy the ocean...
Here is a rough schedule of how my days looked like:
6:00 Wake up, silent time to have a tea, journal
6:30 - 8:30 Ashtanga
8:30 - 9:00 Tea and biscuits break
9:00 - 10:00 Meditation & Pranayama
10:00 Breakfast, I would eat massive plates of food, everything was so delicious
11:00 Philosophy or Anatomy lessons
13:00 -15:00 Lunch & free time
15:00 Asana Lab, breaking down different postures, learning to adjusts and modify
16:45 Chai & cookie break
17:00 - 19:00 Vinyasa Class / teaching each other
Once a week our philosophy teacher would hold Satsang/ discussion on various topics. Those were magic and really eye opening.
Later you rush to get an early night because you just feel exhausted!
DID I GET THE INDIAN BUG? Yes I did! It happened the first weekend so I spent my only day off in bed, drinking coconut water and eating toast. It lasted roughly for 48h but I truly couldn't move. Thankfully I only had to sit through one asana class, I was only taking notes and observing.. I'd say 70% of the group got it so you have to be prepared.
It was just the best experience I've had. I had so many deep internal transformations, my body was so healthy and strong as never before and I found my passion, my calling. Remember - this is not a holiday where you just do yoga a few times a day, eat delicious food and spend hours on the beach. This is a really serious training, be ready to shed off some old layers, confront your fears and get out of your comfort zone every single day - it's going to be tough. Luckily, you have amazing people to connect with, amazing teachers to support you along your journey, incredible nature and Indian Ocean to comfort you on those heavier days. And the biggest advise from me would be this - if you have the luxury to go away for a month and submerge yourself in a new culture, experience new things and feel the sense of adventure - do an intensive teacher training somewhere where it's nice and warm, where fresh coconut water is endless.. Sampoorna, Agonda Beach, Goa is an incredible place, I'm hoping to return there one day and explore more of what India has to offer. x P.s.: If you ever consider Sampoorna as your YTT, do let me know as an alumni I can offer people a little discount. :) Big love,