One of our ultra-talented community members recently made this video-interview with Director and Lead Trainer, Amanda McMaine. Watch to find out more about what makes our campus and our programs special!
Each of our yoga teacher training sessions is audio recorded. These recordings are invaluable to our students both for review, and for self-enrichment for years to come. The recording below, excerpted from a recent weekend, is a 15 minute yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is a guided style of meditation designed to help us access our body-mind’s innate capacity for deep healing and rest. If you’d like to engage with this practice, find a quiet place to sit or lie down where you won’t be disturbed. Know that you may fall asleep, and that’s ok! You will still receive the benefits of the practice, even while sleeping. Enjoy!
Join us for a week of day-long workshops designed to offer an in-depth look at several disciplines and subjects complementary to your yoga, and to your life. Join us for one or more individual days, or for the whole week!
For the whole week: $900 // For one workshop day: $150 // For half day (Sunday, May 20th only): $75
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Elizabeth M. Stites, C.Ay – Ayurveda
Description: Spend a day exploring the ‘sister-science’ to yoga. While Yoga and Ayurveda were both born out of the Vedic Tradition, Ayurveda embraces ways of living that enhance the therapeutic benefits of your asana practice, and yoga is utilized in Ayurvedic practice as a tool to maintain alignment with your ideal self. Join us to learn more about how these ancient arts complement and enrich each other, and to enhance your ability to leverage the principles of the three universal energies–Vata, Pitta and Kapha. We’ll explore postures, sequences, tools and techniques to bring alignment and balance to our own particular mix of bio-energies, as well as to those of our students.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Matt Branstetter, MATS, LMT, CYT – Eastern Practices and Qi Gong
Description: Like yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi have deep roots going back centuries. Although these movement and philosophical systems have much in common with yoga, they have a power and energy all their own. Spend time exploring the basic principles of Qi Gong and Tai Chi, and explore how they may enhance your teaching and your life.
Thursday, May 17, 2018 // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Romi Kalova, C-IAYT – Chakras
Description: What role do the Chakras play in your practice, your teaching, and your life? Through movement, sound and discussion, we’ll delve into the subtle body anatomy of these spinning wheels of energy. This day will take us deep into embodied understanding of the Chakra system, and help to uncover the wisdom within us, and how we can carry that wisdom off the mat, and into the world.
Friday, May 18, 2018 // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Lauren Higdon, LMT, CYT, CIMI – Yoga for Pregnancy
Description: Whether an expectant mother has a well-established practice, or whether she takes up a yoga practice for the first time during pregnancy, it is crucial to understand how to effectively and safely guide students through this transformative time of life. Through asana, demonstration and dialogue, we’ll consider indications and contraindications for each stage of pregnancy, focus on pelvic floor and core integration, and proper alignment and preventative techniques to provision the long term health of the mother.
Saturday, May 19, 2018 // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Amanda McMaine, MS, E-RYT 500, YACEP – Forward Bends
Description: This day of embodied practice will lead us to a deeper understanding of what ‘holds us back’ in forward bending. Although forward bends can be soothing and nourishing to the body and nervous system, they can be harmful if not practiced with an eye toward ideal alignment for each practitioner. We’ll address common movement patterns and postural habits, and learn how to tailor poses for individual instruction, as well as how to skillfully present forward bends to a group class with a varied population.
Sunday, May 20, 2018 // 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. // Karen DiGirolamo, LMT, E-RYT 200 – Tennis Ball Therapy
Description: Tension and stress can accumulate in the body and lead to such diverse concerns as pain, decreased range of motion, and blocked or disorganized energy. Tennis balls can help! Spend this afternoon learning how to locate tension and stress in your body, and to use tennis balls–with the help of subtle movement, focused awareness, and the power of the breath–to restore your health and well-being.
Contact us today to sign up for one or more of these foundational training days!
On a rainy afternoon few weeks ago, I got to sit down (read: sprawl on bolsters on the floor) with Cindy Reed. Cindy is a powerful presence in the Central Kentucky yoga community, and we are delighted to welcome her to our faculty.
