FALL 2014 - SPRING 2016
Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation Training Program (MYMT3)
A Yearlong Mindfulness Intensive for Yoga Teachers
Five Spaces Still Available
Take your yoga deeper! Transform your practice, your teaching, and your life as you:
• Integrate mindfulness, asana
• Develop a meditation practice that’s grounded in your body;
• Cultivate physical, energetic, emotional and interpersonal awakening;
• Study with nationally renowned teachers of mindfulness and yoga;
• Explore the philosophical, historical, and practical intersection of the yoga and Buddhist traditions;
• Learn to practice and teach yoga in its true context--as a path to liberation.
Coming in the Fall of 2014, Spirit Rock’s Mindful Yoga and Meditation Training (MYMT3) will be an intensive 12-month training in the integration of Buddhist mindfulness practice with yoga asana and pranayama and classic yoga philosophy. Consisting of three silent residential retreats (and an in-between curriculum of study, practice and teleconferences), the training is designed for yoga teachers who want to deepen their practice and teaching to embody, include and support mindfulness meditation. Experienced yoga practitioners who are not teachers may be admitted at the discretion of the directors. An optional, additional one-week certification retreat will enable yoga teachers who already have their 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification to receive their 500-hour Yoga Alliance certification in Mindful Yoga and Meditation, assuming they have also completed all three other retreats of the MYMT.
NOTE: All scholarships have been awarded. The Yoga Dana Foundation, Spirit Rock and the Life Balance Institute are also awarding 7 scholarships to teachers who demonstrate financial need and a proven commitment to teaching yoga to disadvantaged or under-served communities. Learn more...
Led by nationally known teachers of both yoga and Buddhism, this training weaves together into one seamless practice yoga asana and pranayama, insight meditation, the wisdom teachings of the Buddha, and the wisdom teachings of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra and other classic texts from the yoga tradition.
The core of the training is the cultivation of mindfulness, the capacity to meet life moment to moment with kind awareness. In the deep inner and outer silence of the retreat environment, participants cultivate an integrated body-mind practice that encourages awakening on every level of being, including the physical, energetic, emotional, and interpersonal dimensions.
Retreat 1 Spirit Rock Meditation Center: Oct 15-24, 2014
Retreat 2 Joshua Tree: Apr 13-22, 2015
Retreat 3 Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Sept 28-Oct 7, 2015
Optional certification retreat: Spring 2016, Mt. Madonna Center (at additional cost)
The program will give you:
•an in-depth, experiential training in mindfulness meditation in the context of intensive silent retreat
• the embodied understanding of how to practice and teach yoga asana and pranayama in a way that expresses and supports mindfulness of body, heart, and mind
•the ability to incorporate sitting and walking meditation into your practice and teaching
•practical tools for bringing mindfulness into your daily life, relationships, and work
•the tools to practice and teach yoga in its highest aspiration--as a path to awakening
•an experiential training in core Buddhist teachings such as the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the Four Noble Truths—and how they relate to yoga
• a solid, non-dogmatic understanding of the entwined history, philosophy, and techniques of both yoga and Buddhism
On every retreat, asana (postures) and pranayama (breath and energy work) open, ground, and enliven the body, mind, and heart—thereby both supporting and expressing the more subtle meditative limbs of yogic practice. The yoga poses are also used as a powerful vehicle for training in—and embodying—core dharma principles, such as compassion, joy, and loving-kindness. Flowing between movement and stillness, this unified practice gently unwinds the contractions that can block embodied presence, while cultivating access to the spacious and kind awareness that is our true nature.
Each 10-day retreat combines vipassana meditation, asana, pranayama, private interviews with both yoga and vipassana teachers, dharma and yoga talks, interactive workshops and discussions, and explorations of the interface between yogic and Buddhist philosophies and practices. A good portion of each retreat will be spent in silence, following a full schedule of seated and walking meditation. The daily schedule will also include approximately 2.5 to 3 hours of yoga asana and pranayama.
This training is primarily designed for yoga teachers with a RYT-200 credential (or equivalent training), although experienced practitioners who are not teachers may be admitted at the discretion of the directors. All participants must meet the following prerequisites: a minimum of five years of yoga practice, including a basic understanding and study of the 8-limbed path of classical yoga outlined by Patanjali; a minimum of at least one silent meditation retreat of five days or more in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) tradition; and a commitment to an ongoing home practice of yoga and meditation.
Between retreats, the curriculum will consist of a commitment to a daily practice of yoga and seated meditation; regular homework assignments in both the Buddhist and yogic traditions, which include readings, recorded dharma talks, practices, and suggestions for journaling and reflection; regular discussions on dharma and yoga practice with a fellow program participant; and regular required teleconferences with program faculty.
