Terms of study & further study

* Firstly, regarding trainees, home study regarding each term’s syllabus is vital. It is very much more constructive if the students arrive at the session knowing the basic asanas on the syllabus, so that they know the English/Sanskrit names and translations but also the basic positioning alignment of the asanas, and are playing with them in their home practice.

It is a waste of time in terms of what I could be offering to be teaching the basic rudiments of the asanas in the sessions when we could be discussing refinements, yogic principles, teaching techniques etc.

Having two years of practice under one’s belt and an established commitment to yoga is a requirement of entry onto the course, so the rudimentary asanas should be known in their rudimentary forms.

* Secondly, the thrust of the teaching is to get you thinking and relating to your practice in a way that will keep you learning and inspired after the course has finished, so that the details of each asana are secondary to that. That is not to say that I will pass those whose understanding of the asanas is not adequate, but my point is that there are hundreds of asanas with countless possible emphasis and focus points so it would be impossible to teach everything in the two years. The thrust is to teach you the principles of yoga, how to study and learn the asanas in detail from experience (principles like how and why, for instance) and the principles of teaching (like observation and clarity, the five-second rule, etc).

* Thirdly, it is a requirement of teacher training that you attend at least one class a week with your trainer,for your trainer to observe your asanas, and a continued relationship with the trainer in the field as well as in the sessions (as always, money issues can be discussed)

* For trainees and graduates alike, attendance is an important way to stay in touch on many levels with the training program, so come to as many Vajrasati events as you can.

* Regarding the web site and newsletter, these are for us, although nothing is obligatory let us recall that we all recognised the basic positivity of the shared learning principle of Vajrsati as well as the ongoing support of the sangha. The newsletter content has been almost entirely written by me so far and there are good reasons for reading it therefore. For instance, I occupy a sort of crossroads position for graduates and trainees, having pretty regular contact with you all. And I am reading, studying and marking trainees’ work weekly, this means that my pieces on the web and news will be to some extent expressions of this contact with the whole community and therefore I am in quite a natural place to be collating, summarising and expressing what could be termed ‘Vajrasati thought’ (that is the some total of our experiences).

I also teach myself and have a strong practice, so am constantly discovering new things to share which are also expressed in the newsletter and website pieces.

Quotes

The Buddha recited the poem:
‘Let not a person revive the past
Or on the future build his hopes,

For the past has been left behind
And the future has not been reached.

Instead, with insight, let him see
Each presently arisen state;
Let him know that and be sure of it,
Invincibly, unshakeably.

Today, the effort must be made;
Tomorrow, Death may come, who knows?
No bargain with Mortality
Can keep him and his hoards away.

— The Majjima Nikaya (The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha)