Category Archives: Continuing Ed

YTT Streamlining?  Upgrade!

By Swami Nirmalananda

I was looking for words.  Words to describe the incredible change in our YTT program.  Words that convey my delight about how much more powerful it will be than ever before.  Words that help you understand the new levels that will open for yogis who dive into the deep end with me.  I was looking for words.

I always begin with contemplation, letting my mind be filled with consciousness.  Consciousness-Itself is the source of words, the form of intelligence itself.  “New” and “improved” doesn’t work any more, not even when they put it on the outside of a box of detergent or package of munchies.  Plus we have the move toward heirloom veggies and Grandma’s original recipes.  Who says “new” is at all “improved?”

So I won’t say that this incarnation of YTT is improved over the previous one.  I stand by all I’ve done to marinate the teachers I’ve had the opportunity to train.  But marinating has to happen faster.  This is Kali Yuga.  Time is of the essence.  After all, this is the age of the quick pickle!

pickling cucumbers on the vine pinterest.comMy dad used to grow cucumbers, the little pickling cucumbers, and then make his own concoction for the pickle juice.  It took a couple of months for them to come to perfection.  Every summer day, as a kid on that interminable summer vacation, I’d ask, “Are they pickles yet?”

Are they teachers yet?  How quick can a yogi be transformed into a teacher?  The first Teacher Training I took was 25 hours.  I graduated with a certificate but didn’t feel ready.  I taught, but felt like we were all just going through the motions, a pantomime.  So I took another Teacher Training.  And another one.  And then Kundalini showed me the way.  Thank you, Baba.

Now you can make pickles in a couple of hours.  And they’re good!  Is this “new” and “improved?”  We have to turn out teachers this way.

So I was looking for words.  I could see the whole of what I’ve birthed, but how to describe it?  “Streamlining” is what I’ve been calling it; it’s the word that Chiti (consciousness) keeps giving to my mind.  So I went to the thesaurus.

Modernize, update — yes, I’ve modernized our Teacher Training, but that could easily mean dumbing it down.  Modern doesn’t always mean improved.  And yoga doesn’t honor the updates; it honors ancient knowledge and systems.  Yet the sages, through the ages, came up with new and updated ways of teaching the ancient truths.  So this is modernized and updated, yet the essence is unchanged.  A tricky thing to accomplish.

Reorganize, rearrange, reschedule, move around, reorder — yes, I reorganized the schedule, moving things around, putting them in a new order, so all these words are true.  Yet they don’t cover an essential piece, which is that the new order gives new meaning to all of it.

Revolutionize, reform, restructure — ah, this is closer.  It is a revolutionary new way to approach it, but it’s not new information.  It’s revolutionary information, spinal release, tail-to-top, core opening, but we already knew that.  Yet the re-forming of it, into a new structure, gives it a new power.  New potential.  Amazing new vitality!

Make more efficient, sort out, simplify — check.  More efficient, as in getting there quicker, with less energy expended.  Making it easier and more accessible.  Simplifying the profound.  Isn’t that what shaktipat is all about?

Develop, upgrade — yes, these are best.  Develop means that everyone who has ever taken one of our programs has contributed to our latest development.  Upgrade means you get a new system, one that does the things you already relied on and yet offers more.  Easier.  Quicker.  Cheaper.  And still deep and profound.

While all this describes our YTT Upgrade, it is now extending itself to all our programs.  The force of upliftment is pouring into all our programs.  “Faster, easier?  Of course,” says Shree Kundalini.  “Deeper and more profound?  Piece of cake!”

woman surfer www.geckoexpedition.cz

I am looking forward to this.

This California girl that I am, I know how to ride a wave.

Choosing to Grow? – by Swami Nirmalananda

 

You sculpt time by your choices.  This is obvious when you miss your turnoff, especially when the next one is 20 miles ahead.  It will take 45 minutes longer to get there.  While you might not say you made that choice, you had been choosing to pay attention to something else or simply to be unfocused while cruising along.

Yoga is the science of consciousness.  You spend time doing practices which make you more and more conscious until you go beyond merely conscious and become Consciousness-Itself.  No amount of thinking can get you there, yet you must not abandon your mind along the way, so beautifully described by yogis in the personal stories they share in this issue.

