In the foothills of the oldest mountains in the world, allow yourself time and space for connection. Honor the sacred of the natural world and become aware of the divine reflection within yourself. Step out of your daily life to find solace and then step back in with techniques to maintain balance and honor for the divinity within and without all creation. This extensive teacher training will deepen your personal practice as well as prepare you to be a knowledgeable and confident yoga teacher!
For this retreat, Kula Collective offers shared yurt and private glam camping accommodation with community kitchen and bathrooms. Platform, tent, and bedding will be provided. There are three yurts on site, each fully furnished with beds, tables, and dressers.
Sacred Reciprocity is the awareness that there is balance in all things good. You are born into a sacred contract with mother nature to love, honor, and respect all those around you. When you live life in this way, you experience the same treatment in return. Life is a beautiful web which balances the polarities of your being. Your connection with nature is a reflection of your connection with self, and your sacred contract is strengthened through this reciprocal dance.
As summer begins to blossom in the mountains, rivers, and forests, it is also a perfect time to align your intentions to find this balance. This journey provides you the time and space to connect with the abundant nature of Seven Springs in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Kula Collective will examine how you can live in love, honor, and respect by exploring your own passions, studying the ancient traditions of yoga, and immersing yourself in a holistic lifestyle to nourish your body, minds, and spirits.
This training will focus your study on yoga philosophy, energetic principles, and yoga asana (alignment, anatomy, and teaching). In addition, you will also explore spiritual traditions from the South American Andean Quechua, Central American Mayan, North American Cherokee, and Lakota traditions. There are no definitive pre-requisites when it comes to levels of proficiency in physical asana for this 200-hour yoga teacher training.
Asana, pranayama, and kriya techniques will be taught, practiced, and you will then practice teaching them to your peers. There will be time to develop your own asanas, learn about benefits, checkpoints, and contraindications, as well as to teach and assist peers during group teaching sessions. Group teaching means that all participants will form a circle and each participant demonstrates and teaches one asana while others either perform the technique or assist their peers.
A variety of asanas from the following groups of asanas will be taught including gentle beginner and intermediate variations. The trainees will be taught how to enter and exit a pose, how to use the breath in the asana, checkpoints for alignment, benefits and contraindications for the asana, and how to assist students in the pose.
Standing and balancing asanas, forward bends, back bends, side bends, twisting poses, crouching and seated poses, poses on the abdomen, poses on the back, inverted poses and meditation poses. You will also learn how to adapt the techniques for specific ages, levels, some ailments, and in the case of pregnancy. You will learn warm-up techniques and relaxation poses, including the importance of deep breathing in relaxation to prevent muscle fatigue and the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.
Teacher trainees will learn the form, benefits, and contraindications of the following pranayama techniques, as well as when to incorporate them into the class and how to introduce pranayama techniques. Abdominal breathing, the three-part breath, ujjai pranayama, brahmari pranayama, anuloma viloma, and kapalabhati pranayama. You will also learn how to perform these pranayamas with the bandhas and with relatively short breath retention (Kumbhaka) when appropriate.
In order to perform the retention in the above breathing techniques, it is necessary to teach and learn Mula bandha, Jalandhara bandha and Uddiyana bandha, the latter also being instrumental to kriyas such as nauli. The purpose of the bandhas will be discussed in its relation to the uniting of prana and apana to channel them into the shushumna nadi.
Trainees will learn the following kriyas, their benefits, primarily for their own practice, and later how to introduce the kriya to a class. Jal neti, jal kapalabhati, agni sara, and tratak.
In the theory section, the goal and paths of yoga will be discussed, thereby leading to the concept and techniques of meditation. Guided meditation will be explored, including creative visualization, meditation using yantra, mantra, ideation, ishta chakra and the withdrawal of the senses from external objects. Participants will be guided in choosing a mantra for meditation.
