200 Hr Elemental Yoga Teacher Training
Your training has already begun...
It starts with this page! Once you thoroughly finish reading it, you will have already finished your first homework assignment. And, as expected of any sincere student, we welcome your questions. However, we ask that you first complete this assignment. Then send any questions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org
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This program is not just a posture practice. Our mission is to initiate students into a much fuller spectrum of yoga. Thus, we do not give a disproportionate emphasis upon the practice of postures. Instead, we strive to give you an understanding of yoga that makes the most of any yogic practice. Whether it be asana (postures), meditation, pranayama (breath control) or cultivating other disciplines and virtues into your life, what you begin in this training has the potential to be with you in every aspect of your life hereafter.
This teacher training has been more profound than I could have ever imagined.
Will is the special kind of educator that doesn't just teach, he enables and empowers.
I have gained the skills to feel confident as a yoga teacher but at the same time the heart of this training was much deeper.
It opened up space for exploration, surrender, connection, and limitless growth.
Perhaps the most important part is that I know this training has no real end,
it has only opened a door, leading to another door, another, and then another, forever.
I will be living this training for the rest of my life." ~Ethan
Choosing a yoga school should not be taken lightly. Where you choose to go can impact your life as much as a university or religious community. But the quality can range from being complete scams that just want to take your money (i.e. Trump University) to highly overrated institutions that make you feel like you're not good enough to get in (i.e. Harvard). They can also leave you financially indebted (i.e. most any university these days) or ethically indoctrinated to them (i.e. Bikram).
The main criteria for Vishwa Yoga training is sincerity. And though we like to stay financially solvent, we do not charge as much as we think we can possibly get (as so many businesses models today strive to do) , but what we feel is a fair investment for what is given. Also, we aim to meet and challenge each unique trinity of body, mind and spirit - wherever it's at. No level of fitness, body type, intellectual or spiritual background, or previous experience is necessary. Having sincere desire for transformation -coupled with some trust in the process- will take care of the rest.
(Notwithstanding, persons with certain mental or physical challenges may be beyond our capacity to accommodate.)
Words cannot express how ... Vishwa Yoga Training has truly transformed my path and my life!.. ~Joanna
What is Yoga?
Not long ago, most people in the west thought that yoga was mainly just stretching, and maybe some breathing and meditation practices. Today, most realize that yoga is much more than that, but still there isn't much more than asana being taught in a typical training. Our training, however, strives to make it clear that yoga has no limitations and that, in fact, everything can be approached as yoga. As the great yogi, Sri Aurobindo, said:
All of life is yoga!
Or at least it can be if we go about life yogically, which is to say religiously.
I won't go into the details here, but as an extension of this homework, I would like you to read the blog article: What is yoga?
But for now, you should know that Yoga is, essentially, the Sanskrit word for Religion.
The word Religion comes from two Latin words: Re - to bind back & Legio - to make whole.
The word Yoga can be traced forward to the Latin: Yoke, which means to make that which is separate into one.
"The School for Unlearning"
To achieve greater harmony (yoga) one may well need to unlearn for as long as they have learned.
You may have been told that yoga is not a religion, but this is hard to reconcile if you flip the script and say that religion (true religion) is not a yoga. The truth is that religion is the Latin word for yoga and yoga is the Sanskrit word for religion. Thus, yoga is not a Religion, yoga IS religion! Religion is not a Yoga, religion IS yoga!* Again, this is elaborated upon in the blog article, but for now the main point to be extrapolated here is that yoga is any practice(s) or way of life that brings harmony; which is to say the same for any true religious practice. And, just as there are endless forms of religion in the world (though many in name only) there are also endless forms of yoga in the world.
*Some older English translations of Hindu scriptures, such as the Bhagavad-Gita, use the word religion in place of the word yoga.
What is Vishwa Yoga?
Vishwa is a Sanskrit word that can mean both Universe or World, and this training demonstrates how spiritual wisdom from around the world enhances one's understanding and experience of Yoga from no matter what yogic / religious background they come from.
If one's religion is true, if it is valid, then what others have to say will not threaten,
but only strengthen what one already believes.
~Dr Daniel Rutledge
Krishna seems to back up what Dr. Rutledge says in the quote above. In Hinduism's most revered scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, He says, "In whatever way one approaches me, I will strengthen him in that way."(4:11) And this is a conclusion that many have come to after having been exposed to spiritual wisdom outside of their own culture and circles. And, in fact, if they have an open and unbiased heart, they come to find that their overall faith (whatever it is) is strengthened by the faith that others have as well; as they also find that all forms of true religion (all forms of true yoga) have more in harmony than in difference; and (far be it from divisiveness) there is far more to gain in unity than indifference.
Therefore, it had long been my intention to have this reflected in the name of this training. Thus, when I discovered in my Sanskrit studies that Vishwa is the Sanskrit word for Universe, I was very happy. But not just because it reflects my intentions to teach universal yoga, but also because Vishwanath is the name of my first adept yoga teacher, "Masterji" M.S. Vishwanath, and his influence is sprinkled throughout this course. (*Masterji is a term of endearment for a master yoga teacher, but he was not called a guru himself because his own guru, Patabhi Jois, was still alive at the time.)
The Vishwa StYle:
"Where there is a way there is a limitation."
~ Bruce Lee
This training encourages students to look at many theories, traditions, philosophies and styles in order to cultivate the best expression of their own. I call this The Bruce Lee Approach. Though Lee had many essential foundations, in the end he said they were all limiting. His goal was to move beyond the styles. Therefore, when other martial artists would watch him spar they were always perplexed because they could not figure out what style he was using. They saw pieces from many styles and they also saw many things they had never seen anyone else doing. His response was that true mastery implies that one has found 'the most honest expression of oneself' with all its unique inner and outer influences and insights, but not limited by any of them either.
The Panch Maha Bhuta (Five Great Elements)
Though Lee combined all of his training and experiences to conjure up his own unique style he, nevertheless, learned many styles along the way. Those styles were the foundation of his own unique expression of those styles and his wide spectrum of mastery over them. This is largely because he did not do what most eternal novices do. He did not just choose one style and invest all of his time and energies into one style. But, by practicing many styles, each complemented and improved upon the other, making him lucidly creative and effective with whatever situation he encountered.
Similarly, there are many styles of yoga. No. Actually, there are endless styles of yoga. But you do not need to learn them all to manifest your own masterful expression of them all. You only need to learn Five! Not five styles, but five principles: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space; and within these principles all styles (past, present and future) are derived. But, if this makes no sense to you now, no worries! That's what the training is for!
About TEACHING YOGA Formally
Although "Practice Teaching" is a part of this training, many people come to our yoga training with no interest in actually teaching. They just do it to go deeper into the yogic path for themselves; which really should be the initial impetus for everyone. So please do not think that our training is only designed for those who want to teach. Our primary goal is about you, as a yogi, on the yogic path to transformation. However we do not see teaching as something only to give to others, but a way to sharpen ones own skills and personal development as well. Therefore, at least 3 "practice teaches" are required of students before graduating. Furthermore, we find that when trainees know they have to do a "practice teach" they tend to retain the information and skills considerably better than if they take up the training as a casual learner.
If you want to learn something well...
Nervous? Don't be. A practice teach should not be considered as a test or a performance. It is simply an opportunity to sharpen and ground your abilities, to "get your feet wet", and experiment with how you will give your yogic gifts to the world; whether as a formal teacher, or not. Rest assured, all feedback will come to you in a safe and supportive atmosphere.
It often happens that during or shortly after a practice teach has been completed that a student begins to open up to the reality that they " do " have certain gifts to share with the world. And as we often repeat to our students: "There is only one person who can share your gifts with the world!" But, frankly, there are many other trainings wherein this is not the case. You are instructed to perform only a certain set of yoga postures and techniques, and they must be done according to an ambiguous standard that usually will not work for a large percentage of diverse body-mind types out there. Therein we find the difference between being an Instructor and a teacher, the difference between cultivating and manifesting your own unique gifts -and to a diverse student body- or administering a rote routine for a specific population. In other words, not learning how to cultivate and share your own unique gifts is very limiting to both your own scope and to other scopes of people that yoga could be reaching.
For those who DO wish to teach formally...
Let's be honest! Being honest is actually another simple way of speaking to the deepest goals of yoga. And so, to be honest, becoming a good teacher will not come from this or any course in only a few months time. Becoming a good yoga teacher will come from doing lots and lots of yoga yourself as well as doing lots of teaching and experimenting and teaching...! However, with our training you will find that along the way to gaining experience in teaching you will primarily be acquiring an accelerated continuum of never-ending wisdom. ~Therefore, we do not waste too much time with that which will come naturally over time, and best through time, but rather we strive to work on building that strong, deep and wide foundation. Learning how to learn is our method. Aspiring to a yogic life of deep self honesty and expression is how we master it!
You can lecture and discuss with a child on how to be an adult, but what good will it do them until they have had the proper time to grow? A mid-life crisis is merely information for someone in their mid-20's. Similarly the grass will grow with water and fertilizer, but hurriedly pulling up upon it will do nothing but make it become or feel uprooted. Or as Sri Rajneesh has said, If you go in a hurry you will never truly arrive. The same is with yoga. Lessons will be there, but the skills that bring those lessons to life will come through successively deepening life experiences. Therefore, our focus is not so much on how to master everything about yoga Now, or in 4 months, a year, or however long it takes you to complete one of our trainings! Instead we aim to give you a strong, deep and wide foundation from which you can gather and uphold an eternal treasury of precious wisdom.
'The best way to appreciate something is to give it away.' ~Unknown
Hopefully by now it is clear, that holistic transformation is our ultimate purpose but, in case you are wondering, our training also surpasses the requirements for you to register with Yoga Alliance, and thus be recognized as an RYT 200 (Registered Yoga Teacher) (Or an RYT 500 for those doing our 300 hour track; meaning that they have previously already completed a 200 hour training).
Again, 200 hours of training are required to receive a certificate that can be registered with Yoga Alliance. However, registering with YA is completely optional; and nowadays most people who do register with YA stop renewing their registration after about a year or two of paying the annual dues. If you are not sure if you would like to register your certificate, you can read more about Yoga Alliance Here. Nevertheless, we will be granting you a 200 hour Vishwa Yoga certificate whether you want to register it with YA or not.
Or, if you have already completed a 200 hour training in the past then (although there is still some good information on this page for you) you mainly want to be reading about our 300 hour training Here. -Or perhaps go ahead and read about our 300hr training because it is the most logical deeper step that also works in perfect complement to this 200 hour training. It also takes place in Bali, Indonesia! Wherein after our training in India, some students may opt (after a 2 week break) to take the (remarkably cheap) flight over to Bali so as to keep their training going; and thus go ahead and attain the RYT 500 designation for having completed both trainings.
Required Classes (hours acquired outside of formal training weekends)
In addition to 10 (sometimes 11) formal training weekends, students are required to attend at least 20 classes (basically 2 classes per week*) at either our studio or some other studio where the teacher is certified. 20 classes is the absolute minimum, but we hope you will strive for the maximum. Furthermore, at least 10 of these outside classes should be Mysore Style (see below).
If you take these classes at our studio the cost is covered by your yoga teacher training tuition but, wherever you take them, be sure to take a few notes and have the teacher sign the log that you will create; as these will both be turned in at the end of your training.
Ideally, you should be taking what you learn from formal training weekends into as many classes as you can attend -between the formal training weekends- so that you can practice and reinforce what you are learning as soon and often as possible after a training module has completed.