Becoming conscious is not always easy.  You begin to notice things you didn’t notice before, including tensions or pains in your body, your mind, your heart or your life.  You’ve got work to do and it’s all inner work.  I’ll compare it to the remodeling we’ve undertaken in our “new” 130-year old building, Lokananda.

Fortunately the structure is sound.  Our town required structural testing, which the grand old dame passed with flying colors.  But her plumbing was leaky and her nadis (energy currents = electrical systems) needed some work, plus her roof will need some TLC soon.  But she’s coming along well.

Even more heartening, response to our Capital Campaign is building.  Yogis have already given and pledged almost $30,000.  On October 10, we will house our first immersion at the Ashram’s new campus!  Not only will you will enjoy reduced Housing & Meals costs, you will stay in a dedicated spiritual environment.

In the same way, the remodeling you’re currently undergoing absolutely leads to where you want to go.  There’s some debris to clear, new ways to see and be — yoga makes you all new.  Do more yoga.

Click to donate or for more info, or call us at 610.644.7555

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

ATT DTS: Just Do It! by Ruth Brown, CSYT

ruthbrown

Ruth Brown, CSYT

Once upon a time, completing an ATT program required that you do homework, and then send that homework to a Teacher Trainer for review and feedback. But now there is DTS.  I just completed the ATT 262 Treating Pain immersion, and I’m finding that the DTS calls have helped me use the “therapist” title with confidence.

For this DTS there are homework assignments followed by phone calls, and my first assignment was to give five pain treatment sessions to a single client. After our second DTS call, Matrika Gast (who serves our Board in the Publications role) heard from one of my DTS partners that I had “pain clients coming out of the woodwork.” So Matrika asked me to share my success story.

To begin to attract pain clients I found that you must become a walking, talking billboard for “what you can do for them.”  You do so gently and with care… sharing how others have benefited from what you do. To make your current yoga students aware of your pain therapy training, you can say “This therapy may be something that you and/or someone you know could use. Feel free to share this with those you know who are in pain.”

I also created a small, purse size flyer that to pass around to those whom I would talk with. The front side includes vital details about pain therapy the Svaroopa® yoga way, and back side includes a couple of testimonials from existing students/clients.

The next thing to do is list people you know … no judgments… just write. Then take that list, beginning with those you think are the least likely to be interested in what you are doing, and contact them, sharing with them what you are doing. Proceed through your list with enthusiasm and sincere caring about what you can do for them or for those they know.

With my first pain client, even though there was that tinge of anxiety, I felt assured and confident in the training I had received a week or so before. Yep — I read and reread my ATT “blue sheets” before each session, and I completed all five sessions with that client as well as my first DTS report before the first DTS call.

I so appreciated that call. While it is good to receive feedback on your sessions, it is just as informative to hear what others are doing.  Invaluable, in fact. Kusuma, our ATT DTS Mentor, gently guides us through evaluations of our sessions, encouraging where appropriate and asking us to re-think our sessions where necessary.

My second assignment was exciting because I was working on a real person with tightness, pain and cramps. The assignment helped me gain confidence in my ability to write a plan and tweak as needed in the moment, especially when my client seized up with a cramp and pain. Our training met reality in this second assignment. I was working with “real folks” who were not loosey-goosey yogis! I laughed at myself several times along the way, noting how many times I was holding my breath!!!

After the second DTS call, there were massive revelations. As slowly as I thought I was proceeding in a session, on this call I realized that I needed to move forward even more slowly…right up there with watching paint dry! With this guidance, I’ve found after several more sessions that my clients feel the difference, the shift from pain to relief.

After a couple of weeks providing pain therapy to clients who are non-yogis, I realized that I could almost repeat the Treating Pain training with a whole new perspective. The partner pairing in training with fellow-yogis can give us a false sense of movement.  On the DTS calls, it helps so much to hear that other budding therapists are working through the same issues.

Through this process, I have personally experienced some significant openings, too. How much fun to realize that the leg you were holding in Alternate Leg was REALLY not softened and released!

