My yoga teacher training experience at Smriti Yoga

11th June 2015

Mandala. Review on yoga teacher training at Smriti Yoga in Goa, India

I randomly met a friend in Chiang Mai last November who told me about this yoga teacher training she’d signed up for in India in February. “I’d love to go to India to do yoga”, I sighed absentmindedly. I’d been practicing yoga most days since leaving Canada in January 2014, but it never occurred to me that my practice was strong enough to consider a teacher training, and this was not part of my plan anyway (in hindsight I realize that I did not actually have a plan – and I still don’t), so my words didn’t really mean much.

“So come”, she said.

The idea sprouted quickly and before I knew it I was signed up…

Yoga teacher training at Smiriti Yoga in Goa, India

Ironically, my friend flaked out at the last minute. So I was off to India on my own (I hadn’t been backpacking alone since meeting my ex in a youth hostel in 2005), to a yoga school that had found me rather than the other way around. I was petrified and ecstatic.

Mandala. Review on yoga teacher training at Smriti Yoga in Goa, India

SMRITI YOGA: THE SCHOOL OF SELF REMEMBRANCE

Smriti Yoga is a brand new school located on an organic spice farm in the Goan jungle. The grounds alone are the perfect settings to disconnect from it all and concentrate on the here and the now: the sounds, the smells, the tastes and the colors all lend themselves to a meditative state of mind – easily one of the most soothing and healing environments I have been given to live in. The school has room for twelve students, but 2015 was their first year of operation (we were the second group to tread the grounds), so we were only eight students. Eight women, to be precise. Much estrogen.

Mandala. Review on yoga teacher training at Smriti Yoga in Goa, India

The curriculum at Smriti has vinyasa at its core, but we also explored Ashtanga (and I discovered that I was very fond of it!), Yin (a bit of a nemesis I am trying to conquer), acro, and even Kundalini. Days went like this, expertly led by Siddharta, Claire and Chris, our three mentors:

7:00am – asana practice
8:45am – chanting, pranayama and meditation
10:00am – breakfast
11:00am – alignment and teacher training
1:00pm – lunch
3:30pm – anatomy and philosophy
5:00pm – asana practice
7:00pm – dinner

This went on Monday through Friday, with Saturday afternoon and Sunday off. As daunting as it seemed at first, it quickly became a comfortable routine, days morphed into weeks and, before we knew it, we were all crying and hugging and it was all over. The weekends were used to explore the surrounding areas, including the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary and Agonda, Patnem and Palolem Beaches.

Yoga Teacher training at Smriti Yoga in Goa, India

Yoga Teacher training at Smriti Yoga in Goa, India

Agonda Beach. Yoga Teacher training at Smriti Yoga in Goa, India

I was catered for extremely well as a vegan at the spice farm who hosted us. In fact, all the meals except for breakfast were fully vegan, and I was offered a fruit bowl for breakfast in replacement of the fruit and yoghurt everyone else had. Food being an inherent part of why I travel the world, I was not disappointed by the home cooked food of Gauri, Chinmay and his mom: the ever changing self-service buffet of South Indian specialties was phenomenal and a reason alone to visit Tanshikar Spice Farm if you happen to be in the area. The farm is open to the public for day tours and is a fascinating place to visit, eat to your heart’s content and stock up on organic spices, coconut oil and raw cacao to bring home – the masala chai and garam masala being top priorities.

Vegan food at Tanshikar Spice Farm, Goa. netravali wildlife sanctuary sanguem

Vegan food at Tanshikar Spice Farm, Goa. netravali wildlife sanctuary sanguem

A TRANSFORMATIVE JOURNEY

I did yoga before Smriti for the physical benefits only, because it’s an inexpensive and convenient way to keep relatively fit whilst traveling. Yet, when a family member passed away last January, I saw this teacher training as an opportunity like no other to take time out by myself – time to forgive, to accept and to let go, amongst other things. And I did that. And so much more, which I simply cannot put into words right now. The physical act of daily yoga practice evolved into a powerful healing and empowering tool and I discovered strength inside of me I didn’t know existed. I became in tune with everything. The idea of saying I’m on a spiritual journey is very novel and alien as I am still learning how to undo, how to meditate. My mind is still a jumble that I am trying to tame, but something shifted within me while I was at Smriti.

My spiritual journey. Yoga teacher training at Smriti Yoga in Goa, India

My spiritual journey. Yoga teacher training at Smriti Yoga in Goa, India

Beyond that, I opened my heart to a group of people that I now love dearly, who have allowed me to be myself and reminded me that it was an amazing thing to be. Miranda, Anna, Claire, Sheri, Anika, Julia, Corona, Martina – my sisters, thank you for your acceptance, your strengths, your weaknesses, your love and you wise words – they have resonated with me so much and made me into a better person. Sid, Chris – thank you for the yang, the giggles, and thank you for pushing me way out of my comfort zone. I truly feel like a new journey has begun, and I am so grateful for this fortuitous encounter with a friend in Chiang Mai last November. Life does amazing things, if you let it.

My spiritual journey at Smriti Yoga, Goa, India

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27 thoughts on “My yoga teacher training experience at Smriti Yoga

  1. caryl

    What a lovely experience, thank you for sharing it! The school looks really peaceful and I really like the look of the curriculum – doesn’t seem too punishing! I can totally relate to that jumbled mind thing (I did a 10 day vipassana silent meditation retreat and my mind never stopped bouncing around once!) but i’m trying to learn the basics again with a different approach and am sticking with it.

