Yoga Teacher Training
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - Yeats
The yoga teacher training at the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School is a comprehensive and well established education. The training is full-time and lasts four years. Additional two years are required to become a meditation teacher.
The training takes place at the ashram of Haa International Retreat Center and its hinterland, and occasionally at other branches of the School.
You take part in an ongoing practical, theoretical and creative process. It forms the basis for working with others, and provides you with a profound knowledge of yourself and a personal experience of authentic yoga and meditation.
As an example of why such an experience is necessary, a quote from an American professor:
“The training of the yoga teacher is very important. We have found in teaching the 12 hospital groups that it doesn't work so well to take a nurse and teach her yoga for six weeks, and then have her to be the yoga teacher. It's better to take a yoga teacher who has been practising for 20 years and teach him or her some medicine - about the heart and how to take care of patients.
So it's not simply a little training that's important. The transformation of who one is, that one knows oneself, is something one achieves through many years of work with oneself - that one has peace and confidence and inner enthusiasm motivates the patients to use yoga too. So it's very critical.
I wouldn't want a yoga teacher to have less training than a physician, or a surgeon. Our experience is that we need dedicated yoga teachers who've been doing this for a long time.”
– Dr Larry Scherwitz
Before you think about joining our yoga teacher education we recommend that you participate in the yearly Three Month Sadhana Retreat at Haa Retreat Center. You will then know more about what we teach and who we are.
The Three Month Sadhana Retreat is a unique and comprehensive retreat where you acquaint yourself with a rare and deep reaching yoga. It forms a prerequisite for the yoga teacher training. You can of course participate in this retreat (or any other shorter retreat) without having to make a decision to join the yoga teacher education, and you will have an experience that will make a difference in your life.
You apply for the yoga teacher education after you have completed the Three Month Sadhana Retreat, through a personal talk with the main teacher of the course.
Since the Three Month Sadhana Retreat provides you with a unique and thorough experience of yoga and meditation, there are no other prerequisites for this education.
After participating in the three-month retreat at Haa, you are welcome to stay in the ashram for a period. It is a good way to find out if this way of living is for you.
You can join the ashram life behind the retreats, for free, during the summer months, after your Three Month Sadhana Retreat.
From mid-August you begin to pay fees. All costs include education, accommodation and food. Each year the fee is 36 000 SEK (2023).
However, the aspirants who start the education have diverse backgrounds. Some have had a working career and have a house or an apartment and savings. Others have been studying somewhere else or have been without work and so on. The aspirants are wholeheartedly participating in the education, and do not have any time during the education process to earn money elsewhere. Therefore the education fees may be adjusted to the individual financial situation and may vary greatly from person to person.
The minimum cost for the entire 4(-6) years´ training is 36 000 SEK, payable during the first year of the education. This option is for those who do not have any means to pay more.
The important thing for us as teachers is your sincere motivation, that you are interested in taking part in the way of life we lead in the ashram, in devoting yourself to the education. You live together with the teachers and the other aspirants for several years to qualify as a yoga (and meditation) teacher. In this way we follow an age old tradition that most yoga teacher trainings do not offer any more; a tantric ashram-tradition and a Sanyasi-lifestyle.
Some of the aspirants are participating in the basic training, others are being trained as meditation teachers or getting further education. When the yoga (and meditation) teacher training has been completed, you are not only an instructor, but a certified and highly skilled teacher – and you can either go on teaching in collaboration with Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School at Haa or in one of the school’s other branches or you work as an independent yoga teacher.
The group of aspirants and teachers at our school is international, therefore we most often teach in English in the yoga teacher classes, but for the sake of the teaching practice in the education you will also be able to use Swedish, Danish or Norwegian.
The purpose of ashram life, especially the first years in the education, is to allow you to take a break from things you were used to before you came. To take a break from your former life in a way. This may sound strange for a person who is not motivated to do this, however it is a natural path to follow for a person who is inspired by this and sees it as a possibility to evolve. It gives you a very special overview or perspective on life.
Therefore, as you may already have understood, our education is not a training for those who are already occupied with responsibilities of family and job. It is not likely that you will be able to combine our education with an ordinary family life.
