4th Edition of the Yoga Toolbox for Teachers and Students

What’s Different, What’s New, and How to Get It

First published in 2005, the Yoga Toolbox has inspired the practice of countless students and served as an invaluable support for teachers of Yoga. 

The focus of the Yoga Toolbox is to present a multi-dimensional approach to the practice of Yoga postures that includes physical health, balance in the subtle body, psycho-emotional integration and spiritual awakening. 

This new edition has been completely updated, with refinements in the instructions, new modifications, and a streamlined design.  

Our most exciting news is that the Yoga Toolbox has gone digital! You can now access all of the book’s content in videos through the Yoga Toolbox app.

More than 1,000 videos are available: 

Introductory information for each posture, with Sanskrit meaning, essential quality,      affirmation asana symbolism, benefits for each kosha and contraindications; 

Instructions for how to perform each posture, with cues that guide the physical alignments as well as the exploration of the more subtle dimensions; 

Modifications and variations for each posture; 

Complete 60-minute Integrative Yoga practices for levels I, II and III; 

Warm-up exercises, including a somatic sequence, sun and moon salutations and more.

The hard copy of the new edition of the Yoga Toolbox is already available on our site.

The digital information will be available for download by March 1st!

How to access the Yoga Toolbox App

To access the Yoga Toolbox app, go to page 1 of the book and get your access code by scratching off the sticker. Then, download the app from the website iytyogatherapy.com and register.

You will also be able to access the videos and a full electronic version of the Yoga Toolbox from your computer, on iytyogatherapy.com, using the same access code from the front cover of your book.

 

History and context of Integrative Yoga – Yoga for the health of the whole person

by Joseph Le Page

Integrative Yoga began in the early 1990’s as a training program in Yoga and mind-body health. The mind body health movement was gaining acceptance through an understanding of the ways that both positive and negative mind states affect both health and healing. Of course, this is something that Yoga had understood for millennia. The Yoga Vasistha from the 5th century presents this simply and clearly: “good health comes from good thoughts and illness is the effect of negative thinking”. So, although mind-body health is not new, scientific research into the effects of attitudes and lifestyle on health is relatively new. Integrative Yoga Therapy, founded by Joseph Le Page in 1993, was the first training program to explore the interface of Yoga and mind-body health and healing. The first Integrative Yoga Therapy training in Brazil was held in 1996.

The students in this program were mostly Yoga teachers who wanted to understand the mind body dimension and include it in their work both with therapeutic groups and in one-on-one Yoga Therapy sessions. What we discovered was that the Yoga teachers entering our Integrative Yoga Therapy Training Program lacked many areas of knowledge in Yoga theory and practice that provide a foundation for more advanced studies. Some lacked a technical understanding of the Yoga postures; others lacked an understanding of the spiritual context of the Yoga practice and many lacked teaching and communication skills. Joseph Le Page and Lilian Aboim created the Integrative Yoga Teacher Training Program to meet the need for a fully prepared teacher of Yoga for the health of the whole person. This comprehensive Yoga Teacher Training program has been offered at Enchanted Mountain Center in Garopaba, Santa Catarina since 2003.

There are a number of core principles that form the foundation of the Integrative Yoga Teacher Training Program and make it unique:

Yoga for the health of the whole person – Integrative Yoga classes provide a balanced approach to health for all dimensions of the person, physical, energetic, psycho-emotional and spiritual.

Yoga poses within the context of overall human development – The yoga poses are powerful vehicles for health and healing and our students develop in depth mastery of them, not as ends in themselves, but as means for becoming a whole human Being.

Experiencing the benefits of Yoga class in daily living – The skills and insights students gain about themselves and their lives in Integrative Yoga allows them to take the benefits of the class beyond the Yoga mat and integrate them into daily living as an enhanced sense of appreciation, inner peace, fulfillment and meaning.

Integration of all Facets of Yoga in the Yoga class – The health and wholeness cultivated through Integrative Yoga is supported by a balanced integration all the Hatha Yoga tools and techniques in each class including asana, pranayama, mudra, affirmation, relaxation and meditation.