    🙂

    Reply
    1. Amélie Post author

      You did? I’d love to hear more about it, I’m planning to do one also. Where did you go? Did you write on the blog about it?

      Reply
  2. Jade

    congratulations lady!

    One of these will cross our path soon,mi can feel it. We’re. Or quite ready yet, I think the surf will have to suffice for now! Thank your for sharing

    Jade

    Reply
  3. Sam

    Wow, sounds like an amazing experience…and a wonderful place to have it! I’ve been toying (not very seriously) with the idea of doing yoga teacher training for a little while, and if I eventually do, I think I’d like it to be at a place like this. Thanks for sharing this, Amelie!

    Reply
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  5. Amelia

    This is so encouraging. I start my yoga teacher training in Thailand at the end of August, and at the moment I’m mainly intimated and worried. My main goal is to calm some of the craziness that is my mind, but I’d like to teach too. How has your practice developed after the course finished?

    Reply
    1. Amélie Post author

      Hey Amelia!

      Since the teacher training, my practice has evolved from a strictly physical thing into a more holistic and spiritual practice. I have gone through some challenges since the training and yoga has provided me with so much healing and strength. I always start my day with a 20 minute Vipassana meditation and do a 1.5 hour yoga practice every evening before dinner. I have also been teaching informally here and there to friends and people at guesthouses since and I can’t wait to do it more and in larger, more formal settings, although it is scaring the living hell out of me 😉

      Where are you doing your training? You can email me if you have more questions! info@ameliegagne.ca 🙂

      Reply
      1. Amelia

        Yikes! Didn’t realise I had to confirm comments so I’ve only just found this. I’m doing it in Doi Saket an hour from Chiang Mai in… 10 days! Which terrifies me. Where do you do your practice when travelling? I’m carrying a yoga mat but right now I’m clueless about where I can actually do yoga short of going to a local park, which I think I need to start doing, but then I won’t even be in yoga clothes. Out of interest do you ask for anything in return for the informal lessons? I’m hoping I can score some free accommodation out of it 🙂 at the moment I’m couchsurfing and moving around a ridiculous amount.

        Reply
        1. Amélie Post author

          Hey! Yeah, I should find a solution to this default WordPress thing where people have to subscribe to be notified of follow up comments… I do yoga anywhere: park, balcony, hotel room, whatevs! And in yoga clothes! 🙂 Don’t be nervous, it’s an amazing experience, I’d do it again anytime! I’ve never asked for money in exchange for the classes, I just did it for the experience. For sure it’d be a great way to score free accommodation! I saw a few opportunities on HelpX. Let me know how you get on! That’s so exciting!

          Reply
  6. Danielle

    Sounds amazing! I’ve been looking for a detailed review of Smriti Yoga so was very happy to come across yours! I’m planning on doing my teacher in Goa next year and I’m having a difficult time trying to narrow it down…did you feel like they properly prepared you to be a yoga teacher after the course was over?

    Reply
    1. Amélie Post author

      Hi Danielle! I’m so glad you found my blog looking for info about Smriti! To be honest, I never intended to teach entering the school, I really only did it for myself. But I ended up teaching small informal classes here and there, something I would have never expected, because I hate speaking in front of group of people. So I’d say, yes, it did prepare me! As the teachers said though, it’s best to jump right into it after the school and it will feel weird the first couple of classes 😉

      Reply
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  10. Sarah

    Hi Amelie!

    I love this post and am thankful for you writing it! I am signed up for the March teacher training at Smriti and was wondering if you have any words of advice for anything about it further then what you have wrote? Also, on things like what to make sure I bring with me?

    Thank you kindly!

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      last thing if you have any pointers about traveling to India alone? It looks like I’m going to have at least one 18hr layover which with the time changes I plan on sleeping through most of! I’m from the U.S. And have traveled state side alone but the times I’ve traveled else where I’ve always had at least 2 others with me, and although I am 26 I look like I’m 16! Haha

      Reply
      1. Amélie Post author

        Hey Sarah, thanks for stopping by!

        Don’t worry about traveling alone in India, you’ll have a blast! It’ll probably be a bit messy and confusing and hilarious, but it’ll make for great memories. Where’s your stop over? Mumbai? It’s a great city to explore alone, not dangerous and easily to travel around with the local train. 🙂

        As for advices, I’d say jump right into teaching straight after. I waited all this time and now I am absolutely frightened to teach, haha! And things you’ll need… Strong deet-based insect repellent, music, a warm sweater for chilly mornings, white clothes for the fire ceremony, hummmm… I think that’s it. Don’t overpack. You’ll find everything much cheaper over there. And keep some space in your backpack to buy spices and nuts from the spice farm for sure! They have just adopted 4 really cute puppies, I’m super jealous!! 🙂

        Reply
        1. Sarah

          Thank you for responding to me! I’m booking my flight this week! It appears that the stop will be in New Delhi based off of the flights I’ve been finding the last month or so. My other quick question is there a way for us to wash clothes there? Certain little details like that I haven’t found on the site. I’m in contact with Chris as well and have been asking him little questions as it gets closer.

          Thank you again so much!!

          Reply
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  13. Sarah

    Also, how did you get from the airport to the school? Many people have told me to have something booked ahead of time.

    Reply
    1. Amélie Post author

      They had arrange for a cab for me, but I thought it was really expensive to be honest. If you can get in touch with the other people and see if you can coordinate sharing a cab and the cost, that’s probably the best!

      Reply

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