The course began on Wednesday morning at 6.30am with an opening fire ceremony. We all sat in a large circle, wearing white clothes with colourful fresh flower garlands around our necks, with a red bindi in between our eyebrows. In the middle of our large circle was a smaller circle with Deepak the owner of Sampoorna Yoga, an old Indian man in traditional clothing chanting with a small fire in front of him, burning insense sticks and small bowls of flowers. The significance of the ancient ritual is to offer our thoughts and emotions to the Devine. The importance of the fire is that fire is the Devine messenger. It is a process of purification of the atmosphere. Group by group we were asked to come up to the fire and throw in this sawdust like material into the fire, getting rid of negative energy, purifying our minds before we began the course.
Shortly after this lovely experience we had our first 2 hour Ashtanga yoga class, which I now call Bootcamp. I have never completed the primary series from start to finish. There were so many chaturanga’s involved my arms the next day felt like they were going to drop off! And to think we were going to have to complete this everyday for the next 3.5 weeks was extremely daunting at first.
Our first philosophy class with Sudhir was a nice introduction. He is such a sweet, friendly man with really kind eyes. We learnt that he was a monk for 8 years after doing a masters in electronics and finance! Talk about changing your life direction. In this first lesson we were asked to write down our philosophy of life and the purpose for us each completing the course. This was a nice time to reflect and centre ourselves to the here and now.
After spending lunch at the beach we had our first alignment and adjustment class with Eli where we got stuck right in and had our first experience of 1:1 teaching, if you could call it teaching. Each one of us was just as hopeless as each other. We then had a vinyasa flow class with Marta, and as soon as we started I felt right at home finally doing something familiar. It was a nice way to end our first gruelling 12 hour day… And people at home were calling this a retreat!
We ended our day by going to the beach to see the remnants of the sunset, pink sky and beautiful cloud formations.
I went to bed after the first day of the course feeling really happy about my decision of coming here to do the course and excited for what lay ahead, meeting such lovely people from all over the world to share this amazing experience with.
The next few days were a blur of getting to know everyone, indulging in some amazing vegetarian food and skipping off to the beach at lunchtimes. It’s so nice that everyone is so different and on different journeys in life but all here at this one moment to compete this yoga teaching training, many of us in the jobless crew! It took a few days to get round to talking to everyone as everyone had a little story to tell and you had to take time to figure out what you had in common with people etc. We met our Anatomy teacher, John and soon learnt that all the teachers had trained at Sampoorna over the years!
We experienced our first Indian storm on Friday night, what started out with a few lightening bolts quickly turned into torrential rain, loud thunder and lightening that lit up the whole sky! It was very special to witness especially as I love a good storm! Nature at it’s angriest!
Then finally it was the weekend, but that didn’t mean a lot as we had a 6.30am start with meditation and a vinyasa class. In Saturdays’ meditation we practised using the Neti pot to cleanse our nasal passages. I have used this at my yoga school back at home but it was funny to see other peoples apprehensiveness as this was my initial reaction when I first tried it. After lunch group by group we arrived at the beach and spent hours in the sea, it wasn’t until then when it finally felt like we were on holiday! It was a really nice time to be able to bond some more and not talk about yoga.
Our time on the beach then turned into what felt like a farm with mooing cows, stray dogs trying to steal our flip flops and play tug of war with my bag, and 3 horses strolling up and down the beach. We then headed to a beach bar for non alcoholic drinks, might I add, and watched our first sunset!
After not sleeping very well all week the one day we could finally have a lie in, Sunday, I woke up at 6.39am. Great.
So Sunday’s are dedicated to coconuts. It turns out that anyone and everyone are climbing up trees and chopping down coconuts. Clara, Leonie and myself got a Tuk Tuk to Palolem to explore another beach and do some shopping. Well I just about returned with half of Palolem with me! Everything is so cheap! We took a nice walk along the entire beach and stopped off for lunch. And also found an area at the end of the beach where it houses a silent disco on Saturday night so definitely going to try and go!
We ended the week with a nice meal at Fusion, and discovering a vegan ice cream place on the walk home whilst getting head butted by the local cows! Shortly after it was time for bed ready to start our second week nice and fresh and relaxed…we hoped!