We believe that digging a deep well is paramount to tapping the great potential of yoga. Our Advanced Studies program gives students the tools to evolve not only their asana practice but to cultivate insight into the heart of the yoga tradition. Rather than a set system, Prajna Yoga is an interweave of different perspectives in order to keep the body and mind fluid and always adaptable to change. Our courses encourage students to open the physical sheaths of the body, witness thought patterns (vipassana) and develop a great capacity to sense and feel (build emotional intelligence). In each course we give reverence to the Three Jewels – The Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha. Thus each event furthers one’s process of awakening (Buddha), deepens one’s heart- mind connection to the teachings (Dharma) and forms a magical alchemical community (Sangha).
Small and intimate, our class size is limited. Each week-long session includes one-to-one meeting time with Tias. By getting to know each student individually, we are able to serve each of you in your yogic aspirations. We offer a great interweave of teachings (Patanjali’s Yoga, Taoist Practice, Zen, Trauma Healing) that students from all traditions can draw from for years to come.
Prajna Yoga offers the following courses throughout the year in Santa Fe and at other studios around the country. Please check our schedule for upcoming courses.
From the Ground Up
This session explores the foundational teachings of the yoga practice with an emphasis on how the feet are “the foundation to the temple of the body”. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
Progress on the path depends on strong legs and deep breath. This session explores the ancient traditions with a contemporary insight into the body-mind connection. Students build stability in their legs through standing poses that spontaneously lead to the lift of the yoga bandhas – mula and uddiyana bandhas. To open the heart-mind, we will cultivate loving kindness (metta) and hone the essentials of mindfulness training.
Course of Study:
- Yoga anatomy: experience myofascia through movement and map the body’s five myo-fascial sheaths
- Bio-mechanical function of the feet, knees and legs
- Nadis, Traditional Chinese Medicine meridians and Ayurveda marma points
- The sacrum and poses relative to the lower two chakras – muladhara and svadhisthana chakras
- The Three Jewels: the Buddha (awakened mind), Dharma (the teachings) and Sangha (the community)
- The Eightfold Path of the Buddhist teachings and the Four Foundations of Mindfulness
The Fluid Body
In-depth study of the hands, arms and shoulders relative to the diaphragm and pranayama. We reflect on myths from the yoga tradition that relate to rivers, ocean and the fluid body. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
The body is 75 percent water, and as we age, the body slowly loses its hydrating capacity. This session explores flexibility through fluidity. We will investigate:
- How tissue hydration is essential to our vitality by directing blood flow in the yoga postures
- How heart, lungs and diaphragm drive the body fluids
In our study, we include myths from the yoga tradition that describe the curative power of water.
Course of Study:
- Bio-mechanical actions of the hands, arms and shoulders in yoga
- The third chakra, the kidneys and adrenal glands
- The upper trunk including the sternum, shoulders, arms, diaphragm, brachial plexus, heart/lung and carpal tunnel
- Mobilization techniques for the ribs, spine and shoulders
- Shoulder openers and arm balance preparations
- Backbends, inversions and arm balances
- The myo-fascial matrix and the five myo-fascial sheaths that spiral around the trunk and arms
- Nadis, meridians from Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda marma points that relate to the arms and upper trunk
- Sensitizing the diaphragm, ribs and lungs for pranayama
- Maya and illusion and the inquiry of what is real
- Water, transformation and the power of myth
- The story of Siddhartha and teachings on karma, inter-dependency and nonjudgmental awareness
The Subtle Body
In-depth study of the neck, skull and brain and the importance of inverted postures and pratyhara as well as in-depth study of the emotional body and the effects of trauma on bodily tissues. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
The pathway into the subtle body involves practice for the delicate structures of the throat, neck, cranium and brain. In yoga practice, the brain and sensory organs must be carefully protected and drawn inward. Session III presents ways to posturally balance the skull efficiently on top of the spine and to mindfully create a “psychic shield” to protect and empower spiritual awareness.
