Pedagogy for Yoga Teachers: the study and practice of how best to teach
Closed Workshop - Triyoga Advanced Teacher Training May 2019
How Do We Become Who We Are?
We become the specific kinds of humans that we are through a life-long process of learning from birth until death. For the most part, we take this continuous process of learning for granted, and tend not to spend too much time reflecting on how the process of learning works. This also means that we do not spend enough time reflecting on how the process of teaching works. What methods and practices of teaching best facilitate the learning process in humans?
Once we understand that to be human is to be constantly learning, we can discover a great deal about our shared humanity by bringing our awareness to the learning process. As a result, we can develop a more human teaching practice.
From infancy, we learn how to be human through similar and complex processes of adaptation. This means working out, from one situation to the next, how to be in the world. Part of what is fascinating about our shared humanity is that this similar process, of adapting to being in the world, leads to highly different outcomes. How can this be so?
For example, what it means to become Masaii in East Africa is very different to what it means to become Maori in New Zealand, just as the differences between being Bill Gates in the USA and the Dalai Lama in Tibet speaks volumes about the different histories those human beings have lived through. This kind of cross-cultural contrast helps us to reflect on the difference that our social history makes to who we become as particular kinds of human beings in the world. In relation to this kind of enquiry, we can put the practice and teaching of yoga in social and cultural perspective and develop an ongoing sense of critical enquiry about the tradition. We can then invite our students to join this enquiry, encouraging them to cultivate an open-minded attitude of productive uncertainty about the philosophical propositions at the heart of yoga.
Through this kind of anthropological reflection, we come to appreciate that we are all similar in the ways that we are human, (because we go through the same processes of learning), and yet we are often very different in the ways we express our humanity. This is because of the varied social, material, environmental and cultural contents that define the learning situations of our lives. Thus, we need a theory of situated learning if we are to properly understand what it means to be human. This workshop guides yoga teachers through the theory of situated learning and encourages them to apply this to a self-conscious consideration of their own teaching and learning process.
How Shall We Dwell? The Phenomenology of Lived Experience
Saturday, May 12, 2020
Closed Workshop - Triyoga Advanced Teacher Training
Bringing our attention to the fundamental conditions for the possibility of human being/consciousness, this workshop explores the profound consequences of an anthropological focus on the process of human learning. For example, if consciousness is inevitably grounded in the body and mediated through the materiality of the world and its environments, it stands to reason that to bring about a shift in consciousness an experiment must begin in reordering the material and environing conditions of our existence.
Similarly, if humans are an inevitably inter-subjective species, it is impossible to understand the self other than through the depth of social history that the person has lived through among significant others. The self is the substantiation of the social conditions of our existence. It stands to reason then that to transform the experience of self, the experiment must begin with changing the habitual relations that provide the bedrock of what counts on a daily basis as human sociality.
And, if embodiment is what makes human being in the world possible, and consciousness is inevitably embodied, it is essential that an experiment begin with shifting consciousness through the effort of transforming the embodied condition of the human person. This is where the most obvious connection can be explored between existential phenomenology (the study of the phenomenon of human existence) and the practice of hatha yoga, but there are other more radical connections to be explored.
For example, there is an urgent need to explore the potential, at a time of growing environmental crisis, and rapid urbanisation, for a phenomenological approach to the question of ecology. Or, to put it more simply, to ask what a detailed material, social and embodied understanding of human existence can contribute to the most pressing question of our times, which is - how shall we live now?