Maharishi Yoga Asana Department announces 300-hour instructor training
In 2018, MERU welcomed more than thirty participants to a historic two-week Maharishi Yoga Asana Teacher Training Course.
And in fact since 2012, Gudrun Buchzik, head of the Yoga Department of the Maharishi College of Perfect Health, has given this course many times in Europe, Asia, and the USA – with dozens of outstanding testimonials from course participants.
This year, the Yoga Department of the Maharishi College of Perfect Health is spearheading a new, three-part 300-hour Yoga instructor training certification. It’s a systematic training offered according to international standards with a special focus on Maharishi’s Vedic Science, and will beautifully blend both knowledge and experience of the Maharishi Yoga Asanas.
To unpack the fundamentals of Yoga, and discuss more details about this new initiative, I spoke with Gudrun Buchzik and asked her a few of my questions.
Editors’ Note 20 March: In light of recent global health situation, Phase 1 is being adjusted so that all of the theory will be given online, with 8-10 days of the course in residence at a later date once travel restrictions are lifted. Go here to find out all the details.
Rebekah: So let’s start with the very basics – what is yoga?
Gudrun: When people speak about Yoga these days, most of them think that the term ‘Yoga’ refers to physical Yoga poses, or Yoga exercises called ‘Asanas’. But Yoga is much more than the practice of Yoga poses.
‘Yoga’ means ‘Unity’ – the union of individual awareness with its fundamental nature, pure consciousness. This ‘State of Yoga’ is what we experience during Transcendental Meditation. And ultimately, the TM technique is a way to develop this state of Yoga in all areas of life, to develop all the ‘limbs’ of Yoga as described in the traditional, classical yoga texts.
‘‘Yoga’ means ‘Unity’ – the union of individual awareness with its fundamental nature, pure consciousness.’
Yoga is obviously very popular these days, but the Maharishi Yoga Asanas have a unique approach. What’s unique about them?
Maharishi Yoga Asanas are more than just Yoga postures. Of course, when doing them we practise specific traditional postures, and the set designed by Maharishi and top Yogacharyas (Indian Yoga experts) is the best I’ve ever encountered personally.
Many other Yoga Asana practices often have a ‘workout’ nature – they may be strenuous, a bit forced, or even practised in hot environments. In contrast, we perform the Maharishi Yoga Asanas with full attention, in a slow and comfortable pace without any strain.
This unique style of practice and the synergy of Maharishi Yoga Asanas and pranayama, (breathing technique) helps us to experience the state of Yoga in an even clearer way.
In fact, turning the attention inwards is a core principle of Maharishi Yoga Asanas. We know that when we rest in Chetan Asana (lying on the back, feeling the body as a whole) after performing a specific asana, we restore balance in the body, integrate the effect of this asana, and prepare for the next one. But it’s not just during this posture – course participants often report experiences of the Yoga state during all phases of practice!
This helps us to release stresses from body and mind, and after doing the Maharishi Yoga Asanas, we transcend easier and faster. Our asana practice usually leads to very deep meditations.
‘Many other Yoga Asana practices often have a ‘workout’ nature – they may be strenuous, a bit forced, or even practised in hot environments. In contrast, we perform the Maharishi Yoga Asanas with full attention, in a slow and comfortable pace without any strain.’
A core part of Maharishi’s yoga programme is the 16-Lesson Course. Can you explain what this course is?
The Maharishi Yoga Asana 16-Lesson Course is an outstanding course. Everybody should take it if they have the opportunity. Maharishi spent so much time on it and developed this course personally with renowned Yogacharyas (Indian Yoga experts).
The 16-Lesson Course gives a comprehensive understanding of the nature of Yoga as well as practical training in Yoga postures and Pranayama. All aspects of Yoga are considered in this course: Yoga philosophy, traditional Yoga literature, different systems of Yoga, AyurVeda principles, and AyurVedic recommendations for routine and diet. Most of all, this course contains wonderful knowledge about Veda and Vedic Literature in the human physiology.
The Maharishi Yoga Asana Instructor Training Phase 1*, which we can talk about more in a moment, was designed for Governors and Sidhas to teach this 16-Lesson Course with expertise and confidence, especially the Yoga poses. Sidhas become Teacher Assistants after Phase 1, so they can support Governors in bringing this beautiful knowledge to more people.
Phase 1 actually contains the full content of the Maharishi Yoga Asana 16-Lesson Course, and many other features as well such as Vedic recitations and very special lectures from Maharishi, which were released exclusively for this training model. So if you’d like to take the 16-Lesson Course and want to teach this course afterwards with professional expertise, the full training will allow you to do that, while also benefitting from the additional features we’ve incorporated.
*Reader’s note: The Maharishi Yoga Asana Instructor Training Phase 1 was formerly called the Maharishi Yoga Asana Teacher Training Course.
Let’s talk more about this training. As head of the Maharishi Yoga Department, one of your big passions has been to train new teachers of Yoga. Why is that?
Yes, it’s true! I have now taught 11 Maharishi Yoga Asana Teacher Training Courses, and the experience has always been very fulfilling.
I have focused on this because I think we need many more Maharishi Yoga Asana teachers to meet the demand of the time. People want to learn Yoga Asanas – the Yoga market is huge. And we have so much more to offer than most common yoga studios.
