Session 1

October 14 -16, 2011

Yoga – to yoke or unite with the Divine

To bring us all together for the first time, Ananda Seva hosted a dinner and orientation Thursday night, where us students met each other for the first time. The core faculty includes Maetreyii Ma, Ananda Deviika Ma and Gayatri Dawson.  The mixture of excitement was in the air as we sat together and shared our names, personal experience with yoga and what we hoped to learn from the training.

In my search for the best yoga teacher training for me, I realized that I wanted to learn a yoga system with a solid spiritual base. Ananda Seva provided both and many of the students expressed the same sentiment. I also appreciated the format being 3 days/once a month, a bit of a break from my hectic corporate work life. Like most people, I seek to find a balance between the responsibilities of being an adult and a meaningful life that fills my spirit with joy.

I should mention that Ananda Seva is located in Santa Rosa, California and just minutes from downtown. Up on a hillside, there are trees, a garden, and open deck to enjoy our breaks and meals. Many students live nearby, 1 as far as from Reno, Nevada drives in each month, and many from surrounding communities. I commute up from Marin though I have stayed in one of their rustic cabins for a weekend, a nice respite from the commute.

I shared that I have been practicing yoga for many years and don’t recall when or where my first “yoga class” occurred,  my first love was dance. In my studies at UCSC, I learned how much the inhalation and exhalation affect movement by immersing myself in modern dance. For me, like many others, I want to experience a deeper practice as well as learn how to instruct and support others in their practice.

During the sharing, someone shared that one of the aspects of being a great yoga teacher is finding ones “heart voice”.  This reasonated with me and as she spoke I settled into a rewarding, challenging and healing 3 days.

One of the first things we learned is the history of yoga, which I am not going to go into here, and saw the rich and complex journey “yoga” has made to make it to the 21st century! We will be learning the “Sahaj” yoga system, not as popular as some of the other more well known systems. And I learned that yoga was brought to Chicago for the Parliment of Religions in 1893 by Swami Vivekandanda.  Wikipedia states that “this was the first attempt to create a global dialogue of faiths”. What an exciting time we live in!

After enjoying our sattvic lunch together on the sunny deck, I the drank in the discussion on the asanas, the benefits, the contraindications, and the cues to lead each posture, I realized that I was back in school! With books and homework! There are over 10,000 asanas, by the way, and we will be tested on just 35. Did you know that asana means ” a seat comfortably held”?  As I leafed through the pictures in my training manual, I thought there is no way that I will ever feel comfortable in some of these poses! Then a wave of ease came over me as I relaxed into my desire to grow and find my own personal edge, which will ebb and flow as it does.

Each day we end with kirtan and meditation, a nice way to close the day. At first, the chants and songs in Sanskrit seem complicated and hard to pronounce. After just 3 days, I find I am able to drop into the moment deeper, the song coming from my lips easier. I am grateful to have the opportunity to carry the torch lit so many many years ago.

I am on my way to becoming more mindful and heart centered on and off the mat!


2011-12 Ananda Seva Yoga Teacher Training

Oct 14-16, Nov 18-20, Dec 2-4, 2011
and Jan 13-15, Feb 10-12, March 2-4 2012