CS: Talk to me a little bit about your initial experience with yoga. What was your first class like? When? What kind of environment? How did you feel? Just anything that comes to mind.
CR: So my journey with yoga started because, when I was in grad school, I met my bff, who is still my bff, who is named Julanne, who already had a relationship with Amanda. So I’m gonna put that right over there. So we were in grad school, and she had moved here from Pittsburgh. She stumbled over to the Wellness Center, which was a thing at the time, and the person who owned the Wellness Center said, ”Hey! You should probably go over and meet my friend Amanda.”
So Julanne became my bff. We were in grad school for being therapists. We both had bachelor’s degrees, and when I met her, we were both in an advanced standing program to be therapists, so we were on a fast-track–a program that would usually take two years, we were in a one-year program. So within that, we ended up, just by luck, being in this training called DBT–Dialectical Behavior Therapy. The story I’m telling you takes place in about 1999. So in 1999, we went to this training, and the specific therapy was to help people who have borderline personality disorder, but the premise of the therapy was mindfulness. So back in the late nineties, this was a thing that no one else was really doing, except for this one therapy, but at the time, everyone was getting trained in it because insurance providers had found that it was super effective, and so they wanted people to get trained in it because it’s effective and it moves people out of treatment faster. So just by luck, this thing happened that I didn’t know would change my life, but it did. So Jule and I, we’re young, it’s 2000 now, and we start doing this mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapy with trauma survivors in rural Appalachia. And it was revolutionary. From that, I started looking for ways to deepen my understanding of mindfulness. In the meantime, my bff is hanging out with Amanda all the time, so I end up over at Amanda’s early on. So my first yoga class ever was with my bff, because it was free, and I was with her, and it was at Amanda’s. And I also took a class in this very building [Dudley Square], in a room across the hall with Cindy Hutchison.
So my first experience with yoga was–how blessed–with Amanda and Cindy Hutchison. And that was all I knew about yoga for the first couple of years. How amazing is that?
CS: That’s pretty awesome.
CR: I hear people tell stories about yoga, about how they ended up in gym yoga, and I’m like, that wasn’t my journey. I went straight in.
CS: It sounds like your introduction was through mindfulness first, rather than through asana. Which is sort of the reverse of how most people come into yoga.
CR: That’s exactly right.
CS: Do you think that had an affect on the evolution of your practice? Or where you see yourself today with yoga–coming at it from mindfulness rather than through asana first?
CR: Absolutely. That is my niche, mindfulness. For me, asana is a way to practice mindfulness. Period. I get it, it’s good for your body…I like to do a handstand, that’s fun, but it’s all about presence, and a way to deliver the message of mindfulness to people. That’s how I started. Julanne already knew about yoga. It was just natural for me to start looking for ways to expand people’s ability to implement mindfulness in their lives, and yoga is a way to do that.
CS: What are your thoughts on classes where there may be no mention of mindfulness at all? Do you think that “magic” is still there?
CR: It’s hard…I know this might be weird, but I’ve never been to that kind of yoga class. As weird as it is…this all started for me in 1999. I feel like I’ve led a charmed yoga life in some ways. I’ve been with Angela Farmer, I’ve been with Judith Lasater, I’ve spent TONS of time with Amanda, and a lot of time with Cindy Hutchison. So I don’t really know how to evaluate that. I can tell you that gym owners definitely do approach me, and have approached me. And if you know me, you know I don’t have the “yoga body”. I have a bigger body, so I even think that it has not been my experience with people who own gyms, that they don’t want this message, because they do. They come to my classes and they ask me to teach at their gym, and I don’t look like I even go to the gym! So I get what you’re saying, and I know that it exists, but it’s asking me to speculate on something I’ve never experienced. And maybe I’ve just internalized it so much that everything feels like mindfulness to me. Does that make sense?
CS: Absolutely, it does. Would you say that is perhaps the essence of yoga?
