|The Art of Teaching
Asana: The Heart of Hatha Yoga
Asana is central to the practice of Hatha Yoga and though only one of the limbs, it is through this limb that we are able to enter the larger context of the practice of yoga.
The Asana section of the program is composed of a multi-generational team of dynamic teachers whose backgrounds take root in the strength of tradition. During the course of the program, teachers will each cover a specific portion of the syllabus, creating a sort of tapestry from the knowledge they present, and providing students with a solid foundation in the art and craft of teaching Hatha Yoga.
Individual teachers bring their diverse experience to the teaching of Asana so that students may integrate the knowledge presented and begin to develop a personal teaching voice that lends quality and meaning to their work. Through the cycle of learning and teaching, students begin to understand and embody the knowledge that has been passed down through generations. Over the course of this 6-month program, teachers ask students to consider the act of teaching as a practice, one that works to shape and strengthen their sense of confidence and character as teachers.
Examples of Asana modules: Categories of Asana and the Art of Sequencing, Standing Poses–Connecting with the Earth, and Backbending with Ease.
Mind, Body, and Spirit: Going Beyond Postures
In Hatha yoga, it is through physical postures that we are able to begin a process of embodiment and to align with our true or higher selves. However, in our practice, we quickly realize that there is much more to yoga than shapes that our bodies take. And the shapes that our bodies take are reflective of the whole being–as an entity that is more than the sum of its parts and in the connection of every part of the body to each other.
Through modules that focus on Philosophy, Anatomy, Psychology, and other related topics, we begin to understand how asana works in conjunction with pranayama, meditiaton, yogic philosophy, East/West psychology and spiritual practice to fully engage the entire being. It becomes possible to get a sense of the larger picture of how yoga is much more than a physical practice that that the lens through which we view and interact with the world can be transform.
The Anatomy modules focus on the function of the body as a whole, even as we look at specific parts. This Living Anatomy class provides students with an in-depth introduction to functional anatomy as it is related to all systems in the human body. It is a way for student-teachers to begin to see themselves and the "bodies" they are teaching in a new way; as such, it will offer students a way to re-orient themselves so that their seeing comes from the body and not so much the mind.
The human body is a machine which winds its own springs. ~Julien Offroy de la Mettrie, L'Homme Machine
Examples of Modules: The Embodied Psychology of Yoga, Philosophy and Ethics, and The Living Anatomy.
The Practice of Teaching: Beyond Verbal Instruction
The relationship between student and teacher is fundamental in the practice of yoga, even when the teacher is yourself. More than providing a list of asana or a voice that you follow in your practice, a yoga teacher embodies the yoga and really sees the student, what they need, where they are, and what is possible for them. We also recognize that because students are all individuals, particular surroundings, experience, and limitations are a very real part of this practice. It is with this in mind that we've gather a body of modules that will give you the tools to work with range of different students.
In addition, the yoga teacher's ability to get information that may not be obvious becomes extremely important. Honing these skills is an important part of training. Through these modules you will learn to "read" bodies, structure classes and sequence poses, use verbal instruction, demonstrate common poses, use props and variations, and make physical adjustments.
Example of modules: Modifications: The Essence of Asana, Prenatal Series 1: Preparing the Body for Birth, and Teaching Yoga in the Corporate Workplace.
Our Faculty Members
Jane Austin (janeaustinyoga.com) is a certified yoga teacher and a mother of two who lives and works in San Francisco. Informed by years of working as a midwife, doula, and childbirth educator, she is uniquely suited to instruct yoga for the childbearing year. She has had the privilege of teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga to hundreds of women just beginning to explore the transformative power of childbirth and motherhood. Jane enjoys working with all populations, and has been influenced by many teachers and traditions, including Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Anusara. She continues to study asana (postures) with Tony Briggs and yoga philosophy with Kate Holcombe.
Tony Briggs (www.turtleislandyoga.com) teaches age-old Hatha yoga in a modern, humorous and hard-hitting way, without compromise or new-age veneer. Tony has been practicing and teaching yoga for almost 30 years, including studies in India and the U.S. He encourages his students to tread the path of self-discovery with a cool head, a wide heart, and a warm belly. To that end, he has developed an approach to the practice called Naga Yoga.
