Yoga Teacher Training 2023
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Daily Asana Practice
Techniques, Training and Practice
Each morning session will begin with a comprehensive guided Pranayama & Kriya practice plus a full 90 minute asana class lead by the lead Instructor Nancy Goodfellow. We will incorporate principles of alignment, heart themes, specific sequencing techniques, and anatomy teachings into the daily vinyasa practice. Each day we will practice different asana categories fused with energetic & heart themes that are elegantly woven into the framework of creative flows and sequences. Each day will be based on the 5 elements of Nature and will include breath practices, mantras and traditional invocations, awareness practices, mudras, guided meditations and visualizations, and of course, a deep relaxation of Savasana.
After each morning practice there will be a group discussion on the theme & sequencing of the practice, as well as the effects and feeling-state experienced by each student.
Each afternoon there will be a therapeutic Iyengar practice with co-lead teacher Eden Gershon.
There will be some non-contact hours dedicated to daily self practice where the student will be given specific meditation or asana exploration instructions to better prepare the student to cultivate ongoing daily practice. The student will be required to journal on this experience and be prepared for an open group discussion on this subject.
One day a week will be dedicated to a Self-practice in the studio under the guidance of both lead teachers (with full hands-on adjusting) and their assistants.
Deepen individual physical practices using asana postures, vinyasa movements, pranayama, mantra, chanting, mudra, and guided meditations. Through practice the participants will receive a deeper experiential understanding of the techniques as student and simultaneously processing as a teacher. Students will begin to recognize the art of creating an inspired and intentional class which utilizes specific heart-based themes aligned to intelligent sequencing principles of the asanas and the subtleties of language and transmission of the Tantra lineage and wisdom. There will be emphasis on Pranic energy lines and movements of energy through the nadis allowing the students to deepen their subtle body experience during the physical practice while gaining a clearer understanding of the asanas, as well as increasing their direct knowledge of the more esoteric goals of awakening Kundalini as it relates to personal practice. Students will also eventually take turns assisting the morning practice session to further gain experience in hands-on adjusting and Sacred touch.
Yoga therapy may be defined as the application of Yogic principles to a particular person with the objective of achieving a particular spiritual, psychological, or physiological goal. The means employed are comprised of intelligently conceived steps that include but are not limited to the components of Ashtânga Yoga, which includes the educational teachings of yama, niyama, âsana, prânâyâma, pratyâhâra, dhâranâ, dhyâna, and samâdhi. Also included are the application of meditation, textual study, spiritual or psychological counseling, chanting, imagery, prayer, and ritual to meet the needs of the individual. Yoga therapy respects individual differences in age, culture, religion, philosophy, occupation, and mental and physical health. The knowledgeable and competent yogin or yoginî applies Yoga Therapy according to the period, the place, and the practitioner’s age, strength, and activities.
The application of Yoga therapy is from one or more of three perspectives:
1. The use of Yoga to gain a sense of power, i.e., to develop muscular power, the power to concentrate, the power to do difficult postures, the ability to work over and extended period of time, etc. This is called the application of shakti-krama.
2. The use of Yoga to heal specific problems, such as eliminating impurities in the organs (doshas) or energy centers (cakras) and channels (nâdîs) of the body. This is chikitsâ-krama.
• If sickness is present, it needs to be cured (chikitsâ).
• If sickness is not present, protection is necessary (rakshana).
• If sickness is not present and one has learned how to protect oneself, training is necessary (shikshana).
3. The use of Yoga to go beyond the physical to understand what is beyond the limited sense of self; to know one’s true self as unchanging Witnessing Presence (Purusha) of all that is changing (prakriti). This is called the application of âdhyâtmika-krama.
The main principles of this form of Yoga therapy are:
1. Teach what is appropriate to the individual (yukta-shiksana).
2. Differences in different people must be respected (bheda).
3. Teachings must consider the situation, place, or country from which the student comes (desha).
4. Each person needs to be taught according to his or her individual constitution, age, disposition, etc.(i.e., obese, lean, young, old, etc.) (deha).
5. The method of instruction depends on the time of year, the seasons, etc. (kâla).
6. Depending on the occupation of the student, he or she will need to be taught different things (e.g., a runner would be taught differently than a philosopher) (vritti).
7. One must understand the capacity of the student, how much endurance he or she has, how much memory, how much time to study or practice (shakti).