CR: To me, the essence of yoga is presence. Straight up. I’ve been hanging out with Amanda for a long time. I’ve been down with her essence of yoga language for a long time. For me, the essence of yoga is presence. We are present. Mindfulness is a presence practice. Yoga is presence practice. So for me that’s it. How can we be present in our lives? I think that mindfulness and yoga offer us a way to do that.
CS: That resonates, for sure. How do you see that presence as a transformative force in people’s lives?
CR: Oh my, how much time do we have? So the question is how is presence a transformative force in people’s lives.
CS: Yes, or why is that important? If that’s it, then what does it do for us?
CR: If you go back to where I started my yoga journey: I’m young, I’m fresh out of college, and there are underserved communities. If you’re a healthcare professional, they incentivize you to get into underserved communities. So me and Jule got out there, and it was all trauma. They could come and say this is ADHD, this is depression, this is anxiety. Nine times out of ten there was trauma underneath that diagnosis. The way my career unfolded, I got this training in mindfulness. Trauma by definition has people not present. Why? Because if traumatic things happen, whether it’s in your body, or verbally, you learn a way to disconnect from that situation, or not be present with what’s going on because you’re trying to plan the next thing to say or do to keep your ass out of trouble. There’s a lot of ways in which that’s useful, and I could get on a soapbox about post-traumatic stress not being a disorder. It is the brain trying to heal itself. Post-traumatic stress can look like depression, it can look like ADHD, it can look like anxiety, but it’s really the brain trying to make sense of the experience, associating that experience with triggers. An example would be, I worked for a time as a counselor at Berea College. Predictably at midterms, there would be this influx of students, referred to me by mandate, and the problem would be that they’d been hiding in their rooms since the first or second week of class. Inevitably when I would get them in my office, it would come out that something had happened in which their survival was to hide and not be present. So in other words, they got into a situation in which they did not have the skills to meet the needs of the situation. And their survival so far in life had been that when this happens, when something’s coming at you that you don’t have the skills for, you disappear. So if I can help people have a practice in which they are present for what’s happening right now, there’s a really good chance that whatever skill they developed in the past to save their life, is not applicable in the situation they’re dealing with right now. And if you’re present with the situation you’re dealing with now, you can–we can–develop together skills through presence that are adaptive to the situation that you’re in right now. In the meantime–soapbox alert–post-traumatic stress is the brain trying to heal itself. We wouldn’t take someone who’s a veteran from Afghanistan or Vietnam who, when a helicopter flies overhead, they hide under a table. Well, when the helicopter flies overhead in Vietnam, you needed to hide or you would die. If you hide under a table in Lexington in 2018, you look like you have a disorder. But really, if we can teach the brain to be present in Lexington in 2018, and you have a way to practice presence, then you can unlearn that coping skill, and that association with that particular stimulus. Asana allows us to be present in our bodies and to feel our bodies.
So, to me, the essence of yoga is presence, the practice of yoga is a mindfulness practice. It allows us through breathwork and asana to be present in our bodies and to feel our bodies.
CS: By the way, feel free to soapbox-away! This is your opportunity to get on a soapbox about your passion!
CR: Ha! It’s terrible! I could soapbox all day. It’s hard that so many people are pathologized or pathologize themselves. Knowledge is power, and when you learn how the brain works, and that the things that we do are patterned behaviors which have saved our asses in the past, we can then choose to practice mindfulness and presence, and to make a different choice in this moment. If you say to a traumatized person, you must be present all the time, it’s a little much, but if you offer it as a choice, that’s much more manageable. The yoga mat allows us to have a symbol of practicing presence. We roll out the mat and that is the signal to our brains that this is the time to practice. I had a student in class last week who said, “Hey, you probably don’t remember me but I took one class with you ten years ago, and in that class, you suggested that we practice presence in line at the grocery store, and to use that as a cue like the yoga mat. And every time I’ve been to the grocery store in the past ten years, I’ve practiced mindfulness in line.” And she continued, “As a matter of fact, everyone in my family practices presence in line at the grocery store, because I loved it so much, I told them about it.”
