The aim of Yoga is to know the truth, which is one’s Self.
If you reach the depths of your Self, you will find contentment.
By knowing your true nature, you will know the truth in others also.
In that truth, we come together.
To come to this realization within one’s self is meditation.
—Sri Swami Satchidananda
Integral Yoga® Teacher Training (TT) programs provide opportunities to come together to share Sri Gurudev’s wisdom and to support and inspire fellow Integral Yoga (IY) teachers. Yogaville offers a host of TT programs to increase our knowledge of Integral Yoga, gain skills to better serve our students, and spend time at the ashram—reconnecting with beloved teachers, Yogaville residents and old friends, while expanding our circle of new friends and teachers.
Last summer, several friends from the 2003 Raja Yoga TT reconnected in the Meditation TT program taught by Swami Karunananda, Dr. Lakshmi Barsel, and a wonderful teaching staff. Meditation TT was a great opportunity to learn advanced skills and techniques to teach meditation, and Yogaville was the perfect place to spend ten days deepening our personal meditation practice. What could be more spiritually uplifting than meditating at Kailash at dawn, noontime at the beautiful LOTUS, evenings with the ashram sangha at Guru Bhavan, and in Gurudev’s eternal presence and peace at Chidambaram? The Meditation TT program enables Yoga teachers to teach a six-week meditation course that will provide students with the information, experience, and motivation needed to develop a regular meditation practice. The curriculum includes instruction and training in the following:
· Theory of meditation
· The principal techniques of meditation, including mantra, witnessing, and visualization
· The relationship of asana and pranayama to meditation
· Developing personal practice routines and practice plans
· Overcoming obstacles to meditation practice
· Integrating meditation into daily life
· Leading guided meditations
· Answering questions about Yoga and meditation
· Deepening and refining your own practice
The TT program began with information on the science and goals of meditation, including the documented health benefits of a regular meditation practice. Theory was followed by techniques and suggestions for incorporating meditation into Hatha Yoga classes. The various meditation asanas were reviewed, and detailed instructions and hints were provided to help students establish comfort in their seated postures. We were trained in the nine major yogic breathing techniques that serve as significant aids to meditation.
Classes on “Developing a Personal Meditation Routine” included a wealth of practical information on where, when and how to meditate, preparation for meditation, picking a meditation technique, establishing a successful practice plan, and ways to incorporate meditation into daily life. In “Overcoming Obstacles,” we had fun sharing all of the excuses the mind can come up with to not meditate, and then we shared ways to encourage, inspire and discipline ourselves and our students to be regular in meditation practice.
The key to a regular and successful meditation practice is to pick a technique that you love. Sri Gurudev said, “Choose anything you want as an object of meditation as long as it has some elevating thoughts or ideas behind it, something to make you more open, more universal, and more loving.” The Meditation TT provided lots of practice with different mantras and guided meditation techniques, including witnessing the mind, self-inquiry meditation, mantra japa, meditation on the breath, tratak, yantra meditation, walking meditation, and pranic healing visualization. It was fun to learn and experiment with the meditation techniques I hadn’t practiced before. The small group sessions provided great opportunities to develop our personalized guided meditations. The helpful feedback we received in these small groups was of tremendous value to us.
The program concluded with instruction in “How to Teach Meditation,” including teaching guidelines, preparing lesson plans, scripts for guided meditations, and a syllabus for a six-week course in Integral Yoga Meditation. All of this information was presented in the new comprehensive Meditation TT Manual. As the physical and psychological health benefits of meditation become more widely recognized, the interest in meditation training keeps growing. The revised Meditation TT program provides an outstanding opportunity to learn everything about the theory and practice of meditation. If you want to be truly inspired to share meditation by teaching others and experience the benefits of meditation by deepening your own practice, consider taking the Meditation Teacher Training program when it is offered again in the summer of 2015. At the end of the course, graduates are certified to teach Integral Yoga Meditation. The course fulfills 105 hours toward the Registered Yoga Teacher requirements of the Yoga Alliance.
(From the May, 2006 IYTA Newsletter)