You already teach. You have a 200-hour, maybe even a 500-hour, certification. Why should you enrol in Purna Yoga College's 200-hour program? I can tell you from personal experience why I did it. When I first discovered Purna Yoga College, I had a 500-hour certification in another tradition, and was teaching regular, well-received classes and workshops at its home base. The “logical” voice in my brain kept repeating, “Why on earth would you give up what you have now to start over, from scratch, in a new tradition?”
At the time, I couldn’t articulate the deep inner urge that keep telling me to study Purna Yoga. Now, my decade of practice and teaching subsequent to graduation has clarified for my mind the aspiration I feel in my soul to be a part of this work. Here are three of the reasons I needed to enrol in the college, and why I continue to be a part of the college faculty.
1. A Profound Purpose
At some point, I had a realization in my personal practice and, by extension, in my teaching. Like most realizations, it seems obvious in retrospect:
Temporary relief from consistent pain is not a satisfying solution.
Giving students a little physical wellbeing, emotional calm, and mental focus, which they promptly lose when they return to chaotic and stressful lives, ultimately serves little point; in fact, it is a detriment, long-term.
I want my yoga (as practiced and taught) to transform life itself into an experience that creates fulfilment through engagement; a yoga that changes mental and emotional responses to a status quo life just doesn’t go far enough. Making that leap requires a new consciousness -- a movement towards the part of me that is connected to the mind and heart of the universe -- so that higher consciousness can guide my daily decisions and become the force and wisdom through which I build my own fulfilment. That shift in consciousness is Purna Yoga’s purpose, what the whole system is designed to create, and it's what I want to offer my students. Which leads me to the next reason:
2. An Integrated System
Where does yoga happen: on a mat, for an hour at a time, a few times a week? To be more than a band-aid, yoga must address the moment-to-moment experiences of normal life; it has to happen in the trenches, not just on the mat. Purna Yoga’s four pillars address all of life, making life itself the subject matter of the practice. Through the practice, I have learned the correlation between my in-the-moment response to life and the depth of connection I have, at that moment, to my soul, which is ultimately the part of me I want to express. I get real-time feedback -- as much as I want -- on the state of my progress.
That feedback is only valuable if I act on it in a way that creates integral transformation. Running to an asana class to release negative thoughts and emotions doesn’t shift anything; it simply hits the “reset” button so I can go back and, with the same level of consciousness I started with, try again. (What’s that Einstein quote? The one about trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results?)
Which leads me to the next point, and it is, for me, a biggie:
3. Concrete Techniques
Nobody does the "how" better than Purna Yoga, and it’s the “how” that actually creates the change in students that we as yoga teachers want to facilitate. A system is only as good as its results are practical. From the first day I started practicing yoga, I have heard about a wise and loving part of me that I hold somewhere inside that might, someday, somehow, show up if I keep doing the work and everything aligns in the right way. I even occassionally got a glimpse of that part of me in class. It was inspiring, and frustrating: a fleeting, nebulous will-o-the-wisp that I wanted to embrace, but could never catch.
Maybe what I love most about Purna Yoga is that it didn’t just tell me about this hidden treasure inside of me. It taught me where it is, exactly, and gave me easy, practical techniques (in the form of Heartfull™ Meditation) to get there. I learned specific ways to cultivate and support my inner relationship through focusing techniques and lifestyle choices. I learned how to use intention, breath, effort, and will to bring more of my spirit into my body. I learned how my soul communicates so I can more effectively follow its guidance and then – yes, finally – change my life by listening to the part of me that is connected to the heart of the universe, INSTEAD OF just getting temporary breaks from the chaos created by my mind and emotions. It’s empowering, and it's humbling.
And these techniques are so simple, I can teach them to anyone who aspires, confident of their value and transformative power.
I could go on . . . I haven’t even touched on some of the most immediate and obvious benefits I got from the College, like crystal clarity around safety and alignment of asana, the skill of seeing and interpreting bodies, and consistent mentoring of my communication skills. But poke around the website and you will find more that might interest you, and, of course, email me. The College has been, and 10 years later continues to be, a great experience for me, one that I love to share with others.