A 1-hour minimum all-levels DVD video is required of all students applying for the 300/500-hour certification in Prajna Yoga.
Be sure your video incorporates the following:
- The class should be based upon a Prajna “all levels” class. Teach poses covered in Syllabi I and II as taught in Prajna courses. Please do not teach poses that are not on these Syllabi or do not directly relate to them.
- In the presentation, we will critique for voice (projection, articulation, tonality), language (clarity when describing movements), ability to relate to students, pacing, sequencing and knowledge of material.
- Be sure to demonstrate several poses for the class. Include mirroring and pointing out detail to the students.
- The correct explanation and use of props should be demonstrated where appropriate.
- Include elements of the three primary categories that define Prajna Yoga: alignment (anatomy), wisdom and asana (SATYA movements may be included but are not required). Directives that plant the seeds of meditative awareness should be given. To that end, a meditation or “centering exercise” should be offered.
- The video should capture images of you “holding the space” for the class at the beginning and end and show you active in the class assisting your students.
- Your teaching should elucidate key points of alignment and structural positioning. This should highlight your ability to teach the poses safely and demonstrate that you can articulate correct action in the poses.
- Your video should capture an entire class from start to end.
- Video and audio must be clear and a stationary camera is preferred.
- Provide alternative variations of poses in order to make poses more accessible to students where appropriate.
- A minimum of six students should be present.
Prajna Video Class Assessment Review Form
Videos will be reviewed by Prajna Yoga Faculty. Feedback will be provided to you with the Prajna Video Class Assessment Review Form.
Key Elements for Teaching a Prajna Yoga Class
Prajna Yoga teachers should inspire students, aid in deepening their practice, provide insight into the nature of the yogic teachings and create a joyful teaching environment. The three pillars of Prajna should be followed—asana, anatomy (alignment) and wisdom— according to the teacher’s own inspiration, capabilities and strengths.
Begin each class with a centering/grounding activity such as a seated meditation. The opening meditation should emphasis shamata practice and use the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as the basis. Include an invocation or chant in order to connect to the depth of tradition.
Share with your students some element of the Prajna wisdom training such as a yoga sutra, dharma principle, poem or story. This may be done either at the beginning or the end of the class. Try to select one that is complementary to the theme of your class.
Opening: set the correct tone, feeling and pace. Begin with simple movements to warm up the body and move to the more complex. This would be a good place to incorporate SATYA practice prior to more dynamic weight bearing movements.
A sequence of warm-up poses should be incorporated to prepare the student for more dynamic movements. These may include sun salutations and standing poses to begin to generate tapas.
There should be a theme to the class such as a sequence to open the hips, shoulders, twists, inversions, etc. You may also design a class that builds toward achieving a “pinnacle” pose.
Teachers should incorporate specific principles of alignment in order to enhance the student’s capacity to execute the poses. Give cues that support structural awareness so that all poses are anatomically sound. At the same time provide language that gives students a greater “felt sense” of the pose, that is to foster in the student the ability to listen to and sense the flow of blood, nerve and fascia in their bodies. Combine verbal cues for precision of alignment with metaphorical language that brings about a feeling of spaciousness within.
Emphasize the flow of breath. You may teach ujjayi breath, and it is also valuable for students to let their breath be soft/natural.
Teachers should circulate around the practice area observing alignment, proper use of props and give both verbal and physical adjustments to enhance students’ poses.
Teachers should demonstrate the postures when appropriate in order to visually inspire and educate the students.
Poses should be broken down in order to emphasize and elucidate the basic theme of the class. Do not feel that it is necessary to teach every aspect of each pose!
Prajna yoga is designed to be accessible to students of any age, ability or level. The wisdom, asana, sequencing and pace of instruction must be consistent with the students’ capabilities that are present.
Teachers need to be sure that the sequence and poses chosen for their class reflect the experience level and abilities of the students. Guidelines for poses for class levels I-III have been presented in the teacher training manuals, Sessions I-III.
In no way should the teacher be dogmatic in class. While adhering to the principles of safe structural alignment and the mindfulness instructions of the dharma, teachers should present with an attitude of openness. Prajna Yoga should be accessible to people of any faith. Prajna’s aim is to develop and evolve the body-mind –heart connection.
Closing: Classes should conclude with savasana and/or a meditation sequence. The savasana guideline is 5 minutes for every 1-hour of class time. Eight minutes is good for a 1-½ hour class. This is an important pose and a time to assimilate the instructions that were given. This important centering time should not be shortened or skipped if the class is well planned out.
Teachers should always present with an attitude of kindness and generosity toward students. It is important to embody the six paramitas of the Buddha’s teaching—primarily generosity, tolerance, patience and fortitude.