MenuSearch

Spirit Rock's Dharma & Yoga Training Program - in detail:

This deeply engaging training program beautifully entwines the extensive study of anatomy, alignment, and sequencing with the wisdom and insight of the Dharma.

In the yoga asana study, lessons will focus on understanding the poses for their benefits and structure, and as vehicles to cultivate mindful awareness. Classical yoga asanas will be studied through intelligent sequencing and the use of props and variations to meet the unique needs and abilities of all students. This knowledge is essential when teaching public yoga classes.

During each day of the core sessions of the Dharma and Yoga Training, anatomy will be presented through images, three-dimensional models, and experiential learning. This study is focused on gaining the anatomical understanding required to teach and practice asana in an informed way.

The Dharma sessions will emphasize the cultivation of mindful awareness and learning to embody these wisdom and heart practices in daily life.

For homework, there will be daily practice guidelines and an in-depth manual that details all the asanas to practice with. Recordings of all training practice sessions will be available for students to utilize in the periods between sessions.

Djuna’s website is a great resource for prospective students to get a feel for her teaching style through writings and free audio classes.

Djuna’s primary teacher is Tias Little (also one of the Dharma and Yoga Training faculty), and their approaches are similar. Tias Little’s online classes can be viewed on YogaGlo and through his website, Prajna Yoga.

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be certified through Yoga Alliance to teach at the 200-hour level.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS:

FOUNDATIONAL BUDDHIST TEACHINGS - online with Mark Coleman

Foundational Buddhist Teachings offers a core understanding of the Buddha’s teachings and Insight Meditation practices, including the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Four Noble Truths, Brahma-Viharas, and the Eightfold Path. This course emphasizes cultivation of mindful awareness and learning to apply and live these wisdom and heart practices in our daily lives. These are essential teachings for building a baseline understanding, and for the Buddhist path of practice. In each session, there will be guided meditations, lectures, discussion, and inquiry.

COURSE OVERVIEW:
Session 1: The Four Foundations of Mindfulness – Developing Awareness
Session 2: Four Noble Truths – Freedom From Suffering
Session 3: The Boundless Heart – Love, Compassion, Joy & Equanimity
Sessions 4 & 5: The Eightfold Path – The Buddhist Path to Freedom

FOUNDATIONS OF BODY, MIND, & HEART - with Djuna Mascall, 1/27 - 1/31

This session will address the foundational asanas with a focus on standing postures and the feet as the “foundation to the temple of the body.” This work is supported by the core teachings of the Buddha and Yoga Dharma. The focus will be on healthy alignment in asana and somatics training to increase sensory awareness and grounding the practice in mindfulness. Through lectures, images, and hands-on practice, the anatomy of the feet, legs, and pelvis will be presented for more effective asana practice and teaching. Anatomy study fosters internal, or mindful, awareness through deepening knowledge of the body and its structure. Central to this course is the training of the mind and heart. Teachings will connect with the triple gems: the Buddha (Awakened Mind), Dharma (the Teachings of the Buddha), and Sangha (the community of practitioners). Daily meditation will include the practices of Shamatha and Vipassana with the support of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. The Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the Eight Limbs of Yoga will be studied throughout the five-month training through traditional texts, poetry, and contemplation for an embodied connection to the Dharma.

WISDOM OF THE SUBTLE BODY - with Tias Little and Djuna Mascall, 1/31-2/2

In yoga and the meditative arts, the body is a necessary vehicle for harnessing the potency of prana, the essential life force. The prana moves throughout our bodies in multiple tributaries, including the bloodstream, lymph, connective tissues, glands, and nerves.

In this retreat, we will explore ways to enliven and clarify this energy by alternating between meditative movement and deep stillness. Our aim is less about doing or performing postures and more about sensing the subtlety and power within. In the way that the Wind Horse in ancient Tibet transported prayers and good intentions, we ride the wind of prana to (re)generate health, wisdom, and well-being.