Plus, it is so encouraging to observe the huge transformations participants undergo on all levels during the course itself. They quickly report relief from pain, greater flexibility, and they feel so much more comfortable in their practice. They certainly enjoy their asana practice more, and describe wonderful experiences of higher states of consciousness.
‘I think we need many more Maharishi Yoga Asana teachers to meet the demand of the time. People want to learn Yoga Asanas – the Yoga market is huge. And we have so much more to offer than most common yoga studios.’
One of the things that has deeply impressed me is that I have seen so many spontaneous healings. I remember one lady who had a physical issue for almost thirty years, and she had tried everything already to address the issue. She was supposed to undergo a surgery, but during the teacher training course she recovered. It was so touching!
Another participant once said that she felt new body alignment during practice, and it was as if all gates opened in her body. She felt energy and consciousness flowing through her, enlivening weak and stiff areas as well as releasing emotional blockages – this made her so tremendously happy and created bliss all over.
In addition to all these personal benefits, I am also very passionate because I feel that Governors should have the same expertise in the area of Maharishi Yoga Asanas as in their teaching of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation.
Our Governors teach the Maharishi Yoga Asanas to meditators, especially newly initiated meditators. These days, almost everyone has some background knowledge of the Yoga postures. So, it’s very good and also important to be ready to teach Maharishi Yoga Asanas in a safe, beneficial, successful, and professional way.
‘I have seen so many spontaneous healings [during these yoga courses]. I remember one lady who had a physical issue for almost thirty years, and she had tried everything already to address the issue. She was supposed to undergo a surgery, but during the teacher training course she recovered. It was so touching!’
This year you are launching a new Maharishi Yoga Asana instructor training programme. How did this come about, and what’s the scope of the training?
Over the years, graduates of what we used to call the ‘Maharishi Yoga Asana Teacher Training Course’ requested additional education. Many Sidhas and Governors who did not take part in the initial training also approached us with this desire.
That’s why we felt the time has now come to introduce a more in-depth-training. Starting this year, we are offering the Maharishi Yoga Asana Instructor Course, a certification with a total of 300 hours.
After this training, Governors and Sidhas will be ready and competent to teach the Maharishi Yoga Asanas to the public in all sorts of environments – universities, schools, medical offices, fitness studios, and more.
The demand for this knowledge is so high – it’s a huge opportunity for us. Sidhas could focus on teaching Maharishi Yoga Asanas and supporting Governors. The Governors could then teach TM to people who have taken the course.
I understand this new instructor training will have three distinct phases. What will these phases involve?
Yes, the Maharishi Yoga Asana Instructor training consists of three phases. It’s also possible to take only Phase 1, but the 300 hour-certification will be given only after attending all phases.
Phase 1 consists of 20 hours of theoretical webinar videos, and 14 days in-residence. In the first days of the in-residence-section, the course participants learn how to practise the Maharishi Yoga Asana in a correct and anatomically beneficial way.
It’s so valuable to practise the poses in alignment with our individual physiology and keep or regain body-symmetry. Course participants state great experiences once this happens.
Also, teaching methodologies like observation, teaching styles, corrections and teaching practice are part of the in-residence programme – as well as assisting and adjusting, observing others teaching, demonstrations, lesson planning and structuring, some initial knowledge about anatomy and physiology, marketing and promotion tips, and more.
It’s a very rich programme, but there is simultaneously enough time for deep rest, long programme, joy, and fun.
‘Phase 1 consists of 20 hours of theoretical webinar videos, and 14 days in-residence. In the first days of the in-residence-section, the course participants learn how to practise the Maharishi Yoga Asana in a correct and anatomically beneficial way.’
After successfully completing Phase 1, participants will follow 20 hours of webinars on Veda, Vedic Literature in the human Physiology, anatomy and physiology, and will work on a thesis for Phase 2. This will be done online and mainly according to the participants’ own timeline.
For Phase 3 we will meet again for another 14 days in-residence. The knowledge will be refreshed, and the participants will then receive sophisticated guidelines and advanced principles of correct practice, as well as biomechanics and techniques of personalisation.
Phase 3 will include in-depth-training to teach Suryanamaskara (sun salutation), with adjustments for different physical conditions, as well as additional Asanas and Pranayamas and an introduction to Yoga Therapy. We’re currently planning Phase 3 at MERU for 26 October – 10 November of 2020.
It’s a wonderful programme!
It does sound wonderful! For someone who isn’t sure if they want to teach yoga, but knows they want to develop their own practice, would you still recommend this course?
Absolutely. Practising Yoga Asanas is a very fulfilling lifelong process. We reach deeper and deeper levels every time we practise our asanas, especially after understanding the foundations and biomechanics – it’s fantastic.
Often the desire to become a teacher comes up very naturally at a certain point of time. This is because we ourselves begin to enjoy so many rewarding benefits, and eventually want to share with others.
So, we are looking forward to starting this new training with Governors and Sidhas of our dear movement family, and are eager for everyone to be able to benefit from this wave of new Yoga teachers!
Join the Maharishi Yoga Asana instructor training
The first phase of this wonderful new 300-hour instructor training is happening this spring, with twenty hours of webinars, followed by two weeks of in-residence training at MERU from 29 May to 13 June 2020. Get all the details and submit your application today here.