Course of Study:
- Restorative yoga for the brain and nervous system
- The cranial chakras and the subtle body
- The bones of the skull and the cranial sutures
- The effects of vibration on the cranium
- The three “master glands” in the body: the thyroid, pineal and pituitary glands
- The critical position of the jaw and its connection to the sacrum
- Jalandhara bandha and its effects on the throat chakra and thyroid gland
- Working with the five senses in yoga, pratyahara
- Balancing the body through the six diaphragms
- Introduction to yoga nidra (yogic sleep)
- Yoga samadhi and the brain: Patanjali’s samapatti and the experience of absorption
- Using the chair in yoga to support the brain and skull
- Neuroplasticity, aging and the sensory-motor system
- Coping with fear and stress, protecting the skull and developing a “psychic shield”
- Working with the eyes in yoga
- Working with the Five Hindrances: craving, negativity, sloth, restlessness and doubt
Cultivating the Mindful Teacher
Gain the practical skills and creativity to teach in a way that it is physically rewarding, mindful and spiritually uplifting. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
The aim of this session is to provide the student with the practical skills and creativity to teach a well organized, clear and inspiring class. We help teachers who are already teaching bring greater depth and variety to their classes.What makes Prajna Yoga unique is how Prajna instructors weave together asana, mindfulness, internal alignment and wisdom. We help teachers develop the skills to teach a class that is not simply a physical workout but a class that is multi-layered. This session provides you with the practical skills and creativity to teach in a way that is physically rewarding, mindful, and spiritually up-lifting.
- Skillful language: learn to guide students with verbal clarity
- The power of metta: teaching from kindness, tolerance and acceptance
- How to teach a well organized, clear and inspiring class
- Learning to “hold the space” within a classroom
- Coping with challenge: how to address conflict in the classroom
- It’s not only about asana: learning to skillfully integrate meditation, chanting, dharma wisdom, sutras and somatic awareness into your classes.
When teaching guided classes, we encourage teachers to command a class through both intensity and gentleness. Considerable time is spent on teacher practicum and for trainees to receive feedback on how to use clear and precise language, to teach through tone of voice and to “hold the space” within a classroom. We provide the foundation for how to integrate anatomical study into the classroom setting, including how to use anatomical images and how to teach living anatomy. In addition, we cover the ways a teacher can integrate sutras, poetry, chant and teachings from the yoga tradition and buddha dharma into the classroom experience.
Hands on Adjustments and the Art of Sequencing
This session provides you with extensive training in hands-on teaching and strengthens your ability to design safe, intelligent and creative sequences. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
Hands on Adjustments
The body compensates with pulls, rotations, shifts and torques. To see the body’s asymmetries and strain patterns under your hands is an art. Knowing how to use your hands to adjust and guide students is an essential skill for any class setting or private instruction. This course helps you to develop a discriminating eye and skillful touch when directing students toward greater opening. Throughout this session, Tias refers to his training in massage and deep tissue work to cover the principles of myofascial release work within yoga postures.
Course of Study
- Identify postural dynamics in the legs, pelvis, shoulders and spine, and recognize strain patterns through visual assessment
- Gain confidence in your touch to support, guide and release the body through manual assist
- Study fundamentals of applying pressure and force in more than one direction at a time
- Learn to guide students deeper into twisting poses, back-bends and side-bends
- Practice techniques to adjust students in restorative poses, as well as how to “adjust” them with the use of props
- Review the essentials of therapeutic touch, including a special session on the use of tuning forks and pressure point release
The Art of Sequencing
Careful and intelligent sequencing creates an authentic, skillful yoga class. Without proper sequencing, a class can leave you ungrounded, imbalanced and potentially nauseated! Like a good chef who knows how to skillfully combine food, the mindful yoga teacher blends poses to create a feeling of wholeness. This course helps teachers design safe, intelligent and creative sequences.
Course of Study
- Design intelligent sequences involving themed classes, pose combinations, class pacing, and duration of holds
- Master the “Entry and Exit”, learning how to open and close a class by weaving together mindfulness, meditation and restorative yoga
- Use props
- Avoid posture combinations that cause strain and aggravation
- Teach with a theme and design classes for the hip joints, shoulders, low back, etc.
- Combine symmetrical and asymmetrical postures
- Integrate the “Central Axis” – sequencing toward and away from the mid-line of the body
Hands on Adjustments and the Art of Sequencing is a prerequisite for students assisting Tias or other Prajna Teachers in workshops, trainings and conferences.