Kula Collective will explore the idea of mantra as a mystical energy encased in a sound structure in relation to both saguna (nama) mantras and nirguna mantras such as Om. Trainees will learn to chant and present yogic mantras for the beginning and/or ending of yoga classes (such as the the Shanti mantra or the Jyothi mantra). Bija mantras for purifying the chakras will also be explored including the timing and procedure for using these mantras in meditation.
During the transformational experiences evening program, you will delve into the practice of both nama and abstract kirtan, as well as Vedic mantras such as the Gayatri mantra, the Mahamrityunjaya (healing) mantra, the Shanti mantra, the Loving-kindness mantra, and the Akhanda mantra. Transformational experiences will also include some rituals, sharing, healing circles, and creative movement.
The program attributes quite a bit of emphasis to this section, as Kula Collective believes that Western students of yoga tend to focus more thoroughly on the physical aspects of yoga such as alignment and health benefits, than on the philosophical base and framework of yoga, including the practice of yoga off the mat. This section will introduce yoga psychology and philosophy through discussions on Patanjali’s yoga sutras, chapters one and two.
Trainers will present sutras and also use pairwork and group work discussions to give trainees the opportunity to explore how these sutras relate to their practice, and how they live their lives. Patanjali’s eight-fold path is the climax of chapter two, and the trainers will offer concrete examples of how to implement Yamas and Niyamas in your daily lives.
You will have the opportunity to discuss your understanding and experience with these yogic guidelines. You will also be guided to see the interrelationship of all of the ten principles, as well as the interrelationship of the different paths of yoga. The paths (Bhakti, Karma, Raja, and Jnana) will also be introduced in both a philosophical and practical light.
Kula Collective will present and compare yogic and Ayurvedic concepts of nutrition, as well as those of daily cleansing rituals, self massage, and other practices.
As a natural extension to the ten principles (Yamas and Niyamas), as well as the discussions on teaching methodology, you will flow into a discussion of professionalism and ethics in the teaching profession in general and the yoga profession in particular. You will present your statement of professional standards, and discuss as a group the importance of having and maintaining codes of professional standards.
Practical teaching methodology includes how to demonstrate, observe, cue, and assist students. This will be integrated with the techniques class. You will also model the importance of language used to describe entry, maintaining, and exiting poses. For example, in the forward bend, the image of “surrendering the body to the force of gravity” is a useful, and gentle image, as is “inhale release slightly, exhale and sink in to the pose, feel the pulse of the pose”, as opposed to “pull” or “push”-style language.
Theoretical discussions of methodology (pedagogy) aim to explore how to become a transformational facilitator, or teacher rather than just an instructor. This includes such topics as: the art of sequencing, creating a safe space, establishing a student-centered class, managing group dynamics, language and cuing, the ethics of assisting, and creating a yogic environment for learning (including the dress of the teacher, yogic colours, the direction of the class).
Trainees will also discuss qualities that will be instrumental to them as teachers.
In the 20 hours of anatomy and physiology class, you will be learning both about the physical system and the subtle body.
This class aims to teach trainees about anatomy and how it relates to yoga. Teachers and students will be guided by resources such as anatomy and asana, and the anatomy of movement. Subjects will include the study of the skeleton, muscles and joints, the cardio-vascular system, the respiratory system, the endocrine system, and how they are benefited by yoga.
Subtle anatomy is the yogic teaching regarding the three bodies, the physical body, the astral body and the causal body, as well as the five corresponding sheaths, and the yogic techniques that purify each sheath. Further, the concept of nadis, and chakras will be explored. The shape, location, associated glands, and characteristics of each chakra will be explored. This subject will be complemented by the practical meditation sessions and chanting sessions which will explore meditating and chanting to purify the chakras. It will also complement the discussion of the ida, pingala and shushumna nadis that is intrinsic to any discussion of pranayama and the bandhas.
In the first half of the program, you will be gradually introduced to teaching by teaching peers each pose or mini sequence in the techniques class. This will progress towards teaching one pose or mini sequence to the whole group. In second half of the course, you will each teach two classes to a peer. Each class will be 90 minutes long. You will then get 15 minutes of feedback from your peers and from the trainer.