Deceptively Easy, Amazingly Successful by Abby Chemers

When I enrolled in ATT 262 Treating Pain last March, I was daunted by the prerequisite of giving 50 Embodyment® Yoga Therapy sessions in the 6 months before the course. I am a rule follower, and I could see that I needed to give two Embodyment® sessions per week. Figuring that out was my way of keeping on track without getting anxious or worried, but I still didn’t know exactly how I would get my existing students to make appointments for these private sessions.

My first approach was to give Embodyment® sessions to friends and family.  Travel to Hawaii and then to Australia in March gave me that opportunity.  On my way to Australia, I had a few days with my daughter and son-in-law in Hawaii. A busy and active couple, they were more than happy to accommodate my need to give them sessions! And the same was true of Australian friends when I arrived there.

When I returned home, there were real surprises. People just showed up at the right time.  For months I had wanted to be able to give an Embodyment® session to a student who came regularly to class and had been getting spinal opening, but still had some pain. I knew an Embodyment® session would help her move through her partial opening to full release, but I had been unable to persuade her to schedule a private session. Then one day she showed up to class and was the only student as her usual classmates were playing hooky.  So I was able to give her Embodyment®. At another time, a young woman who was getting married and had a lot going in her life showed up as the only student for a class, and she enjoyed a soothing and restorative Embodyment® session with me instead. It was a blessing for me as well as for her!

Then for the next six weeks, clients just arrived on my doorstep. To use an old idiom, it was as though they just came out of the woodwork! I was surprised, because usually it seems my regular class students simply can’t afford more yoga.  Yet they began to schedule Embodyment® sessions to celebrate their birthdays or because, unfortunately, they hurt themselves and came in to help an injury heal.  A couple of these clients came four times.  Other clients were brand new and had found me through my website. Many found me simply by word of mouth, and one week I had 4 brand new clients.

It was curious. It seemed to me that the universe knew I needed students and sent them to me.  Instead of being a daunting task, this ATT prerequisite turned out to be a blessing on many levels. It brought in money, and helped to offset the cost of training.

But giving these Embodyment® sessions regularly, on a range of clients with different needs, was great to do as well. They benefited me as a therapist as well as my clients. I had already been giving Embodyment® sessions for at least 3 years, and I was very comfortable with my body mechanics. But through giving 50 sessions within 6 months, Embodyment® became easier and easier for me.  I became able to stay in stillness. I became more effortlessly able to sink and settle into my own bones and spine. Quite often I would get release in my own body.

Settling in is so important, I found, in Treating Pain as well. With experience and regularity come ease and comfort, and my confidence as a yoga therapist grew into greater and greater ease. Now I am grateful for the required preparation as well as the training itself, in which I, myself, experienced such profound healing as well as learning that will serve my clients with more — and More.

YTT Level 4 – Moving into New Directions on All Levels by Matrika (Marlene) Gast as told by Kris Curran

Kris Curran

Kris Curran

Kris Curran uses one word to describe Level 4: “Amazing!” She graduated from YTT Level 4 last spring, and says, “It was perfectly timed for me. It plugged me right into positive energy and into Grace.” As a cardiac nurse in a metropolitan Boston hospital, Kris has a potentially stressful job, but says, “I have more awareness of my reactions to stress and it’s becoming easier to change those reactions. I’m also ready to explore new opportunities that I might not even have been ready for.” One new opportunity is the invitation from her department to develop a Svaroopa® yoga class for cardiac patients in rehab after treatment, so Kris is planning a Magic Four class for them.”

Even after practicing Svaroopa® yoga for seven years, Kris says that Level 4 made her able to feel Level 4 made her able to feel sensation and get movement in her body that she’d never had before. “I was having a hard time with the backbends, and then I just got the alignment, especially in my lower spine. But the first awareness was that I could identify that these poses were getting me into a lot of my fear — not just of the poses but fear connected to deeper issues. Perhaps that’s why I had never wanted to do the YTT Level 2 backbends.”

