Updated: Jan 27
Colorful. Inspiring. Movement. Breathing. Meditation. Anatomy. Happiness.
I am in love with knowledge. To be a student will forever be something I adore. It was such a powerful experience to travel to the birthplace of yoga and gain profound knowledge from some of the best teachers I have ever had.
Why and what. I am allready a certified yoga teacher. But only with 200 hours in a yoga style called "Stråla Yoga" from America. I wanted to learn more about the ancient Indian Yoga Philosophy. And I wanted to learn about the Yoga Sutras and the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga by Patanjali. For that reason I booked a 200 hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training at Sampoorna ( https://www.sampoornayoga.com/ ) in January 2019. A beautiful, stunning school by Agonda Beach.
Ashtanga Yoga. It blew my mind. The anatomical insight. The power of the ujjayi breath. The poses and their connection to sanskrit and Indian mythology. Everything so usefull and honoring.
"Ashta" =eight, "anga" =limb, consists of 8 limbs. From here I will give a short and uncomplete introduction to the eight limbs.
The first two (yama and niyama) being about how to deepen your emotions and your values and about to study yourself as a human. The third limb is asana, the physical practice we know as ashtanga yoga here in the vest. Asana would also be vinyasa, yin, slow flow, hatha, etc. The fourth limb is pranayama, meaning breath expansion. This limb is practiced by exercising the lung capacity, oxygen intake and abdominal/diaphragmatic activation. The fifth limb, pratyahara, is about withdrawing the 5 senses. Sitting still and not getting annoyed by your sleepy legs, itchy skin, etc. To close all the senses. Dharana is the sixth limb, and it is about focus/concentration. A meditative state where you focus on one thing. Your breath. A candle flame. The moon. A mantra or intention. Learn how to focus on one subject before reaching the state of complete meditation. Dhyana is the seventh limb and is the complete meditation state. Here you are not focusing on a specific subject. Your mind is empty, you are not noticing your senses and your body is still. The breath is natural.
The eight and final limb of ashtanga is Samadhi. Many different schools will have different conceptions of what samadhi actually is. At Sampoorna we was taught it is reuniting you with your one true and happy self. Finding your inner joy and letting it shine.
Agonda Beach. Sampoorna has their own village, with only one road separating the school and the beach. The area is stunning and the beach is perfect. Meters and meters of soft sand, blue crystal water, wild waves and stunning sunsets. We had a mid day break from 1 to 3 pm every day, so I was gone swimming as a daily ritual. So awesome.
Traveling alone as a woman. I was a bit afraid of traveling alone to India (and so was my fiance at home). I had never been to India before. But Goa was just amazing. I did not have one single bad experience. Everything was so calm and nobody treated my badly. I felt safe. Very safe.
Living and eating. I was staying in the Shivalaya Village. In the little pink cottage in the corner. I had my own room and was loving it. It is small huts you either share or have alone. The place was beautiful an simple, but didn't lack anything I couldn't live without. It became my home for the 3,5 weeks I stayed at the school, and I really missed it by the time I had left.
Teachers at Sampoorna, Goa. I was completely blown away by the level of the teachings at the yoga school Sampoorna in South Goa. My main Ashtanga teacher was Rowena Johnson. A real warrior goddess from London, certified in Ashtanga Yoga from KPJAYI in Mysore, India. Her teachings were profoundly learnful, open for modifications and questions, humbling and completely giving in both physical and theoretical ways. Rowena taught us Ashtanga and taught the daily Alignment & Adjustment classes.
Sudhir Rishi is the director of the school. He has been involved with yoga, meditation, philosophy and ayurveda for about 24 years and has been a monk for 8 of them in which he dedicated himself to a deep and intense meditation practice. Sudhir was teaching all the pranayama (breathing) and meditation classes. He also taught us Yoga Philosophy and held weekly Satsangs (open questions hour). His warm persona, loving smile and openness inspired me on so many levels. Sudhir was always smiling. He would be open for any kind of theoretical question and would never eliminate other perspectives, but respectfully provide insight into his knowledge and perspectives.
Vera Bettiol was my main Vinyasa and Yin teacher. She is the most gentle soul I have ever met. Strong still, with a powerfull presence, but soft and gentle. I cannot explain how much I adored her vinyasa and yin classes. She also had the "teaching yoga" classes, teaching us how to teach yoga. Vera also hosted events and workshops on armbalances, backbends, posture clinics and so on.
Olivier Charles was our lovely anatomy teacher. He is certified in Advanced Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Karminoff and Amy Matthews. He was such a funny teacher. He made anatomy approachable and showed us graphic examples of how the human body works. He was amazing in his ways and I enjoyed him as a teacher throughout the entire course.
Recommendations. I can only give Sampoorna Yoga School my deepest and most humble thanks. Everyone searching for a great place to continue or begin a yoga teacher journey should check this school out. I give this school my biggest recommendations and can't wait to return to Agonda for more soon!
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