ASK THE YOGI
"why is yoga pura better..."
THREE MINUTE READ • BY YOGACHARYA ERIC WALRABENSTEIN
ear Yogi E,
I’m shopping for a yoga teacher training program and have read much about your program and others. Can you give me a sense of why your program is better than others? Your candid thoughts would be a great help in my decision-making process.
Thanks in advance,
Thanks for your email.
First, I’d like to say that what we do here at Yoga Pura is not necessarily better than what others are offering. "Better" depends on what you are looking for, and for some, our program may not be "better" at all.
With that said, what we do here is undeniably different from most other programs.
As I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve been involved with a number of yoga teacher and other advanced spiritual training programs over the past couple of decades and can I can safely say our program is by far the most transformative process I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with.
This is at least in part due to the fact that our goal reaches far beyond simply wanting to train yoga teachers.
While it’s true that the curriculum is highly comprehensive in that regard, we are really using the yoga teacher training process to help our students sculpt their most empowered and fully-expressed presence in the world possible—while becoming expert in the application of yogic technology to be able to help others do the very same thing.
That is to say, we want to create mature spiritual guides who have had the first-hand experience of using a wide range of yogic techniques in their own lives—in a very focused and surgical fashion. It is only through this experiential process that people are truly able to help others achieve deep and meaningful transformation.
At the core of our program is our Direct Discovery Process that involves three steps to help our students move from mere understanding to the direct experience of existential truth. The steps are performed iteratively throughout the program across a broad range of subjects and include these elements:
It all starts with asking (and answering) the hard questions with a ruthless unwillingness to settle for vague or “good-enough” understanding.
What is the original purpose of yoga?
How does the technology of yoga serve this purpose?
How can the technology of yoga actually obstruct this purpose?
What is enlightenment (described logically sans fuzzy and ill-defined concepts)?
Why is the technology of yoga practical and relevant for every human on the planet independent of spiritual or cultural preferences?
How can I make the teachings of yoga accessible to people even if they don’t resonate with the traditional practice?
And how in the heck does standing around in funny shapes lead to liberation (and explain it step-by-step without requiring blind belief or other spiritual smoke and mirrors).
As an example, we read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali line-by-line, discussing the real and practical applicability of each and every to our lives today.
We then use experimentation to build on this theoretical comprehension by asking our students to put the various techniques and theories to test in their own lives, both on the mat and off.
It’s a process that moves people from the realm of mere knowledge (which as I’m sure you know is the booby prize in this business) to first-hand experience of how the tools work—and the profound rewards they are capable of yielding in every corner of our lives.
It’s a process that dives quite a bit more deeply into the nuances of yogic technology than is the norm and is beyond the important, but relatively superficial, benefits of mindfully practicing asana in coordination with breath (the bread and butter of what yoga has become in most of the country today).
In fact, over the years we’ve had a great many students who have previously graduated from other teacher training courses—including other master-level 500-hour courses—attend our program. Because of the uniqueness of our approach, all have found the program deeply rewarding and transformative.
If you have further questions, I’d be very pleased to speak with you personally.
Eric Walrabenstein is an ordained Yogacharya, best-selling author, and the founder of Yoga Pura in Phoenix, Arizona. His work has been widely acclaimed for its innovation in addressing the challenges unique to modern life.