I just spent a month taking an advanced yoga teacher training program at Sampoorna Yoga in India. The experience I had at this training was like no other and I have come back with a whole new perspective on teaching and my own practice. A day at Sampoorna was busy, full of lessons and physical practice. Here is a brief account of how I spent my days.
I would wake up at 5:45am each day. It was still dark. The sound of the rooster often woke me up before my alarm. It was a bit chilly in the mornings before the sun came up. I walked up the hill to the shala (about 5 minutes). The shala was named "Anaya" after the owner's niece. I set up my mat near the front of the room with bolsters and blankets. We were asked to maintain silence as much as possible in the mornings so as my classmates arrived, we would nod or smile at each other as we prepared for our first class of the day.
We started each day with an hour of meditation and pranayama. Every class was slightly different as we explored many different techniques. Some days were more active than others. Sometimes it was hard to maintain stillness while sitting upright.
After class, we took a break for bananas, biscuits, and tea. We had half an hour to get ready for our asana class. Always a 2-hour, strong Vinyasa flow, lead by one of our three main teachers. These classes were definitely the most challenging part of our day. We would work on new poses, inversion prep, and different sequences. Our practice would often tie into whatever we were learning that day or would include something that we had touched on the day before. I credit these classes for the changes I have made in my personal practice.
We packed up and walked back down the hill to the dining hall at 10:00am. Breakfast was easily my favourite meal of the day. Fresh fruit, oatmeal, and tea kept me going. Our break felt short and we walked back up the hill to the shala. The sun would be up by this time and the hill felt twice as steep as it did in the early morning.
Our morning classes would alternate between alignment and anatomy. In alignment, we would break down poses, talk about cues, and work on physical assists. Anatomy was more technical and we gradually went through the major muscles and movements of the body. Sometimes we would work on stretches to better learn how to use our bodies in our physical practice.
Back down the hill to the dining hall for lunch. I often skipped lunch since they served hot soup most days. This was our longest break of the day so I would take the opportunity to go back to my cottage and rest. My room mate went to the beach nearly very day for the break. After lunch, we returned to the shala for our final classes of the day. They would alternate alignment and philosophy.
Everyone loved philosophy and it is one of the reasons why I chose this course. I will write more about our lessons in a separate post but our teacher, Sudhir, made each class interesting and useful. I took so much away from his classes!
We would finish the day with another asana practice. This practice was different each day. We worked on yin, restorative, sometimes Vinyasa. The sun would be setting by the time we finished class so it started to cool down.
Dinner was a nice way to finish the day at 7:00pm. The food was always very good and mostly different each day.
I could barely stay up past 8:30pm most nights. I often went to bed shortly after dinner to make sure I was well rested for the next day.