[PLEASE NOTE—The following information pertains ONLY to those who are taking this course as part of Ananda Yoga Therapy Training..
Complete list of all the IAYT Competencies for Yoga Therapy Trainees]

Ananda Meditation® Teacher Training Level 1

We are not currently accepting new students in the Ananda Yoga Therapy Training

Course Contact Hours: 53 (Residential)


Students need to be meditating daily for a minimum of ½ hr with the technique the course faculty sends them through MP3 with written instructions on how to follow. In most cases, students sign up for this course 2-3 months ahead of time and therefore have the time to do this. In some cases, we’ll accept students 1-2 weeks prior to class if necessary.

Teaching Format

This is a 12-day residential course, which includes a combination of lecture, discussion, experiential, practice teaching of the meditation technique, and student teachings. On three afternoons of the course we have the students teach each other, with supervision of qualified faculty. After that, one afternoon of the course, the students teach volunteer clients, with individual supervision in which at the end each student receives feedback from a senior faculty on how they did and how they can improve. There are two sessions in which each student gives a presentation on meditation, with an assigned topic to talk about. At the second presentation, each student receives feedback by a senior faculty on how they did, and how they can improve. Also each student has to submit a written exam at the end of the training.

Course Description

This course is focused primarily on teaching the students how to teach an ancient, universal technique of meditation, from India, but the training also includes many aspects of meditation, such as how to sit comfortably for meditation, how to guide through a variety of pranayama techniques, before meditation, how to lead affirmations and visualizations to aid meditation, and a variety of other related aspects, that can be helpful to the teaching of meditation.

This 12-day training provides a solid foundation for teaching both the science and the art of meditation. Our curriculum includes classes and workshops on these topics:

  • How to teach basic meditation skills to anyone
  • The essential connection of meditation and energy
  • Concentration techniques for quieting the mind
  • Patanjali’s Eight Limbed Yoga
  • How to teach breathing exercises, visualizations, walking meditations
  • Simple yoga stretches to prepare for meditation
  • How to sit comfortably for meditation
  • Opening the heart and developing devotion
  • The scientific effects of meditation on the brain and nervous system
  • Meditation and prayer
  • Meditation and intuition
  • Spiritual counseling suggestions
  • How to set up and market your classes

The spectrum of techniques we share during the training are based on the highest ancient yogic practices of India. Students practice and teach extensively during the training, with ample guidance and feedback from faculty. Our curriculum prepares students to teach meditation skills to anyone. We consider this to be one of the key skills of a yoga therapist.

In addition to inspiring classes offered by some of Ananda's finest and most experienced meditation teachers, students participate in daily meditations and Ananda Yoga® practices, and receive a comprehensive teaching manual. Graduates receive a Certificate of Completion and credits toward Level 2 yoga teacher certification and Ananda Yoga Therapy Training. Meditation Teacher Training is offered three times in 2018. Please see attached schedule for the general flow of the training.

Faculty: Ananda Ministers:

Nayaswami Diksha McCord, BSc, BFA, Level 2 Ananda Yoga & Meditation Teacher
Nayaswami Gyandev McCord, PhD, E-RYT 500, Director of Ananda Yoga Teacher Training, Kriyacharya

Learning Objectives

Students will know:

  • What meditation is and what it is not;
  • How to get comfortable for a silent, sitting meditation, and how to teach students to do the same;
  • How to use the breath to calm the body and mind;
  • Concentration techniques to overcome mental restlessness;
  • How to use affirmations, visualization, and walking meditations;
  • How to open the heart chakra and develop one’s feeling nature;
  • How to use music as an aid to meditation;
  • Effective presentation skills and how to overcome stage fright;
  • How to become a truly dynamic teacher;
  • How to organize and market your classes.

Required Texts/Reading Materials

Included as a part of the course is a 150-page Meditation Teacher’s Manual. Students are assigned required reading assignments from the manual’s Table of Contents.

Reading Assignments

MTT I Reading Assignments from Manual

WednesdaySection I 1.1The Basics of Meditation (1–8)
Section IV.What is a Yuga? (114-116)
ThursdaySection I 1.1The Basics of Meditation (9–13)
FridaySection III.Different States of Consciousness (86-89)
Levels of Consciousness
Benefits and Goals of Meditation (11-12, 96)
MondaySection I 1.3Obstacles to Meditation (34-35)
Section II 2.1Energy and Yoga (76-81)
Section IVThe Eight-Fold Path of Meditation (103-106)
TuesdaySection I 1.2Guided Meditations (16-30)
Section I 1.6The 10 basic steps of teaching Meditation (73)
Section IIIWorking with Affirmations (96-100)
WednesdaySection I. 1.4Devotion and Music (40-51)
ThursdaySection I 1.3Application (31-39)
Section I 1.6How to Teach Meditation (56-64)

