This training is an offering of community, called “satsang” as it’s first tenet. It has brought numerously powerfully charged relationships together into the community, all of them proficient, creative, intelligent, diverse and forward thinking. Each of them has grown into levels of being the most optimal version of themselves imaginable and have worked very hard to do so. Each of them continue to offer their best afterward as free, independent, compassionate and liberated examples of service in their homes, neighborhood, schools, hospitals, work environments, yoga studios and communities.
If your desire is to deepen the impact of your offerings within your life (even if it is not just a yoga class), find an outlet to do so that is trustworthy and reliable, have a chance to delve into a university type educational setting where deep philosophical discussions will take place, this swan set up is for you.
Perhaps you have wished to gain inspiration to delve into your diverse skills and talents, such a learning another language, playing music and mantra or a new instrument, getting more into the stillness of the workings of your mind in meditation, writing, learning energy clearing techniques such as Reiki, ancient indigenous medicine such as Ayurveda, conscious diet and care of the earth, or healing touch techniques in the art of assists with Thai Yoga. This too is for you! In India, these are the all inclusive parts to yoga.
And there is the obvious, a large portion of this training in on the Hatha Yoga path, that of Asana, or the postures, where will will get into it’s history, anatomy, alignment, articulation of form, skillful and creative sequencing, verbal and physical adjustments, eagle eye and demonstrations and taking your seat as the teacher in a classroom setting in an Open level class. Your practice will improve and regulate due to the required repetition. You will also learn the mechanics of what goes into every class at Swan River Yoga, such as Beginners, Slow Flow, Quick Flow, Ageless, Restorative and Advanced levels so that you are well rounded.
This training is meant in it’s length and duration to be sure that you are directly ready to teach yoga upon graduation as you will gain a lot of experience leading what you learn with constructive feedback. This trainings also requires nothing further upon completion and opens you up to the entire community in your offferings, free of being asked to conform to one brand or studio but instead offering you serious experience, quality and intelligence in and of itself.
Truly sophisticated in it’s 2,000 year old system and authentic to the origin of yoga are the “Margas”, or “paths of yoga”, which is a very large portion of the first half of the training. Sound, philosophy, meditation, practices of devotion, serving others and in depth physical experiences of breathing exercises and physical postures will all be there for you to learn and learn to teach as a true renaissance and diversified yogi. To us, these radiant paths of yoga simply can not be left out if we are to be true about offering what yoga is.
This training is also provide as a means to show us that to offer yoga is to serve. And in serving, it is assisting us all to remain deeply connected to our roots, origin and interconnectedness of all of the beings and things within our lives as to do all that we can to uplift the lives of others. Since the original meaning of yoga is “union to the Higher Self”, this concept will be addressed again and again as a means of activating your Self realization, innate wisdom, and unconditional ability to Love in a Real way in the the depth of skill, technique and intelligence that already resides within you.
A history of Swan School
Swan School was born from the ashes of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It began 2 years later in 2007. Each year, numerous beings from around the Gulf Region have attended and graduated in hopes to better serve their personal purpose, enrich their lives and serve their communities. Swan School was the very first Yoga Teacher Training in New Orleans and one of the first in the region.
Co-directed by Michelle Baker & the blessings of Grace, the primary purpose of Swan School is to create and activate the importance of Satsang, to build and develop like-hearted and creatively expressed family and relationships in our lives, and then to walk each other hOMe.
Michelle Baker, the River guide of this upcoming 9 year and running Life Immersion and University, assisted in making Yoga Teacher Trainings legal in the state of Louisiana. She is committed to activating the dharma (purpose) of all beings magnetized to live their Truth.
We have also noted that not everyone wishes to be a yoga teacher. What they crave is the permission and means to grow and to continue the adult “Life Immersion”. Come one, come all. This will instigate growth and deep self reflection in the curriculum, where evolution is inevitable. If you want the real and deep deal, this life college is for you as we will do our best through many years of experience and transmission to encapsulate the essence of yoga.
Yogis were historically considered radical beings. The word radical means “forming the roots.” We find it important to respect the roots of the teachings. The Bhagavad Gita also states that the very first attribute that is to be embodied as a “yogi” is courage, having valor and boldly dropping all that one has been taught to get the unveiling of the Truth.
