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Becoming a Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation Teacher by Marlene Gast

47Meditation Teacher Training, which brings forth new Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation Teachers, began on February 18.  It is in progress now at The Desmond through March 2.  Yesterday, students, along with Swami Nirmalananda and Trainers who are assisting, lunched at the Ashram, and Swamiji shared an update on this course.  She said, “We’re now halfway through the course days, but all the teachers-in-training are already fully deepened — as far as any group has gone before. I’ve been able to teach sections from the sutras that I always left out in the past. Their talks are so good, it’s as though the angels came in at night and wrote for them while they were sleeping — yet it is the elevated understanding their minds are reaching and the warmth their heart puts into it. I am once again in awe of these yogis, as I have been with each group before; yet this group is doing more. I’m sure the extra Trainers help: In addition to myself and Vidyadevi, we have the loving support of Rukmini Abbruzzi and Devi McKenty, so each group of students gets more coaching support on developing their talks, and from very well experienced Teacher Trainers, who are also trained as sutra teachers.

“But for me it all comes down to Baba. I walk in the room, and it feels like I’m in his meditation hall. I see the students absorbing weighty philosophy with the ease of a toddler eating cheerios from a plastic baggie. I start a chant, and the students respond; it’s all in real time and it’s all more real than real usually is. It’s all Baba.”

This 12-day immersion trains yogis to teach from the “Mantra Syllabus,” which Swamiji designed after receiving sanyasa initiation (taking monastic vows). This course is for yogis who are learning to teach meditation as well as yogis who were trained in the Master Yoga “survey syllabus” course and certified as meditation teachers through Master Yoga before 2011.  The 12-day MTT is offered every two years.  If you have already been teaching from the original survey syllabus, however, you don’t have to wait two years if you are interested in enhancing your meditation teaching now.  Swamiji’s next MTT Upgrade course starts April 30, 2014, in just over two months.  If you are still teaching from the original survey syllabus, of course you know it works beautifully, as far as it goes.  But I would encourage you to take the next giant step toward Self recognition for yourself and your students this spring: Sign up for MTT Upgrade without delay.

I recommend the MTT Upgrade based on my own experience with this combination phone course and weekend retreat. In spring 2011, when Swamiji first offered the MTT Upgrade, I wasn’t interested. In 2009 I had completed the original MTT and had been teaching from the survey syllabus for year and a half.  Students from my continuing Svaroopa® yoga classes eagerly signed up for my meditation course, and even a friend of 40 years took the course!  For me, the training itself and then the homework firmly established daily practice.  It was all wonderful!

So I didn’t see the point of an upgrade.  Yes, I knew Swamiji was now empowered to empower us meditation teachers to teach from the updated Mantra Syllabus and offer to our students the mantra from her Baba — Swami Muktananda.  But I had no idea of the power of this change — until my local Svaroopa® sister Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver returned from her MTT; it was the first MTT immersion based on the Mantra Syllabus.  To support Karuna in her MTT homework, I signed up for her series. And, as they say, the rest is history.  My experience meditating with the new mantra propelled me deeper than I ever imagined, clearly into profound levels that had I had perhaps glimpsed before or had only heard about.

The day after my last class with Karuna, I signed up for the MTT Upgrade course that was to begin in September 2011.  The phone calls were deep.  The learning was profound.  It was my first phone course with Swamiji, and, once again, I had completely underestimated the depth of the experience and the learning that I would receive — on the phone!

In February 2012, the retreat weekend that concluded the MTT Upgrade not only took me once again deeper into Self, there was an ease about it that could only have been the support of the Grace of this lineage.  In my first MTT, writing the talks was not easy.  I remember one original MTT student saying that her experience was staring at a blank page, and then looking up at the clock to notice an hour had passed with nothing being written.  I struggled in a different way — writing and revising — trying to make my talks sound elevated.  But in the MTT Upgrade, the talks simply flowed from heart into my hands and onto the page.  Now, in teaching from the Mantra Syllabus, that effortlessness continues.  Last month I taught a series, and the course filled without my even advertising.  I’m still awed by that. Of course, it’s most delicious to be in the presence of those meditation students beginning to open inward to Self from the moment they sit down for their first class.

Swamiji’s next MTT Upgrade course starts April 30, 2014, in just over two months. Allow yourself to honor that undeniable yearning to go deeper and to share this path with your students. Sign up for MTT Upgrade and then enjoy the marvelous journey.