This syllabus is in relation to the Vishwa Yoga Journey we take either across South India or Bali, Indonesia (or, on alternate years, both combined). At either location, we get away from our base training site and explore the 5 great elements out in nature at places conducive to the feel of each element. Thus the locations in themselves are an integral part of the curriculum. For further elaboration on this, our mission and philosophy be sure to read the Training Overview.
Meridian Based Asana Practice
It is not simply increased flexibility or even increased circulation that really makes us feel so good after an asana practice. Sure these things lend to that great feeling and healing effects, but it is the opening of the meridians that truly works the magic of asana.
These lines are most popularly known as Meridians from Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, or as the Nadis in India. However many places throughout the world have discovered something about them. In TCM and Ayurveda these lines were found to correspond to the health of every organ and energy system in our body; and these energies correspond to certain elements or combinations of elements (i.e. kidneys correspond to the water element).Therefore, in this training we learn to do asana in a way that precisely targets and opens these lines to activate the elements needed to get us through any variety of life's challenges. So, rather than doing asana in a vague way (that usually happens when we are unaware of the meridian locations and energies), we learn to apply asana in a very prescriptive way. Often we do this by also adding resistance (aka resistance stretching) which is more safe and effective than traditional stretching. This also brings greater stimulation to the meridian while strengthening the muscle and shredding damaged/excessive fascia; that is usually the cause of blocked meridian energy. The body expels this fascia waste and leaves the meridians open, thus improving the function and efficiency of the organs while simultaneously bringing out the elemental qualities (virtues) with which they correspond; which is another huge psychological, emotional and spiritual aspect of this work that we cannot even begin to elaborate upon in this paragraph. However, every topic you see in the curriculum below is in some way elaborating upon this theme. Just as the teaching of asana will take on great new depths in these contexts, but in many other contexts as well, such as...
Listen To The Elements ~ Hear The Whole Person
Inspired by Person Centered Therapy that was created by guru-psychologist Carl Rogers; and later fostered a therapeutic listening process called Spiritual Companioning, created by Linda Popov; Elemental Companioning takes these 2 processes a giant leap further by adding the Ayurvedic wisdom of the Five Great Elements. This knowledge transforms an average or even "bad listener" into a great listener: and a great friend into a great companion. It not only teaches you to listen to others on a therapeutic level, it also enables you to hear the deeper messages of the elements [literally, earth, water, fire, air, space] that are at play within one's language (including body language - which we also study; see Delsarte) as they express a challenge they are going through. Once an elemental imbalance is known, one can then take a listen to the wisdom of Mother Nature as she brings us the greatest examples of how to bring balance back to the elements in our own nature.
Knowledge Speaks ~ Wisdom Listens
Advanced Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
Many people today are already familiar with EFT (aka "tapping") but few really understand the linguistic reprogramming aspects that are ridiculously powerful. As you free yourself from old, long running, defective behavioral programs while simultaneously designing new growth filled paradigms you might feel like you are cheating karma. You may ask yourself "Isn't this supposed to be more difficult?" Well, yes, usually it is; but because we have not had the right tools; like hammering a nail with a screwdriver. EFT is actually based upon the meridians, and the meridians are based upon the energies of the Elements. Thus, Advanced EFT, along with Meridian and Elemental knowledge, give you the right elemental tool for anything you want to work on.
Yoga scriptures are endless, but throughout them all we find that Equanimity is the mark of a true yogi; and perhaps there is no greater practice than Vipassana to help us ever increasingly achieve that state.
Five Element Meditations
Five other great tools to help us achieve equanimity are found within the Panch Maha Bhuta (Five Great Elements). With a Vipassana approach to observing each element within we can add a depth to our equanimity that fosters as much wisdom as it does harmony.
Five Element Drumming
Toby Christenson (aka The Healing Drummer) has done several workshops at Cincinnati Yoga School. After he gifted me with one of his Djembe drums I knew he was telling me something. But it was not until I took an advanced elemental yoga therapy training that I later came back to more fully appreciate what he was teaching in his workshops about the 5 Element Rhythms he learned while studying drum with master teachers in West Africa. Now, having put the pieces and the beats together, I still increasingly ind myself blown away by the power of these rhythms. I see them playing in the meridians, I feel it change our life-beat thru tapping (eft) and even danced into an asana practice.