The yoga teacher education includes both teaching practice and theory. The training is received as part of a group as well as individually. Naturally it all starts with one’s own use of yoga and meditation, followed up by advice and guidance from the teacher. In addition, a less tangible training of wisdom takes place according to the secret, oral or whispered tradition – a tradition that will not and cannot be written down, linked to the daily life and to the insight you receive in meditation. It is passed on from teacher to pupil.
The training is led by the experienced teachers of the school together with the school’s founder Swami Janakananda Saraswati. His tradition goes way back where knowledge is passed from teacher to student – via Swami Satyananda Saraswati and his teacher Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh … to Shankaracharya in the ninth century India, and further…
Four aspects of the training
- The ability to be present in every situation, to meet life with initiative and receptivity, rather than hiding behind expectations and mythologies about other worlds, other times and other places. To devote oneself to the present moment, without demanding that the conditions or the people first have to be different, ideal or formally correct, and without keeping things at a distance with a condescending attitude.
This ability to be open – regardless of whether one is confronting a situation, a person or a group of people – is not reached through such therapies, that only harden or hypnotize the personality to be able to “cope’. These do not make us better at accepting and taking part in life as such.
The yoga teacher training is based on the reality of daily life, where it is not always possible in advance to agree upon the rules of the game.
In everyday life, you must count on yourself, with heart and mind. The training takes place when the student is being taught or when he or she is teaching but, above all during the work and communal life at Haa Retreat Center or perhaps at one of our yoga schools.
Experience and Knowledge
- You develop a knowledge of body, mind and energy through using the yoga exercises and meditations.
This experience is followed up with relevant topics in physiology, anatomy and scientific research into yoga and meditation – the study of the original yoga texts is an integral part of the education.
- The ability to engage yourself wholeheartedly and with energy in the daily chores whether big or small.
In our yoga teacher training one learns to take responsibility and to be consistent in carrying out a task – whether it be teaching, organizing and administering the courses in a yoga school; taking part in the constant restructuring and maintenance of the houses and the rooms; writing, creating a layout, or programming a computer; participating in research; working in the forest or in the fields or training the horses at Haa Retreat Center.
- To awaken and train awareness is among the most important and essential requirements in the tradition. The ability to experience is the foundation of health and insight.
Tantra teaches us to let go, to join in and to experience ourselves as part of the whole. Through meditation we realize our real identity and what is beyond it. It gives meaning and perspective to life.
These four main modules
are covered during the four-year education:
- Hatha Yoga; cleansing processes - Asana - Yoga therapy.
- Pranayama; breathing exercises, working with energy - Mudras and Bandhas, attitudes and locks - Prana Vidya.
- Yoga Nidra; yogic deep relaxation - Shavasana - Pratyahara; letting go.
- Dharana; Concentration - Tratak and visualisation
Most teachings on meditation take place in the yoga teacher seminars, retreats, satsangs and in Antar Mauna (Inner Silence) courses - as well as in individual guidance and personal practice.
Sub-modules that also are covered are:
- Fundamental concepts in yoga;
- Tantra, attitude and practices;
- Original or classical texts;
- Songs and dances from different parts of the world, with emphasis on Kirtan (singing of Mantra) and Sufi;
- Scientific research on yoga and meditation (research done within the school as well as studies of reports from elsewhere);
- Basic anatomy and physiology;
- Yoga for pregnant women;
- Courses in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), First-Aid and fire safety.
The education actually has three objectives:
- that the teachers, once they have finished their education, can work independently and together with others and use the knowledge and experience of the rich tantric yoga and meditation tradition in their own lives as well as passing it on to others;
- that the teachers have developed a solid foundation to carry out their work without being overcome by the fear, doubt and faint-heartedness which one often encounters in society and which we see limiting the way many yoga teachers around the world teach.
And last but not least:
- that through the education, the training and their sadhana, the teachers have received both tools and a perspective on life, which make it possible for the spiritual and the mundane, the inner and the outer, to merge in a natural and harmonious way – a basis for a life full of inspiration and meaning.
For more information
about our yoga teacher training, description of the weekly yoga teacher classes, the 14 day seminars, karma yoga, ashram way of living - and much more, read:
articles on the yoga teacher training in our Reading Room
Feel free to contact us for more information.