The Course Curriculum:
We begin each day with a transformational 2 hour asana practice designed to inspire you. You will experience an awareness-based practice that includes fluid, dynamic asana, kriya, pranayama, mantra and meditation for health and awakening. This practice is a revitalizing laboratory for experiencing and expressing our unique Self while mindfully honoring all that exists in each present moment. We use the mat as a metaphor to understand what holds us back so that we can eliminate all that is not effective in the unfoldment of our own unique evolutionary process. Some practices are challenging, vigorous and will require self-discipline. Some practices are slow and juicy with therapeutic space for rest and relaxation. Both styles are valuable, both are important. This is the place where sweat, tears, untethered wildness and fun meet softness, quiet, introspection and self love.
These yoga classes will give you unique tools as a teacher to expand your offerings. Our practice cultivates mental, physical and spiritual strength so that we are able to recognize and transform habits, patterns and conditionings that cause suffering in any way. Benefits include grace, flexibility, strength, balance and well-being in the body and mind. You may also feel a sense of purpose, clarity, creativity, focus, connection, inner peace and confidence.
Deep Exploration of the Bandhas
Understand the Purpose of Mula, Uddiyana, Jalandhara and Maha Bandhas in the Practice of Asana, Pranayama, and Meditation. Practice and Master Correct Technique for each Bandha. Understand and Demonstrate Appropriate Usage of Bandhas in Specific Asanas, Pranayamas, Kriyas and Meditations. Understand Indications and Contraindications for Each Bandha. Understand Interrelationship of Bandhas and Granthis.
Explore the subtleties of each bandha through consistent personal practice and teaching. Develop mastery of and communicate timing of bandha engagement and release congruent with specific pranayama, asana and kriya sequences. Describe the effects of bandhas in relation to the physical body and subtle energy body using terminology of western anatomy, pancha koshas and nadis.
Understand Foundations and Techniques of Pranayama Practice: Posture, Puraka, Rechaka, Antara Kumbacha, Bhyaya Kumbacha. Demonstrate Functional Understanding of Pranayama Techniques: Belly Breath, Ujjayi, Kalabhati, Bhastrika, Nadi Shodhona, Sitali, Sheetkari, Bramari, Sama Vritti, Viloma. Understand Function and Primary Energetic Activation of Each Pranayama: Primary Energetic Pranic Flow (Physical and Energetic Anatomy) for Each Pranayama. Understand the Benefits and Contraindications. Understand Common Breath Patterns and Holding Patterns. Understand Practical Health and Lifestyle Benefits for Each Pranayama.
Understand that the effects of pranayama become realized with consistent practice over time. Develop a regular discipline of pranayama practice congruent with individual doshas and sadhana. Explore breath ratios as given in Bihar School curriculums and Kundalini pranayamas as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Explore established pranayama techniques such as "9 Tibetan Breaths", as well as more contempory practices such as "Breath of Love." Analyze the mechanical and energetic techniques associated with various pranayama techniques and describe the gross and subtle effects of each.
Understand Basic Principles Required in Conscious, Gradual Progression of Pranayama Practice. Understand of Pranayama Sequence Structures to Achieve Desired Outcomes: i.e. Brimhana, Langhana, Rajasic, Sattvic, Tamasic.
Create pranayama sequences appropriate for group class settings. Develop customized optimal pranayama sequence for individual students.
Dhuni Ritual: Mantra and Pranayama Sadhana
Students will experience classical Yogic ritual to expand their consciousness and deepen their awareness using a specific series of mantras, pranayama and bandhas. This ritual enhances intuition, insight and imagination while incinerating karmas and samskara.
An ancient Tantric ritual from the Nath lineage incorporating mantra, pranayama, meditation, Vedic astrology and cross-cultural symbolism.
Meditation practice will be seated or a walking meditation. We will practice japa, trataka and listening to Nature sounds as techniques to focus the mind, harmonize mind and body, and allow students to experience the benefits of meditation first hand.
To encourage students to develop their own daily practice and to become proficient at teaching.
Yoga Nidra is a guided relaxation and meditation practice that allows one to experience complete mental and physical relaxation. It is also a way of empowering affirmations so that they can begin to transform our lives. In Yoga Nidra, this is called “Sankalpa”, a short intention that will be impressed onto the subconscious mind. This is done by remaining awake while cycling the awareness through different parts of the body. This allows the body to become fully relaxed and also provides a focus for the mind that allows it to settle into a deep state just between waking and sleeping. One typically arises from Yoga Nidra feeling refreshed and light, comparable to a full night’s sleep.
To experience the practice of Yoga Nidra and unlock its benefits for one’s own life. Also, to allow a deeper awareness of body and mind through strengthening one's ability to maintain focused concentration. Another objective is to understand the different components of a Yoga Nidra Practice and how you yourself can guide students through this process for their own growth, healing, and well-being. This will give the TAI student more tools to work with when planning classes, workshops and events.
