Vajrasati Principles for Teacher Trainees
Vajrasati school principles for prospective teacher trainees
To learn to be a good all-round teacher; flexible, able to teach all levels and work with most mind states.
To remain open minded.
Be prepared to take what is good and leave aside what is not from any tradition of yoga young or old; experiment and see for oneself (experience).
To recognise that to teach yoga fully is to teach on different levels of awareness: anatomical, psychological, spiritual,artistic, creative and emotional.
To teach within the perimeters of the five yamas, so as to keep check on oneself.
To remember for oneself and one’s students that attachment and grasping limit creativity and prohibits the use of the whole brain (aparigraha).
No concepts are taught as abstract i.e. everything must be related to direct experience.
To act as guide, friend and mentor wherever possible.
To always practice safely as a priority, people only have confidence in the higher value of yoga if it’s not detrimental to any level of their health.
To teach yoga in context, firstly within the eight limbs, but also in the widest sense, so as to be able to extrapolate the essence of yoga practice. That is to say the principles of moving in and letting go (the visible and the invisible) and their offspring: nature’s pace (ahimsa) so that union (yoga) with all can be realised in the day to day.
To teach yoga clearly, kindly and patiently and to build in comprehensive layers (all experiential). A true understanding of yoga so that the student ends up not being stuck in this or that form but understands the application of the principles.
To make clear and demonstrate how yoga is not concerned with wilful annihilation. But is simply a trigger for nature to allow things to pass according to their causes. Non threatening, non violent.
To strive personally, and to encourage student’s, to draw closer and closer to the living moment by working with resistance, moving into it, catching up with it and not pushing into a pose or any other practice, against resistance, in spite of resistance. To recognise that the origin of resistance is the mind and the key to its release is to bridge the gap between the mind and the body, or between the mind and any other living experience where resistance occurs. This must be done with nature’s fundamental principles that everything releases according to its cause, and with the patience afforded by the knowledge that no resistance (thought, opinion, feeling, memory or physical tightness, tension, pain) that arise have arisen without a cause, and that all causes leave an effect (echo). In this way, repression and ignorance and all the disease that they cause is avoided.
To back-drop our approach with Patanjali’s famous aphorism that yoga is ‘effortless effort’.
All teacher trainees should aim to start teaching a session a week to coincide with the beginning of term four. No teacher trainee should start teaching a course until training is complete. And yoga days, weekends and holidays should not be attempted until at least a year in the field after the training has been completed. Any diversion from this format that has not been discussed and approved could lead to a grievance procedure which could lead to the loss of membership and the right to use the name Vajrasati.
All teacher’s and trainees should adhere to the above principles and not teach in ways that contravene them. All teacher’s and trainees should not teach outside what they have learned on teacher training unless such methods have been tried and tested. Where there is uncertainty, a member should consult a senior member. Any such methods taught without such safe guards should not be taught under the auspices of Vajrasati.
All members should stay in contact with the school after training, attending drop-ins where possible. All students should attend at least one yoga day a year, for which financial aid is available where attendance might not otherwise be possible. All students must attend at least two exchange of learning days in the first three years immediately after the completion of their teacher training and then at least three in every five years hence.
Prospective teacher trainees should carefully read the above principles, then print and sign, and return to Jim before commencing teacher training.
Statement: I have read the Vajrasati principles and membership code and undertake to commit to them and promote them both in my own practice and in my teaching to others. I understand that to be in breach of any of these principles will constitute a separation from the principles that constitute yoga and the right to teach under the name of Vajrasati. For the benefit of all beings, may we deepen our understanding, and broaden our abilities to help. May we be an inspiration and a support to each other and place no limits on our understanding and insights.