SPIRIT ROCK: Dharma and Yoga

2019 Teacher Training Curriculum Details


Prerequisite: Essential Buddhist Teachings Online Program
Completed within the first month of the program with Mark Coleman

January 28 - February 1, 2019 | Session 1: Foundations of Body, Mind, and Heart
with Djuna Mascall

In this session we 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. Our focus is on alignment-based asana and somatics training to increase sensory awareness and grounding the practice in mindfulness. Through lectures, images, and hands-on practice, we study the anatomy of the feet, legs and pelvis 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. We connect with the triple gems of the Buddha (Awakened Mind), Dharma (the Teachings of the Buddha) and the Sangha (the community of practitioners). Our daily meditation includes the practices of Shamatha and Vipassana with the support of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. The Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the Ashtanga Yoga system are illuminated through readings of the traditional texts, poetry, and contemplation for an embodied connection to the Dharma.

February 1 - 3, 2019 | Embodied Dharma: Yoga, Connective Tissue & Inter-Being 
with Tias Little and Djuna Mascall
Yoga historically has emphasized connection to a unified field of being. In the microcosm of the body, all structures are interwoven. Connective tissue is the physical structure that holds us together, connecting the liver to the lung, and the tibia to the tailbone. In the macrocosm of the larger world, all things are interwoven and interdependent. Thich Nhat Hanh has called this “inter-being”.

In this week-end immersion, we will practice movements that enhance the flow of fascia through the body, and through insight meditation and dharma study, we will investigate how all things within us and around us are interwoven.

Friday 6-9pm:
Settling IN: Releasing the Legs and Pelvis

Saturday 10am-5:30pm:
Centering IN: Opening and Strengthening the Core
Breathing IN: Expanding the Diaphragm

Sunday 10am-5:30pm:
Moving IN: Building Elasticity in the Lungs and Ribs
Listening IN: Working with the Cranium, Jaw and Ear in Yoga

March 4 - 8, 2019 | Session 2: Mindfulness of the Breath
with Djuna Mascall

The emphasis of this course is on cultivating your deep connection to the teachings and your personal practice as the wellspring from which you share Mindful Yoga. Intimacy with the breath is central to this session. We explore the anatomy of the torso, hands, arms, and shoulder girdle as gateways into the upper torso. We detail the structure and function of the diaphragm, lungs, heart, and kidney/adrenal complex in relation to the breath. Through asana sequencing students 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 wellbeing.

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

March 9 - 10, 2019 | Embodied Awakening: Trauma, Healing and Collective Liberation
with Sean Feit Oakes & Leslie Booker
At the heart of both Buddhist and Hindu Yoga practices is liberation from suffering, and the awakening of wisdom and universal love. As we work to uproot suffering, we encounter both our personal hindrances and the ancient demons sustained in our communities and cultures: abusive power, oppression, bias and discrimination.
Embodiment as the heart of practice weaves together the healing of individual and collective traumas. In this study and practice weekend, we will explore nervous system physiology, individual practice and collective action, and connection to suffering and its alleviation as an integral expression of the Buddhist path.

April 24 - 26, 2019 | Opening Space: Mindful Yoga and Embodied Meditation
2-night/3-day residential retreat with Anne Cushman, Leslie Booker, Dawn Mauricio
This silent retreat offers a seamless flow of meditation in stillness and in motion. Each day includes gentle guided yoga; seated, walking, standing, and lying down meditation instruction and practice; and dharma reflections and discussion. You’ll go home with powerful, practical tools for staying grounded and spacious in your daily life, while responding with wisdom and compassion to the suffering in the world and the urgent needs of our times.

April 27, 2019 | Buddhism and Yoga: Integrating the Traditions
with Sean Feit Oakes
Buddhism and Yoga, two of the diverse lineages of South Asian spiritual practice, are much more related than commonly thought. While we may think of meditation and mindfulness as Buddhist, and postures and breathwork as Yoga (Hindu), both traditions teach meditation and physical practices aimed at liberation and the end of grasping and stress.

May 13 - 17, 2019 | Session 3: The Wisdom Body 
with Djuna Mascall

This session gives insight into the emotional and subtle body. This is essential to yoga practice and teaching, as our held tensions and beliefs are stored in our tissues and nervous system and affect our deep biorhythms and well-being. We study the neck, jaw, and cranium, and yogic and meditative practices to release physical strain as well as psychological tensions. Our anatomical study illuminates the delicate structures of the throat and jaw. We look at how proper alignment of the skull brings balance to the entire system both in asana and sitting meditation. In addition, we address the nervous system and the triune brain with the aim of calming the habitual stress response. Through inversions, supported asanas, somatic practices, and chanting we learn to pacify the nervous system. This facilitates a spacious mind, the possibility of insight, and heart opening. We highlight pratyahara, or tending to the senses, through working with the eyes and tongue, deep inner listening, and tracking internal sensations. By pacifying the senses we enable the inner journey. The meditation practice highlights mindfulness of emotions as well as the Five Hinderances. We study the Brahma Viharas 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. 

May 18-19, 2019 | Integrating the Teachings
with Djuna Mascall

In this course, students further their skills in offering mindful yoga with clarity and confidance. We 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, we focus on how the use of language, silence, voice tone, and word choice strengthens mindful awareness when teaching yoga.