SPIRIT ROCK: Dharma and Yoga

2020 Teacher Training Curriculum
Final Details and Registration in July 2019


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

January 27 - 31, 2020 | 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 healthy alignment in 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: the Buddha (Awakened Mind), Dharma (the Teachings of the Buddha), and 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 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.

January 31-February 3, 2020 | Embodied Dharma
with Tias Little and Djuna Mascall

February 24-28, 2020 | 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 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.

February 29, 2020 | Embodied Awakening: Trauma, Healing and Collective Liberation
with Sean Feit Oakes

March 25-29, 2020 | Opening Space: Mindful Yoga and Embodied Meditation
Retreat with Anne Cushman, Leslie Booker

April 27-May 1, 2020 | 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 healthy 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 balance 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 Hindrances. 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 2-3, 2020 | Integrating the Teachings
with Djuna Mascall

In this course, students further their skills in offering mindful yoga with clarity and confidence. 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 language, silence, voice tone, and word choice strengthen mindful awareness when teaching yoga.