The Practitioners Course has come about as an alternative avenue for serious students to deepen their level of practice and understanding of the system of yoga without signing up for a teacher training. If one wishes to deepen their practice without training to become a teacher there are few options available. This course has no assignments or exams and we don’t have to follow loose guidelines by unregulated external bodies. Here the students’ practice will become alive and embodied. The myriad tools that have been shared by my teachers over twenty years will help guide the serious practitioner to the next internal level of practice. Much of modern yoga is projected through poorly executed poses on Instagram accounts and other online mediums. It has become harder and harder for the serious practitioner to distinguish between in depth knowledge and glossy advertising. If yoga is to remain an internal practice of self-cultivation, then the journey must go inwards.
The curriculum involves an in-depth study of the many classical asanas, mudras and kriyas that remove the obstructions and limitations that can remain unaddressed in many of todays teacher trainings. Utilising activities derived from many of the self-cultivating arts this course will present several sequences that free the lifeforce (Prana), preparing the body to remain contained and the mind to become still. An understanding of the Marma system and the energetic connections inherent in the body is essential to free the obstructions of the limbs and spine. This preparatory work is done systematically with the use of forms adapted from the Shaolin, Kalari and Hatha Yoga traditions. The floor work then follows the classical format laid out by the Hatha yogis in texts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and even more recently by Krishnamacharya in the Yoga Makaranda.
Please note: A certificate of completion will be provided to acknowledge Continued Education Credits for those registered with Yoga Alliance.
Click here for the Practitioners Course Curriculum
How is this applied in a regular practice session?
The simplest approach is to work from the root upwards. We address the inherent blockages of the mental, emotional and physical body through the lens of the Chakra System. Beginning with the Root Chakra (Muladhara) and working our way up the spine. At each center we focus on the positive/negative attributes as well as practices to over come limitations and help clear the inner pathways (Nadis).
Activating the feet/ankles/shins at first stimulates the lungs, kidneys and small intestine. Working the legs, the knees and thighs correspond to the liver, heart and spleen as well as the pathways associated with the movement of fluid or nerve impulses to the legs.
The shoulder and pelvic regions are physically quite stiff and immobile for most modern-day body types, so these areas become obstructed through inactivity or over-exertion. Simple arm and leg movements that require co-ordination begin to release these areas while connecting to the vital centre (navel)
The spine becomes the final focus. Invoking spiral movements releases the obstructions in the waist and groin bringing freedom to the spine that typically remains obstructed by the limbs. This systematic approach targets all the marmas from the feet to the head.
Different postures and activities will be introduced systematically so that over the length of the course a full practice format will emerge slowly and competently. In todays world many students are exposed to things too early without the proper foundation. Whether they be pranayama techniques or inversions these aspects of the practice must be earned through patient and persistent effort.
A full practice session involves systematic use of asana, pranayama, mudra, and bandha leading to proficiency in the withdrawal of the senses (pratayahara) and concentration of the mind (dharana).
What is Marma?
A marma or Marmani is a vital energy point located on the surface of the body. The Sanskrit word marma means mortal or vulnerable point. These points are sensitive, weak or tender areas that are located at anatomical sites where veins, arteries, tendons, bones and joints intersect. Many of the more vulnerable sites around the heart, throat or genitals where areas targeted during ancient combat. This corresponds with the etymological root mar which means ‘to kill’ or mrtt which means ‘death’. In ancient India various martial arts schools like Kalaripayat used energy points for therapeutic purposes. To recover from bodily injuries as well as to inflict serious injuries on their opponents.
In modern times marma massage using specially medicated oils, has become more familiar to Westerners through Ayurvedic therapies like Abhyanga or Shirodhara which are commonly used in Panchakarma (The Five Actions).
Panchakarma is a detoxification and rejuvenation process designed to balance the doshas or humours of the individual constitution bringing harmony to body, mind and spirit.
How does this relate to Yoga?
There are 117 marma points surrounding the surface of the body from the head to the feet. Nearly 75 of these principal marmani correspond exactly to the principal acupoints in Chinese Medicine. When being treated by an acupuncturist their placement of needles in acupoints stimulates the Chi flowing in these areas which correspond to the vital organs. Similarly, when we practice yoga postures like forward bends or twists we are exerting pressure (like the needle) on the same corresponding areas i.e. marma sites. The applied pressure or squeeze and release mechanism of yogasana is similar if not more effective than a hands-on massage. If the practitioner is familiar with the map of the marmani and their corresponding sites, they can stimulate or release these areas over time with their yoga practice.
Where and When?
Where and When?
Currently the course will be held in three locations :
Yoga Gorey, Gorey Town, Co. Wexford begins March 2019
Ennis Yoga Studio, Ennis, Co. Clare begins June 2019
Yoga Dublin Studios, Dundrum, Co. Dublin begins September 2019
How long is the course?
The course is held over ten weekends (Sat & Sun) and will take up to two years to complete the full practice format. There are at least two months between weekends as the material needs time to be integrated and digested before taking on more.
Tuition: €1620.00 – First installment of €405.00 secures place – Three further payments of €405.00