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After 4 years of hard work, aspiring teachers of the BDY / AYI® teacher training successfully completed their final weekend in Munich. This special weekend was a culmination of what was covered over the teacher training where the trainees demonstrated the knowledge they had acquired under the guidance of Anna Trökes and Dr. Ronald Steiner. The final exam tested their understanding of theory and the practical application of the material covered.

As the TRIKA-6 training comes to an end, graduates are presented with a new start with so many possibilities.

Trainee and successful graduate Beate Troger shared her experience during the final weekend of the training.

"Practice diary ...energy cycles... Patañjali...More than 1,500 days have passed since our first weekend in Munich. We are at the end of the four-year BDY / AYI® yoga teaching training where we have been fully immersed in the AYInnovation® method. Here and now is the moment where our efforts come to fruition in a room with 14 yogis, two teachers, one examiner and a cook.

As we stand in a circle, we hold hands and chant OM together. It is the final hour of our last training weekend. The floor seems to float. My heart is racing. Warm tears well up in my eyes. I feel the person next to me squeeze my hand tight. I have such intense feelings in this moment that I barely grasp what is taking place."

The Teacher Training Program

The goal of the training program is the active engagement with Hatha yoga on a physical, psychological, philosophical and spiritual level. Additionally, teaching skills are developed. The training itself follows the tradition of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. This program was developed and led by Anna Trökes, with over 30 years teaching experience in Yoga and author of many books on the discipline, and Dr. Ronald Steiner, a physician and experienced Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practitioner.

The curriculum focuses on:

- Detailed knowledge and experience of functional anatomy and physiology
- Detailed analysis of tradition and the relevant yoga texts, particularly the Yoga Sutras and other key texts on Hatha Yoga
- Teaching techniques with a focus on precise alignment and effective and safe adjustments

Looking Back on the Training

"Anna Trökes and Ronald Steiner have guided us through this training for more than four years now. Although at first this period of four years seemed daunting, the time has flown by so quickly! Here we are in May 2016 together with our examiner Antje Bischoff for the last time in Seminarhof Lamplstätt in Wasserburg am Inn . As we gather here for this last time I understand that while we were drawn to the training to deepen our knowledge of yoga, to meditate and grow as yogis and yoga teachers, that in reality we have been following a path which required us to reflect on our lives and have challenged us to truly live yoga by connecting with ourselves and others in a much more profound way."

The test was a challenge for each of us, but it was one that we signed up for when we chose this training program. The exam brought the training full circle, where elements from throughout were applied and combined. And it wasn't just anatomy, philosophy and AYInnovation® teaching skills or cues which were tested. We were expected to bring the essence of yoga into play, even in this very unnatural exam environment.

"How am I breathing? What am I doing in this moment, and why am I acting or reacting in this way? What is my inner voice, my heart, my intuition telling me? Why does this internal dialogue between angels and devils seem to continue incessantly? Why am I here and why did I choose this training? And why the hell do I have this irrational fear of the verbal exam?"

The Close of the Final Exam

The exam provided each of us with a unique challenge. And although we had heard repeatedly during the training weekends that it was not passing the final exam alone but rather a culmination of the effort that we had invested in the training, the long journeys, the highly complex organizational work, to balance the training weekends with work and family, the intellectual and creative power that we had applied to designing our thesis and preparing for the final exam. And it was true, the fruits of our labor were 13 exam hours in which we were able to enjoy and learn from our colleagues' experiences. Each presentation was invaluable: with well thought-out and deeply elaborated topics lovingly wrapped in inspirational words, garnished with challenging asanas, supported by breathing exercises and imbued with a lot of soothing energy.

Aṣṭāṅga Vinyasa Yoga is always the same?

And that precisely in Aṣṭāṅga Vinyasa Yoga. Yes, Aṣṭāṅga Vinyasa Yoga. That's the yoga with the series where you practice always the same thing, right? Where no teacher cues the next pose? The one where you practice every day? Many Aṣṭāṅga Vinyasa yoga instructors, myself included, are confronted repeatedly with these widespread assumptions or even quite stark prejudices against our style of yoga. A path of yoga, which seems to polarize practitioners so strongly that you can either love or hate it. All I can really say is that I am grateful that our teacher Ronald Steiner has developed the AYInnovation® method. This method is based on the old tradition and heavily seasoned with modern medical knowledge. It has created a path which gives us more freedom rather than less to creatively integrate the various facets of the yoga practice.