In fact, Kris says she taught Vidalasana 2 only one time, and only to satisfy the DTS requirement for teaching the lesson plan that featured it. But now Kris joyfully announces, “I LOVE Prana Pump” (a vinyasa/sequence of movements coordinated with breath). She explains, “I’d never done it before Level 4, and when I saw it demonstrated I thought, ‘There’s no way I can do that. I hate Vidalasana 2. and I’m not going to like this either!’ But it turns out to be exactly the practice I need to physically clear out stuff going on in my personal life. Level 4 is worth it just for the Prana Pump!” Kris adds, “Now I actually like doing Vidalasana 2, I feel strong doing it, and I feel that I can teach it because I understand it in my body.”

Kris’s experience of Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half-Lotus Stretch of the West Side of the Body) continues to amaze her. Her training partner was giving Kris the spinal walk-up adjustment, and Kris noticed that it felt as though a 10-pound bowling ball was weighing her head and neck down. Overhearing the partner pair’s conversation, Teacher Trainer Devi McKenty told Kris, “You’re feeling the tension there that you’ve been walking around with. You couldn’t feel it until now, because you’d become numb in the areas that are very tight.” “Suddenly,” Kris recalls, “I could feel it all in the back of my neck. Then all the vertebrae between my shoulders and up my neck released and moved independently.”

Connection with other teachers also opened her eyes to the flow of Grace, says Kris. For previous trainings, Kris had stayed in private homes, so at first she was not eager to be sharing a room at The Desmond. But she found herself paired with a roommate so compatible that they have become close friends. Kris says that every morning before training, she and her roommate would practice Prana Pump together, which led to her arms getting stronger, doing it better and better, and her confidence increasing.

And Kris’s transformation through backbends has continued. “After Level 4, I went into Pigeon Backbend and could feel the lengthening in my spine, and that led me to making connections in my life as well as my body. During the training, I looked in the mirror one morning saw that my swayback is gone! I really got it that in backbends for the lower spine it’s the lengthening of the front of the thigh, the sacrum and the waist — those are the physical changes that open you to the subtle changes in yourself, in your life. I have more confidence in my own teaching now, both in how to teach overall and how to go about teaching these new, challenging poses to my students.”

“The graduation ceremony,” says Kris, “was very special. I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I didn’t even feel like that when I graduated from college. Completing Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher Training has been a different kind of accomplishment. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, I was brought to new and exciting places by Level 4, reminding me of more layers to peel back, in mind, body, emotions. Level 4 was wondrous: So deep and so much more enjoyable, with a more relaxed atmosphere than any previous training. Most of all, Level 4 taught me just to surrender to God, just trust God. It’s the Grace that is so amazing, and how much Grace is in this yoga. I’m so grateful for the experience!”

Click here to learn more about YTT Levels 3 & 4 or contact our Enrollment Advisors at 610-806-2119 or programs@svaroopayoga.org.

 

A Sweet Retreat by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Marlene Gast

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

As a yogi who teaches Svaroopa® yoga, I plan my retreat and training vacations. I do ruminate about spending time on the beach or in the mountains instead, and some years I am fortunate enough to have time for both. But if I must choose one or the other, I go for the yoga. And I have never ever regretted the choice of that gift for myself — and my students.

If you are still making summer plans, take a look at “Enliven & Advance: Level 2,” July 5-9. If you have completed YTT Level 2, this course refreshes your “current standing” date, plus you will receive so much more. Last year, I interviewed yogis who took “Enliven & Advance: Level 1.” They found this EYTS course to be a sweet retreat as well as a great way to refresh pose alignments and adjustments as well as learn new and exciting ATT variations.

Mary Carpenter said, “I was amazed again at the subtly of Svaroopa® yoga. Just a hint of support can give a huge release…experiencing layers and layers of depth in my own opening as well as gathering new information and experience with the poses.” When she registered for the course, Mary was looking forward to being a student, and her expectations were fulfilled, “We had a bunch of classes in which we could just be the student. As we were in one of these classes, I realized the pose could support me rather than me working in the pose. In the inner space that opened from not efforting, and releasing the desire to get any kind of effect, I experienced the pose as a kind of cocoon to nurture and support me…more like a spa treatment than a training class. The course was a great sweetness that provided a space of openness for the pose to grow inside you!”

