Dates: Ongoing (you can join in at any time!)
Caroline offers the 300-Hour Training in the form of a one-on-one mentorship spread out over the course of three years. The formal requirements of the program include three separate week-long modules (Shraddha, Sthiti, and Prajna) and one longer practicum. This is a custom training catered to the unique needs and expressed interests of the individual. Interested applicants are welcome to apply to join the 300-hour training at anytime. If you are interested in more information about the 300-Hour Spreading Your Wings Teacher Training, please send an e-mail directly to Caroline through the contact page of this website.
Teaching yoga is an ancient healing art steeped in thousands of years of tradition. Teaching yoga is also an adaptive, ever-evolving, experimental and creative art that finds its unique and modern expression in YOU.
The overarching learning objective for this course is simple: to provide you with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of this art so that you are better able to see the individual student in front of you, to respond to the unique needs of the moment, and therefore to more effectively and skillfully serve.
Often when we begin teaching, we follow a “Simon Says” model, memorizing sequences and repeating word for word as best we can the instructions we have heard from the teachers who are beloved to us. Perhaps we have even been trained to teach this way. It is my hope that this course will provide you with a comprehensive enough understanding of the structure and function of the human body and how it relates to the astonishing kaleidoscope of movements we call yoga asana that you are better able to discern what your individual students need and what will best serve their ongoing evolution and growth. Ironically the more we commit to furthering our own education as teachers, the easier it becomes to let go of what we know and to really begin to listen and see. In this training you will be encouraged to abandon a formulaic approach, to learn to think on your feet, and to tune in with greater sensitivity and insight to the experience of your students. It is my hope that this course will increase your self-confidence, allowing you to slough off those pesky layers of self-doubt so that you can embrace your roles as teachers with a tremendous sense of inner freedom and reward. When this happens, joy, spontaneity, intuition, and creativity begin to lead the way and teaching becomes immeasurably more fun.
In keeping with tradition, this training will emphasize the three components of tapas, svadhyaya and isvara pranidhana. There will be an intensive practice component (tapas) throughout. In-depth study of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita will take you through a rigorous process of self-inquiry (svadhyaya) which we hope will be life-enhancing and which I believe will increase the potency of your teaching by providing it with a deep root system. The surrender (isvara pranidhana) in this case will be to the group itself – to fostering a spirit of collaboration in the learning environment and to celebrating each other’s successes and milestones along the way. I have seen time and again, the power of the group to unearth hidden potential and to initiate positive transformation in the lives of its members.
Each class session will build upon the knowledge gained in the previous session. Throughout the immersion, you will have the opportunity to investigate, integrate, and immediately apply what you have learned to your practice and to your teaching.
My approach is non-dogmatic and inclusive. I wish to dismantle the idea that there is a right way and a wrong way of doing things in favor of nurturing a sense of boundless curiosity. I hope to create a safe environment in which you feel free to ask questions and to develop both the competence and confidence to arrive at your own conclusions. Students of all lineages are welcome.
Refining Your Craft: Reading Bodies – What do you see?
If we are teaching asana – in which the human body is the primary field of exploration – we have a responsibility to learn as much we can about how it is put together and what is involved in its optional function. This is the kind of learning that lasts a lifetime. The purpose of these sessions is to provide trainees with the ability to look at individual bodies and to understand how proportions, skeletal differences and tensional patterns in musculature (not to mention nervous systems and personal histories!) translate into different expressions of and experiences within a given transition or pose. By developing a keen eye for observation and a deeper understanding of the complex and integrated movements that are involved in yoga asana, trainees will be better equipped to help students to create healthy patterns that support respiration, that encourage the free flow of energy, that minimize the risk of injury, and that invite them fully into the joy of embodied living. Trainees will be encouraged to look at the body and the person as a whole.
Thinking on your feet: Dynamics involved in teaching mixed-level classes
These sessions will be devoted to exploring the logistical challenges of teaching mixed-level classes. Being able to attend to the specific needs of individuals such as beginners and those recovering from injuries while maintaining awareness of the entire group and keeping the pace consistent and the flow going is a skill that develops with time. The use of props and specific modifications for common injuries and limitations of matter will be covered as well as strategies for connecting with each and every student in the room. We’ll discuss how to avoid the pitfall of imposing our own agenda on the class and the importance of being willing to switch gears in response to the needs of the actual students in front of us. We’ll highlight the joy of teaching with a beginner’s mind and the freedom that comes with humility.
Principles of Hands-on Adjustments
Recognizing touch as one of the most efficient ways of creating new patterns of movement, these hours will be devoted to workshopping the techniques involved in providing safe and effective physical adjustments. We will explore the energetics involved, the quality of touch, adjustments as a two-way conversation, listening to breathing patterns, optimal use of body mechanics, etc. This training will discourage the use of “cookie-cutter” adjustments. Trainees will be expected to think clearly about what their intention is in offering an adjustment to a specific individual in a pose and how that intention might change from person to person.