The Viraja Homa
A “Homa” is a fire ceremony. The Viraja Homa is a meditative practice where there is no external “fire”, but instead the Yogi takes a meditative journey of transformation and reconstruction. It promotes good health and positive change, as well as preparing the Yogi for some of the deeper processes of meditation and raising Kundalini. There are more simple and more involved variations that are possible and each will be introduced so that the student has options for their own practice and for teaching this practice to different levels of students. The most complete variation will synthesize the concepts and practices that have been introduced in the study of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, and the introduction to Svara.
Be able to effectively practice and teach this powerful meditation
Gheranda Samhita is a slightly later text that is another famous treatise on Hatha Yoga. We will focus on the Dhyana Chapter of this text, which has a particularly elegant breakdown of the range of different types of meditation that we can employ in our practice. This breakdown is especially useful for the teacher, who may want to use variations on these practices as guided meditations in classes that they teach.
Understand Gheranda’s divisions of the different types of Dhyana, or meditation and be able to apply these concepts to meditations the student can utilize in a Yoga class.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is one of the most famous texts on the practice of Hatha Yoga. It presents the modern student with many insights into the more timeless aspects of the practice of Hatha Yoga. First, we will read the basic advice that the text presents for those who wish to undertake a Hatha Yoga practice, including the qualities of the Yogi which lead to success in practice. We will then explore the Mudras, practices which work with both mind and body to unlock our inner energy and potential. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika also has an excellent section on meditations on the Nada, or inner sound, which will be reviewed and practiced.
Understand Svatmarama’s advice for those undertaking Yoga practice, learn the theory and practice of the Hatha Yoga “Mudras”, and the practice of “Nada” or the inner sound.
Students will be taught mudras outlined in the Bihar School curriculum (Hasta, Mana, Kaya, and Bandha Mudras) and those taught by Yogi Bhajan within Kundalini kriyas, pranayamas and meditations (Pranam, Buddha, Shuni, and Ravi Mudras; Bear Grip and Venus Lock). We will experience the practical and subtle effects of specific mudras upon the various states of awareness of consciousness.
Students will understand the practical application of Mudra in Yoga Asana, Pranayama and Meditation and how to teach them.
Advanced Sequencing Techniques
Creating an interesting and complex sequence is the next step in developing yourself as a Yoga teacher. By weaving movement and intention together in a unique and purposeful way, you will allow your students to get out of their heads and into their bodies. You will take them off of auto- pilot and into the present moment, which is the only place that Yoga actually happens.
You will come away with an understanding of the concepts of Theme and Variation within asana, building a class around more than one "peak pose", layering on philosophical themes to deepen the experience for your students, and how to use music in a very intentional way.
We will explore the physical and energetic anatomy and physiology of the core, spine, pelvis, hip, leg, knee, foot, shoulder, arm, wrist and hand including major bones, muscles, vessels, connective tissue, acupuncture and marma points, meridians and nadis.
These modules will deepen your wonderment and fascination of how the body works. This understanding will enhance your own asana practice and will give you more tools so that you can help your students bring their Yoga to the next level.
Working with Private Students
Learn how to be an effective teacher when working one on one or in small groups with clients, whatever their needs may be. We will also discuss the business aspect of this avenue of teaching.
We will use case studies to prepare you for nearly any scenario. You will acquire valuable information about hands on adjustments and maintaining relationships to keep your students returning for more.
Teaching Workshops, Series and Master Classes
Another opportunity to become inspired to teach more than just studio classes. For your final project, students will work in pairs to create and teach a two hour workshop during the final week of the training.
This will give you something to take home and teach. You will have more to offer as a teacher and guide.
Samkhya philosophy is one of the metaphysical backdrops of the practice of Yoga. The basic premises of this philosophy will be introduced as well as the cosmological principles that are enumerated in it. Then we will delve into how these principles fit into a Yoga practice and how they have been understood and presented in the Yoga Sutras themselves.
Learn the basics premises and components of Samkhya philosophy and understand its application to the practice of Yoga.
Ayurveda for the Yoga Practitioner
This will be an introduction to the theories and practices of Ayurveda. Beginning with the fundamental concepts of Ayurveda, such as Doshas and Prakriti. It will move on to how we can use this knowledge to live our lives with more balance and insight into our own health. Daily practices for maintaining health and balance will be explained in detail. Ayurvedic Nutrition will also be discussed, how to use food as medicine to address individual concerns as well as general Ayurvedic tips for crafting healthy and delicious meals. Emphasis will be placed on how this knowledge and these practices can supplement and support the practice of Yoga.
