Vijnana International Yoga Teacher Training with Tracy Groshak
Vijnana International Yoga Teacher Training
The Taittirīya Upaniśad, a 2,700 year-old text, describes the human being and the cosmos as having five kośas, or layers: the physical, the energetic, the mental, the ‘vijñānic’ and the joyous.
What is vijñāna?
According to the great Vedantist philosopher Śankara, vijñāna is a deep understanding or knowing that cannot come about merely through outer knowledge that we receive through a teacher or a spiritual textual tradition. Rather it is an inner clarity that is revealed through personal experience.
Ramakrishna continues thus: “The awareness and conviction that fire exists in wood is jñāna (knowledge). But to cook rice on that fire, eat the rice and get nourishment from it is vijñāna.
Vijñana yoga is a practice in being present. During practice we meet ourselves … our body and its sensations, our mind and its thoughts, our heart and its emotions. From “simple sitting” to kriyas, from pranayama to asana, we are both the performer and the watcher. The clearer we see ourselves during practice over long periods of time, the more able we become to change behavioral patterns and transform them.
As we allow ourselves to pause and listen from within, clear seeing, with respect and compassion for what it is we see, surfaces. It is a practice of not immediately filling up spaces just because there is a gap. The intuitive can then guide us towards the underlying states of being, where essence becomes more real than outer expression.
Vijñana Yoga offers alignment for the physical body, recreating its natural connective tissue support through the exploration of the miofascial lines. Respecting the anatomical integrity of the body, it establishes the core support for a safe Asana practice.
Through the ancient practice of the Vayus we connect the breath to the organic spaces of the body revealing the core of the pranic sheath. The practice becomes then the expression of a fluid mind, a mind that does not have a fence around it, but has a boundless curiosity to explore. As we sit, breathe and move as one we come closer to our truth. Devotion and quiet persistency in our commitment to practice allows for clarity to surface and for joy as we experience being part of the luminous dance of the Universe.
Vijnana Yoga’s roots are from the Iyengar tradition which trace back to Krishnamacharaya and his teacher. Mr. Iyengar taught Dona Holleman one on one transmission of a daily practice back in the 60′s which was then passed on to Orit Sen-Gupta. These two women practiced together & collaborated well over a decade to create an incredible yoga book called ” Dancing the body of light.” Orit went further with this information and created a comprehensive practice manual. The Vijnana practice has taken on a form clearly different from what is today termed ‘Iyengar Yoga’.
The path of “Vijnana Yoga” is defined by three fundamental elements:
*The first element is the importance of ‘just sitting’ as part of practice. The great emphasis that we place on the quality of consciousness during the practice of āsana (postures) and prāņāyāma (breathing exercises) requires us to sit in meditation. This approach stems from the living tradition of Yoga, which views meditation as the central tool for developing the consciousness, as well as from the classic texts wherein meditation is described as fundamental in all the systems of Yoga
**The second element is the 7 essential principles, which teach us to listen to the sensations of our bodies and enable movement from that place.
At the start we simply stand upon the mat and concentrate inward. Movement begins with bringing the hands down from namaste. The consciousness searches out the touch of the feet with the ground and the true alignment of the skeleton. Each part of the skeleton is in harmony with all the other parts and we stand as a single whole between heaven and earth. As the hands begin to move upwards, the muscles of the body are soft but not slack. The consciousness is attentive and aware of the body and the space surrounding it, while at the same time calm and collected. As the hands continue to move up and down we concentrate on the delicate movements created within the body while remaining attuned to the skeleton as one integrated whole, even as the range of movement increases. Keeping our mind focused, we direct our movements so that the muscles remain true to the alignment of the skeleton, reminding ourselves to be attentive without being reprimanding. Movement will continue now for an extended time and we strive to move from within the essential principles as one unit, body and mind.
The 7 essential principles – relaxing the body, quieting the mind, focusing through intent, rooting, connecting, awareness of breath and expanding – all these allow us to go deep within and from that place to see, feel, understand and act skillfully.