So the yoga mat is a cue that we’re practicing, but you can identify other situations in your life to use as cues, whether it’s a difficult conversation with someone, or standing in line, or whatever it is you’re doing.
CS: Those are great tips! Those are all opportunities to practice, for sure. So I feel like we’ve covered how do you define yoga. For you personally, not necessarily in your professional life, but may be more in your personal life, what role does yoga play for you?
CR: First thing that pops into my head is that yoga keeps me HONEST. Yoga keeps me from being the expert. Yoga keeps me from being the know it all that I sometimes tell myself that I am. My personal practice of yoga keeps me in the role of beginner, student. So sometimes, I say that being a yoga teacher at first was something that kept me contractually obligated to keep up my personal practice, but I kinda don’t feel that way anymore. I am glad that I did that in the beginning, but really, everything is yoga. The eight limbs are there to give us a way to be present with what we’re doing here on this earth.
CS: I think it’s really helpful to have those, on the one hand, things like contractual obligation, but on the other hand, those small opportunities, like the grocery store line. That’s lovely.
So, one of your focuses for the last few years has been the work of Brené Brown. Could you say just a little bit about that just in case people aren’t familiar, and also talk about what drew you to this work, and how it has influenced your yoga practice?
CR: So, Brené Brown’s work is…oh if Cindy Hutchison reads this [chuckling]…it’s a very elaborate cognitive behavioral therapy. So cognitive behavioral therapy is cognitive–the way you think, behavioral–the way you behave–and behavior can be an anxiety response, avoidance, whatever. So the idea is, that if you change the way you perceive something, you change the way you relate to that thing. So that’s, in a nutshell, what cognitive behavioral therapy is, and mindfulness is the space between perception and reaction, and trying to change reactions into responses. So that’s another way that yoga and mindfulness is a thing in my life
So it started out with Brené Brown in 2013…2014, when Cindy Hutchison, who owns The Massage Center, suggested that I start doing private practice work.
So Cindy is a person, like Amanda, who has been a really big part of my life and my development. So it wasn’t like somebody off the street going, “Hey you’d be really good at this thing.” It’s someone who has spent a lot of time, watched my whole practice develop, and said, “I think that you would be really good at this. And I want to offer you a way to deliver this, just the way I’ve offered you a way to deliver your yoga practice to students. These are my clients, these are our customers here at The Massage Center, and I feel like you have something that could benefit my clientele.” So, we decided that I needed some kind of certification. Clearly, I’m certified as a clinician, but she wanted me to do airquotes “life coaching”. So I just started looking. So up until that moment, I had no knowledge of Brené Brown, but what got me into her is that she has a clear focus on mindfulness. So that’s how that started segueing. Back in 2013/2014 is when she was all hooked up with Oprah. Oprah had picked her book and there was an ecourse, so it wasn’t that hard to find her. Like she popped up at the top of the google list when I started looking. So, because Cindy is not someone who messes around at all, she said that in February, and by April I was doing the training with Brené Brown. Within 6 months it was happening. That certification involved a training in Texas in which Brené Brown was the lead trainer. We would break up into small groups. The training lasted a week and you walked out with a certification. It was so intense, I cannot even tell you.
So, if you’re unfamiliar with Brené Brown, her certification work takes her research, which began with a research question on shame a long time ago. She wanted to know, why is that some people have hard things happen to them and they bounce back, and other people don’t? So way back when she developed this theory called the Shame Resilience Theory, which then operationalized what it is that people actually do. What practices do they have? Is it all just luck? Or do people actually do things that cause them to be resilient? So she was able to operationalize resilience, and she called it shame resilience. As a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, I can deliver these strategies to clients in a way that really help them deal with shame and the hard things that come up, which have resulted in them maybe having behaviors that take them away from authenticity.
