What is the Art of Yoga Teacher Training and what makes this training stand out?
The focus of this training is Yoga for Creativity. In the training we will paint, draw, journal, meditate and do physical yoga as part of an integrated practice. The training is geared to creatives and aspiring creatives in all media including but not limited to: writers, painters, composers, dancers, designers, actors, etc. This type of training is very unusual. It is the training that I was looking for but could not find when I decided to become a yoga teacher.
The ancients used asana (the physical yoga poses) as a path to be able to sit comfortably in meditation for long periods. The physical postures calmed the mind and the body and awakened deeper states of connection with the divine. But the goal wasn't to do elaborate asanas, the goal was to prepare the body-mind. Most modern yoga has made the physical postures the goal of yoga instead of the higher states achieved by the postures. In this training, we will learn to teach and experience the physical asanas as gateways to develop intuition, creativity, self-acceptance and personal growth.
The Art of Yoga training embraces the idea of what I call Yoga with a capital Y. Yoga with a capital Y incorporates all 8 limbs of yoga which are:
Yama – reflections of our true nature – qualities we must embrace to know Self
Niyama – evolution toward harmony – practices that align us with our highest nature
Asana – comfort and steadiness in our physical being
Pranayama – control of life force energy (prana)
Pratyahara – encouraging the senses to draw within
Dharana – focusing of consciousness inward
Dhyana – meditation – the continuous inward flow of consciousness
Samadhi – bliss, the union with Divine consciousness
The Yoga taught in this training is not a gymnastics type of practice but Yoga that aims to rejuvenate, restore and renew the practitioner. Emphasis is on mindful holds used in Yin and Restorative Yoga as well as deeply spiritual sequences like Pawanmuktasana 1, 2 & 3, Sun Salutations and Moon Salutations. This training is suitable for people of all ages and body types. We emphasize the journey inward as opposed to what the postures look like on the outside. That being said, we will teach anatomy, safety and proper alignment. I believe that Yoga postures are expressions of sacred geometry, animal totems and ancient tools. Yoga connects us to the divine, and we want to bring our bodies into these transcendent shapes as much as we physically can while still remaining comfortable and avoiding injury.
What is the power of the integration of Art and Yoga?
To be inspired as Artists, we look for ways to be in flow. Asana, Breathwork, Journaling, Art making and Meditation can bring us to states of flow. In the Art of Yoga training, our focus is on yoga and creativity practices that access flow, higher states of creativity, mindfulness and healing. With the mastery and integration of the practices taught, you will be able to create more flow in all aspects of your life.
As an Art of Yoga instructor, what is your teaching style and philosophy? What do your students say about you?
My teaching style is one of cheerleader and mother. I want everyone to receive the attention they need: to feel seen and to be heard and understood. I know we are all struggling with issues. I believe the yoga mat is where we can practice for the challenges we face in everyday life. The yoga mat can also be the place where we come to rest, restore and feel completely free to be who we are.
As a yoga teacher my goal is to set up a safe space, class workshop, retreat or training where people can connect to their inner nature and experience their true self. I attempt to teach to all levels -- offering modifications and advancements for every pose. I want people to know that Yoga is much more than making interesting shapes; it is a complete spiritual practice that unites the mind, body and spirit.
I also believe strongly in the Panchakosha system, which claims that we are the unification of 5 bodies: physical, energy, psycho-emotional, witness, and bliss. I will teach to all 5 of these bodies in the practice of Yoga.
What about the Art of Yoga Teacher Training makes you feel really excited?
I am very excited to share my experience and knowledge with other creatives and aspiring creatives. I want to spread the amazing teachings of yoga to help artists find practices to be more fulfilled and productive. I am also thrilled to be able to work with Ceylan and Lisa who are such aspiring teachers and who have so much to offer in YogArt.
Any other thoughts about the Art of Yoga?
I believe the mat is a place to feel good. The ultimate goal of Yoga is Samadhi, meaning bliss and enlightenment. I have experienced Yoga as a tool for healing and transformation in my own life. I also have seen many people transformed and healed through Yoga; I’m continually amazed and inspired.
I first came to Yoga because I had problems with my left knee. I only understood the system as a physical practice. I stay in Yoga because of all the joy I have experienced practicing and teaching Yoga. I continue to study Yoga (I am almost finished with my training as a yoga therapist) because it is a fascinating and layered practice. I know I am a more dimensional and fulfilled person because I have Yoga in my life.
Teaching yoga is an honor and a gift. I believe it is of utmost importance to have Yoga teachers in all sizes, shapes, colors, creeds and ages. People in the world are suffering emotionally and physically. Yoga is a tool to alleviate suffering. Yoga has the power to remind us that we are all connected. Yoga means union; it tells us we are all one. If you want to make a difference in the world, teaching the Art of Yoga will give you the tools to be an instrument of change and transformation.
Nya Patrinos, ERYT-200, MFA