Embodied Philosophy: Immersion & Practice Intensive

Noah Mazé - Online Training,
Ongoing

Join Noah Online for 8 Days of Deep Dive Study of all things Yoga Philosophy– Mythology, History, Culture & Theme Based Teaching. 

The yoga tradition has the better part of 3,500+ years of rigorous philosophical traditions, each arguing their own views about the world and humanity and the goals/meanings/purposes of this whole project called life. And in addition, we have 6,000+ years of mythological storytelling and archetypes. How does that reduce down and package into a 60/75/90-minute postural yoga class?  It does not. In any yoga class, we are teaching just a fraction of the immensity of this material. Not to mention that most of the poses we teach are not older than 1930s-1950s, c/o Krishnamacharya and the “Mysore Asana Revival” (and some of these poses were just invented on Instagram last month!). Add to this that there are no standards or agreements over methodology and pedagogy in modern postural yoga across stylistic boundaries, so the stew that is called “yoga” is really quite vast and diverse.   

This fact can spark frustration for yoga teachers and practitioners, who want to know the “answers” in neat and tidy categories.  For others, this diversity and plurality sparks wonder and curiosity.  At the Mazé Method, this fact sparks a strong desire for ongoing learning, deepening experience, endless creative possibilities, and clear paths for decision making within the context of what and how to teach. The more one learns, the more one realizes how much more there is. The more you advance the project of knowledge, the more aware you become of how much more there is that you do not know. Knowledge expands the horizon of ignorance. 

In addition to the philosophical traditions, yoga offers a wide and deep ocean of mythology, filled with symbolism, mythic narrative, and rigorous philosophies. We will dive deeply into both the rigorous philosophical AND mythic storytelling traditions of yoga. We will explore the stories and symbolism behind yoga poses and more deeply understand the practices of asana, meditation, mantra, mudra etc. We will explore asana and the stories and symbolism behind the asanas that we commonly practice and teach, explore how the stories that the poses tell are told again and again in our body/mind/breath with endless variation, how the interpretive possibilities affect our experience of yoga. We will explore these teachings in both their historical context, as well as how we, as modern yogis, may derive meaning from these ancient wisdom traditions. 

The symbolism and mythology of yoga’s spiritual tradition add deeper dimensions of meaning to the practice on the mat and provide insights that expand our understanding of the historical traditions.  This peek into yoga philosophy and mythic storytelling offer many insights to us now, as 21st century yogis, about our own conscience, culture and nature. You will gain deeper understanding and appreciation for the depth and richness of the history of traditions that influence modern yoga, as well as how we each bring our own cultural and personal stories to the practice.

 Our discussions will include background in storytelling, folklore and oral and aural traditions of memory, recitation, interpretation and commentary. We will examine the main currents of yoga philosophy and cultural traditions of South Asia, from Veda to Tantra to Modern Postural Yoga, including the indigenous religious traditions of South Asia, namely Hinduisim, Buddhism and Jainism. What do these traditions say about the nature of the cosmos and human nature? What relevance do these traditions have to us? We examine how yoga has come to be associated with posture, asana, and the dissemination of yoga to the west and subsequent proliferation of modern postural yoga. 

***Important: Our exploration will be entirely secular in nature; no belief required or expected. Please bring an open and curious mind, your cognitive and intellectual critical thinking skills, your imagination and creativity, your engaged and courageous heart, and the somatic storehouse of your body. Remember, ask every question, follow the evidence wherever it leads, look for the exception, and be courageous to try something different and maybe even change your mind based on the evidence.  

Daily Structure: Our study together will consist of eight immersive days over two weeks. Our time together each day will consist of three main categories of experiential learning:   

  1. Deep Dive Study: Each day we will look back in time and study the origins and evolutions and traditions of yoga on the Indian subcontinent through the lens of historical and cultural context. We seek to respectfully understand and take seriously the cultural, sociological, historical, religious, spiritual and psychological concerns of these cultures, how they organized their societies and formulated identity and survived and thrived in the natural world. We look deeply at how these cultures developed their visionary understandings of the world and of life, their metaphysics and cosmology, and the construction and coalescence of group identity and the formulation and pursuit of the goals of human life. Together we will study the main philosophical traditions bodies of mythology through time, from the earliest sources of yoga, both through the lens of history and culture, AND we will consider the “so what” of possible meanings to us, as modern 21st century yogis of in this time of global diversity, in our own formulations of identity and connection to nature, culture and conscience.  
  2. Embodied Practice: Each day Noah will teach a theme-based asana class, including mantra and mudra and pranayama, to experientially embody aspects of each days’ topics. These classes will exemplify specific sequencing and teaching pedagogical approaches that we will analyze and converse about in our Teaching Skills sessions. Each of these theme-based asana classes takes you on a creative journey of thoughtful inquiry (mind), courageous engagement (heart), and experiential embodiment (body) and our connections to nature, to culture and to conscience. Each class begins with a brief exploration and explanation of context for the philosophical teachings and/or mythic story for that session, a “dharma-talk”, then we physicalize the teachings somatically through asana and movement and breath and internalize the teachings in contemplative dharana (guided meditation).   
  3. Teaching Skills: In our teaching skills sessions, we consider and practice a variety of pedagogical methods of integrating yoga philosophy, rasa theory, storytelling, symbolism, myth and metaphor into postural yoga classes, workshops & retreats (and beyond). In these weeks we will navigate and study practical educational theory and experiential education methodology, with focus on applying this to teaching yoga. We will explore multiple strategies of theming, from simple to complex, to create a tapestry of step-by-step postural instruction infused with the evocative power of metaphor and myth and visionary philosophy. We dive deeply into the rigor of philosophical thought and comparative mythology and psychology to find practical ways for you to bring some of these larger concepts to your teaching and into your life.  Expect plenty of lessons on practical application for yoga teachers, including how to weave the philosophy, history, myth, and storytelling into yoga classes and workshops. As yoga teachers, we are experiential educators that facilitate the theatre of mind, body and heart, and we have the opportunity to teach to every learning style, to explore the analytic AND creative sides of our brains. In these eight days we employ a variety of theme-based teaching techniques, as well as energetics of voice and body and breath and environment; everything you can harness to create and facilitate the “collective theatre of memory” that is yoga.  
  • We will debrief Noah’s example classes and discuss his choices he and consider what choices you might make with similar goals of teaching.o   We will examine methods of communication, learning and teaching, from more direct and explicit, say it like it is, to more indirect and deflected, metaphor and symbolism. 
  • We will consider the meanings of functions of ritual, and how the best use the ritualistic aspects of a yoga class such as the opening and closing of the class. 
  • We will affirm the “theme sandwich” techniques of front loading and summarizing the takeaways (debrief) at the end, as well as the more approach of teachable moments and theme weaving throughout the class.  
  • We will consider how every sequence tells a story, whether we are conscious of it or not, the class IS the metaphor/teaching. We will practice techniques to leverage and amplify the mythic aspects of the experience when you wish to, and how to have a more subtle approach to theming. o   We will work with different presentation approaches for yoga philosophy and storytelling to offer multiple interpretations of a teaching/story in order to facilitate your student’s curiosity and invite their “buy in”.  
  • We will practice storytelling, the use of inspirational quotes, and other motivational techniques to infuse meaning into classes. 
  • We consider teaching approaches that may soothe and calm, as well as the compassionate use of provocation and challenge, to invite ourselves and our students to examine outdated and limited belief systems that hold us back and contribute to suffering, and how to facilitate awakening and conscious evolution and change. 

Again– as the substance of this program, is our educational approach.  Our focus is on education — not advocacy.  Our exploration is entirely secular in nature; no belief required. 

Syllabus of Daily Philosophy Topics (subject to flexibility):

Day 1:

  • Sources and methods of our study of history, culture, philosophy and mythology
  • Interpretations and perspectives
  • Rasa theory
  • Theme based teaching skills overview
  • What is Yoga? Origins, definitions & interpretations through history
  • Historical timeline & major themes of pre-Veda, Vedic Age, Age of Asceticism, Bhakti/Tantra Age, Modern Yoga & Modern Postural Yoga

Day 2:

  • Continuation of overview of history and main themes
  • Focus on Veda; yoga’s earliest sources
  • Vedic paradigms and understandings
  • Vedic origin myths
  • Vedic hymns and stories
  • Vedic pantheon of gods

Day 3:

  • Vedic themes and stories continued
  • Yoga’s evolution in the early Upanishads
  • Upanishadic themes and stories
  • The rise of asceticism; yoga of bondage to liberation
  • Shramana Traditions, the dissenting voices to the Vedic legacies
  • Ajivikas
  • Jainism
  • Buddhism and the Legend of the Buddha
  • Buddhist understandings of ethics and karma

Day 4:

  • Early Yoga: Upanishads to Samkhya Yoga & Classical Yoga
  • Shift from Vedism to Brahminism
  • Tattva theory
  • Guna theory
  • Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: Nirodaha, Samadhi, Kriya Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Yama & Niyama
  • Myth of Patanjali
  • Evolution of Hindu Asceticism: Advaita Vedanta, Early & Medieval Tantra

Day 5:

  • Epics & Puranas, the Ocean of Stories
  • Introduction to Ramayana & Mahabharata
  • Ramayana stories
  • Hanuman mythology
  • Vaishnava & Shaiva traditions and interpretations compared
  • Bhakti & Tantric traditions and interpretations
  • Ram & Krishna & Shiva archetypes

Day 6:

  • Mahabharata Stories
  • Bhagavadgita Philosophy
  • Hero and heroine stories and archetypes
  • Krishna mythologies and archetypes
  • Shiva mythologies and archetypes
  • Goddess mythologies and archetypes

Day 7:

  • Mahabharata Stories
  • Bhagavadgita Philosophy
  • Hero and heroine stories and archetypes
  • Shiva mythologies and archetypes
  • Goddess mythologies and archetypes
  • The next generations of gods and goddesses: the sons (and daughters) of Shiva and Parvati

Day 8:

  • Tantric traditions and paradigms and interpretations
  • Shaiva Tantra
  • Alchemical Tantra
  • Shakta Tantra
  • Tantric paradigms of subtle body: kundalini, chakra etc
  • Rajanaka of the Srividya (Vaidika Tantra)
Online Training
Online Training,

Details to be provided prior to program start.

  • 1 year of yoga practice recommended
  • No prior teaching experience required
  • Stiffness and injuries OK
  • Willingness to participate in a group process
  • Ability to give and receive feedback skillfully
  • Dedication, motivation and self directed studentship
This training is led by Noah Mazé.

“I would definitely recommend this program, and I already have. It was top notch in quality and quantity of material, as well as in support and openness and communication. Noah’s unique experience has produced an unparalleled leader, facilitator, and guide. Lessons learned in our training modules have extended far beyond the scope of yoga into life and relating to others in a more effective manner. I received SO MUCH, this training goes above and beyond for any student wanting to deepen their skills, gain confidence, and reach a new level of mastery in yoga.”

“Noah is inspiring and exhibits an unparalleled mastery of teaching. For some time now, I have been contemplating the notion, “be impeccable with your word.” I tried to think of people who embody this and would often come up empty until I met Noah. Noah is careful with his words, exhibits accuracy, accountability, and thoughtful articulation. These are important qualities in an effective leader. When Noah speaks, people listen – and they take it to heart. Along with that, he also embodies creativity, playfulness, humor, sensitivity, and ardor. All of these qualities make for a very well-rounded, inspiring leader and I feel honored to have received guidance and to have learned such a great deal, not just about yoga, but about life.”

For more information about the program or the curriculum contact Tracy:
Email: yogamaze@icloud.com
Phone: (310) 871-8808