500RYT Mini-Immersions Course Descriptions

Intensive 1: Water

Chikitsa begins with a model of health as well as disease that is embodied by the Pancha Maya model. The Pancha Maya will serve as the context for all strategies that the students will learn throughout the program. However, in this first intensive, the strategies are focused at the level of Anamaya, or the body. Informed by the principles development set by the cephalon-caudal trend, we study mobility and motor-control phases of infants, which then are experienced through a sequence we call the Evolutionary Namaskar. Additional fascia anatomy and soft tissue strategies are taught to support the return through infant-like movement. The hypermobility of infants and the water origin of all life is where this intensive draws its name.

Intensive 2: Earth

This intensive introduces the Ayurvedic model of health in order to broaden the range of tools at our disposal to be used in personalizing intervention and harmonizing the system. This intensive too, looks at the body (Anamaya) but from the perspective of the 5 elements of nature (mahabhutas), the Ayurvedic theory of tri-dosha and Brahmana/Langhana. In parallel to the discussion on doshas, this intensive also teaches the forces that stabilize the core. While the focus of intensive 1 was mobility, the focus of this intensive is activation and motor control, or “stability” (or earth). Students will be provided with anatomical and developmental knowledge about the core and spine, as well as postures, breathing patterns and practices designed around these principles.

Intensive 3: Air

This intensive is focused on movement (air). The material progresses the knowledge and application of Ayurveda by introducing the 5 Vayus (winds). The Vayu theory is applied into a guided meditation that embodies the stages of transformation that unfold as meditative absorption. The movement standard is progressed to upright position re-creating actions found in walking, stepping, and squatting. Multiplane movement is explicitly identified through the teaching of “6 degrees of freedom” and the practices explored offer a wide range of complexity, suitable for chikitsa but also anticipating a more rigorous practice.

Intensive 4: Fire

The purpose of this intensive is two-fold: we take a brief tour through the historical arc of development along which modern yoga-posture practice seems to have moved. From this we connect intense and complex physical experiences to meditative states of absorption and the kind of learning and transformation which these experiences potentially offer. This connection is fleshed out via a comparison between the characteristics of traditional Yogic notions of Samadhi, Nirodha, Samapatti, and the more recent findings from the field of Positive Psychology, also known as “Flow Psychology”.

This intensive also defines levels of intensity expressed through the “Waving Intensity” which provides a guide for reaching long-term goals, the 5 capacities for assessing appropriate asana foundations and the “Performance Pyramid” for working toward mobility, motor control (stability), capacity or skill.

Intensive 5: Space

Any holistic system of therapeutic intervention does two primary kinds of work: first it provides clarity about the nature of our imbalances. Second, it provides a map of our inherent potentials and the direction and nature of our development when primary imbalances have been harmonized. In this broad sense, chikitsa is not only a path away from instability and pain, but also a direction in which to go based on deeper self-understanding, purpose, and relationship. Meditation and contemplation are two of the key developmental milestones in this process of transformation and actualization. Using the teaching of the Avidya, the Kleshas, the Enneagram, as well as evolutionary theories for self-deception, we explore contemplative techniques for self-remembering and self-observation.