What do we really learn from yoga?

We have to respect our starting point as well as where we want to go.  It is based on the individual — Krishnamacharya

 Sri T. Krishnamacharya

Some of you may know that I’m all signed up to participate in a Yoga Therapy training program in the tradition of Sri T. Krishmamacharya and Mr. TKV Desikachar and it begins in 2 weeks. This program is the real-deal: three years of advanced training with three teachers that have decades of experience in this very yoga tradition to which I’m so very devoted. AND they’ve got some other mad skills, too.  Like being an MD. And a prof of kinesiology. And being someone who has helped to make my life so much better while also being one of the best meditation and yoga philosophy teachers on the planet. In order to gain admission to the above Yoga As Therapy North America, (YATNA) program, I had two prerequisite courses to complete. Something happened in one of these courses that I’d like to discuss:  I learned how to think.

I’ve heard that this can happen.  I used to nanny for a wonderful family in Seattle and the parents of this family were both attorneys.  I was sitting in their highly functional and modern remodeled kitchen one day and I was asking the Mrs. about law school and being a lawyer.  She said something like, “I’m so glad that I went to law school because even if I had never become a lawyer I learned how to really think.”  At the time, I didn’t understand what she was talking about, but I could see by her expression that she really meant what she said.  It had changed her life. And I was paying close attention because I had grown to respect and admire her so very much over the many months I spent with her family. I wanted some of what they had for my family, too.  She was so respectful. She appreciated me while managing really clear and healthy boundaries in a relationship that is very intimate, but also professional. She was so conscious in her parenting, and in most of what she did. To prove it, she had two of the most amazing girls I knew… until mine came along.  I remember feeling a little jealous of her ability to organize her world in a way that was meaningful and purposeful, because a lot of my life seemed to come at me haphazardly. When I’m trying to think something through, I can get carried away with a thought and then a feeling and then a what if and a remember when. I had difficulty making decisions. I wasn’t clear.

The prereq. course finishes up this Sunday and as I reflect on what I’ve learned and stare at my 400+ page volume of notes from Yukti in Āsana, course planning, I appreciate how much I’ve learned about yukti or applying intelligence and efficiency in teaching āsana. But, there’s something even more awesome about this learning that happened. As my teacher, Danielle Tarantola, took me and my classmates through all this amazing stuff about planning a course, what I’ve really learned is how to consider a problem in the context of the viniyoga system and then have some idea of what to do with it. I’ve learned a way of thinking that honors where we are as individuals and then provides innumerable ways of adapting the tools for learning and change so that there is intellingence, thoughtfulness and purposeful effort based on sound knowledge.  It is so respectful and so effective and I can see I’m a better teacher for it.  It also gives me a way to appreciate and understand where I am and see how to get where I’d like to go. I’m so grateful for this education, though I I know I’ve just scratched the surface.

I love yoga in this tradition and I am so honored to be able to participate in the YATNA yoga therapist training program.  I know I’ll learn a ton about yoga and yoga therapy, teaching and breath, mind and movement, and I’m committed and enthusiastic about all that. But I have to admit, the thing I look forward to the most is to be able to say with conviction and sincerity that I value the training I received because I will have learned how to organize my thoughts, my teaching and my life in ways that are conscious, respectful and meaningful.  I look forward to being able to say that it taught me how to really think.


If you are curious about these yoga therapy programs or the āsana course you can find out more about them here:

YATNA Yoga as Therapy North America

The Yoga Foundation – Iinspired by Krishnamacharya Healing Yoga,  Danielle Tarantola

8 thoughts on “What do we really learn from yoga?

  1. wow, Amanda, what a fabulous opportunity you have created for yourself! And you are so right about the effects of an education – that being though how to really think and apply the knowledge you have learned to your life in whatever direction it turns is a real gift, and the true purpose of an education. Yay for you 🙂

  2. Fantastic Amanda, it is a real journey! I did it with Kausthub Desikachar and other KYM teachers, took 5 years, and was so difficult at times, but an absolute gift, best training and way of teaching!

  3. Hi Amanda

    Thank you for your personal blog posts with your knowledge of your lineage woven in so expertly. I’m enjoying reading your wisdom from Australia! You have inspired me to think seriously about the YATNA course – perhaps once some more modules are available online 🙂

    In appreciation,

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