So, what drew me to Brené Brown’s work was mindfulness and luck. Total luck, like a lot of things in my life. It was a good fit because of the mindfulness and because of it being a very elaborate cognitive behavioral therapy, which is something I’ve been doing my whole career. So since then, we’ve done a lot of workshops, I was a featured presenter at the National Association of Social Workers Conference. People really resonate with Brené’s work. It’s very approachable. She has a really authentic way of delivering, which is not an accident, since one of her goals is authenticity. It’s not yoga, at all, but it’s mindfulness. It’s not asana, but it’s mindfulness. It’s not yoga, but it’s the yamas and niyamas and everything wrapped up in a way that allows us to recognize how hard times and hurtful things shape our responses. And mindfulness is the key to changing that response.
CS: Clearly you enjoyed the training with Brené Brown, and I know you’ve had a lot of teachers–Amanda, Angela Farmer, Judith Lasater, Cindy Hutchison–of all of those teachers, and I’m sure many I haven’t mentioned, think about someone you really enjoy. What is their teaching like, and how does that inform your own teaching practice and personal practice?
CR: Ooh, hard.
CS It’s tough! It’s a tough question.
CR: Well, it’s Amanda all the time, and Cindy Hutchison. It’s Amanda all the time, because even with Judith and Angela, who I spent a lot of time in training with, I got to both of those people because of Amanda. Especially with Angela. Again, I’ve been around other teachers…it’s like the gym yoga question…like, I know that other teachers exist, but at almost 50 years old, and practicing since 1999, I can’t…I don’t even know how to answer the question, because Amanda and Cindy. I just…I’ll get emotional…they’re part of who I am. This isn’t me being dramatic, it might sound like it, but it isn’t. Everything I am, everything I deliver…there are days I teach 4 or 5 classes a day. It doesn’t matter if I teach 4 or 5 classes every day. Every class is a little bit of Amanda and a little bit of Cindy. Without a doubt. Obviously, if I’m teaching a restorative class, there’s a lot of Judith Lasater, and a lot of blanket tucking and whatever.
How does that influence who I am?…It’s so hard for me to know anymore, because it’s like it’s so close. It’s who I am as a person, and Amanda will tell you that this is true–I will randomly on a Tuesday afternoon, send her a text that’s like, I know this might be too much, but I love you and everything I have is because of you. Now, I get it, it’s my work, and it’s my thing, but if it had not been Amanda in the beginning, I don’t know what would have happened. And if it hadn’t been for Cindy, the first time I ever MET Cindy. I can remember the first moment that she came over and looked at me. I think I was in Parsvakonasana, because she like, bent over, and looked me in the face, and she was like, “I can tell you’re working really hard in your practice, would you be willing to move your block?” [laughing] You know…something like that. I don’t know, it’s just so much choice, and presence in the body, inner body work. Like inner body work as opposed to what the asana looks like. I could get really emotional about how blessed I am that I got to spend as much time with the two of them at the very beginning of my career. There’s hardly anything that comes out of my mouth on a day to day basis or working with clients that doesn’t come from them. I work with clients at the Rape Crisis Center a couple of days a week, and even there, Amanda is with me, even there, Cindy is with me. There’s so much. They are my teachers, and I can’t pick one of them.
CS We’re not asking you too, don’t worry!
CR: Haha, don’t make me pick one! It’s a tie. There’s not enough gratitude in the world. It wells up in me often, and I let them know all the time, because how they influenced me has now influenced LOTS of other people, including people they may never ever meet or know about. So, I’m passionate about both of their work and their influences on my life.
CS: What I hear you saying is that their teaching has influenced you in many ways. Is there one characteristic of their teaching that really comes forward for you as paramount?
CR: Trust yourself. Listen to your voice. Practice presence. Love yourself. And that’s exactly what I needed to hear at the moment I met them both.
CS: What I have experienced in the couple of classes I’ve taken from you, and what I hear from other students of yours is that your teaching is so very heart centered. And that so strongly resonates with people. And I think, from an outside perspective, I think those two influences kind of combined to really bring that out.
CR: Thank you!
CS: So you’re coming into our training programs, and we’re so excited to have you. Is there anything you’d like prospective students to know about you? Anything about you, your teaching, or the world at large?