Some have said they do not have good enough rhythm to play or even try. But the same has been said of dance; and how sad is that! It's also like saying i can't do yoga because my muscles are very tight; or i cant exercise because i am out of shape. These are not reasons to avoid drumming (dancing, exercise) These are all the more reason to do it!
Change your Rhythm
Change your life.
~ Toby Christenson
Yes! We all can experience the great 5 elements through the drum. And from the 5 element rhythms of West African we find yet another 5 element method to effect "Positive Disruption" while cultivating Positive Change.
The Deeper Side of Deities
The Higher Ideals of Idols.
The Image of God is said to be found in the Virtues. For example, when you see courage or compassion, you are seeing the Image of God. Thus we will be exploring various yogic themes in relation to the virtue concepts behind the Hindu Idols; and the stories behind these Idols / Ideals that can show us how to replace our negative or idle-ambitions, with the positive attributes-virtues that are represented by the Idols that represent the Divine Ideals. We will also learn some classic Hindu mantras associated to them.
In light of the ideals above, we will also learn many mantras; receiving their gifts thru both understanding & vibration.
Working With The Magic Of A Staff
Throughout the ages we know of wise, prophetic and
archetypal figures walking and working miracles with a Staff.
We will come to understand why as it gives us an experience of its power via catharsis and wisdom; particularly as we delve deep into life's challenges; using the staff to ground and keep us stable while also helping us to articulate our inner emotions and insights.
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Ayurveda and Archetypes
Elemental Companioning coupled with an understanding of Archetypes empowers ourselves and our clients with powerful tools to enable them to both heal and arise toward that nobility of being that we all were meant to embody.
Take a nap ~ Accomplish your goals!
What could be better!
Yes, you heard right! Yoga Nidra, aka "yogic sleep;" is an ancient yogic technique that helps you manifest those hard to reach Sankalpas (Intentions). It's also a great way to make the most of any bouts with insomnia.
Mind is the master of the emotions
Breath is the master of the mind.
~Hatha Yoga Pradipika
We couldn't find any cool pic of anyone doing pranayama to put here. Nevertheless, what yoga training would be worth its salt without training and practice in pranayama! By advanced pranayama we mean to say that this will probably go further than what you may have previously ever experienced in pranayama techniques. However, ultimately this still only means what you (and any students you may someday teach) are ready for. The greater skills gained here are knowing how to discern what is right for you and others.
The Vishwa Ayurveda Training Manual . . .
will address many other things that also come up in training, or maybe not. That which is above we are sure to get to, but in the course of our travels we are definitely not likely to get around to everything that is in a manual of over 350 pages. However, students should be reading their manuals as we travel along, so whatever they find in there that they want to go deeper into should be requested. Though the subject matter is endless, we want to teach to what your heart is leaning towards.
(Some manual topics not mentioned above: Elemental Life Schedules, Detoxes, Diet, Yoga for the Eyes, Hinduism, World Religions, Intermittent Fasting, etc.)
Other Optional Syllabus Books:
When we do this training at home we have a big list of books (both required and suggested) that we add to the curriculum. However, when we are local the training also takes place over several months, but on the Vishwa Yoga Journey we only have one month; and even if you could read all these books in this time period you would not want to be carrying all of them around with you to all the places we go. Your backpack will probably be heavy enough with just the manual (if you opt for the printed version instead of the e-version). Nevertheless, at this link (as well as from the drop down menu), you can find this list of books and we do highly encourage you to consider acquiring them to supplement your training afterwards.
The Delsarte System of Expression
"Delsarte" is very difficult to describe.
It really has to be experienced. Nevertheless, here is a try:
Delsarte reveals the actual nature of creativity and the divinity within communication and expression. It makes one conscious of the kaleidoscope of magnificent gifts residing within the "Vital", "Mental", and the "Emotive" (Mind Body Spirit).
Yogis often talk about the trinity of Mind, Body and Spirit as an esoteric concept. But here you will learn to clearly define, claim and harmonize all 3.
Delsarte was a phenomenon that once influenced a whole era of history - particularly in drama and dance, but also yoga.
Delsarte helps artists find the yoga in their art.
And yogis find the art in their yoga.
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