As yoga teachers we need to make sure that our goal is about helping our students achieve balance in their own lives: mentally, physically and spiritually. They will achieve this by the use of pranayama, asanas, and meditation practice. This is a lot to be responsible for but it can be achieved by participating in a week long Vinyasa Krama yoga teacher training with Srivasta Ramaswami from India. In addition to this yoga training you will have the option of evening discussion about the mantra of sound and the yoga sutras.
The last session that was held in Chicago Yoga Center had yoga teachers from all over the world attending. There were people from New York to England in attendance. The students came to learn some yoga teacher training skills from the knowledgeable teacher. Ramaswami is a very skilled Vedic Chanter and he has published in a journal that for every hour of chanting there needed to be 100 hours of instruction and practice required. He has more than 40 hours of himself chanting on audio tapes and is trying to make them available for others to use. Each day your yoga teacher training will begin and end with chants, just as his personal studies had.
Student Centered Yoga Teaching
One main focus of the yoga teacher training was to design a practice that would fit the individual student’s ability, age and lifestyle. The Vinyasa Krama Yoga teacher training method uses a step by step progression of yoga poses so that the student can achieve balance. Also, counter poses, short rests and pranayama techniques are then mixed into the practice.
Through yoga training the goal is to help the students balance the gunas, or the three qualities: tamas, rajas, sattva-which are connected to everything material as well as to our personal thoughts, feels and mental activity. Through training we are to teach yoga poses and breathing techniques to help student reduce rejas which is too much physical and mental activity, and tamas slowness, in order for the student to reach a more sattvic which a is pure state.
Yoga teachers that are directing training programs also need to look at the student according to their current stage of life. For students that are 25 and younger a method known as srstikrama is use which is directed toward a developmental stage of life. In this stage of training the challenging yoga poses are emphasized. For students in the mid-life age, sthitikrama method is used which involves more breath work and perfecting your yoga poses. For students in later stages of life, layakrama yoga method is used which focuses on breath work and meditation and helps bring a connection of the soul and universe.
The idea behind yoga teacher training and instructors guiding a yoga class is that we all need to be creative and tactful as well as understanding and respectful to special needs of each student. Each student should have a specific practice that is balanced for them and not have it be disruptive to the rest of the group.
Each day of yoga training has chanting and warm ups. These are practiced with a top to bottom progression of yoga poses; beginning with the neck, shoulders, waist, hips, knees and ankles. Each area of the body is involved in many vinyasas and each vinyasa is more challenging than the one before and is done twice. The main focus of this part of practice is to be able to slow your breath down to match the flow of movement.
Afternoons are filled with more asana vinyasa practice, discussions of yoga theories and stories from the Vedas. During the discussion time self-practice ideas are talked about. What kinds of things should be involved such as pranayama, asana and some method to achieve focus and concentration and meditation. Chanting, mantra or focusing on an object or flame is possible if it keeps your mind from being distracted.
Through yoga training students are also encouraged to learn to lengthen the time spent in the extreme western stretch, supported shoulder stand, and the headstand. Through yoga practice and holding inversions for five to ten minutes a day you can maintain the integrity of your internal organs and keep them in place.
Anamaya Resort does not offer this teacher training but you will be able to find a training program if you look online for one closest to your location.