Expanding Your Repertoire
These sessions will incorporate guided practice of many different techniques of asana, pranayama and meditation as well as in-depth analysis of these techniques in a workshop-style format. This will be followed up by training in how to teach these techniques with plenty of room for question and answer. The intention of these sessions is to move to a more sophisticated understanding of the practice than what was previously gained in the 200-hour training and to an increased awareness of its effects on the subtle energy body. Additionally these hours will provide you with the opportunity to explore more advanced poses and transitions. Although the primary focus will be on the elements that make up a vinyasa practice, we will look at pranayama, different styles of meditation, yin, restorative, myofascial release, as well as many other related and complementary techniques.
One of the primary aims of this course is to provide you with the tools to cultivate a personal practice that can support you through life’s ups and downs in a way that balances, nourishes and heals. Our biologies and biographies make each and every one of us completely unique. Figuring out a way to practice that best supports our individual rhythms and needs is key to sustaining a consistent practice over a long period of time. And this self-practice is invariably what becomes the foundation of our teaching. For this reason, the 300-hour training places great emphasis on using our own bodies as the laboratories in which we inquire, listen, experiment, and subject what we have learned to the test of personal experience. It is through our self-practice that we discover an ever-renewing source of fresh, inspired and innovative ideas for our teaching.
Self-Exploration through the Yoga Sutras & the Bhaghavad Gita
There are two models for the spiritual life. One envisions the aspirant climbing a ladder seeking perfection. The other envisions the aspirant simply peeling back the layers to uncover the inherent wisdom and untold goodness of heart that is already there. Yoga as a way of life adheres to this latter view. I mention this because what we believe will make each of you extraordinary teachers is the degree to which you recognize this wholeness, this intactness, this divinity within yourself. The ability to acknowledge, open to and befriend every aspect of our being and experience is what gives depth and texture to our teaching and makes our message vibrant and resonant and true. In order to communicate to our students that we are worthy of their trust and to effectively function as a mirror, we must be deeply grounded in our own being. For this reason, the 300-hour training involves intensive self-study using the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita to illuminate the path. By placing the physical practice in a larger, spiritual context you will tap into wellspring of sustenance and support. Immersion in these ancient texts will provide you with a multi-layered approach to teaching as well as the ability to weave thoughtful narrative into your classes.
Diving Deeper into the Ethics of Teaching Yoga
The 200-hour training laid the basic groundwork to frame a healthy and ongoing discussion about our ethical responsibility as teachers. This portion of the training takes that discussion further as we dive into the more subtle aspects of the balance of power in the teacher-student relationship, the vital importance of keeping our ego in check, and how to handle more thorny concerns as they arise. This section will cover: handling praise, handling blame, maintaining healthy boundaries, making our own practice time a non-negotiable, the vital importance of self-care, the energetics of money, keeping balance in the giving-receiving cycle, working with difficult students in group settings and in one-on-ones, using social media platforms responsibly, maintaining a service heart in a consumer culture, and the importance of cultivating relationships with family members and friends outside of the yoga community. Although 15 hours have been allotted to these discussions, I believe that our yoga practice fully comes to life in the context of relationships and I will happily devote further hours to exploring the ethics of teaching if trainees bring to the group specific issues they have encountered with their own students along the way. We will also discuss teaching as a means of awakening the intelligence of the heart and seeing through a self-centered reality.
These hours are at the heart of the 300-hour training and are devoted to actual practice teaching as the lead instructor in my presence. These hours involve both giving and receiving extensive and personalized feedback. As such, they are a reciprocal training in a very specific quality of listening that involves being open to constructive criticism without getting defensive. As the course progresses from month to month, I may direct your attention to areas in your teaching that might benefit from further exploration and development. Sensitivity and respect will be shown to each individual’s process and pace of learning and you will receive enormous support and encouragement from me throughout this month-long journey. Experience has shown that these practicum hours often stir up fears and feelings of self-doubt that can undermine one’s self-confidence and effectiveness as a teacher. In such cases, tools will provided to support you in moving beyond these apparent blocks so as to enjoy teaching with a greater sense of ease and joy. Trainees will be encouraged to develop their own unique style of teaching that reflects their authentic self rather than to model their teaching after me.
Upon completion of the training, trainees will test out by teaching the following four components:
a 90 minute intermediate/advanced flow (set sequence)
a 2-hour workshop (trainee selects focus)
a 1-hour observed private teach
Breakdown of hours:
Anatomy and Physiology – 48
Yoga Philosophy, Life Style and Ethics – 76 hours (30 non-contact hours)
Practicum – 65 hours (10 non-contact hours)
Teaching Methodology – 27 hours
Techniques, Training and Practice – 110 hours
286 contact hours + 40 non-contact hours
TOTAL: 326 hours
Caroline Wybar Yoga is recognized as a Registered Yoga School (RYS) through Yoga Alliance. Upon successful completion of the training, you will be eligible to register with Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT).