By the time you’re curious about doing an advanced training, chances are you’ve either already experienced a Yoga Teacher Training of some kind or you’ve been practicing for long enough that, organically, you’ve arrived at a place in which you want to “go deeper”. In other words, you’ve already seen the effects that your yoga practice has on your life and you recognize the benefit of not only sustaining it, but nurturing it.
Deciding to do a 300-hr training is a big step. It shows that you’re committed to your practice and that you’re able to ask yourself substantial questions. At this level, we move away from the rudimentary building blocks that make up a basic 200-hr training, and begin study in a more focused and specialized way. For this reason, it is important to have a relationship with the teacher who will be guiding the training—whether that means that there is shared interest in the kind of yoga that she will offer, or that the student has been practicing with her for some time, or that there is, simply, a heart connection.
"Julia has a remarkable ability to challenge your way of thinking while still instilling a sense of confidence that you are where you need to be. In the 300 hour training, there's a beautiful balance of learning and questioning with finding your intention as a teacher and committing to it. I highly recommend it to any teacher (or yogi) looking to deepen their understanding of the practice, as well as finding their own voice as a teacher." -Ava Moreno (recent 300 Hour Stage 1 grad)
In this second stage of the 300 Hour Training will establish a daily rigorous asana and pranayama practice. The asana focus will be on backbending and twisting postures. The limb focus will be on Pranayama and Pratyahara. We'll be reading the first two padas (chapters) of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. We'll see how an Ayurvedic approach to diet, lifestyle and self-care supports our practice.
This second stage is called Jnana: The Yoga of Knowledge. In this path, the mind is used to inquire into its own nature and to transcend the mind's identification with its thoughts and ego. The fundamental goal of Jnana yoga is to become liberated from the illusionary world of maya (thoughts and perceptions) and to achieve union of the inner Self (Atman) with the oneness of all life (Brahman). This is achieved by steadfastly practicing the mental techniques of self-questioning, reflection and conscious illumination that are defined in the Four Pillars of Knowledge.
The Four Pillars of Knowledge (sadhana chatushtaya) are the prescribed steps toward achieving liberation in Jnana Yoga. These practices build upon each other and thus should be practiced in sequential order. Even if one does not have the goal of achieving liberation, practicing these techniques will cultivate spiritual insight and understanding as well as reduce one’s suffering and dissatisfaction of life.
They begin with Viveka (discernment, discrimination), Vairagya (dispassion, detachment), and Shatsampat (six virtues) which are six mental practices to stabilize the mind and emotions, and to further develop the ability to see beyond the illusions of maya:
• Shama (tranquility, calmness)
• Dama (restraint, control)
• Uparati (withdrawal, renunciation)
• Titiksha (endurance, forbearance)
• Shraddha (faith, trust)
• Samadhana (focus, concentration)
The Four Pillars end with Mumukshutva (longing, yearning)
The structure of a 300-hr Yoga Teacher Training comes from the Yoga Alliance organization as an attempt to codify teacher quality control across the “yoga world.” It’s meaningful to know that, traditionally, yogic knowledge was passed on from one guru (teacher) to one shishya (student) via parampara (lineage). The yoga was respected as sacred, and in order to be properly transferred, a lot of time—often an entire lifetime—was spent under a particular teacher’s watch before a student was rooted enough in the practice to offer it to others. This is all to say that, whether it’s a 2017 Los Angelean 300-hr YTT or a lifelong tutelage in 20th century India, the desire to know yoga must be there.
An advanced training requires a mutual consideration on the part of student and teacher. There is an integral understanding and respect that has been developed in the student that prepares the collective attention to rest on the yoga. For the 300-hr training, having at least a year or two of steady asana practice demonstrates that the requisite self-study has been established. This helps provide a solid bedrock, for both teacher and student, from which to build—or chisel away at.
Join us for this upcoming second stage. JNANA (the path of knowledge) June 13th - July 1st. We have an information session on Wed May 31st at 6:15pm where you can meet Julia and ask her any questions you may have!