Yoga classes appropriate for multiple levels – Integrative Yoga teachers develop the skills to offer Yoga classes at a wide range of abilities and also to adjust the class to individual needs so that different levels can practice effectively in the same class.

Classes with themes that give each experience focus and meaning – These themes can relate to particular areas of practice such as developing greater strength or balance, and can also be used to cultivate specific qualities such as Self-esteem, inner peace and clarity. These qualities are sometimes supported by mudras e affirmations that allows them to be integrated more fully.

 

Experiential learning – During the Teacher Training Program, all subjects including Yoga Philosophy and anatomy and physiology are taught experientially, by doing and feeling in the mind and body, instead of intellectually or theoretically, thereby allowing them to be integrated completely.  The teachers can then apply this experiential approach to learning in their own classes.

Teachers graduate fully equipped and ready to teach – because of the in-depth nature of the program and a ten-step methodology that covers every aspect of Yoga pedagogy from greeting the students to final relaxation, new teachers of integrative Yoga complete the course fully prepared to offer Yoga classes to the public. Each new teacher conducts a full class to a small group of fellow students before the conclusion of their training program.

Supportive teaching resources – Integrative Yoga Publishing offers a wide range of support materials for Yoga study including the Yoga Teacher Toolbox and Mudras for Healing and Transformation, among the most widely used texts for all teacher training programs both in the US and Brazil. New products are constantly being developed and introduced.

Focus on the student rather than the teacher – Some forms of Hatha Yoga are hierarchical and dogmatic with a focus on the organization and a guru or teacher. Integrative Yoga focuses on the unique individual needs of each student as a means to whole person health and healing without any form of religious hierarchy.

Each Yoga teacher is unique – some forms of Hatha Yoga teach a uniform sequence or sequences and the student molds themselves to that methodology. At Integrative Yoga, we provide a solid foundation in all aspects of Yoga teaching that allows each of our teachers to develop their own unique, creative approach to Yoga teaching based on their interests and their student’s needs. This individualized approach also reduces dramatically the possibility of injury.

Creativity and enjoyment in Yoga classes – Integrative Yoga teachers learn a wide range of special techniques ranging from Somatic movements to partner Yoga, Yoga with slings and the use of the cards from the Yoga Toolbox and Mudras to make their classes an absorbing and creative learning experience that student return to ongoingly.

Self-knowledge – The well-rounded focus on all the aspects of Yoga supported by the experiential methodology allow teachers and students to cultivate a lived experience of the essence of Yoga through a growing sense of inner freedom, autonomy, inner peace and a knowing of our life’s true purpose and meaning.

 

 

 

 

Yoga and the coronavirus

by Joseph Le Page

According to the philosophy of Yoga, prakriti, the material world, exists with the purpose of recognizing purusha, our true Being. In other words, the world is a field of learning that exists for the bloom of our true being as purpose and destiny of our life. If, as Yoga says, the world is a field of learning whose goal is spiritual awakening, what are the lessons to be learned from the current pandemic of the coronavirus? Although I fully recognize the gravity of the situation and the understandable fear and anxiety that the entire planet is experiencing, there is also something positive that can come from it; is there also a teaching?

 

Reflecting on this, several topics are presented:

Fragility – The social, political and economic systems that sustain the lives of human beings, including governments, health systems and companies, strive to present an image of permanence, stability and even invincibility. The current crisis reminds us of our fundamental fragility and vulnerability. This virus is a human tragedy, especially because it takes away from us those who should be most valued, the weak and the elderly. Compared to other pandemics in the past, however, this virus is not among the most threatening to life. Even so, it is beyond the ability of many governments and healthcare systems to deal with it effectively. From the point of view of Yoga, this fragility is inherent in our midst, which is subject to constant changes. This impermanence inherent in all things created is a vivid reminder that this life is not to be an end, but only a means to the recognition of our true being, a source of inner strength, of peace, and peace, which is always present, regardless of what is happening around us.