Ananda Meditation Teacher Training Manual Table of Contents

Section I – Teaching Meditation1
1.1— The Basics of Meditation1
Meditation is1
What Meditation is NOT2
Why Meditate?3
The Essence of Joy4
Getting Comfortable for a Seated Meditation5
Practical Hints for Meditation8
The Hong-Sau Technique9
How to Meditate with the Hong-Sau Technique9
Preparation: Relaxation9
The Hong-Sau Technique: Concentration 10
Meditation: Expansion10
Enhancing Mantra (Hong-Sau) Meditation Practices11
Benefits of Meditation11
Goals of Meditation12
Why Hong-Sau Works13
1.2 Guided Meditations16
Guided Meditations on the Eight Aspects of God21
Walking Meditations29
1.3 Application31
Bringing Meditation Into Daily Life31
The Importance of Good Company (“Satsang”)32
Meditation Questionnaire — Taking it Home With You34
Obstacles to Meditation34
Signs of Spiritual Progress36
How to Take Seclusion 38
A Sample Day of Seclusion39
1.4 Devotion and Music40
The Devotion aspect of meditation40
Developing Devotion 42
Devotion—Guided Introspection44
Intuitive Guidance 45
What is Chanting? 46
1.5 Guided Prayers52
Effective Prayer52ii
Paramhansa Yogananda’s Healing Prayer Procedures53
Sample Prayers54
1.6 How to Teach Meditation56
How to Be an Inspiring Teacher56
How to Prepare for a Class/Lecture/Workshop58
Suggestions On How to Teach Meditation60
Overcoming Nervousness and Stage Fright63
For Nervousness in General 63
Questions Often Asked About Meditation65
Suggestions for a Four-Week “How to Meditate” Class Series68
Teaching Meditation & Stress Management in the Corporate World71
The 10 Basics Steps of Teaching Meditation73
A Short Version for Teaching Meditation73
‘The Art of Counseling”74
Section II – Physical Aids to Meditation76
2.1—Energy and Yoga 76
Basic Principles of The Energization Exercises 76
How To Teach or Lead Energization77
What Is Breath? 78
Pranayama (Breathing Exercises)81
The Circle of Joy Breath 83
The 6 “Superconscious Living” Exercises84
Seated Yoga Stretches Before Meditation85
Section III – Working with Consciousness86
3.1—Levels of Consciousness86
Different States of Consciousness86
Levels of Consciousness 87
Introspection and Journal Writing Suggestions90
Spiritual Introspection Questions92
Kundalini Power and How to Work With It93
Goal(s) and Benefits of Meditation96
Working with Affirmations96
How to Guide Affirmations and Visualizations98
Samadhi (poem by Paramhansa Yogananda)101
Section IV – Tools of Yoga and Meditation103
4.1—The Eight-Fold Path of Meditation103
Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga103
Yama (Control Or Moral Restraint)103iii
Niyama (Non-Control Or Moral Requirement)104
Asana (Posture)104
Applying The Attitudes Of Patanjali’s Yamas & Niyamas To Meditation106
Creating The Habit Of Meditation107
Meditation Habit Changing Worksheet108
Sadhana Chart (Sample)109
The Different Paths Of Yoga — and — What Is Yoga?110
Taking It Home With You112
Suggested Books And CDs113
What is a Yuga?114
Section V – Healing and Meditation117
Dealing with Stress117
Twenty One Effective Ways of Dealing with Stress118
Dealing with the Dark Forces119
Six–Point Plan for Perfect Health122
Healing for The Spirit123
Living a Balanced Life124
Section VI – Research on Meditation127
6.1 Research on Stress and Meditation127
The High Cost of Stress127
Effectiveness of Meditation in Reducing Stress128
Engineered for Divinity — “The Brain” by Peter van Houten, M.D.132
Meditation and Emotions: Their Impact on Your Brain and Health137
Section VII – Marketing Your Classes142
Marketing Your Classes142
Marketing Tools for the Meditation Teacher144
Sources for Various Meditation Props and Gear145
Section VIII 146
8.1—Secrets of Meditation146
8.2—Secrets of Inner Peace149
8.3—Meditation for Starters150

Subject Matter/IAYT Competencies Covered

Section 1. Yoga Foundations

Category 1.1. Yoga Teachings and Philosophy
1.1.1 Familiarity with the evolution of the teachings and philosophy of the yoga
tradition and its relevance and application to yoga therapy, including teachings
from Vedic and post-Vedic periods, Samkhya,Yoga,Tantra, and Ayurveda.
Examples of concepts and models from the above teachings and philosophy
relevant to yoga therapy, include but are not limited to,
a. tanmatra/bhuta/indriya (subtle element/gross elements/senses);
b. purusha/prakrti (consciousness/material world);
c. pancamaya kosha (dimensions of the human system);
e. duhkha (suffering/discomfort).

Category 1.2. Yoga and the Mind
1.2.1 Knowledge of yoga perspectives on the structure, states, functioning, and conditions of the mind, including, but not limited to, drashtr (seer), drshya (seen); antahkarana citta (consciousness), buddhi (intellect), ahamkara (ego), manas (mind); citta vrtti (activities of the mind), citta parinama (structural changes in the mind), vyutthana/nirodha (mind's potential for distraction and focus); artha (cognition), bhava (mood), svabhava (inborn nature), vasana (residue of experience), samskara (conditioned pattern of thinking and behavior); and states of mind: mudha (stupefied/dull), kshipta (disturbed), vikshipta (alternating between distraction and focus), ekagrata (one-pointed), nirodha (focus enveloped/held/ restrained), vaishvanara (waking), taijasa (dream), prajña (deep sleep), turiya (beyond).