The Art of Healing
In-depth training on how to modify the poses to address limitations of your students and how you can use the poses therapeutically. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
In the first half of the course, we cover principles of how to adapt poses for beginners. We will address how to work with inflexible students, elderly students and beginning students with structural limitations. The second part of this course covers how to use the poses therapeutically.Our aim is to review the most common afflictions that a teacher will be confronted with in the classroom, namely lower back pain, neck and shoulder limitations, knee pain, sciatica, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, GI tract dysfunction, migraines, insomnia, cancer and surgery. As every case is different, we will emphasize the principles of healing through yoga postures and SATYA movements–using traction, compression, inversion, “rinsing” tissue, etc.
Throughout the course we will be using actual case studies (beginners and individuals with special needs) in order to authenticate the application of the work. The emphasis in this training is to show that correct positioning of the body–for a duration of time and within a specific sequence of related poses–can result in profound physiological changes. Students will learn how to use props in order to effect the flow of blood, lymph and nerve impulse. Included in this course on yoga chikitsa (yoga remedy) is the practice of specific meditations to help heal the emotional body and purify negative emotion.
In a totally unique way, the SATYA practice opens doorways into the interior, providing new pathways of perception and feeling. It guides students away from “doing” movement and toward sensing, receiving and “being” movement. As an adjunct to yoga practice, somatic awareness leads to embodied wisdom. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
SATYA is Prajna Yoga’s “yin” style practice. All the movements are done on the floor in a flowing fashion, without force. The SATYA movements cultivate inner listening and heighten proprioceptive awareness. This awareness is the body’s innate intelligence. By increasing our capacity for sensory awareness, we become more sentient, wakeful beings in the world. The exercises are non-weight bearing and involve sliding, gliding and circular movements to reduce myo-fascial holding in the body.The SATYA training, along with yoga postures, involves neural-muscular re-education. Like in vinyasa training, breath is combined with movement in order to deepen the respiratory rhythm. All movements support profound physical rest of the body and prepare for savasana and yoga nidra (the yogic sleep).
The Art of Self Practice
A strong personal practice is at the root of becoming a skilled teacher. Yet how does one build a regular self-practice? And how to keep a practice fresh, dynamic and innovative? How can one continue to expand their repertoire of poses while diversifying their practice? This course lays the groundwork for establishing a strong and rewarding home practice. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
There is no greater gift in yoga than having a daily home practice. A creative, dynamic and steady home practice is like having a life long confidant and friend. In the Yoga Sutras it is said that one should practice “for a long time and without interruption”. Getting to the mat everyday requires regular practice, whether at home, in a hotel room or when visiting your in-laws. A strong personal practice is at the root of becoming a skilled teacher. At Prajna Yoga we believe that a home practice is a necessary ingredient for becoming a skilled teacher. Yet how does one build a regular self-practice? And how to keep a practice fresh, dynamic and innovative? How can one continue to expand their repertoire of poses while diversifying their practice? This course lays the groundwork for establishing a regular and rewarding home practice.
Course of Study
- Adapt a practice in accordance with your individual needs (e.g., age, energy levels, experience etc.)
- Consult with Surya and Tias individually during practice sessions in order to design practices that best suit you
- Build a practice that is an antidote to fatigue
- Design a self practice to support sleep
- Learn to modify poses and use props in your home practice
- Learn to modify your practice to cope with muscular-skeletal strain
- Integrate both active and restorative practices into your routine
- Establish a steady meditation practice in conjunction with SATYA and asana practice
- Learn to utilize a personal practice for teaching purposes
- For teachers, self practice time is to integrate and assimilate what you learn in class
- Learn to practice according to your Ayurvedic constitution
- Using the practice to balance the emotional body
- Learn to practice in the morning and evening
The Art and Soul of the Chakras
The chakras evoke mystery, an artistic imagination and connection to the subtle body. In this specialized course we cover the physical structures that correspond to each chakra beginning with the tailbone and leading to the crown of the head. At the same time we explore the energetic and emotional vitality that pertains to each vital energy center. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
We refer to the dynamic force of siva/sakti and the reptilian power of kundalini rendered in ancient yoga texts. We will map the muscular-skeletal, organic and neurological association with each chakra. We investigate how the five elements of yoga (earth, water, fire, air and space) and the yogic “winds” (vayus) pertain to each energy center. Tias includes a rich array of iconographic images from the yogic tradition in order to describe the subtle body along with anatomical images that provide insight into the anatomy of each chakra. In daily practice, we activate each of the vital energy channels through asana, sound resonance, visualization and meditation. Tias brings his background in Buddhist studies, dreamwork, CranioSacral Therapy and classical yoga to this unique course on the chakras. In this course Tias draws from his new book, Yoga of the Subtle Body.