Clear Guidelines with Space for Individuality

And so with this openness we set out to deepen our knowledge on a wide range of topics and focuses in our training groups for the final exam. We were teachers and students, and when the time came even the guys played the role of a pregnant Ashtangi. In the lesson demos we practiced the Queen and King poses, opened our hearts wide, we each experienced " atha " and the first Yoga Sūtra by Patañjali, we placed our feet on the ground in a brand new way. We practiced the full Series, we enjoyed kumbhaka, we wobbled and balanced on yoga mat rolls, we focused on dṛṣṭi, we spread our arms out wide like an eagle, we became more aware of the pause between inhale and exhale, we bathed in the sound of OM, we sang and practiced Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana countless times, a multifunctional position, which seems to suit almost any focus.

True Authenticity instead of Rigid Conformity

Filled with gratitude for every single hour of this weekend I am still impressed by how we seemed to strike each key on the keyboard of the piano of Yoga through our projects. I felt deeply moved by these hours together with my fellow yogis on so many levels: emotional, mental, physiological, psychological and energetic. The presentations in their entirety showed that in Aṣṭāṅga Vinyasa Yoga, especially in the AYInnovation® method, there is so much more than simply reeling off the list of asanas in the First Series. Each of us taught in a unique and authentic way: adding onto the knowledge and experience that our teachers have entrusted us with. With authenticity comes a strong personal relationship which softens the edges of the practice. My dear colleagues with whom I have taken this incredible journey are not only competent, but truly authentic in their teaching.

... and Ralph

The Very Last Lesson

"We are now almost at the end of the line. After Sebi's lesson on dṛṣṭi followed by a final brunch together as a group, it's all over."

The training, testing, a significant period in our lives. With our teachers Ronald Steiner and Anna Trökes, and our guest lecturers Ebi Bärr and Thomas Bannberg we have covered so many different aspects of yoga it is almost unfathomable. During our time together we practiced for hundreds of hours together, and took part in meaningful arguments and discussions with one another. We have learned so much that words can't even fully describe about ourselves, our lives, our bodies. And even as our group dwindled over time to more than half, each one of us who has been part of the group has grown enormously - and by the time of the final exam we feel as if we have matured beyond who we were at the start of the training. We sang and danced, cried and laughed. We shared joy and sorrow together, be it yogic or unyogic, and walked together through the ups and downs of all that life brings with it.

Good food makes for good times. Thank you Heather and Flippo from Pink Elephant Cooking

Graduation and New Beginnings

We took walks on this weekend through vast pastures and forests in Lamplstätt and looked one last time into the late evening sky at the shooting stars knowing it would be the last time togther. Phew, a huge life-changing undertaking is now behind us, and with all the sentimentality and emotions aside, it just feels right. Although the four years of our BDY- and AYI training are now over, its conclusion for many of us represents a new beginning. Now it is time for us to sow the seeds of our knowledge, to pass on what what learned and experienced in our time here. The only constant in life is change, and this is universally true. No matter where our path takes us be it in yoga or otherwise - AYInnovation®, and our group will always be our anchor.

A Heartfelt Thank You!

Finally, I would like to simply recite my favorite mantra: Thank you! Thanks to our teachers: Anna, Ron and Ebi! Thanks to our palate stimulators who provided us with nourishment during the training: Heather, Flippo and Franz! Thank you Matthias and Ralph. Thanks to all my dear fellow yogis who have accompanied me on a very meaningful part of my yoga path. I am sending each and every one of you a big hug. And last but not least I would like to extend a huge thank you to my beloved family, without your support I would not have been able to complete this journey.

Ronald:
Over the last four years I have grown fond of each of the participants in this training group. I have shared my enthusiasm for yoga, I have shared my techniques and experiences. In the end it's just great to see a new AYI® Advanced teacher giving all they've got in their demo lesson.

I have to admit I always tremble along with the group during that final weekend. That being said, I was really impressed by this particular group. There were some incredible demo lessons that I was fortunate to witness.