Yoga Teacher Training
Prajna Yoga offers the most in-depth, comprehensive and transformational yoga training programs available today. Our programs are for both seasoned and aspiring teachers, as well as for dedicated students who wish to deepen their practice and further their understanding of yoga.
We start with the premise that a dedicated yoga practice involves not only physical discipline, but a combination of scientific rigor, profound contemplation, developed sensitivity and penetrating practice. Our aim is not to set up a yoga system that churns out students in a specific style or methodology of practice. In this sense our yoga teacher training program is akin to models of higher education; for our aim is to educate not indoctrinate, and to that extent, we offer a rich and varied curricula that is appropriate for aspiring teachers or dedicated students who wish to deepen their practice as well as for seasoned teachers wishing to advance their studies.
The heart of the Prajna Yoga practice involves the weave of three main components—Asana, Anatomy and Wisdom.
- Asana and Postural Study
The aim of the asana portion of our program is to increase mindfulness within the yoga experience. Learn more >We feel that much of yoga today is done too fast and without precision and care. We emphasize “body intelligence”, detailed postural alignment and somatic awareness. We underscore the importance of wakefulness and presence within a pose, not the achievement of a pose itself. To that end, the aim of Prajna Yoga is to integrate the insightful teachings on mindfulness that stem from the Buddhist tradition with the techniques and practices within Hatha Yoga. We believe this to be the most potent means to transform mind and body. We teach yoga asana as a means to develop not only strength and flexibility, but to practice “skillful action”. We underscore the importance of how one’s approach to the physical practice on the mat is preparatory for how one thinks, feels and acts off the mat.The in-depth study of yoga postures includes understanding opposing action, sequencing a practice, making hands-on adjustments, using props and teaching meditation. Each day includes a two-hour asana practice that correlates with anatomical study and the study of correct sequencing. Practice sessions include both vinyasa or flowing sequences and slower break down sequences where individual poses are isolated and studied. Ultimately we emphasize precision of alignment combined with flow. All courses include joint mobilization exercises done on the floor. Called SATYA (Sensory Awareness Training for Yoga), these movements are preparations for yoga postures and are deeply therapeutic. We introduce pranayama techniques and the practice of yoga nidra. Students learn when it is appropriate to use props to support the poses particularly in the practice of restorative yoga, therapeutic yoga and yoga for people in recovery. A section of the training is devoted to the effects that trauma has on the body and the kinds of holding patterns that show up in the body due to a traumatic episode.
- Yoga Anatomy
In order to assess posture and understand bio-mechanical function, we believe one must have a good understanding of the body’s structure and the relationships between structures. Learn more >Central to Prajna Yoga is anatomical study. In order to assess posture and understand bio-mechanical function, one must have a good understanding of the body’s structure and the relationships between structures. We organized the training via five myo-fascial meridians (lateral, dorsal,ventral,spiral and core). We study not only the muscular-skeletal system, but the organs, circulatory system, and CNS (central nervous system). Our study is not a clinical approach based on memorization and listing the body’s structures, but a “living anatomy” approach wherein we integrate study and experiential practice.The anatomy portion looks at the body from both the Eastern energetic and the Western anatomical perspectives. From the ancient yogic system we review the chakras, nadis, chakras and koshas. The anatomical study is directly applied to the study of the way energy flows through the asana. That is the anatomical study does not take a clinical approach based on memorization and listing the body’s structures. Rather it is an experiential guide so that students learn to feel the flow of prana through any given posture. Prior experience in the study of anatomy is recommended but not required. The anatomical study is not limited to structural function, but includes a study of the emotional and psychological forces that impact physical structure.
The third component, prajna, means insight or discriminating wisdom and so our intention is to train and guide students to become more clear, informed and discerning practitioners. Learn more >We study the central teachings of the yoga tradition (primarily from Patanjali Yoga Sutras and the Buddhist teaching from Vipassana and Zen) not as abstract philosophy, but as living wisdom. Our training emphasizes the importance of engaging the mind in yoga practice in order to gain insight into one’s attitudes, view-points, identifications, and (self) judgments. We address the importance of working with the emotional body and so approach the practice as a mind-body-heart discipline. To this end, we emphasis that seated meditation is a crucial to the growth and transformation of one’s entire being.We emphasize the practice of meditation and encourage students to develop techniques to work directly with the mind. Through meditation practice students are encouraged to cultivate deep calm (shamata) and insight (vipassana). Emphasis is given to the pith teachings of the Buddha on Impermanence, Wisdom and Compassion.We apply the teachings of the Four Noble Truths, the Eight-fold Path, the story of the life of Siddhartha and the teachings on metta (loving kindness) to the practice of meditation and yoga. We undertake an initial study of the Sanskrit language. Students are encouraged to pronounce the asana names correctly and to be familiar with the powerful resonance and sounding of the Sanskrit language. To that end the practice of chanting is integral to the program. We investigate the meaning of the chant, the pronunciation and the meter or rhythm of each chant.
Tias Little is unparalleled in his approach to teaching. His depth of background in the physical practices means that he can help students fully embody the postures and meditations. However, more than simply a guide for yoga postures, Tias draws from his extensive background in bodywork, meditation, dreams, the subtle body and Indian myths to create a rich and inspiring practice. A gifted orator, he brings metaphor and imagination to his classes. His aim is to help students transform not only on physical levels but also in the realms of the psyche and the heart.
Surya Little has a healing presence that permeates all of her classes. Intuitive, keenly perceptive and sensitive, her presence inspires students to places unseen and previously unimaginable. She speaks to the energetics of the body through her expertise in yoga therapeutics, diet and nutrition. Her view toward healing is informed by vinyasa yoga, Five Element theory from the Taoist tradition and the macrobiotic diet. When teaching, she considers the season, the time of life and the physical and emotional needs of the student. Her classes are dynamic, light-hearted and full of genuine spirit.
Tias and Surya’s collaboration as a husband and wife team is remarkably fresh, innovative and inspiring. While Tias is more verbal and conceptual, Surya’s strength lies in her ability to touch the essence of each individual. They combine the magic of male and female energies, and their alchemy is transformative to students from so many different walks of life. While Surya specializes in yoga therapeutics and hands-on adjustments, Tias anchors the training by guiding meditations and leading students through the tricky interior of the subtle body. Together they create a path that is at once wide open yet penetrating and progressive.
Here are some of the key components we offer:
- Myofascial meridians
- Somatic awareness called SATYA
- The four foundations of mindfulness
- Subtle body awareness
- Yoga and Women’s Health
- Breath awareness: pranayama
- Building inner calm: meditation practice
- Therapeutic yoga: asana
- Emotional body training
- Study of the Chakras
- Diet and the yoga practice
- Sanskrit studies
- Patanjali Yoga Sutras
- Trauma and recovery in yoga
- The art of inverting in yoga practice
- Mind-heart training
- Metta practice
- Koan study
- Poetry study
- The Eight-Fold Path as taught by the Buddha