Q. I am not a great or very flexible yogī. I have some physical issues. Will it be a problem for me?
A. Not at all. 90% of our curriculum is sound-based, and we do practice some basic non-strenuous āsanas to help with increasing resonance in our “instrument,” our body! This course focuses on subtle goals (unity of thought-word-deed, sustainable mental peace, etc.), not physical goals (such as handstand, scorpion pose, etc.) The main physical consideration is the ability to sit comfortably on the floor or a chair for chanting practice and lectures. We may also do some optional hiking or swimming on our off days. On the other hand, those with a strong physical urge to exercise are encouraged to do so during our breaks.
LINKS OF INTEREST:
- Curriculum Module 1 ~ Immersion in the Heart of Sound
- Curriculum Module 2 ~ Sharing the Heart of Sound with Others
- Extensive Multi-Media Learning Resources available to Trainees
- What our RYTs can teach after graduation
- Community & Ongoing Opportunities with the Heart of Sound
- Reviews from Trainees and Graduates
Q. Would graduates be equipped to teach any type of physical pose-based yoga class, or strictly mantra and sound focused yoga classes?
A. In this 200 hours we focus as much on sound-based yoga as a typical asana-based yoga TT does on asana (80% of our time). Our daily practice includes asana from the perspective of mastering the switch between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and supporting the body mechanics to live with full spinal awareness and breath. You would be equipped to guide students into the physical component of ideal self-expression (at the subtle and gross levels) as well as resonant vocalization, but not to teach a hatha-vinyasa class sequence that has come to be “standard yoga class” in the West.
Q. If I don’t have time to do the prerequisites, can I still join?
A. Yes. Please do your best to complete them and catch up with the rest of the students during the course. You can do the 40-day meditation after the course finishes in order to become eligible for the certification. Please see the Prerequisite page for details.
Q. How much of the mantra training includes singing with rhythm and music–versus reciting mantra with sustained tone and drone?
A. It’s about half. In Module 1 we learn the Sanskrit alphabet, and most of that chanting is on one tone. Then we apply that learning to chanting mantras in the Vedic style, which are usually with three pitches and specific rhythms for each syllable. The nāda yoga meditations that we teach in Module 1 also start on a sustained tone, and then we we explore Hindustani ragas up and down the scales. We do kirtan daily (call and response mantra set to music, with live tabla accompaniment), and we join the Ganga arthi which is very musical but also includes some Vedic chanting. So… it’s a good mix!
Q. Do I need to be able to sing? Or play musical instruments?
Neither singing ability nor musical experience are required in order to attend this training. Emphasis is placed on your direct experience of the power of sound itself, not on musical or singing skill. All students will be invited to participate in the group chanting, and to demonstrate their understanding of the material.
Students taking the course as an immersion only may opt out of leading chanting sessions; students taking the course as a teacher training and preparing for Module 2 may be invited to sing solo or lead group chanting sessions as they feel ready.
Q. Do I need to bring a harmonium?
A. You don’t need a harmonium necessarily, but it’s highly recommended that you have musical support for your chanting practice during the training, and in the interim between modules. See the note about instruments (and iPhone app) options here: http://truefreedomcoaching.com/prerequisites/
Q. Do I have time to keep my part-time remote job during the training?
A. Our retreat intensive schedule is pretty full. Most trainees have enough time to do all of the evening reading and enrichment activities assignments, with time to spare for dinner and improptu dance parties with their fellow trainees, but having the focus to maintain other responsibilities could be tough.
Q. Is this the type of Western, “California-style” kirtan where people might be smoking marijuana or doing intoxicants and chanting?
A. Absolutely not. Many young foreigners take yoga teacher trainings in Rishikesh, and pot smoking is common – perhaps at other trainings, or at night after classes are done. The trainees attracted to the Heart of Sound are typically mature souls with a high degree of self-responsibility, earnestness for learning, and preference for a sāttvic lifestyle. (In Rishikesh, if anyone is found to be using intoxicants they would be asked to leave the ashram.)
Q. I want to bring my (husband, family, friend) with me to India but I will be the only one attending the course. Can we share a room?
A. It’s possible, but the success of your participation in the course would depend a lot on the type of relationship you have with your companions. In short: If they’re supportive, yes. If they’re dependent, no. Please assess whether they understand and respect your need for mental rest, quiet time, and study as a priority. You won’t have much time for them, so ideally they’d be independent both emotionally and activity-wise. Most days, you’ll be busy from 6AM to 6 (and sometimes 8PM with optional chanting sessions). Some days you’ll have 30-45 minutes of homework or music/chanting practice in order to maximize your investment in the course. During the lunch breaks, sometimes you could see and eat with your non-class companions, but sometimes you will also be needing rest/downtime during lunch. We would not recommend planning outings during the lunch break.
As for room-sharing arrangements, a variety of room sizes, including large family rooms, are available.