Interconnectivity – There were much worse pandemics in the past, but the world has never been as interconnected and interdependent as it is today. In the past, crises happened in other countries, far away, with no direct relation to our lives. Today, however, the mutation of a virus in a wild animal market in China almost instantly becomes a crisis for the entire planet, not only from the point of view of health, but also by all the large scale economic implications. Yoga teaches us the consciousness of our interconnectivity, that every thought and action is like stones thrown in a lake whose waves spread infinitely. Therefore, Yoga teaches awareness in all our activities with an understanding of how they will affect others and society in general. Yoga teaches the interconnectedness of all things, so that we, as a species, can no longer afford to act in an individual or selfish way.

Respect to nature – it is a known fact that the coronavirus can spread from unfit and unnatural creations of wild species, but what is less known is that this type of transmission is more likely when these species are under stress. This virus originated in China, but the number of places on the planet in which nature is threatened and under stress is numerous and increases exponentially. We can’t separate ourselves from the cycles and rhythms of nature whose essence is balance and harmony; we can’t expect nature to be patient with us indefinitely, even if our abuse of the natural world continues to continue. This virus can’t be seen separately from deforestation and global warming. Nature is Gaia, a living entity whose care and balance is now an absolute necessity for the survival of our species.

Simplicity – Many of us around the planet now live under restrictions in which only essential services, such as health, food and medicines, are working. With most of our shops closed, we have the possibility to see how many of our desires and needs really go beyond what is absolutely necessary. Yoga tells us that the search for satisfaction through material things will never be enough, because the material world was not to be an end in itself, but only a means of discovering the intrinsic contentment of our true Being. Yoga also teaches that we seek satisfaction and happiness in our surroundings in such a compulsive way, because the pleasure that we experience through material things is a glimpse of the complete peace of our true being that we know that is always present and waiting The best of the world. Maybe this is a time to reflect on our true desires, needs and priorities, wondering if the happiness we seek is in the material things or if it is already really present in our own being, closer to us than our own breath, waiting only to be clearly recognized.

Appreciation – In this moment of crisis, many are separated from the things that are used to do, things that provide pleasure and comfort, and even those that support our spiritual growth and awakening. Some are simple things, like meeting up with friends and family, going to a Yoga class or other group activity, walking in the park or going to the beach. Perhaps this moment of social distance is a time for a deeper appreciation of the blessings that we receive in every moment of daily life. This pandemic reminds us that even our breath is a gift and that we must live and breathe every moment, even the most challenging, with a lot of gratitude and appreciation.

Autonomy and freedom – According to Yoga, prakriti exists for purusha; all creation is a field of learning whose purpose is to awaken to our true Being. The body is a precious vehicle for this journey and, in times of crisis, it is normal for survival, both physical and economic, to become priority. And although this is a time to focus on staying physically healthy, it should also be a time to focus on the ultimate goal and purpose of this body, which, from the perspective of Yoga, is to know the true Being beyond any doubt, theory and questioning, through spiritual awakening. And while the physical being is finite, the true self is infinite and immortal; it is who we are in reality, who we have always been and who we will always be. Even if we value what is finite in this moment of crisis, this is also a moment to prioritize what is immortal, infinite, and always waiting to be seen, our real being, through the practices of yoga and meditation.

Dr. Ananda Balayogi will present Yoga as a Path of Healing in Brazil.

Yoga as a Path of Healing – DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED

An in-depth understanding of the benefits of Yoga

With Doctor Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani

Doctor Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is unique among Yoga masters in India today in that he is one of India’s best-known authorities in the field of Yoga therapy and Yoga research as director of CYTER, the Center of Yoga Therapy for Education and Research of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (housing the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College) in Pondicherry, India. Dr. Ananda is also a lineage holder for one of India’s oldest and mostly respected traditions of Yoga, the Gitananda tradition. Gitananda Yoga is a unique synthesis of ancient wisdom and modern science, following a tradition of eight Yoga masters reaching back into the 19th century. At the same time, Doctor Ananda’s father, Swami Gitananda Giri, a medical doctor, developed one of India’s most in-depth approaches to all of the Hatha and Raja Yoga sciences including asana, pranayama, mudra and meditation which he brought to the West starting in the 1950’s.

