Kaivalyadhama Ashram launches three year TTC in Pranayama

Yathā siṃho ghajo vyāghro bhavedvaśyaḥ śanaiḥ śanaiḥ |
tathaiva sevito vāyuranyathā hanti sādhakam || 15 ||

Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by, so the breath is controlled by slow degrees, otherwise (i.e., by being hasty or using too much force) it kills the practitioner himself.

This shloka no 15 of chapter II of the Hatha yoga Pradipika elucidates precisely the power of Pranayama- the 4th limb of ‘Asthanga Yoga’. However, in recent times the promulgation of Asana practices solely has become a fad. This uncanny trend has side lined the much more vital limb of ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ ie Pranayama. For Yoga is just not Asanas but much more. If the practitioner happens to be really genuine and is aiming to achieve the ultimate goal in his yogic quest, then the proficiency in one of the ultra- fine ‘angas’ of Yoga i e is Pranayama becomes inevitable for him/her.

There still exist yoga institutes who swear by the traditional system and are increasingly spreading awareness about the need to promote Pranayama at par with Asana practice. One such institute is Kaivalyadham Ashram, Lonavala, India. A pioneer in yoga related research, Kdham has set the ball rolling for one of its kind Teachers Training Course (TTC) in Pranayama recently.

The duration of the course is 3 years and it aims to create exclusive teachers in Pranayama. The course planners are in no hurry and a step by step methodology to produce proficient teachers has been created. Upon the successful completion of phase 1, the student is allowed to teach Pranayama without retention of the breath. At the next level, the student becomes eligible to teach Pranayama in 1:1:2 ratio. He progresses to teaching 1:2:2 ratio in third year or final phase of his TTC. The student will be taught Ayurvedic pulse reading and its application in Pranayamic practices. In between, they have to attend a minimum of 7 days duration training programmes at the campus in Lonavala. Upon their return, they are accorded sufficient theory and practical homework which is monitored from time to time.

“We increasingly felt the need to organise and standardize a teacher’s training module in Pranayama. Hence, an exclusive TTC in it”, explains Sudhir Tiwari, Director, Kdham International about the launch of a Teacher’s Training course in Pranayama. The fact that the TTC is spread over three years itself spells the seriousness and significance Kdham has accorded to the ‘anga’. Pranayama is now taking centre stage. Especially in the west where stress levels are ever high the subtle practice in its right form is the need of hour, Sudhirji elaborates. Himself an accomplished teacher in Pranayama, he beautifully describes Pranayama as “a pause in process”. He, however expresses concern over the haphazard manner in which this ‘pausing’ is taught to students today. The TTC strives to explore even the slightest of technicality of a practice based on not less than 10 yogic texts, besides the ‘Hath Yoga Pradipika’ and ‘Gherand Samhita’.

Students (who are teachers for a minimum of 5 years) of 20 nations are part of the first ever Pranayama TTC which kicked off late December in the year 2016. And, the course is up for grabs already, although Kdham has laid down strict norms for its intake.

“I grossly underestimated the practice of Pranayama. For me, it has now taken a lead over Asana ‘anga’ which lays more focus on the body”, says Ursula, a TTC student from Germany. Until recently, Ursula says she was unaware of the profoundness of Pranayama. “Now, I want to practice it more and more”, she reveals.

Antti Aleikinheimomoh has been a teacher of yoga for 10 years. However, as a true seeker, he could not move on to the next level in Yoga! “Pranayama was the missing link for me to progress towards Dharana and Dhyana”, he confesses. He is now excited to promote Pranayama among his students back in Finland.

Mika, a yoga teacher from Japan says specialized teachers in Pranayama are a much needed asset. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. She attributes the reasons for them to inflated egos in people, lack of family support and undue importance to body work than mind work. On the contrary, Pranayama transforms ego and mind. “Hence, the Japanese need Pranayama more than anyone”, she thinks.