Frequently Asked Questions
I've never done yoga before. Is that a problem?
We welcome students of all levels. Since we teach both gentle flow style classes and ashtanga yoga mysore style, it's easy to work with individuals based on their level of experience. Please see our retreat schedule for a program that is appropriate for your level. Yoga Teacher Training and Continuing Education Trainings are limited to those with previous yoga experience. Each course will include this in the description.
What is Mysore style?
The teacher works with the student, one-on-one. If you are new to the practice, you will be guided through different postures and expected to learn the sequence and breath-movement. From there the teacher will continue adding postures to where it is appropriate for you.
How many students are in a class?
This depends on the program you signed up for. The shala can accommodate up to seventy people at one time. This can also be broken down between the divided rooms. There is an average of 20-30 on most retreats with popular times having 40+ with several teachers.
How many teachers teach a class?
We have at least one or two teachers for the morning Mysore class, though there may be up to three teachers during retreats and trainings. There is usually one teacher for led and restorative classes.
What does it mean to be "certified" to teach by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois? Is it the same to be "authorized" by him?
To be "certified" by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga takes many years of committed practice, devotion, and study and have risen to an advanced level in it. As of 2008, there are thirty-six individuals in the world to have received this qualification. Paul is one of them.
"Authorization" to teach typically requires at least four visits to Mysore to study with Sharath (and, in earlier days, with Sri Jois). The candidate must be competent in the practice of the primary series and must also be practicing at least the intermediate series.
What do these levels actually mean in terms of teaching and learning?
Really they only refer to where one has gone in practice and not one's teaching ability. The teacher's dedication, sincerity, willingness to study and reflect, spiritual direction and even level of practice will determine the teaching delivery, typically influenced by a variety of sources.
Do you serve meat or dairy products?
We serve mainly vegetarian food. We serve fish 3 or 4 days a week and eggs a few times during the week at breakfast. For those that do not take fish or eggs, there is always an alternative food option. We do not serve any other type of meat products.
What if I'm allergic to certain foods?
If you are allergic to certain foods, you can talk to the teacher or reception staff about concerns. The kitchen staff can make a special meal for you if need be. We can accommodate a vegan or raw-food diet.
Do you serve coffee or tea?
We have self-service tea and coffee near the juice bar. You can help yourself any time to tea and coffee, along with sugar, milk, or soy milk. If you prefer, you can order an espresso or cappuccino at the juice bar though this is a billed item.
Can my friend/spouse stay and not do the yoga program?
Yes, though it will depend on booking level. We have rates for non-yoga practicing partners both in a shared room or a single. It is actually easiest to accommodate in a single room. We also encourage families to come together regardless of who or how many actually practice.
I cannot join a full weeklong retreat. Can I still come?
We prefer to give priority booking to those who can stay a whole week; however, if you can come for only part of the time, the retreat rate will be prorated. The minimum stay for a retreat, in any event, is five days. The nonresidential option is also there for this case.
Can I bring my children? What are the fees for kids?
We are family friendly, and children are welcome. We only ask that you help us maintain the serenity of our center, particularly at practice times and in the evenings. Children age 12 and under can stay free with one paid adult. If you are bringing a child, you must pay for a single room. Children from 13 to 17 pay half, and those 18 and above must pay full adult rate. Email reservations for rates.
Can you help me find a babysitter?
Yes, we can arrange a babysitter for you. Usually one of our staff members can babysit in their free time, though we cannot guarantee that they will speak English. We have our dedicated kid's center to accommodate kid's needs.
Can I smoke or have alcoholic beverages in my room?
No. We are a place of health and well-being. We are a smoke- and alcohol-free place. There are plenty of places on the island to smoke and drink.
Do you offer any discounts or work exchange programs?
No, we are not set up for this. Our approach is to work with individual students over a long period of time and treat all cases on an individual basis.
Do you have internet service? Can I bring my laptop?
Yes, we have WiFi throughout the property. We also have a few computers for you to use if you don't want to bring your laptop.
Can I pay by credit card at Samahita Retreat?
Yes, we accept Visa and Mastercard.
Can I pay when I get there?
No, we need a 50% deposit when you book. This helps us limit no-shows and ensures spaces for others.
What VAT or service charges should I expect to pay while I am in Thailand?
There is a service charge of 7% on items you buy from a shop, as well as on taxis and massages. At Samahita Retreat the VAT and service on your accommodation is included in your booking rate. Any additional purchases will occur VAT at 7% and, where appropriate, service charge of 10%. We have a staff tip box also at reception for you to leave a gratuity if you like.