YTT - Week 7 Update

Week 7 of Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) with Yoga Tree SF - Here I will unpack everything Philosophy, Methodology, & Assisting during training and what you can expect.

There’s really an art with the yoga practice, it is grounded in centuries of rich Yogic philosophy and methodology. And from that philosophy, came Methodology. Thus and with past weekend, we discussed that the goal of achieving yoga is through the discipline of the mind through asana (poses) and the thoughtful presence of awareness (meditation). If you were in control of your body, with strong muscles and clear focus, you would be much better prepared to sit still and harness your mind for longer periods of time. To unpack the unconscious, subconscious, and conscious; you would need to approach MAYA.

The concept of “maya” is a Hindu philosophical term. In Sanskrit, the language of the yogis, “ma” means “not” and “ya” means “that.” Maya translates as “not that;” but the idea behind it is much more complex. For the ancient Yogis, the distinction between the universe and the self was an illusion. Due to the fact that we are so focused on our own desires, experiences, feelings, and thoughts, about the world, it is easy for most human beings to think of our lives as separate from everything around us. This separation can also be called dualism, dualism leads to inflated feelings of importance, which, in turn, cause stress over family, work, finances, or other earthly concerns. The Yogis thought that by meditating, we could bridge this divide and truly recognize our presence in the universe. By recognizing and engaging with the unity of all things, we could reach a higher state of consciousness and transcend these temporary worries.

Within the philosophy of Yoga training, maya represents the things that we think are real but are not. The most important of these is the perception that there is a division between one’s self and the universe, because our thoughts and feelings, also, belong to the great unity of all things. More frequently, however, maya is used to refer to the images we have in our minds of reality. Yet, as we experience the world through our sensory organs, we are able to construct an image of an apple, or the color pink, or a sweet smell. However, these images are just pale copies of reality that exist only in the mind – sometimes known as mind-objects. Through the meditation and physical discipline that come with a complete Yoga practice, we get closer and closer to the true reality of the universe.


Another art to mastery is being the supportive role throughout a student’s yoga journey and practice. To assist in a way which honors their “Ahimsa”, which means not to do harm. Thus, assisting is a practice in and of itself. It goes far beyond the technique of where I place my hands or the verbal instructions I give. It’s a willingness to know myself—to see myself more clearly in order to see others—and in that openness, to support them to align not only in their body but their entire being.

What always comes first for me is clarifying my intention before I come toward another body. This way, I communicate with utter clarity through my hands. That clarity becomes part of a compassionate exchange of energy, and a willingness to witness another human in their totality.

I’ve seeing that as a yoga teacher, you need to dedicate the physical alignment principles of assisting and the energetic principles of compassionate connection to your students. This exploration of assisting as a practice in intention and relationship.


Until next time,