Dr. Ananda has authored 19 DVDs and 23 books on Yoga as well as published more than two hundred and fifty papers, compilations and abstracts on Yoga and Yoga research in National and International Journals. In addition, he is a Classical Indian Vocalist, Percussionist, Music Composer and Choreographer of Indian Classical Dance. He is a Member of the National Board for Yoga in the Ministry of AYUSH (ministry of traditional healing methodologies) of the Government of India and Consultant Yoga Expert for the WHO.

In this unique five-day experience, Doctor Ananda will provide a thorough understanding of Yoga as a path of healing, both at physical and subtle levels. This will be accompanied by experiences of the Yoga techniques from the Gitananda tradition presented by Dr. Ananda and some of his leading students to awaken these benefits. The course will be presented in English with translation into Portuguese.

Focus of the course

  • Understanding the systems of the body from both the Western and Yoga perspective and how Yoga cultivates optimal health. Specific practices from the Gitananda tradition will be given for each system.
  • The special importance of the autonomic nervous system in regulating states of relaxation and how this occurs at a physiological level along with the specific Yoga tools for regulating the nervous system.The special importance of the breath and pranayama for balancing all of the systems of the physical body and purifying the energy channels of the subtle body.
  • Understanding how the subtle systems of the body, including the chakras and pranavayus, function as vehicles for health and healing including specific practices from the Gitananda tradition for each subtle system.
  • Understanding the essence of spirituality within Yoga and its relationship to health and healing along with specific meditations for awakening the spiritual dimension.
  • The importance of sound and music in healing through Indian classical Carnatic vocal music. Doctor Ananda is a master of this art and will present a concert of Carnatic vocal singing.
  • The importance of sacred ritual for health, healing and awakening. Doctor Ananda will perform a fire ceremony for the health and healing of the participants.

The program includes

  • 6 nights of accommodation
  • 3 vegetarian meals daily
  • Daily Yoga and meditation practice with Dr. Ananda or his senior students
  • Morning and afternoon lecture and practice with Dr. Ananda
  • Evening activities with Dr. Ananda, including Indian classical music
  • Transportation from the Florianopolis International Airport to Enchanted Mountain
  • Tour of the local area and beaches on Sunday the 25th

* No Brazilian visa is needed for US or Canadian citizens

Course fee + Accommodation per person

Triple room – $ 895.00

Double room – $ 995.00

Single room – $1095.00

Students are invited to arrive on Saturday, 24th of October, in order to rest before the program begins on the evening of the 25th. A tour of the beautiful coastal village of Garopaba during the day on Sunday the 25th is included in your package.

$ 100.00 is paid at the time of registration. The balance is paid on your credit card at the retreat site.

Enchanted Mountain Yoga Festival – Friday, October 30th to Monday, November 2nd * date might suffer some changes due to the Coronavirus pandemic

Following Dr. Ananda’s program, there will be a three-day Yoga Festival at Enchanted Mountain during which Dr. Ananda will be the keynote speaker and guest of honor. Dr. Ananda’s presentations will be in English with translation in Portuguese. The other presentations and Yoga classes will be in Portuguese.

Festival fee + accommodation + 3 meals per day per person

Triple room – $395.00

Double room – $495.00

For reservations please contact iytyogatherapy@gmail.com

Mudras for Spiritual Awakening

Along the spiritual path, we move from the identification with the limited personality to an experience of our limitless true being, from fragmentation to wholeness, from doubt to clarity and from suffering to freedom. Most spiritual traditions present the cultivation of positive qualities as an important support for our spiritual journey. We begin by cultivating these qualities consciously and, as conditioning is released, we gradually come to see that these positive qualities are reflections of our own true being.

The following spiritual qualities have been especially helpful in our own journey toward healing and awakening. Each of these qualities is supported by a specific mudra along with its accompanying inspiration, meditation and affirmation.