Jason Crandell (www.jasonyoga.com) teaches Iyengar-inspired Hatha and Vinyasa yoga in a compassionate, knowledgeable and articulate manner. A graduate of Piedmont Yoga Studio's 18-month Advanced Studies Program, Jason has apprenticed extensively with Rodney Yee, assisting him in public classes, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings for many years. He is a faculty instructor at Yoga Journal Magazine, a regular presenter at Yoga Journal Conferences, and is featured in Yoga Journal's Home Practice Video series Step-by-Step and worked as the asana coach in their Yoga for Stress Reduction and Prenatal videos. He is also a contributing editor for the magazine, writing feature articles and acting as the Beginner's Asana columnist since 2005.
Karl Erb's (www.yoganexus.com) passion for yoga has gone through many stages since the early 80's when he began the study of yoga. While Karl has explored many forms, his primary training has been in the Iyengar method of Hatha and Ashtanga yoga. Students say Karl inspires a depth of feeling and focus that is increasingly rare in the current Yoga market, aiding students in revealing awareness they never thought possible or even knew existed. Practice with Karl is a celebration of the gift of breath, the gift of yoga, a time to touch your truest nature, while deeply immersing yourself in ever deepening knowledge of the asanas, the body, mind, and senses.
Paul Roache, MD
Paul Roache is a practicing Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine Specialist and author. He has been a student of Jason Crandell since 2005 and is a graduate of The Yoga Loft 200-hr AS/TT Program. Dr. Roache brings a decidedly unique prospective to the teaching of anatomy and asana through his diverse background and training. Adept at both technical language and the subtle nuance of living anatomy, he urges students to free themselves from pre-conceived ideas of anatomy and instead, to focus on key concepts as they relate to asana. His goal is to teach anatomical concepts as a tool that is used to deepen students' own practices. It is from this foundation that Dr. Roache helps students develop effective language for asana and anatomy instruction.
Sophia Reindeers (wisdombody.com) is the founding director of the WisdomBody Institute for Creative Psychotherapy and Expressive Arts and vice-president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology. She is a body-oriented Jungian psychotherapist in private practice a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist, (REAT), and a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher. Her psychotherapy offices are located in San Francisco and Corte Madera (Marin County), and her treatment languages are English, French and German.
By deeply listening and bringing embodied awareness to those aspects of our experience that were wounded, silenced or disavowed, welcoming them back into all we are, we grow into richer and more fulfilling ways of being.
Geoffrey Roniger (www.geoffreyroniger.org) believes that the practice of yoga is essentially about coming back home to the body. Far from being about attaining, acquiring, or achieving things that we do not yet have, yoga is, in the simplest and most profound sense, about remembering. With the physical practice of the Hatha yoga poses, we are reminded experientially that we are inseparable from both the ground of the earth and the larger ground of being. A dedicated practitioner of 10 years, Geoffrey is a graduate of Piedmont Yoga Studio's 18-month Advanced Studies Program and has apprenticed extensively with his primary teacher, Rodney Yee.
Anne Saliou (annesaliou.com)Į, a certified Iyengar instructor, has been practicing Yoga for more than two decades and teaches all levels of students. Anne keeps her teaching and her own practice fresh through frequent trips to India to study directly with the Iyengars. Anne's own back injury has made her sensitive to the needs and limitations of each individual. Her classes are thematic and invigorating with instruction that is thorough and precise. Anne enjoys sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge of Yoga to help her students achieve greater health, peace and harmony through a balanced Yoga practice.
Patricia Sullivan (www.patriciasullivanyoga.com) began her yoga practice in 1970, and has taught yoga since 1976. She studied in India with B.K.S. and Geeta Iyengar in the 1980s, and taught teachers-in-training at the San Francisco Iyengar Yoga Institute through the late 1990s. With roots also in Zen Buddhism, Patricia's instruction offers a depth and scope developed through nearly 30 years of teaching. An accomplished sculptor, Patricia's classes are imaginative, exploratory and continuously evolving. She emphasizes process rather than end result, curiosity rather than "knowingness", and always brings to her classes a feeling that yoga is not only a vehicle for self-transformation, it's joyful and playful.