8. The teaching must conform to the direction of the mind (i.e., it must take a person’s interests into account, such as exercise, devotion, God, chanting, etc.) (mârga)
Asana Postural Adjusting
This section we will have lecture, demonstrations, and Q&A’s relating to asana adjusting techniques.
Students will learn the energy movement in the physical & energy body during the practice of asanas, how the 7 learning styles and active and passive language applies, as well as studying the proper anatomical alignment principles in yoga asana to help avoid injury, apply proper modifications and keep the physical body safe during vinyasa practice. Students will learn to assist more effectively by first observing physical mis-alignments and identifying stagnant energy. Then, using techniques such as “Stability, Sensitivity, Assist”, the students will have the fundamental understanding of how to approach a hands-on adjustment in asanas.
Anatomy for Yoga Teachers
Anatomy & Physiology
Anatomy for yoga teachers is an introduction to the world of anatomy. It covers the basic fundamentals of anatomy by touching on anatomical names and locations of muscles, bones, joints and more. This anatomy course is a great way for yoga teachers to expand their knowledge of the human body and to apply this knowledge to their yoga practice. Expect this course to be challenging but fun and rewarding. By drawing on every day life experience and examples, yogis will gain a deeper understanding of their bodies and their movements.
Application of anatomy to daily practice. Each day during morning practice session students will be instructed to identify the set of muscles, ligaments and bones for a specific pose. After practice take notes to prepare for further discussion on the understanding of the biomechanics of the body. Teresa Edmilao is our guest anatomy instructor and will be teaching a comprehensive, educational and fun course during our training
There will be Non-Contact Hours dedicated to self study before the training as homework
Anatomy will be covered mostly on an experiential level with emphasis on Integrating and applying the language of the bones and muscles of the human body and their basic functions in movement and static postures during daily physical practices of yoga in a fun, lighthearted fashion.... We will also explore how energy moves through the body, with the understanding of subtle body system of chakras, nadis, central channel, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and how that affects the mind and body. We will also cover basic understanding of common conditions that is safe and appropriate for a yoga teacher to do and not to do with a student with a condition or injury such as high blood pressure or joint problems, etc. Included will be a discussion on prenatal and post-natal yoga contraindications and risks. As well as discussion and specific practices for women during their menstrual cycles and menopause. To summarize: The path of learning anatomy is vast, so we aim to create a foundation of understanding and lay the seeds of knowledge for the students to inspire themselves to move forward with ongoing study of anatomy as a lifelong interest.
Yoga Asana Lab
Techniques, Training and Practice
Foundation, alignment principles, modifications and variations of the foundational yoga postures. Category breakdown of the asanas ex. forward folds vs. backbends. Looking at the asanas in their respective categories and the effects that the asanas have on the body, both physically and energetically. Posturing and counter-posturing as a basic principle in the vinyasa teaching method and how to choose specific asanas to maintain a Sattvic balance. We will literally be looking at the asanas from the foundation up, using the teachings of the Universal Principles of Alignment from the Anusara method. There will be a study of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space, and how they can be applied and used to enhance the yoga asana experience. We will explain the 3 ‘focal points’ and where they are in the body in all the different categories of asanas. Using the focal points as convergence centers for the emphasis on the primary flows of energy: ex. muscular and organic, and also as the point in the body that is most weight-bearing during the asana. We will further refine the asana breakdown using the 7 energy loops or circuits that enhance the physical opening and expansion of the physical body as well as help to avoid injuries during the practice by maintaining stability while increasing flexibility. We we also look at the different levels of the most basic asanas… moving to the more expanded and advanced variations of the asanas. There will be discussion of ‘playing the edge’ of a posture and how students can understand, practice and teach this idea skillfully and safely as they deepen into the asanas. Also we will look at the practice of ‘attention’ vs. ‘focus’ and how they differ. This section will also include pranayama and the Nauli practice. We will teach the basic pranayama practices of Nadi Shodhana, Kapalabhati, Surya pranayama, Chandra pranayama, Ujjayi, Viloma, and sitali. There will be emphasis on the practice and technique of Ujjayi breathing as a fundamental aspect of the asana practice. There will be an extensive breakdown of the nauli practices: the purpose and benefits of how it directly relates to asana practice as a foundation physically and energetically. After each daily asana practice there will be a discussion with the students about how the class was created using a specific theme or intention, which category of asana (such as forward folding postures, hip openers or backbends ) were taught and why. Also a separate discussion on the specific meditation practice of the day - the benefits, challenges and the proper application for each meditation and how it may relate to the asana practice and living well. Q&A session on the daily practice focusing on the specific sequencing techniques and prop usage.