CR: So I think what I bring or what I have to offer that is unique, which I hope to bring to your students, would be the trauma-informed piece. How big and little trauma’s in our lives, all of these things influence us in ways that we might not have thought of. It’s really easy to say, “oh other people have it worse, or other people have had harder things happen.” My work now brings a perspective on yoga to give your students an understanding of how the brain works and how that relates to emotions and mindfulness. And how mindfulness works as the space between perception and reaction, and how we might change reactions into responses. So I think I want to be clear that if students have an interest in that that I’m really passionate about that, and I want to get the word out to them so that they can carry that forward in their lives. Brené Brown will be the curriculum, and what I use to deliver this message, but ultimately, it’s about mindfulness and presence.
CS: That is the heart of the work, for sure.
CR: Yeah…asana is a way to deliver it, but that is it. Love you Amanda!
(View from the studio windows, January 2018)
“There was neither non-existence nor existence then…There was neither death nor immortality then. There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day. Who really knows?…The gods came afterwards with the creation of the universe. Who then knows whence it has arisen? Whence this creation has arisen–perhaps it formed itself–or perhaps it did not–the one who looks down on it, in the highest heaven, only he knows–or perhaps he does not know.”
When I decided to pursue a 200 hour certification, I did a google search and called the first local program that popped up in the results. I like to think that the Universe led me to my teacher, but you could also say I just flat out got lucky. Now, I spend a lot of time asking questions about yoga teacher training programs–what conditions create supportive learning environments?; how does our content align with our mission and philosophy?; how can we learn from what other programs are doing? These questions help to guide us through some of the practicalities of teaching and administration, but for the rest, we lean into practice, into self-inquiry. We rely on the questioning, and the mystery of practice itself.
Today, there are many more options for yoga teacher training here in Central Kentucky. So rather than relying just on the Universe (or google), here are some questions you might ask as a beginning.
– Time Commitment – Does the program fit my scheduling needs? How much out of class time is required/expected? Is there homework? Are there tests? How much of the stated hours (200, 300, etc) does the program offer in the classroom with a lead trainer, and how much is spent outside or in personal/unstructured study? Is the schedule structured in such a way that I will leave the sessions feeling depleted? Or rejuvenated?
– Cost and Value – Does the program cost fit my budget? Are there additional costs for props, books, etc? Do they offer an installment option, and if so, is it interest free? Value is going to be hard to determine, but one thing to check is whether the program is an “RYS” (Registered Yoga School) with Yoga Alliance. Take a look at RYS-200 guidelines and requirements, here. However, keep in mind that the RYS standard is not monitored or regulated in any way. So once a program is registered, they can teach whatever and however they want.
– Goals – What are my goals in taking a yoga program? To become a teacher? To deepen my personal practice and my relationship with myself? Is there a particular style of yoga I want to teach, or a target population I’d like to reach? How do the stated goals or mission of the program align with my goals? How will the program support me in attaining my goals?
– Special Considerations – Do I have special considerations as a student, such as injury or illness? Does the faculty have the skills and experience to support me in my learning journey?
– Location and Campus – Is the location convenient to me? (And if not convenient, then is the value of the program worth the journey?) What is the campus like as a learning environment? Is the campus a supportive environment for self-inquiry and self-care? A lot of healing and transformation can take place in the course of these programs. I believe beauty and nature are an important part of those processes.
– Overall Program Style and Philosophy – Is this program teaching a particular style or doctrine? Or do they draw from the breadth and depth of yogic traditions (or other movement/philosophy traditions, for that matter)? There is absolutely nothing wrong with offering just one approach, but be clear about what you want, and about what you’re getting from a program.
– Lead Trainer – What is the background of the lead trainer(s) for the program? What is their experience? What is their teaching style? Do they continue to study? Who are their teachers? This is probably the most important question, in my opinion. Take classes from, or at the very least meet with the lead trainer for any programs under consideration.