* If you do not get in the 20 required classes by the end of the training you will be allotted 2 more weeks to complete them. However, if you have more than 5 classes remaining this will be unacceptable. Again, the purpose of these outside classes is that they are taken in relation to your time in training.
This is a semi-personal practice time within a group setting. Students will work on classic yoga postures as well as explore and experiment with other practices they have learned or invent; meanwhile the teacher goes around making adjustments, modifications and suggestions based upon each individuals uniqueness. At some point, students will also use the time to practice making adjustments on one another. As homework, and prior to coming, you are required to read "What is Mysore Style?" (also accessed from the Training Resources tab on the drop down menu). In brief, to practice on one's own can be a bit intimidating at first, but once students get used to it, it becomes their favorite part of the asana side of training. In fact, graduates often express that it is actually kind of hard to go back to being led in a class. Nevertheless, for teaching purposes, we feel that this is a very essential part of training, as it is very important that a student be able to guide their own self for at least an hour or two before trying to guide others.
The minimum Mysore classes to attend is 10, but this is not the optimum! Therefore, we offer Mysore classes year round.
This practice is currently held on Sunday mornings at the Lotus Yoga Temple from 8:30am until 10:30am. Once training begins there will be an additional Mysore class added to the weekday schedule. We will discuss among the students the most convenient day and time for this to occur.
If you haven't already clicked on this link from the first paragraph on this page, be sure to click this link at some point.
That is the page that gives an actual view to our unique training content.
Book requirements are listed under the various module descriptions in the Syllabus. (Also accessible from the drop down TT menu above). Some of them can be found for free online. Most of them can be found used, but in good shape, on Amazon.com for less than $70 total; but if you get all of the books new it will probably cost around $100, depending on what versions you get.
...should be at least skimmed over across the timeline of the training. However, in depth reading is not expected. After skimming over the books to get a general idea of what is in them it is then preferable to just read only a few lines from each book at a time ~ and really understand and apply them ~ rather than to completely read every book before the training ends only to result in some shallow or vague "comprehension." It is suggested that you get the books on a kindle or e-reader of some type if you are going on the Vishwa Yoga Journey (rather than taking this training locally). But either way, not all of the books need to come with you as most of them can be read before or after the journey; especially those books that relate to some homework that takes place after the journey.
We reserve the right to NOT grant a teaching certificate to students who have simply "completed" the work. It has been very rare (I think just twice out of about 500+ graduates since 2007) but sometimes students just don't get it. They want a certificate and yet lack respect for the teachings behind the certificate; or they simply do not seem to care to implement them. For example, some may say they hope to be "forgiven," but have no interest in actually changing offensive behaviors. Trying but failing is one thing. It is forgivable. But not trying at all is quite another. Thus CYS cannot faithfully endorse a student as a true Yogacharya (Teacher / Exemplar of Yoga) just for paying a fee and going thru the motions.
If you're like me, you might also wish the same for many other professions, such as medical doctors; for we all know people who pass tests, but still do not adequately have the skills or internal development to meet the task (..though the opposite holds true quite often as well). Therefore, in this training, we feel it is our responsibility to let you know that it is possible to not be certified even after turning in all homework. It is also possible to be suspended from the training (which again has only happened twice out of about 500 students who have gone on to graduate). However, we hope that if this were to happen the student would eventually be able to come back; for we will work with them as long as they are, properly, willing to work with us!
Have you taken yoga classes for years?
Do you enjoy the practice, yet sense there's something more to be grasped, released or discovered within?
Yoga Teacher Training with Will is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to widen and deepen your individual yoga practice,
while strengthening you to share it with others. Conveniently scheduled to integrate into your work week,
and priced so that a year from now you won't miss the tuition you spent,
this training is a rare gem - not to be missed!
From ayurveda to zen, you will find out more than before;
this experience can instill in every student a renewed capacity for a lifetime of yoga learning on many levels.
Is it time for you to go back to school? Reflect and choose your adventures wisely this year.
Prepare to be blessed! ~Leslie Laird
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