MINDFULNESS OF THE BREATH - with Djuna Mascall, 2/24 - 2/28

The emphasis of this session is on cultivating a deep connection to the teachings and personal practice, as the wellspring from which program graduates share Mindful Yoga. Intimacy with the breath is central to this session. This session will explore the anatomy of the torso, hands, arms, and shoulder girdle as gateways into the upper torso. Sessions will detail the structure and function of the diaphragm, lungs, heart, and kidney/adrenal complex in relation to the breath. Through asana sequencing, students will learn how to stabilize and open the shoulder girdle and upper chest. The asana sessions include arm balance, inversion, backbends, and practices to restore the organic body. Pranayama or breath practice is taught as “the art of listening,” cultivating an intimate relationship with the breath and viewing the breath as the vehicle for insight into mental and emotional well-being.


Students will begin teaching mindful yoga to integrate what they have learned and gain fluency in articulating the body in asana and guiding meditation.

ENERGY, EMBODIMENT, AND INQUIRY: BUDDHIST APPROACHES TO YOGA AND BREATHWORK - with Sean Feit Oakes, PhD, SEP, 2/29

At the heart of both the Buddhist and Hindu lineages are practices that prepare the practitioner for transformative insight. Yoga cultivates states of stability, empowerment, and embodiment. For students of either meditation or yoga, we’ll learn a sequence of movement warm-ups that lead into breathwork and an exploration of subtle energy. All of the practices are internally focused and accessible to all bodies. The focus is on intimacy with the body as an energetic field, and on bringing loving awareness to the complex beauty of our human experience. Students who wish to have a full yoga asana practice in their day should plan for that outside of the workshop time. Simple seated practices will be offered, and yoga mats will not be used.

FINDING YOUR GROUND: MINDFUL YOGA AND EMBODIED MEDITATION - with Anne Cushman and Leslie Booker, 3/26 - 3/28

How do we stay grounded, centered, and rooted in compassion and wisdom—especially in times of personal and global challenges? In this three-day silent retreat, we’ll offer teachings and tools from the dharma and yoga traditions for settling our nervous system, grounding our energy, and connecting in an embodied way with what matters most. We will draw on the wisdom of the Buddha’s noble eightfold path and the traditional eight limbs of classical yoga to support us in our exploration. Each day will include periods of gentle guided yoga; seated, walking, standing, and lying-down meditation instruction and practice; and dharma reflections and discussion.

EMBODIED AWAKENING: TRAUMA, HEALING, AND COLLECTIVE LIBERATION - with Sean Feit Oakes, PhD, SEP, 3/29

Many people come to meditation and yoga to help heal old wounds, both physical and emotional. Trauma is a nervous system injury, caused by shocking or dangerous experiences as well as ongoing relational and systemic threats. As nervous system interventions, meditation and yoga can be helpful in trauma healing, but like all interventions, they must be used with sensitivity.

In this day retreat, we will explore current trauma resolution theory and learn gentle practices that can support healing and resilience. This day retreat is designed for those who suffer from trauma, as well as caregivers, family members, and teachers of yoga and meditation.

THE WISDOM BODY - with Djuna Mascall, 4/27-5/1

This session gives insight into the emotional and subtle body. This is essential to yoga practice and teaching, as held tensions and beliefs are stored in the body and affect deep biorhythms and well-being. This session will cover the neck, jaw, and cranium, and yogic and meditative practices to release physical strain as well as psychological tensions. Anatomical study will illuminate the delicate structures of the throat and jaw and illustrate how healthy alignment of the skull brings balance to the entire system, both in asana and sitting meditation. In addition, teachings will be given on the nervous system and the triune brain with the aim of calming the habitual stress response. Through inversions, supported asanas, somatic practices, and chanting students will learn to balance the nervous system. This facilitates a spacious mind, the possibility of insight, and heart opening. Pratyahara, or tending to the senses, will be explored through working with the eyes and tongue, deep inner listening, and tracking internal sensations. By pacifying the senses, the inner journey is enabled. The meditation practice highlights mindfulness of emotions as well as the Five Hindrances. The Brahma Viharas will be cultivated as powerful means for connection to Buddha nature and the antidote to stress, psychic pain, and anxiety.

Students continue to practice teaching to their peers and small groups.

INTEGRATING THE TEACHINGS -  with Djuna Mascall, 5/2 - 5/3

In this session, students further their skills in offering mindful yoga with clarity and confidence. Instructions will cover class planning and sequencing, prop use to support all bodies, demonstration, and directing students’ awareness to their internal experience rather than the achievement of a pose. Additionally, focus will be on how language, silence, voice tone, and word choice strengthen mindful awareness when teaching yoga.

Register Now

Email Sign-Up