Understand basic concepts of Ayurveda and be able to put them into practice in their own lives as well as their Yoga classes.
Introduction to Jyotish (Vedic Astrology)
Jyotisha, or the Jyotir Vidya, is the Science of Light. More specifically, it demonstrates our interconnectedness within a holistic-cosmic paradigm where the aphorism “As of Above, So Below” is it’s consummate summation. Ancient Yogis studied the night’s sky in such depth and breadth that they intuited the qualities of the planets and luminaries and how they affect our individual karmic patterns which in turn produce calculable probabilities. Over millennia a plethora of data has been analyzed, codified, quantified and qualified allowing the Jyotishi, one who is possessed by the Jyotir Vidya, to use the individual’s birth chart to map potentialities to assist the individual on making her or his life’s journey that much more efficient, effective and fulfilling. This classic system of divination emphasizes that at times it’s better to sit and wait or at other moments to strike out quickly, seizing or avoiding certain currents of supportive or obstructing energies in order to make the best use of one’s time/energy during this lifetime and to be as successful as possible with whatever endeavor one sets out to achieve.
In this introduction to Jyotish, our YTT students will learn the basics of Jyotish by using their own birth charts as study material and learn how to apply this information to assist themselves and their students on their life’s journey.
Vaastu Vidya is India’s classical Science of Form and Space, or spatial orientation. Through understanding the energies of the four cardinal and four primary inter-cardinal directions, the five MahaBhutas (Great Elements) and the nine Grahas (the Planets), one can arrange any delineated structure to optimize the flow of Prana, or life force, within said structure. Vaastu’s utilization will breathe life into space to get the most positive benefits out of any physical construct.
Students will use their own home, office, or yoga studio as the template for learning about and applying this classic Indian Shastra to increase their spatial awareness resulting in better harmony and efficiency in one’s life and surroundings. Vaastu is a great complimentary science to Jyotisha and Ayurveda.
Understanding of Classical Sanskrit for a dedicated practitioner of Yoga is like a doctor of medicine studying Latin. Familiarity with this ancient language of the sages will enhance ones relationship with the wisdom held in classical texts, the significance of asana names and the deeper meaning of mantra.
This class will review the basics of Sanskrit pronunciation. The practical concerns of pronouncing pose names, terms, and chants will be addressed as well as the deeper esoteric elegance and power of the Sanskrit language. Key vocabulary for Yoga practitioners and teachers will be presented and analyzed, so that the students will understand the mythical significance of these terms. Students will learn to properly recite some of the basic and widely used chants of Yoga.
Manas, Buddhi, Ahamkara and the Cittavrittis
The role of manas and its functions in ruling and organizing the senses will be presented, the role of Citta and the samskaras relationship to Citta will be placed in the context of Manas and Buddhi. The distinction between that which is knowing and willing and that which is subliminal or Samskara will be demonstrated. The 5 categories of Cittavrittis will be presented both from the Samkhya and the Yoga Sutras. The source of the mind, Ahamkara will be presented, and its attributes, functions and relationships to the Gunas will be outlined. The complete matrix of Inner Faculties will be presented in reference to their categorization as either Sattva, Raja or Tamas Guna. Yogasutras and other source references will be used to demonstrate the practical application of these Tattvas to the goal of Yoga, and to the tools used by Yoga to achieve the goal.
Students will be able to name the constituent components of the Cittavrittis, and place them in correct relationship with Manas, Buddhi, and Ahamkara, and turn be able to identify appropriate technique and tools from the Yoga Sutras, Sivasvarodaya, and other classic materials to ensure optimal development of Manas and Ahamkara in the pursuit of Yoga. Anticipated techniques include pranayama, asana, tratak, and various meditation forms, including use of mantra, yantra, and general tantra. Students will understand the distribution of the external and internal faculties amongst the three gunas, and be able to apply these to assessment of both individual students (capacity, barriers, and potential) and to their own predominant strengths and weaknesses as teachers.
Introduction to Svara Yoga
Svara Yoga is the Yoga of the breath or, more specifically, the Yoga of attending to how the breath flows in the nostrils. By noticing differences in these flows, we can learn to attune ourselves to our physiology and we can also learn how to use our Yoga practice to create shifts in these breath patterns.
Understand the basic concepts of Svara Yoga and its application to the many limbs of Yoga.
Yogic Diet and Healthy Eating Practices
Students will gain true understanding of nourishment, ahimsa, food energetics and the importance of mindful eating from the perspectives of Yoga, western nutrition science, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Our lunches and dinners will be an experience in eating as an art form and as a spiritual practice.
I was taught in a Buddhist meditation program that if one can control their mouth, they can control their mind. This topic is a method for students to understand, experience and feel how food effects them on the levels of body, mind and spirit.