These questions are important, but they’re not everything. As an administrator, I also spend a lot of time talking to people who are experts in fields about which I am far from expert (accountants, IT professionals, and physicians, just to name a few), and I always ask them this: What question or questions have I left out? What should I be asking you that I haven’t already? These questions help to connect me to beginners-mind, but they also represent that stepping back into the mystery of faith. They allow me to loosen my grip on the moment enough to question the questions, to lean back into the supportive open arms of the Universe and allow the moment to unfold.
In The Inner Tradition of Yoga (2008), Michael Stone writes: “How flexible…to allow the central axiom of your metaphysical system and worldview to be nothing other than the questioning of your basic questions. This is not pluralism but rather a very deep insight into the psychology of belief, the basis of our faith. Since what we believe determines the kind of world we perceive and the kinds of actions we take, if we multiply our belief systems by zero…we arrive in an open field of perception.” So ask questions. And then question the questions themselves. Lean back. Let go.
– Cara Sparkman
The moment you’ve been waiting for is here! The dates for our upcoming 200 and 300 hour Yoga Immersion Teacher Training Programs have been released! Check out the dates, below, and contact us to find out more information!
200 Hour Yoga Immersion:
October 13 and 14, 2018
November 10 and 11, 2018
December 1 and 2, 2018
January 5 and 6, 2019
February 2 and 3, 2019
March 9 and 10, 2019
April 6 and 7, 2019
May 4 and 5, 2019
June 1 and 2, 2019
July 6 and 7, 2019
August 10 and 11, 2019
September 7 and 8, 2019
300 Hour Advanced Yoga Immersion:
October 27 and 28, 2018
November 17 and 18, 2018
December 8 and 9, 2018
January 12 and 13, 2019
February 9 and 10, 2019
March 16 and 17, 2019
April 13 and 14, 2019
May 11 and 12, 2019
June 8 and 9, 2019
July 13 and 14, 2019
August 17 and 18, 2019
September 14 and 15, 2019
October 12 and 13, 2019
November 9 and 10, 2019
December 7 and 8, 2019
January 4 and 5, 2020
February 1 and 2, 2020
March 7 and 8, 2020
The short, cold, dark days of winter are ripe with opportunity for the self-care practices I treasure: I huddle and cuddle inside the house with my two- and four-legged loved ones; I take long soaks in steamy baths; I get on my mat and practice yoga nidra to my heart’s content; I walk next to the dog until we find a place where the quiet cold of the winter sunshine rimes the tree limbs with beauty to cover their bareness. And from the fertile ground of all this being, I find the space to reflect.
The frenzy of the last few months–all of the hurdles and hiccups attendant to the official opening of the school, and a busy, albeit joyful, time in my personal life–left little time to take stock, to allow pure awareness to transform the bareness of experience into useful beauty. I stumbled upon this article at onbeing.org from the lovely Courtney Martin, and I’ve spent the afternoon considering my answers to the questions she poses, and considering what questions I would add or adapt to ask of myself as a yogi. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- What have I held on to this year? Where have I been resistant to the flow of life? How has this affected my body-mind?
- What have I let go of? How have I surrendered? How has this affected my body-mind?
- What have I learned through practice this year? About my body? About my spirit? About my mind? What would I like to learn in the new year?
- Which relationships have enriched my life in 2017? What teachers have informed my practice, and my life? Is there a teacher I would like to learn more from in 2018?
- When did I feel most balanced and whole this year? What conditions, actions and/or self-care practices led to that feeling? How can I continue to cultivate those conditions in the new year?
- When was I most physically joyful in 2017? How can I get there more in 2018? (I just couldn’t improve on this question…it is too good.)
- What is my deepest longing, my heart’s desire, my sankalpa? Can I be brave enough to live that desire as true in the coming year?
I’ve scribbled my first answers in my journal. I say first answers, because my wish for myself, and for us all, is that we keep asking, that we keep reflecting, that we keep transforming through this practice we love.
To that end, the partners of The Essence of Yoga Center have been working on setting the dates for our 2018-2019 200 and 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Programs. If your sankalpa leads you to take the next step in your yoga journey, we humbly hope you’ll journey with us.
In gratitude for this year, and in hope for the next,