Anatomy of the Vayus
In the earliest yoga practices, the life force within the body is thought to flow through tracts, tubules or vessels; in the way that wind or water flows in currents. In yoga, the vayus are “wind channels”, related to the nerves (nadis), blood, lymph and the function of the organs. Understanding the nature of each vayu is crucial to harmonizing the subtle flow of prana in the body and to establishing health and vitality. [expand title=”Learn More >”]
Tias will guide students through an in-depth investigation of the five primary winds in the body and through yoga asana, pranayama and SATYA (Sensory Awareness Training for Yoga) activate or mitigate the strength of each vayu. We will investigate the structures and the associated physiological functions of each vayu and map out the vayus’ location in the body. This course explores the vayus by addressing the intersection of emotional, physical and psychological content. In a process that requires sensitivity and inner listening, we explore the pathways of the muscle, bones and nerves in order to bring greater wakefulness to movement within the vayus. In this week we connect to the innermost biorhythms involving pulse, breath and weight of bone. Through dharma study, guided meditation,yoga nidra, somatic awareness and yoga postures this is a transformational week of practice and study.
Each day begins with seated meditation and studying inspirational teachings from the Yoga, Taoist and Zen traditions; this is followed by Somatic Training (SATYA). This involves an hour of floor work, unwinding the body based on movements by Moshe Feldenkreis and Thomas Hanna. Late morning involves dynamic yoga asana practice focusing on healing sequences of each vayu. Afternoons involve anatomical study of the vayus and restorative yoga sessions. Every day concludes with seated meditation.
Course of Study
- Apana: Movement in the lower abdomen and pelvis is referred to as apana in the yogic system. It governs elimination within the reproductive, digestive and urinary systems. It relates to the lumbar spine, sacrum, pelvis and pelvic organs. This day serves to release congestion, strain and imbalances in the lower abdomen in order to increase mobility within the first and second chakras. We do standing poses, twists, inversions, supine poses, supported backbends and pranayama with focus on exhalation.
- Samana: Samana is present in the upper abdomen and relates to digestive fire and the third chakra in the body. The stomach and small intestine are the center of the solar plexus and this class aims to help release holding in this mid trunk region. Fear, nervousness and stress may cause imbalance in samana vayu, the furnace for digestive function and absorption. In this day we explore the effect of uddiyana bandha on the abdominal region. We do twists,forward bends and meditation.
- Prana: Prana resides in the heart and is governed by the lungs and respiration. In this day we concentrate on opening the upper rib area, the sternum and collarbones in order to improve elasticity of the lungs. Our emphasis is on releasing restriction in the diaphragm and to refining the movement of the breath. We explore the ways that grief, depression and joy are governed by prana. We do backbends, inversions, meditation and pranayama with focus on inhalation.
- Udana:Udana is the upward rising breath located primarily in the throat and head. It is the most difficult of all the vayus to control. In this day, we will see how stress, psychological tension and emotional strain result in constriction in the neck, jaw and tongue. This class addresses the effects of jalandhara bandha related to the throat chakra. We do inversions, supported backbends, meditation, chanting and pranayama.
- Vyana: This is the vayu that governs circulation and the profusion of prana throughout the body and is the most healing of all the vayus. It involves the circulation of blood throughout the organs, glands and tissues of the body. Vyana, the “dispersing breath” serves to build meditative awareness and deep rest. We do standing poses, supported poses, savasana, yoga nidra and meditation.