  1. Commitment, Sthirata – Making the spiritual journey our first priority.
  2. Openness, Vipulachetana – Gaining a wider, more open perspective of ourselves, life and other people.
  3. Faith, Shraddha – Developing confidence in our true inner being, allowing it to guide our spiritual journey.
  4. Acceptance, Kshanti – Welcoming all that happens in our lives wholeheartedly as a learning and a blessing.
  5. Compassion, Karuna – Recognizing our essential unity with all beings.
  6. Discernment, Viveka – Distinguishing clearly between our limited personality and our limitless true being.
  7. Equanimity, Samatva – Resting in our center securely so that we are not shaken by life’s ups and downs so easily.
  8. Spiritual Energy, Shakti – Cultivating the vitality that supports our spiritual journey.
  9. Self-Mastery, Vashitvam – Releasing identification with our conditioning to become the masters of our own destiny.
  10. Freedom, Moksha – Integrating wisdom and compassion, allowing us to experience the freedom and unity that are the essence of our true being.

 

 

By Joseph Le Page and Lilian Aboim
*Introduction of Chapter 15, Mudras for Healing and Transformation

YOGA VACATION PACKAGE

Yoga Nidra

Yoga nidra is rooted in the Tantric tradition. Tantric practices also combine visualization and respiration to induce particular psycho-spiritual states. The original Tantric form of yoga nidra is called nyasa, which means “to place.” Nyasa is a Tantric technique to awaken, harmonize, and perfect each part of the body through mantras placed in each body area. Each part of the body, including the joints of the fingers and toes, has a particular mantra dedicated to it as a way of sanctifying the entire body in a precise and all-inclusive manner. A simplified variation is to internally chant the sound of OM and place it in each area of the body.

This practice has a strong neural-physiological foundation based on the architecture of the cerebral cortex. The cortex has a “homunculus” or “little man” mapped along its surface. This little man has all the body parts of the human being, but the proportions are very different. The hands and face occupy the largest area and therefore the largest number of neurons. Complex movements of the hand and the mouth used for communication occupy large areas, while the legs and trunk occupy relatively less.

As we place awareness in each part of the body, we tune this area into the sensing channels and away from the thinking channels. The brain cannot think and feel simultaneously. The alternation is so quick that it appears to be simultaneous. Therefore, the overall effect of rotating our awareness through the body is the systematic disconnection of the body from the higher thought processes that induce tension. The result is complete relaxation.

Yoga nidra can be defined as yogic sleep. It is a combination of relaxation, affirmation, respiration, and visualization techniques that work together to facilitate the integration of body, mind, and spirit. Because of this multidimensional approach, yoga nidra is unsurpassed as a form of relaxation for the physical body, as a vehicle for clearing psychological problems, and as a method of profound meditation.

Yoga nidra can reach different levels of the individual, depending on their need and the type of yoga nidra presented:

At the level of Sthula sharira: (gross physical body)

Relaxation of the physical body

  • Physical relaxation supports healing from stress-related illness.
  • Physiological and psychological rejuvenation can arise from deep relaxation of the physical body.
  • Enhanced body awareness supports self-care and reduces potential for injury and progression of disease.

At the level of Suksma sharira (subtle body):

  • Here yoga nidra is considered traditional yogic psychotherapy. Through self-awareness and mindfulness, the yogi comes to witness the mind and thoughts, a process called antar mouna or inner silence. Another technique known as Chidakash dharana internalizes the senses to improve perception of inner mental and psychic experiences.
  • Deep relaxation techniques are helpful in the treatment of insomnia.
  • Learning is enhanced as a result of the deep concentration and focus that arise from these practices.
  • Acceptance and integration of emotions is brought about by these practices.

Karana sharira (causal body):

  • Yoga nidra reaches the deepest parts of the mind.
  • It supports the connection of the individual to cosmic consciousness.
  • It is a tool used as a portal to higher consciousness.

 

 

 

*extracted from Teacher Training Manual