The program cost for MYMT3 (which does not include teacher or retreat staff dana) is as follows:
• Early Bird Pricing received by December 1, 2013: $3,950 to $6,500 sliding scale, which includes accommodations and meals at all retreats.
• Regular Pricing beginning December 2: $4,250 to $6,500, sliding scale, which includes accommodations and meals at all retreats.
• (NOTE: All scholarships have been awarded as of July 2014) Limited scholarship support may be available to help with payment of fees. We will do our best to allocate our limited funds to those most in need.
• Application deadline is past - space still available, but no scholarship funds available.
Our intention is that MYMT3 will include a community of practitioners from diverse backgrounds and cultures--a mix of genders, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities--who will support each other’s dharma practice. For purposes of diversity, including diversity in race, language, orientation, gender identity, age, and in consideration of other underserved cultural groups, candidates are especially invited. A select number of scholarships will be available for diverse practitioners.
Upon completion of the three-retreat program, all participants will receive a certificate of completion from Spirit Rock. Yoga teachers who already have their RYT-200 certification can receive their RYT-500 certification in Mindful Yoga and Meditation by attending the optional, additional one-week certification retreat at an additional cost, assuming they have also completed all three other retreats of the MTYT.
Testimonials from Graduates of MYMT
The Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Program at Spirit Rock changed the way that I experience yoga and also the way that I teach yoga. Now that I more clearly understand how the streams of yoga and mindfulness relate to each other, I am able to weave them together in my classes, and teach my students mindfulness through the practice of yoga asana. In addition, my own understanding of the path of yoga has grown, my yoga practice has matured in many ways, and I have experienced many fruits of the practice, such as more ease and happiness. The teachers in the MYMT program are the absolutely best that I have ever had in my many years on this path, and their dedication to their students is apparent in everything that they do. This is the best training I have ever been a part of, and I highly recommend it.
-Annie Mahon, yoga teacher, Washington, DC
The training pointed my hatha yoga teaching in the direction of stretching heart and mind as well as body. Now I offer contemplations drawn from both Yoga and Buddhist traditions to support my students' intentions and mindfulness while holding and while moving from one pose to another. We spend more time sitting and breathing at the beginning of the class and more time in savasana experiencing the stillness. Class size in the studio is increasing, and we all seem to feel closer as we move into a more integrated, comprehensive practice. All this brings great joy. Adding the contemplative piece in my yoga classes for high school seniors so helped them process the stress of study, rehearsals and performance that, because so many of them submitted my name, I received an honorary Mental Health Hero award.
-Kirtan Coan, yoga teacher, Winston Salem, NC
Mindfulness Yoga Training is a brilliantly conceived program that gives its students the benefit of masterful guidance in connecting meditation, yoga and life skills to a personal or professional practice. The teachers, surroundings and fellow students contributed to a vibrant and profound experience that will continue to yield benefits for years to come. I enjoyed learning from the leaders in this field and the devoted practitioners, who were my fellow students. As a result of this remarkable training I am able to communicate and share the language, wisdom and asana of Mindfulness Yoga.
-Claudia Ladensoh, yoga student, San Antonio, Texas
The Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Teacher Training was the single most transformational experience I have had as a yoga teacher, meditation student and psychologist. The teachings and practices were deeply meaningful and have enhanced both my personal practice and my teaching. The teachers were incredibly accessible and truly embody the Buddhist and Yogic traditions. I continue to feel supported by and connected to our teacher training sangha. The program exceeded all expectations.
-Robin Boudette, PhD, yoga teacher and licensed psychologist, Skillman, NJ
This training completely changed my yoga practice and my meditation practice. What was two separate practices two years ago, is now seamlessly blended into one. The first foundation (mind in the body) is a core understanding in my yoga and my meditation that connects the two. I was continually amazed at the quality of the teaching. The guest teachers were well chosen for their specific area of instruction, and well known for their fine teaching. The faculty instructors were patient, kind, informative, cheerful, diligent and altogether human. They "walked their talk." The complete experience of this training, the setting of Spirit Rock, the Retreat Staff, the facility and the blending of all resulted in a most memorable and life-changing experience.
-Judie Wilgress, yoga student, Waldron Island, Washington
“From the very first MYMT retreat, I found myself immersed in an integrated yoga and meditation practice that was different from any previous training I'd had. I learned to continually check in with my own felt experience on a moment-to-moment basis, and found this mindfulness approach to asana practice to be grounding and quieting for my body and mind. It reframed the measure of a successful practice from one where my body needed to meet a pre-existing standard of physical perfection, to one where success meant being able to stay present with the sensations of my body as I moved through the practice and see how those sensations rippled into thoughts, and vice versa. In addition to shifting my attitude about the "goal" of yoga practice, I learned many concrete tools there that I could share with my students, including language for directing students to their inner experiences.