1.2.2 Knowledge of yoga perspectives on distracted/disturbed conditions of mind and their expressions as expressed in such texts as the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and other texts, including but not limited to, klesha (affliction); lobha, krodha, and moha (greed, anger, attachment); duhkha and daurmanasya (suffering/discomfort and negative attitude/thinking), sarupyam (identification with the contents of the mind or seer taking the same form as the mind); and antaraya (obstacles to progress in yoga).

Section 2. Biomedical and Psychological Foundations

Category 2.1. Anatomy and Physiology
2.1.1 Knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, including all major systems of
the body and their interrelationships, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.

Category 2.3. Psychology and Mental Health
2.3.1 Basic knowledge of commonly occurring mental health conditions— from psychological distress to psychiatric conditions—their symptoms, and common approaches/interventions, as they relate to the work of a yoga therapist.
2.3.2 Basic knowledge of psychological concepts and terminology, including mood,
cognition, behavior, and personality, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.

Category 2.4. Additional Knowledge
2.4.1 Familiarity with models of human development, including developmental stages, lifecycles, and personality, and their importance to medical and psychological health and well-being.
2.4.2 Familiarity with the influence of familial, social, cultural, and religious
conditioning on mental and medical perspectives of health and healing.

Category 2.5. Body and Mind Integration
2.5.1 Knowledge of the interaction of the body, breath, mind, intellect, and emotions
in health and well-being.

Section 3. Yoga Therapy Tools and Therapeutic Skills

Category 3.1. Yoga Therapy Tools
3.1.1 In-depth knowledge of the application of yama and niyama.
3.1.2 In-depth knowledge of the range of yoga practices and their potential therapeutic effects for common conditions Practices may include, but are not limited to, asana (postures); pranayama (regulated breathing); meditation and relaxation techniques such as bhavana (visualization), mantra (recitation), vihara (lifestyle modifications) including basic yogic dietary concepts.
3.1.3 In-depth knowledge of contraindications of yoga practices for specific conditions and circumstances.

Category 3.2. Basic Principles of the Therapeutic Relationship
3.2.1. In-depth knowledge of, and observed capacity for, well-developed communication skills: listening, presence, directive and non-directive dialogue.
3.2.2. Demonstrated ability to recognize, adjust, and adapt to specific client/student needs in the evolving therapeutic/professional relationship.
3.2.3. Demonstrated ability to recognize and manage the subtle dynamics inherent in the therapist/client relationship.
3.2.4. In-depth Knowledge of the scope of practice of yoga therapy and how to assess the need for referral to other professional services.

Category 3.3. Principles and Skills for Educating Clients/Students
3.3.1. In-depth knowledge of and demonstrated ability to implement effective teaching methods, adapt to unique styles of learning, provide supportive and effective feedback, acknowledge the client's/student's progress, and cope with unique difficulties/successes.
3.3.2. In-depth knowledge of and demonstrated ability to transmit the value of self-awareness and self- responsibility throughout the therapeutic process.
3.3.3. In-depth knowledge of and demonstrated ability to develop and adjust appropriate practice strategies to the client/student.

Category 3.4. Principles and Skills for Working with Groups
3.4.1. Basic knowledge of and demonstrated ability to design, implement, and evaluate group programs.
3.4.2. Familiarity with group dynamics and techniques, including communication skills, time management, and the establishment of priorities and boundaries, as well as techniques to address the specific needs of individual participants, to the degree possible in a group setting.

Section 5. Professional Practice

Category 5.1. Ethical Principles
5.1.1 In-depth knowledge of yoga practices and methods for self-inquiry related to establishing, practicing, and maintaining ethical principles.
5.1.2 In-depth knowledge of generally accepted ethical principles of health care codes of conduct and yoga’s ethical principles.
5.1.3 Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of generally accepted ethical principles and related concepts from the yoga tradition to professional interactions and relationships.
5.1.4 In-depth knowledge of the scope of practice of yoga therapy, resulting in the demonstrated ability to discern the need for referral to other modalities.
5.1.5 Knowledge of the extent of one's own individual training, skills, and evolving experience in yoga therapy, and knowledge of the importance of practicing within such parameters.

Category 5.2. Legal, Regulatory, and Business Issues Pertaining to Yoga Therapy
5.2.2 Basic knowledge of business practices relevant to the work of a yoga therapist, including record keeping, planning, and financial management.

Category 5.4. Personal and Professional Development and Continuing Education
5.4.1 Knowledge of the fundamental value of ongoing personal practice, long-term mentorship, and skills maintenance/development through continuing education.
5.4.2 Knowledge of when and how to seek advice and support for case consultation, educational advancement, and personal practice.

Course Completion Requirements

Students have demonstrated understanding of course learning objectives by their supervised practicum, attendance at all lectures, participation in practice teaching & team-teaching sessions, and completion of 4 short talks during the program. In addition, the completion of reading assignments and the final written exam are required.

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