Teachings will help students find proper alignment in their asana practice while helping them to understand the objectives and possible effects of all the different category of postures. Emphasis on skillful cues, modification usage, safety, and injury prevention. The asana breakdown will take into consideration all different body types, levels, and experiences. Emphasis on how to skillfully identify the unique limitations, alignment and modification for each individual practitioner by understanding “Foundation before Function” techniques. Students will further their understanding of how to teach a mixed level class, while allowing all their students to be challenged at an appropriate level. They will better understand how different categories of postures have unique effects on the physical body as well as the energetic body. They will better understand how asanas can be chosen from an ayurvedic viewpoint depending on one’s constitution or present imbalance. Students will become more familiar with the 5 natural elements and through connection with these qualities there can be an enhanced well-being to both body and mind. With the pranayama and nauli practices students will develop a greater sensitivity to Prana and the Pranic body. Through daily pranayama practices and breakdowns of the different techniques students will be better able to understand which practices are best and at which times they can be practiced. Students will learn how to combine proper combinations of asanas with the correct pranayama techniques to enhance the intention or goal of that specific practice.
Hands-on Adjusting, Assisting & Partner Yoga
Techniques, Training and Practice
This session will be dedicated for the students to finding comfort in connecting and supporting other people in a clear and compassionate way. We will concentrate on inversion practice for hands-on adjusting as the foundation to all other postural hands-on adjusting, from meditation posture to handstands to savasana, we will draw wisdom from modalities/exercises such as partner stretching, partner counterbalancing, Compassionate Communication games, acroyoga & group exercises, etc... as they would relate to establishing a strong foundation for the student to understand and work from to find sensitivity, comfort and confidence as it relates to hands-on assisting.
Students will learn how to confidently set up their own physical foundation and understand spatial awareness for skillful adjusting/assisting & cueing in a yoga and meditation class. We will hold daily clinics and workshops to develop confidence and trust in the students to gain a deeper understanding of the skill of bringing compassion and sensitivity in to hands-on adjusting and verbal cuing. They will also learn to understand, identify and know how to create clear safe boundaries for themselves and their students.
The Business of Yoga & Individual Teaching Offerings
Developing one’s own authentic voice and teaching style. In this segment we will have lecture, Q&A, open discussion and simple classroom exercises on what it means to embody individual voice and style as a yoga teacher, a leader or empowered individual. We will also cover the business of yoga and affective marketing and social responsibility
An important section of the training - We honor and believe everyone has their own unique individual style... their own super power - we will encourage the cultivation and exploration of this individual super power to be the foundation for their own teaching style. This section will also have an opportunity in classroom setting to demonstrate what exploration of this special power is in a safe supportive community setting... to be empowered to embrace this individuality and apply it to their teaching and the business of teaching or in life.
Ethics and Leadership Qualities
Yoga Philosophy/LifeStyle Ethics
Lecture, Q&A and Group discussion on the common ethical issues that may arise in the yoga community and our responsibilities as teacher.
Exploration of ethical, skillful and responsible ways to handle problematic issues that commonly arise in a class and the yoga community at large… Such as teacher/student boundaries, sexual misconduct, integrity, individual and group safety, etc. and how to build a strong and safe community as a skillful leader.
