This is a write up of my experience of week 4 of the 300 hour yoga teacher training with Sampoorna – Yoga Teacher Training School in India. If you haven’t already you might want to take a look the first blogs in this series. This article follows on from the previous articles which wrote up my experience in weeks 1-3. There are also earlier articles in the series that looked at considerations and advice I would give before committing to a yoga teacher training and my preparation before the course.
Classes in week 4:
We have learnt so much over the last few weeks! There was still new content to cover in week 4 as well as making sure that we were prepared for the final exam!
I love studying but I have always hated exams! We were told at the beginning of the course not to worry about the exam but my biggest fear is probably failure so I have to admit the exam was on my mind throughout the course. It did make me realise how much I really wanted to do well on the course though. Not that I didn’t on the first 200-hour teacher training course but since then yoga has become such a big part of my life and teaching is my job and something I want to continually develop so I really wanted to do well and achieve the qualification.
Perhaps my biggest regret on the course is worrying about the exam because you really don’t need to. By week 4 you have learnt so much and the teachers will provide you with guidance on how to study for the exam so that you are focusing on the important areas.
The manuals that you are provided with on the course are easy to follow and mean you can read over the subjects you want to focus on, whether want to recap your memory on information from class or want to go over certain areas that you didn’t grasp first time round
The exam is a closed book exam that takes place over 2 hours and it is split into 3 sections:
In terms of preparation, I had tried to keep on top of the studying throughout the course, with doing some reading on the evenings and on the Sundays off. There was a 2-hour study period blocked out the day before the exam but I personally feel that you would need more than just this time to prepare. I know everyone is different though and some people take things in much easier during the lectures and need to study less outside the classes. If you decided to take the course, I imagine you are interested in yoga so what I would say is that everything you are learning is interesting. It therefore doesn’t feel like a chore to study like it perhaps did studying for subjects you didn’t like at school or college!
Practical Exam: Teaching a joint class with another student
Like most people on the course, I had never taught with another teacher before. In some ways it took the pressure off having to do the final assessment alone but teaching with someone else presents challenges. For example you are both likely to have different styles or opinions of what and how to teach. You need to keep the class joined up and keep it flowing despite differences and changes in style as the other person takes over. You were able to pair up with whoever you wanted and I was really happy with my partner. We worked very well together, both with similar ideas about what we wanted to teach and I think we were also able to learn from each other as well. I found this exercise hugely enjoyable both in terms of preparation and teaching.
We were split into groups to teach the class so each pair of teachers would teach around 6 students and would receive brief and anonymous feedback from the students and more comprehensive feedback from the teacher. It was good that this was all written feedback so you could take it home and reflect on the development points for improving your teaching going forward.
Vinyasa Finale: Teaching 5 minutes of the final Vinyasa class
This was so much fun! For the last class we all taught 5 minutes of the final class. It flowed surprisingly well with one of the teachers quietly coming up to you in the class to let you know you would be going up next. It was a great way to practice the skill of thinking on your feet because you couldn’t really prepare for the class with not knowing at what point you were going to have to go up. You also wanted to keep the class flowing well with the themes that had been explored so far so you couldn’t have prepared for it.
As it was the last class it was very emotionally charged! We had got to know each other so well by this point and it was delightful to see everyone’s individual personalities coming out in their flow. What an honor it was to be part of this experience with these fantastic yoga teachers.
Closing Ceremony and Graduation
I was so happy that everyone on my course passed the 300-hour qualification! The closing ceremony was a celebration of the past 4 weeks of hard work, achievement and success. We had learnt so much, developed as teachers, progressed our own yoga practice and for most it was a huge personal development on other levels. We had shared a once in a lifetime experience with each other so it was with a bit of sadness that it was coming to an end but overall our hearts were full of love for each other and for the opportunity to have shared this and create the memories that would stay with us a lifetime.
The closing ceremony consisted of a fire ceremony followed by a graduation and certificate presentation. We all wore white for the ceremony and as well as looking uniform for the photos, it seemed to emphasise the feeling of being united, complete and at one with each other. There was no ego, no one was better or felt they were or had to be any better than anyone else. Everyone was just pleased and happy for each other and loved those unique characteristics that they had got to know about each other in the past few weeks.
After the ceremony we all went to the beach to enjoy the incredible energy and emotion that was running through us. In all the photos that were taken, our faces are covered with the biggest smiles, our bodies are open and in expression of pure joy. I don’t know if perhaps I just see this because seeing the images bring back the warmth and happiness I was feeling at the time but it was honestly very special and I have a smile in my heart when I think back at that day and the whole 4 weeks now.
Sarah Williams is a Qualified Yoga Teacher based in London with an online presence @sarahlucyyoga on Instagram and Facebook. She also blogs about yoga and health & wellbeing topics on her website. Sarah’s focus is Vinyasa Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles of yoga and she completed part of her training in India.
As well as being a yoga teacher Sarah is also a Chartered Accountant. She fell in love with yoga as it was a release from the office, it taught her to value her health and improved the attitude she had towards life and herself. As a teacher she is able to pass on the benefits of yoga to her students and finds the job incredibly rewarding.
Sampoorna Yoga’s Teacher Training Courses are registered with Yoga Alliance USA. When you graduate from our school you will be eligible to register with them as a RYT, Registered Yoga Teacher, in your respective categories.