Calling our way of practicing Vijñāna Yoga is but giving recognition to something that has always been there, something that is at the core of our discipline: practicing, feeling, understanding – from inside. (Click here for) The 7 Essential Principles
***The third element is the emphasis on study. In order to deepen our practice and understanding of yoga, it is necessary to study the written tradition, if only in part. Therefore, when students experience a desire to deepen their yoga and begin attending workshops, retreats or long classes, they are gradually and continuously exposed to the yogic literature. (Orit-Sen Gupta)
Vijnana International Yoga Teacher Training with Tracy Groshak is a two year teacher-training course. It is a thorough 800 hour training illuminating:
Simple sitting – meditation, pranayama, beginner to advanced asana, spiritual texts, tensegrity repair series, yoga anatomy, bio mechanics, lesson planning and didactics.
This immersion program is open to all yoga practitioners with 3 years minimum experience wishing to deepen, further their studies and understanding of Yoga and who are called to dedicate these two years to a daily practice & self inquiry.
“The intimate one-to-one relationship of the student with his teacher and their commitment to each other was the foundation of the practice and the community of yogis and sannyasins. To preserve this core of freedom and inquiry that allows yoga to be freshly discovered for each person in each generation is our objective.” (Orit Sen-Gupta)
Upon completion of the 2 year program, homework papers and final evaluation by Orit Sen Gupta, the student will be granted an 800 hour Vijñana Yoga international certification. Students will also receive 200hr with Yoga Alliance.
Study of the asanas (intermediate portion of the practice manual) and the practice of them.
Practice of just sitting, pranayama and the vayus.
Deepening the understanding and practice of the basic principles: relaxing the body, quieting the mind, focusing through intent, rooting, connecting, awareness of breath.
The practice of three techniques of kriyas (cleansing): Uddiyana Bandha, Agni Sara and Nauli.
Reading and study of the main yogic texts.
Knowledge of the fundamentals of the skeletal lines.
Mastering basic didactic tools for teaching the techniques of yoga.
*Participation in all 2 years of the course.
*Home practice on a daily basis.
*Writing two papers about classical yoga texts.
*Writing one didactic paper.
*Teaching a yoga class during the teacher training.
*Final Project – choosing between four categories: intellectual, creative, teaching, practice diary.
*Evaluations where each student will perform asana and pranayama practice will take place at the end of the second year.
Lead teacher Tracy Groshak will be joined by guest teachers:
Orit Sen-Gupta (Founder of Vijnana International)
Gioia Irwin (Vijnana Yoga in Canada)
Dr. Dean Smith (Physiotherapist)
Robbie Chesick (Therapist specializing in trauma)
Lidija Martinovic Rekert (Philosophy)
Chris Manansala (Specialist in Restorative Yoga, therapeutics & massage)
November: 21, 22, 23
January: 23, 24, 25
February: 20, 21, 22
March: 20, 21, 22
May: 22, 23, 24
July 31 – August 5 (Gabriola Island)
September: 25, 26, 27
October: 23, 24, 25
November: 20, 21, 22
January: 22, 23, 24
February: 19, 20, 21
March: 25, 26, 27
April: 22, 23, 24
May: 13, 14, 15
July: 9 – 13th (lead by Gioia Irwin on Gabriola Island)
September: 23, 24, 25
October: Oct 25-30 (Lead by Orit Sen-Gupta on Salt Spring Island)
Orit has been practicing yoga for over 40 years. She studied Iyengar Yoga in Puna and trained in the Eighties with Pattabhi Jois in Mysore. She studied and taught with Dona Holleman for 12 years. Together they wrote “Dancing the Body of Light”, a comprehensive text on yoga. In 2002, together with a group of experienced teachers, Orit founded the Vijñāna Yoga School. Since 1996 she has been training yoga teachers in Israel and Europe and giving international retreats. Today there are Vijnana Yoga Centers and Vijnana Yoga Teacher Trainings in Canada, Mexico, Holland, Germany, Portugal, Finland and Israel.
Gioia has been practicing yoga for over 30 years and teaching for 27 years. She brings an unparalleled depth of study and practice to her teaching as she shares her passionate explorations of bio-tensegrity and the inner reality. Gioia is a living example of a life purified by and dedicated to yoga. We consider Gioia the grandmother of Vijnana Yoga in Canada. She has been studying closely with Orit Sen-Gupta for many years, and has been sharing the Vijnana Yoga lineage with Canadian yogis for 14 years. Gioia has guided countless teachers into a rich and authentic way of sharing and led the first 3 year Vijnana Yoga Training in North America (2011-2013)