Kathy Gardner said, “The first day, Vidyadevi asked, ‘Why are you here?’ and I answered, ‘To be fed.’ I felt like a dried-out sponge. Then the tailbone poses opened things up for me. Those poses were very freeing. Not only was there an awesome physical opening, but there was also the immersion in community. It was so nice to be a student again and to be with other Svaroopis.”

Joe Yezzi especially liked the “sense of Oneness.” He said, “We were all there for one reason — to deepen our openings, and experience such a high energy level.” Joe continued, “In terms of the actual teacher training, it helped me get back on track. Regarding drift, I found I wasn’t that far out, but neither was I as on target as I had thought with alignments. Yes, drift happens, and the course brought me home.” As we teachers have all experienced, through those deep openings, knowing arises. Joe said, “The course reinforced my knowing that I was meant to be a Svaroopa® yoga teacher. Svaroopa® yoga is powerful, very powerful – and so easy, so simple – just softening, less is more.”

level 2 poses 1In this training, you can look forward to being trained by Vidyadevi and Karobi. Jim Totin said, “It’s really a pleasure to take class from Vidyadevi. Whatever comes up, she knows how to answer and what to do; I am confident that she will have an answer for anything. This goes for Karobi, too…. And I am always in awe of Swamiji pulling all of this together; it’s unbelievable – I tell people this is a real gift from God. I can’t imagine life without it, and wouldn’t want to imagine where I would be without this yoga.”

How about you? Is it time for Continuing Ed? Or do you just want to treat yourself to the most splendid of vacations? How wonderful that you can do both in “Enliven & Advance: Level 2” from July 5 -9 at The Desmond. You will return home having given yourself just what you needed — refreshed on all levels, with more to give to your loved ones, to your students and to your own life as a yogi.

Teacher Training: A Turning Point by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Marlene Gast

Marlene Gast

I took Foundations in 2005 and I’ve been teaching as a fully certified Svaroopa® yoga teacher since 2009. Deciding to go on from Foundations to Level 1 was the best life choice that I’ve ever made.

It took me awhile to make that decision. After Foundations I had changed so much in body and mind that I didn’t feel the need for more. As a yoga teacher in another style, I already had several classes of devoted students, and I’d learned enough in Foundation to turn them on to Svaroopa® yoga. I loved the experience of finding bliss through opening my spine, and the new pose sequences were delighting my existing students.

But then I began to sense there was “more.” It was an inkling, a hunch. And Level 1 was scheduled for summer. So why not let it be my summer vacation? Of course, signing up for Level 1 meant also enrolling for Level 2. That would be another big step. Would I need to go that far? I looked over the program description, which talked about backbends, abdominals and standing poses. These poses piqued my curiosity. What would it be like to experience that next level the Svaroopa® yoga way? How would that affect the teaching that I so loved to do?

Led forward by mere hints of something more, I found myself in Level 1 in August 2007. I began in earnest the remarkable and fully absorbing journey of finding and expanding my core physically, mentally, spiritually. My misaligned sacroiliac joint, which had previously put me belly down on the floor in pain, began to heal when Vidyadevi gave me a Sacrum Press in Half Frog. Poses, poses, poses — learning so more about primary spinal openers, both technically and physically in my own body was a huge part of my experience daily. Morning chant and meditation transported me to previously unknown depths within, and the Teacher Trainers’ anatomy and philosophy talks opened my eyes to the true wonders and possibilities of life as a human being on Earth.

Truly, if I had the time to write about the new experiences in mind, body and heart that unfolded within me each day, I could easily fill a book. Upon returning home from Level 1, I gave the Cure-All Knee Press adjustment that I’d learned to family members. They melted. Some had been skeptical about my being away for more than a week and about the cost. But what I heard after that Cure-All Knee Press was “worth every penny” and “when will you be going to Level 2?” Level 1 turned out to be a most important turning point for me, for my family AND for my yoga students, who have clearly received benefit upon benefit over the past seven years.

If you are a Foundations Grad, June 2014 is your time for a major turning point in your life. Step firmly onto the path of this yoga that you already love! Embrace this opportunity of a lifetime. Click here to enroll today.