Well, its been a busy few days at home with emails, phone calls, writing projects and lots of time on my mat. Thank you everyone who took time to send me and Darren words of encouragement about the School of Yoga. The School of Yoga will offer courses and trainings in various locations over time but first look for our offering in Tucson, AZ at Yoga Oasis and in San Marcos, TX at The San Marcos School of Yoga. Darren and I are working on the curriculum now so expect more details to come and soon we will even have a website. (You can tell we are figuring this out as we go along, right? Its not like we are without ideas and experiences to draw upon but honestly we didn't plan to leave Anusara Yoga until the day we resigned so its not like we had some perfectly orchestrated and smooth exit plan.)
One thing I know we both want to do is streamline the 200-hour Intensive/Teacher Training curriculum towards personal practice through asana exploration, contemplation and introductory pranayama and meditation. The teacher training will be asana-focused, not philosophically-focused and will be aimed at helping new and seasoned teachers understand the postures and how to teach them in the scope of a 90-minute public class. One thing that I have noticed over the years is that with the curricular emphasis being so heavy on philosophy, heart themes and alignment principles, a huge chunk of knowledge isn't being conveyed. I call it "pose knowledge". We both want to re-infuse the alignment of asana, not just "actions" and put the intense philosophy and heart themes a bit on the back burner. I see that as an advanced teaching technique and not necessary in order to be inspiring.
I am passionately interested in helping teachers find an authentic voice for their words of wisdom and the deeper teachings they may have to share, but I am not convinced that heart themes are always the way to do that nor do I think the belong in the introductory teacher training curriculum. The amount of time they take in training just isn't optimal, nor is the amount of time new teachers are devoting to try to get good at them. They could be learning how to sequence better, how the poses fit together, how to use props, how to say more with less, etc. instead. I see so many other teaching skills as more essential when you get right down to it.
(Okay, so that is another difference...I told you there were some differences that would emerge over time. Like, think about it- I was an Anusara Teacher Trainer who wasn't convinced that heart themes are necessary! That's a conflict. I mean that little thing is central to our method and super important to John. And I used heart themes in every class and am pretty damn good at training other people in how to use them also. So, its not like a big and huge philosophical conflict but still, relative to teaching methods and outcomes, its huge.)
And before everyone out there who loves heart themes rises up in defense of the heart theme, let me be clear: I LOVE A GOOD THEME. I do. And I think that they can really help bring meaning to the asana. I am into the conscious use of metaphor in life- on and off the mat. I see the benefit. Please do not share with me all the reasons to use them. Don't you think after 12 years of teaching this stuff I have a good list of reasons myself? I get it. I do. I just do not think that heart themes, by definition, help make classes better. And I also think that many times they are cumbersome, time-consuming, false and distracting. And, call me crazy, but I am pretty sure I am going to be able to still be pretty darn inspiring without them. And I think the beginner teacher has enough on their plate without having to tie an alignment principle to an adverb. I mean really, using them as a tool is fine by me. I will still teach people how to use them but requiring them is not my thing. I can't make a case for it as a requirement. I just can't. (There I said it. Oh, the freedom!)
And speaking of upcoming training opportunities, I have a 100-hour teacher training coming up here in Texas. The training takes place over three long weekends and we will cover some pretty fun stuff. (And even heart themes! Oh the irony...) If you have questions about the training, let me know. For information you can also see the program description by clicking HERE.
All right then, until next time!
All right then, until next time!