The first round will be a set Kula Flow sequence; the second round will be a beginners or intermediate level class where students are required to create and sequence their own class holistically around a theme of their choice. Contact hours: 22 (including five hours of teaching a partner, small group, and classes).
During the training, you will wake up while the sun rises and experience the beauty and serenity in the midst of a the tropical setting. You will end with meditation or Satsang (wise gathering) to contemplate and reflect on your sadhana (spiritual practice) of the day. Living with the rhythms of the earth and embracing the fullness of your practice, your grow into yourself and into life.
In this 25-day course, Kula Collective will be using the Chakana as their foundational structure. This means that the course is separated into lower, middle, and upper worlds. The lower world represents the physical, the middle world reflects the mental and emotional, and the upper world involves the energetic or spiritual realm, leading you on a true journey from the head to the heart. Uncover and let go of the layers and step into a more awakened state of being to sit in the seat of your soul.
You will spend eight days in each world, broken down into two half-cycles of three days, with a half-day on day four to apply these practices to modern day living, and a full day off on day eight to live your sadhana (spiritual practice).
For full school days, you will follow the schedule as detailed below. On half days (fourth day of each cycle), you will open with a morning's rest, restorative or yin class, and a workshop to deepen your understanding of the chakras associated with the world you are working in, with the rest of this day free. You will meet for evening gathering every other day.
This 25-day training will consist of 18 full training days, three half days (three worlds), two full days off, plus opening and closing on the first and last days.
The training will take place in Seven Springs Yoga Retreat Center. It is nestled in the bio-diverse foothills of the smoky mountains on 126 acres of mostly forested hills. With seven natural springs and an abundance of native species, each spring corresponds to each chakra, giving potency to the fresh water that flows from within the earth.
The price includes daily meals.
About a 45 minute drive, there a many places to hike, fish, camp, kayak, and white water raft on the Ocoee River!
One of the highest lookouts in the Smoky’s, the Chimney Tops is a fun and rewarding climb.
A short and windy drive up the mountain from your retreat center is Look Rock Fire Tower. Still used as a fire lookout, this tower is at the top of an easy half mile hike up to a breathtaking 360 view of the surrounding mountains. You can see the Fire Tower from Seven Springs and even see Seven Springs from the Fire Tower!
If you are looking for a more challenging and longer hike, Kula Collective recommends this one! Plan for a full day and lots of water! There are a few trails to choose from and a lodge at the top, if you would like to spend the night (reservations required). Kula Collective likes the Alum Cave Bluff trail. It is steeper and more difficult, but the Bluffs are a must see on your way up.
You can enjoy the open air massage pavilion sits upon a hill near the shala. Relax on the massage table with a massage by one of Kula Collective's resident therapists.
Located less than 25 miles from your retreat center is the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited National Park in the United States! On your way, you will drive through Townsend with a wonderful visitors center. Cades Cove is also a beautiful 11-mile loop to drive or bike on Saturday mornings when it is closed to cars! Abrams Falls is a nice five-mile hike from Cades Cove.
You can also hike up Abrams Creek Trail. It is the closest National Park trailhead to Seven Springs. It provides many beautiful trails filled with lush vegetation and classic hiking.
A nearby nature education center, this area is fun to visit for information and connect to some good trailheads!
One of the best ways to enjoy the river in the mountains on a hot day is to go to tubing! There are many tubing companies in Townsend that will rent you tubes and drop you off and pick you up on the river.
Please book your flight to arrive at Knoxville International Airport (TYS). The airport is actually located in Alcoa and only about 25 minutes from Seven Springs! If you are flying into this airport, please contact Kula Collective to set up transportation services. You may also look into flying into the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and take the bus or rent a car to drive to Seven Springs. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is about a three hour drive.
Megabus also has services into Knoxville from many East Coast large cities, as well as Atlanta. If you choose to arrive to the Knoxville bus station, please contact Kula Collective to arrange transportation. The bus station is about 40 minutes from your retreat center.
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