Agonda, Goa, India
My 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training course brought me to Goa in India. The course was run by Sampoorna Yoga who are based in Agonda. Agonda is a large village in South Goa.
I had completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training course 2 years previously in Rishikesh in the north of India near the Himalayas. That was my first time to India and I had such a positive experience that I was keen to return to India for my next teacher training. I would have happily gone back to Rishikesh but I was interested to see more of India so decided to experience the south instead for this trip.
I have written a series of blog articles that cover my experience of the 300-hour teacher training course with Sampoorna Yoga but this article looks at my experience of Agonda where I was lucky enough to spend four weeks whilst completing the course.
Demographics1 (per 2011 India census):
• Agonda population approximately 3800.
• Males constituted 47% of the population and females 53%.
• Agonda had an average literacy rate of 86.11%, higher than the national average of 74.04%: male literacy was 91.47% and female literacy 81.26%.
• 10.42% of the population was under 6 years of age.
I was completing my 300-hour with Sampoorna Yoga. Sampoorna run 200-hour teacher training programs and training in other styles of yoga. You can find out full details of what courses they are running on the website, as well as find out more about the school.
There are also some other smaller schools in the area and places to go for a yoga retreats. Sampoorna also run retreats at times during the year.
I stayed in the Sampoorna Yoga village accommodation for the duration of my training. Details on the accommodation options on offer at Sampoorna are covered in my blog on the 300-hour yoga teacher training article that looks at preparations before the course.
There are lots of accommodation options outside the village. Even if you were coming to complete the Sampoorna yoga teacher training, you might stay outside the village. If you want to stay in Agonda before or after the course you will probably need to find accommodation outside of Sampoorna over this period as they usually run yoga courses back to back.
Options for places to stay include hotels in the area but a popular choice are beach huts that run along the edge of Agonda beach.
Agonda is famous for its beach. It is a beautiful long beach which is clean and tranquil. It gets fairly busy in the day but not over-crowded.
During the month of September, the beach serves as a nesting ground for olive ridley sea turtles. 2
In 2016 the beach was ranked fourth in Asia on TripAdvisor’s “Travelers Choice” by TripAdvisor 2016 and first in India.
The beach has areas of large rock formations and there are spots where people come and sit for meditation.
Beach activities include boat trips, Kayaking, Surfing, horse riding and camel trips. You will also see people doing some good old yoga along on the beach as well.
AS well as camels and horses there are also numerous cows on the beach and in the village. There are also many stray dogs. Might also be worth warning you about the odd snake, and insects including ants and cockroaches!
Other beaches nearby include the following and might be worth looking into if you fancy a day trip and a bit of time out of Agonda:
• Cola Beach Canacona (0.8 miles away)
• Galgibaga Beach (1.2 miles away)
• Butterfly Beach Palolem (2.7 miles away)
• Palolem Beach Canacona (4.1 miles away)
• Patnem-Colomb Beach Panjim (5.2 miles away)
• Rajbagh Beach Panjim, India (5.7 miles away)
• Cavelossim Beach Cavelossim (8.5 miles away) 3
There are lots of shops/stalls, selling similar items such as scarves, sarongs, notebooks, flip flops and beach clothing. Shop owners will be pushy to invite you in to their store and buy. You soon get used to this. Be prepared to have some fun bartering as this is the culture in India and the way things are done. This will be very different to what many tourists are used to.
There are also some more up market shops in the village and I had a few favourites where I managed to pick up some nice summer clothing items and presents for people back home. There are lots of shops to buy nice souvenirs and presents for family and friends back home.
There are small local shops, a small supermarket and shops selling varieties of teas and spices.
You can withdraw indian rupees from the ATM and there are also a few shops that exchange cash such as EUR/GBP/USD into rupees. You will notice that money goes a long way in India with prices much lower than what you are probably used to in your own country.
Other things to do
Other popular things to do in Agonda are visits to spa/wellness centers, massages and there are also many Ayurvedic centers. You can also find places to teach crafts such as making dream catchers or Indian cookery classes.
Around 5 miles away from Agonda you can find the Cabo de Rama Fort. The Portuguese claimed the fort after defeating the Raja (King) of Soonda and subsequently renovated it. The fort housed a government prison until 1955 but now the fort is in ruins and is a popular tourist attraction in Agonda.2
Just walking around Agonda is an experience in itself. There is so much going on and for anyone who is not used to India you will be completely fascinated by the way of life, the dynamic of the streets and the activities that play out day to day. I really enjoyed taking walks on the beach as well, especially early in the morning when it is quieter.
There is a good variety for places to eat including different styles of food. There are many Indian places to choose from but there is also more than just Indian food.
I was eating Indian food at the yoga school I was staying at 6 days a week and so on the days off I tended to try more of the non-Indian restaurants.
My top 5 places to each out included:
1. Zest (Vegetarian, mostly Vegan) – This has to be my number one! As a vegetarian I loved the fact that there was so much choice on the menu. The food was healthy and delicious and the restaurant had a really good atmosphere. It fit in well with the laid-back beach style of Agonda and it was always full with being a favourite amongst many people in the area. You will find a lot of the Sampoorna Yoga students here!
2. Dolce Vita (Italian) – I was in India for 5 weeks and I loved all the Indian food but this Italian was sometimes a welcome break! The pizza and pasta were really appreciated! Especially after all the yoga.
3. Fatima’s Restaurant – Lovely Fatima is well known in the area and owns several businesses in Agonda. The café/restaurant is just off the beach and I loved it particularly for the Iced Coffee! It was also really near the yoga school where I was staying at so it meant I could easily pop out at break times and get a coffee. On the day of Fatima’s birthday she held a party at the restaurant and invited the whole village, including the Sampoorna yoga students!
It is quite common to have some stomach upset if you are not used to being in India. The best advice to try and prevent getting sick is to avoid putting your hands near your mouth/face and always wash your hands before eating. It might be a good idea to avoid street food and make sure you drink filtered/bottled water.
As sickness is a possibility you might prefer to bring medication from home such as diarrhea relief and rehydration sachets. If you haven’t brought anything with you, there are places to buy medication in the area, with a lot of natural and ayurvedic remedies available.
There are doctors in the Agonda area and the nearest hospital is in Chaudi which is the nearest town and this is about a 10-minute drive away from Agonda.
Mosquito’s will come out from the late afternoon evening. You can easily pick up mosquito repellent at the local shops and I was advised that these are often more effective than ones that you will find back home.
You can drink alcohol in this part of India so there are a few bars in village. The cafes and restaurants are also open until late.
I was staying with Sampoorna Yoga in Agonda where I completed my 300-hour yoga teacher training for a month Jan – Feb 2019. If you are interested in reading more about my experience of the yoga teacher training then I have written a series of blogs that cover the various stages of the training:
1. Considerations before taking a yoga teacher training
2. 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – Before the course
3. 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – Week 1
4. 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – Week 2
5. 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – Week 3
6. 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – Week 4
7. 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – Final Thoughts
8. Agonda, Goa, India (Current article)
1. 2011 India Census
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.
She has completed her 300 hr advanced teacher training from Sampoorna Yoga Goa in January-February 2019. If interested in Yoga Teacher Training please browse our Teacher Training page