“My teachers at Spirit Rock encouraged us from the start to contemplate our intention, both for our own practice and for our teaching practice. This simple instruction literally transformed the way that I built my lesson plans -- instead of designing my curriculum to make students proficient in different types of asana practice, I started with my intention to create a safe, nurturing space for students to explore and reflect. Shaping my lessons around themes like kindness, non-harming, compassion, letting go, and goals vs. intentions allowed me to support students in practicing these principles towards themselves and others, both on and off the mat. Sure, they've become stronger, more flexible, and more willing to take risks in asana practice -- but they've also become more confident, more sensitive to their lived experience, more able to communicate their feelings, more likely to practice self-calming techniques, and much more frequently crack a smile and exhibit a sense of play in yoga class."
--Kate Johnson, yoga teacher (in public high schools) in NYC
I struggled with a sitting practice when I began the program and now sitting is an important part of my life. In asana, I am more observant of my inner states and more compassionate with myself. I enjoy this softer, more accepting voice and I am able to share it with others. I live in the Detroit suburbs where there is not a big Buddhist sangha (although some small on-going groups do exist). I have enjoyed sharing my new understandings with those around me and believe my new knowledge/skills are like the proverbial pebble in the pond – the ripples are gifts to all of those I work with. Clearly, if it were not for MYMT, I would not have the knowledge or confidence to share what I have learned. I consistently use the lessons of the dharma as teaching pieces in my yoga classes. I teach about 10 relatively large classes a week and offer workshops at least every other month. The reception from my students has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve developed a Brahma Vihara yoga/mindfulness workshop series that I offer at two local studios.
--Rhonda Diegel, yoga teacher and psychotherapist, Detroit MI
As a result of learning how to more skillfully listen to my entire being and adapt my practice, my personal practice is stronger than it has ever been. In addition to my regular classes, I’ve been practicing yoga, pranayama, and meditation at home for at least 1-2 hours every day, and it has allowed me to support my students in their practice with greater strength, compassion, and authenticity.
--Rosalind Lwin, director of Niroga Institute’s Integral Health Fellowship program, Oakland, CA
"Since doing the MYMT training, I'm able to be with the kids I teach in a more present and consistent way. It's a huge gift to be able to offer them. I always thought of my Buddhist meditation practice and my yoga asana practice as being two different things. Since the MYMT training began, I'm starting to see more and more opportunities for Yoga, meditation and activism to come together under one umbrella. Since I've stopped thinking of these practices as separate entities, they've all become one and are beginning to flow more gracefully in my life.
“At first I was really shy about bringing in Buddhist meditation in along with yoga to the kids I was teaching. As I got to know and study this population and really began to love them, the more I was able to see more clearly how their suffering was leading to poor decision making which was leading to more suffering. Having a greater understanding of Buddha's teachings from a more pragmatic perspective (which is something that I really appreciate and love about the MYMT training), I have been able to incorporate teachings like the Eightfold Path into my work in a much more fluid and cohesive way."
--Leslie Booker, yoga teacher in NYC (for pregnant and post-natal teenagers, people with HIV/AIDs, and incarcerated youth), founder of the Urban Sangha Project
"Since I did the MYMT training my yoga practice has changed, my teaching has changed and I have changed. I feel like I have the courage now to teach from a place of authenticity instead of mimicking what other teachers say."
--Cindy Storman, yoga teacher, San Francisco, CA
"The MYMT training has had a profound effect on my personal growth, mental health, my practice and my teaching because I’m living the dharma as much as I can. I continue to practice Vipassana meditation every day and it has transformed my energy and my lifestyle."
--Maxine Davis, yoga teacher
"As practitioner of the eight limbs of yoga seeking to integrate the dharma into each and every moment of my life, the hands-on practical tools provided by profoundly experienced teachers has elevated and enriched my life. The learning environment is transcendent; with complete support, nurturance and mindful attention to each student-I felt that the experience was tailored for my personal growth, not to mention enjoyment."
--Beth Heberle, yoga teacher, Chico, CA
"This is an opportunity to change your life and be supported by inspired and wise teachers, held in a community of deep silence and support. The diversity of teachers is fantastic as is the unfolding of core Buddhist teachings; accessible, authentic and sincere."
--Susan Alexander, yoga teacher, Vancouver, BC
"The MYMT program has changed my teaching significantly and returned me to a practice that is more about stillness and awareness than asana achievement. Mindfulness has helped me understand the yoga sutras better as well."
--Wendy Morrison, yoga teacher, Chestertown, MD