Ayurveda, History of Yoga, Yamas & Niyamas
Yoga Philosophy/LifeStyle Ethics
We will look at the basics of Ayurveda: what it means, when and why it was developed. Mainly the focus will be on ayurveda in regards to the Hatha Yoga practice and how knowledge of Ayurveda can enhance the yoga experience. We will study the 3 Doshas of Pitta, Vata, and Kapha, and through a survey each student will identify their personal body constitution. We will also look at the the Gunas and the 5 elements of nature. There will be specific discussions on the different category of asanas and how they affect the doshas. We will discuss diet, sleep habits, and habitual patterns that can either bring one into a more Sattvic state of balance or into a state of greater imbalance. We will go through a very basic timeline on the general history of Yoga through to the present day. We will look at some of the most fundamental Classical yoga goals and discuss how they might still be relevant to us today in modern times. We will look at the Tantric viewpoint and fundamental principles and do comparative studies between the 2 viewpoints in regards to texts like the Yoga Sutras. There will be emphasis on the development of Hatha Yoga, when and why it was created and how the practice may differ at different times in history. We will introduce Tantric cosmology and the Tattva system and the explanation of how the Universe was created according to the Tantric texts. We will focus on Shiva/Shakti and the cycles of Nature as they might pertain to a modern Yoga practitioner. Study Eight Limb path philosophy of yoga and the Buddhist Eightfold Path. These eight steps basically overlap and act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a beacon for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline. There will be required Non-Contact hours pre Training to do online research on the Yamas / Niyamas and write a report to present at the training on how these traditional philosophies may apply to them. Other required reading material TBA
Through the study of basic Ayurvedic Science the students will have a greater idea of how to use asana in their yoga practice to maintain balance and wellbeing in their lives. They will also learn to use some of the basic Ayurvedic principles to help them better understand themselves and how they are affected by the environment around them. Basic Ayurvedic knowledge may help students choose appropriate asanas and pranayamas for their classes or private clients. Through the studies of the history of Yoga the students will gain a clear, linear vision of the development of yoga throughout the past to the present. Students will have an understanding of the roots to the Hatha Yoga practice and thus a great foundation of knowledge to pull from. By comparing the different perspectives of classical yoga vs. Tantra or even Buddhism, the students can begin to empower themselves and their own personal belief system or guidelines for a more authentic way to live and teach. The Tantric studies will allow the student different perspectives on manifestation, ritual, sacredness, and how it relates to our modern day practices. By lecture, Q&A’s and daily personal application exercises the students will study the Yamas and Niyamas and individually and in comparison throughout the training to gain an experiential understanding of the classical yoga ethical practice and how it applies to us as modern humans in order to cultivate peace in our ever changing new times. We will be doing some comparative studies on the more Classical yoga translations of the Sutras and a more Tantric approach to studying and embodying the Yamas and Niyamas.
Deities, Mantras, Sanskrit & Mystical Symbolism
Yoga Philosophy/LifeStyle Ethics
Study of Hindu and Tantric deities. We will explore different aspects of how students may relate to and embody the energy of the deities with practices like chanting, mantra, mudra, mythological storytelling, deity visualizations, and more. Classroom lectures, chanting and group studies will including creative practices such as deity role playing, drawing/coloring, and short skits and monologues. Study of the Sanskrit language and the reason of its importance in modern times and spiritual practices and understanding. There will be required Non-Contact Hours for self study before the training and during the training as homework - Pre Training & Training homework will include, but not be limited to - reading and become familiar with the Deities in Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton.
Best way to connect our spirit and nature is through creativity exploration and light-hearted study of the understanding the historical meaning and the stories of deities in the spiritual practices of eastern philosophies and understanding the significance as they may apply as an empowering force to the modern yogi. The students will have gain a basic understanding of the Sanskrit as a language and its use in Yoga.
Holding Space & Group Energy
Understanding how to hold safe clear space and manage group dynamics in a skillfully as a teacher and guide.
Through lecture, Q&A’s and group exercises the students will learn and explore techniques such as “Radical Presence”... how to process thoughts, feelings and emotions skillfully in real time as the foundation from where they can hold safe clear space for small and large groups. Learn how to facilitate through clear and compassionate communication... how implement passive and active language, how to transform passion or nervous energy into clear inspiring language to empower a group, an individual, or both. Learning these personal skills to will draw on how read and feel the group energy, to move group energy in a skillful and light way. Through simple skills they will learn how to bring group energy up and down as a part of what it means to hold clear and safe space.
Students will begin practice teaching early in the training. These practice sessions will be monitored closely in real time with gentle, clear and empowering feedback. They will lead up to planning and teaching a collaborative class. Feedback and evaluation will be given for the final classes taught. The practicum could include, but are not limited to: Asana, partner yoga and meditation will be an individual choice closely mentored by the lead teachers based on their unique individual skill set and super power. Some Non-contact hours will be dedicated for the students to practice teach in small groups in separate one hour sessions - there will be required homework in the form journaling of experience in this practicum for discussion in classroom around the successes and challenges of teaching yoga.
In the spirit of understanding direct experience is the most powerful way to learn how to facilitate - This training is developed at the core for the student to find his or her Leadership Voice, from the very beginning of the training the students will have the opportunity to teach, the method of our practicums is designed as safe supportive community space where it will be acceptable to make mistakes as they explore individual voice and step into their own Individual Power and Leadership Voice in their own unique style.