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Yoga | Buddhism | Psychology

Yin & Yang    3 Vehicles    Psycho/Spiritual Inquiry

The Insight Yoga Institute offers five and ten-day residential retreats that help practitioners integrate yoga, Buddhism and spiritual psychology into a skillful practice to balance the body, heart and mind. The program can be enjoyed by anyone as individual retreats or as an advanced studies YA 500 hour yoga teacher training. Retreats are offered in CA, NY, France, and Thailand. IYI retreats bring together the dynamic and receptive aspects of yoga, the three schools of Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana), and the skillful methods of psycho-dynamic personal and relational work.

At the Insight Yoga Institute we feel that integrating essential teachings and practices from these wisdom traditions amplifies our insights and generates the potential for them to dawn as wisdom, while becoming evident in how we live our lives and benefit others.

Program Description

Insight Yoga involves 4 main aspects of development that are each interdependent. The body (physical and subtle), the heart, the mind, and relationships.

For the body we engage in regular active and receptive (or Yin/Yang) asana practices that are designed to develop and maintain pliancy in the muscles as well as the joints, to increase strength and vitality in all the systems of the body, and to cultivate a sensitivity to and refinement of the energy body- the gateway to an ease of being. Yin yoga is a meditative physical practice that stimulates the balancing of the energetic pathways (meridians) through holding floor poses while Yang yoga involves a slow alignment based movement practice.

For the heart, we engage in awareness practices that hold and help heal the wounded heart. We practice opening to and at times dialoguing with emotional patterns of reactivity, often uncovering hidden insights and gifts that can blossom into genuine self-love and compassion, causing the release of our self constructs and the compensatory strategies of armoring (protecting, shutting down) that naturally follow. This has a direct and lasting impact on our relationship to ourself and others.

Mind Training involves practices of visualization, contemplation, concentration, mindfulness, and open awareness drawing from Yogic, Taoist, and Buddhist teachings.

Learning to maintain a connection to our body, heart and mind when in relationships is probably the most challenging aspect of all. Relational awareness practices foster kindness, deep listening, meaningful exchanges, and learning to appropriately trust and reveal vulnerabilities with others. Practices include generating loving-kindness and compassion, as well as engaging in contemplative dialogues with others on specific subjects.

What is the focus of Insight Yoga? And what is the primary objective of the practice?
Each retreat will be exploring in depth the possibility of living with awareness in an embodied and interpersonal way, learning to meet all the psychological defenses and fears we inevitably collect during the maturation process. We bring together the dynamic and receptive aspects of yoga, the 3 schools of Buddhism (Theravada, Zen and Tibetan), and the skillful methods of psycho-dynamic personal and relational work. We feel both body/mind awareness and healing the psychological wounds of the heart are essential elements for developing a connection with our unfettered ground of being. This is the doorway that enables us to abide more regularly in uncontrived joy, elicit insights into the nature of existence, and most importantly, to be of genuine service to others as a teacher, lover, parent, and/or fellow human being.

Who founded the school and when?
Sarah and Ty Powers in 2010
(Bios on Faculty page).

Do you certify Insight Yoga teachers? What does certification entail?
In order to be endorsed to teach Insight Yoga, we ask that you complete our entire 500 hour program: residential retreats, daily meditation practice, monthly readings and writings, regular check-ins with your assigned mentor, and upon completion we ask you to send us an hour long video of one of your classes for review.

What programs are required for the 500-hour certification?

  • 8-day Yin/Yang Training with Sarah — 80 hours
  • 15-day Teacher Training with Paul Grilley (Level 1) — 100 hours   (See Paul's website for schedule)
  • 5-day Retreat with Jennifer Welwood — 50 hours
  • 5-day Silent Vipassana Retreat either at Spirit Rock, IMS or Gaia House — 50 hours
  • 5-day Intensive with Maty Ezraty — 25 hours
  • Four 5-day Silent Retreats with Sarah and Ty — 50 hours each
    • The nature of happiness and how to cultivate its causes (the 4 mind changings and the 4 noble truths)
    • A closer look at the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness
    • The Hindrances: Working with Obstacles while playing with possibilities (taking emotional afflictions as the path: turning poison into medicine)
    • Expanding the heart: living with love, compassion, joy and equanimity: Buddha activity in our everyday lives

2014 Schedule

March 3-8 5-day Retreat with Jennifer Welwood in California   Details 50 YA hrs
May 19-28 8-day Insight Yoga TT with Sarah & Ty Powers in Bordeaux, France   Details 80 YA hrs
July 20-26 5-day Silent Retreat with Sarah & Ty Powers in Claverack, NY   Details 50 YA hrs
August 3-12 8-day Insight Yoga TT with Sarah & Ty Powers in Claverack, NY   Details 80 YA hrs
September 8-14 6-day Silent Retreat with Sarah & Ty Powers in Bordeaux, France   Details 60 YA hrs
October 20-26 5-day Silent Retreat with Sarah & Ty Powers in Chiang Mai, Thailand   Details 50 YA hrs
November 12-23 10-day Insight Yoga TT with Sarah & Ty Powers in Ko Samui, Thailand   Details 100 YA hrs

What are the major influences in the creation of the Insight Yoga Institute?
From the yoga lineages the influences are the physical and subtle body teachings in the Hatha Yoga Pradapika, the postural integration teachings of Iyengar Yoga, the grace and flow connected to breath of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, the personalized breath based slow flow of Viniyoga, the long floor poses that nourish the energy body of Yin Yoga, the teachings of inner yogas in Tibetan Buddhism, and the energy gathering practices of Qi Gong.

From the Buddhist schools, the emphasis is on The Eight Fold Path of early Buddhism from Theravadin teachings, the emphasis on compassion as represented by The Bodhisattva vow and enlightened living in the teachings of the 6 Paramitas of the Mahayana path, and the skillful means and wisdom teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism.

From the psychological world both the teachings of Buddhist Psychology (Abhidharma), as well as western psycho-synthesis models (Spiritual Psychology) that relate to the possibility of healing our individual emotional wounds, and discovering and dispelling our compensatory strategies of armoring (defensiveness), while identifying and working with our limiting self constructs (fixed ideas about who we are), as well as the recognition of our universal essential nature, what buddhism calls our un-contrived openness and clarity.

Who are the yoga teachers at the Insight Yoga Institute?
Ty and Sarah Powers with support from Paul and Suzee Grilley and Maty Ezraty; renowned Buddhist teachers Thanissara, Kittisaro, and the spiritual psychology teacher Jennifer Welwood (see Faculty page).

What makes the Insight Yoga Institute unique (that is, different from other styles/schools of yoga)?
The skillful integration of genuine paths of Yoga with all three major lineages of Buddhism and training in graduate level Spiritual Psychology. Teachers at the Insight Yoga Institute are dedicated to introspection, self-inquiry, and living with awareness in the body, heart and mind. Through a dedication to daily practice and regular personal retreats, one becomes more of a refuge for oneself. Developing the ability to respond, rather than react, allows us to become more compassionate and intimate with the inevitable changes of life (sickness, old age, death, loss, pain), and to more authentically share that quality with others.

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