Yoga Meditation Teacher Training Yoga teachers are the future of meditation in America, because they come in through breath and the body. About as many people are interested in meditation as are into yoga – some 7% of the adult population, an estimated 16 to 17 million people, with perhaps another 8 million who really want to begin “in the next year.” All human beings have the ability to meditate. Meditation is a name we give to a universe of techniques for accessing our own innate ability to heal, rejuvenate, and be in love with life.
Meditation is intimacy with life. Practicing can feel as natural as breathing. The techniques are ways of perceiving and delighting in the life essence at play in us as prana.
Yoga tradition gives us a wealth of ways in–
- –pranayama (awareness of breath),
- –mantra (listening to sound),
- –mudra (prana-infused gesture), and
- –yantra (visualizing).
When we find the internal styles and practices that match our inner nature, our prakriti, then meditation feels natural and we relish our experience. Meditation becomes an internal vacation and healing Temple that helps us balance our energies and prepare for loving action.
Meditation is internal asana, a flow between pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, over and over. We learn it by doing it, by flowing through the poses in our subtle bodies. Pratyahara happens when we find something interesting to sense in the world within. Dharana is tenderly holding that focus, dhyana is appreciating, and samadhi is when we join with or melt into our focus. These are instinctive and natural motions in our inner world.
This workshop, you will get an opportunity to explore a variety of different approaches and find what works for you, and also learn from other people what works for them. You will get to practice creating meditations for yourself and for others, and guiding them.
This is a skills lab, in which you can develop skills for your own practice and your teaching. A typical hour of the workshop is 10 min. of lecture, then 10 min. of meditation exploration, then 10 min. of writing in your journal about your experiences, and then 10 min. of sharing with a partner what you've written. We alternate between standing, moving, sitting, and lying down. This is a dynamic learning experience which gives you intellectual tools, rich inner experience, and embeds the learning in your muscle and sensory memory so that it's at your fingertips when you need it.
Don't use marijuana or psychoactive drugs for two weeks before the workshop.
Lorin Roche began practicing in the tradition of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra in 1968, and started teaching in 1969. He has a Ph.D. from the University of California where he did research on the experience of meditation. Lorin is the author of Meditation Made Easy, Meditation Secrets for Women, Breath Taking, Whole Body Meditations, and The Radiance Sutras. He lives near Venice, California, with his Yogini wife, Camille Maurine. Lorin feels that yoga teachers and bodyworkers are the future of meditation in the West, because the approach through the body and are alert to the subtle, gentle skills in the rhythm of flesh and breath.
Topics in Yoga Meditation Teacher Training Here are some notes about what we do in weekend workshops to train yoga teachers in how to teach meditation.
Structure and Timing We tend to do theory of meditation for 20 minutes on some topic - pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi - Then play with a practice for 20 minutes, Then listen to each other speak of our experiences, Then we practice guiding each other in meditation.
We do the flow in this way so that you have the concept in your mind, the language on your tongue, and the technique in your muscle memory. Then you get to hear how incredibly individual each of the others in the group are. It works just fine to have very experienced yoga teachers in the group alongside newbie trainees. We are all beginners at meditation, every time.
Topics include –
- 21 human senses (indriyas) and their role in meditation
◆ Rhythm and improvisation in the world within
◆ The instinctive nature of meditation – homing, resting, gathering, exploring, orienting, bonding, purifying, nourishing
◆ Elemental mix – space, earth, fire, air, water. These are tattvas (THAT which is) and in meditation we engage with them all in endlessly interesting ways. Akasha - space. Vayu - air. Agni - fire. Apa - water. Prithvi - earth. Each element is both sensual and a form of consciousness.
◆ The mystery of individuality - ahamkara - no one is the same. No moment is repeated.
◆ Finding your voice within the yoga meditation tradition, that peaceful passion you have to share
◆ Understanding speed - to the brain, half a second is a long time. The brain can leisurely flow through pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi in a couple of minutes, and be done - ready for another cycle - before you get done setting up the practice.
◆ Attention in tantra as both tender and entertaining
◆ Mudra: spontaneous gesture and motion as expressions of pranashakti. The use of mudra in meditation and teaching.
◆ Mantra: OM is described in the Upanishads as a roar of joy. We each have individual ways of hearing the universal sound and following it into the silence. Mantra is a joyous and natural practice.
◆ Pranayama: air is our primary food, we breathe 22,000 times a day (but who’s counting). Breathing can be exciting and soothing, and everywhere inbetween.
◆ Shakti spanda - the pulsating life force as we perceive her in motion, as light, as vibration, and as sound.
Developing a daily meditation practice
1. Goes with your individual nature, your prakriti.
2. That fits into your lifestyle, the rhythm of your days
3. Understanding how long to meditate (how many minutes)
4. The obstacles to meditation are NOT what you think. Wrong use of force, wrong effort, suppression, imposition of someone else’s style.
Renouncing vs Embracing
There is considerable difference between SADHU STYLE yoga and HOUSEHOLDER STYLE yoga. Each path has a different set of practices. Here Sadhu stands for a variety of paths that renounce the world and seek to kill desire –Sannyasins, Swamis, and other mostly male monks of various types – who take vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience as part of their practice.
Sadhu .............vs ................Householder
- Detachment --- Attachment
- Distance --- Intimacy
- Celibacy --- Celebrating sexuality
- Denial --- Acceptance
- Poverty --- Generating wealth
- Obedience --- Independence
- Kill ego --- Express individuality
- Homeless --- Home
Historically, almost all yoga literature is aimed at the lifestyle needs of Sadhus and other renouncers. The world has changed - today in the West, almost all yoga practitioners are householders and 70% are female. We are still in the process of catching up to this tremendous historical switcheroo. We will spend some time exploring how to not harm yourself or your students by teaching them to impose SADHU STYLE on themselves.
The Physiology of Meditation
Medical labs across the United States have been studying meditation for the past 40 years. Hundreds of studies have been published. In brief, meditation produces a state of restfulness deeper than sleep, and this occurs even in beginners, and happens rapidly, in a few minutes. This rest is a side-effect of the relaxation. Stress is released, and this benefits health in many ways, since most illnesses are made worse by chronic stress.
Laghuhasta is skillful light-handedness with the techniques of meditation. Meditation is internal asana. The skills of inner practice. Developing laghuhridaya, light-heartedness.