For this reason, some key components to the teachings of this training are all of the primary “margas,” or roads, namely Bhakti, Raja, Jnana, Nada, Hatha and Karma/Seva, or practices in devotion, meditation, the study of scriptures, sound, asana, and selfless service without the expectation of result. Each of these paths will be studied and practiced.
Unique to some western teacher trainings, knowledge and articulation of each will be required to graduate from Swan School as Swan School will continue to share yoga’s tradition free of sterilization. The key lectures, inspirations and books in this training come from direct and hands on influence, inner and outer travel, lineage and teachers in our family tree. It is an honor to be connected to numerous deeply steeped forces still present in our lives.
Integration is another translation of yoga, stemming from the root integrity. The Swan School will be a purification process and is meant to integrate yoga into our every day lives, diminishing separateness or self-serving motives, self interpretations or lack of Self acceptance within us. If you desire to be creative and honored for your unique expression of the Whole, you are in the right place. Waking up is the goal of Swan School.
The word Apocalypse can be translated as “the uncovering”. It is stated that if you are even at all interested in the yogic teachings, then you have been a yogi for many lifetimes and may just now be re-membering. Congratulations on your recognition! You have been through so much to get here and now here you are. Your luminosity is ready to be revealed after so much concealment.
Just as a star in the constellation of the sky, may these teachings contribute to lighting up the Whole in all of its many parts (which are YOU) as YOU too tell the story of the Divine.
Welcome to the starry teachings.
What you will be teaching:
Some of the lineages that are very first and hands on over a long period of personal time that influence this training are Sivananda, Jivamukti Yoga and personal association with Sharon Gannon since 1998, Initiation in Ram Dass’ lineage with Neem Karoli Baba, personal association with Radhanath Swami including Bhakti Yoga, numerous trips to India and the teachings of the Motherland, Tibetan Buddhist lineages, direct Anusara trainings, Reiki Trainings, Thai Yoga Massage in Thailand and the US, Ayurvedic Trainings and Council, Restorative Yoga Trainings, Ashtanga at the source in Mysore, India with Shri K. Pattahbhi Jois and his entire family, Sanskrit with Jaya Shree and numerous other humble beings.
Please note, that after completing this course, no graduate is expected to continue with studio- centric implications or licensing renewal. You are encouraged to spread the teachings for and wide free of conformity or dogma.The definitions of a Swan River Yoga class are implicit to Swan River as being an abode, committed to uphold or set standards of quality. This is based in many years of hands on experience. What you will learn will assist you in maintaining consistency in the boundaries of proficiency and professionalism.
If you call your class a Swan River Yoga Class, it is asked that you respect the following the definition and ethics below. If you do not, you are also respected in gathering all of the information cultivated in this training and long line of lineage wherever it is that you may teach. You are also encouraged to teach and serve in as many places as you can, getting good at your trade and reaching as many beings as possible.
A Swan River Yoga Class defined:
Here is a basic translation for the public from our website www.swanriveryoga.com.
“A Swan River Yoga Class is a unique creative fusion inspired by many backgrounds and teachers. This class is open to all levels and will offer numerous choices for both the beginner and seasoned practitioner. Along with an artful flow-based sequence, specific detailed alignment attention will also be included to bring you a well-rounded, authentic experience of yoga.
Be ready to listen to traditional yogic teachings and personal story-telling, observe the mind in movement and meditation, bring awareness to the breath, sing mantras in Sanskrit and/or English, and optimize the body’s health in challenging physical poses using disciplined strength and flowing movement.
A Swan River Yoga class will always have the following:
Theme: a reference to the ancient and modern philosophy of yoga to inspire higher purpose (Jnana Yoga) Song: mind-clearing mantra to set an elevated mood (Bhakti Yoga)
Physical asana: a flow-based (vinyasa) practice with emphasis on physical alignment and breath (Hatha Yoga)
Meditation and/or breathing exercises known as pranayama. (Raja Yoga)
5 Elements of a Swan River Class:
1. Dharma Talk. Inspire their mind. Air/Vayu
2. Chant/Devotion. Stoke their heart. Fire/Agni
3. Breath and/or meditation. Give them grounded tools of independence. Earth/Prathivi
4. Equal balance of alignment instruction and flowing asana. Neither one nor the other is to be left out. This creates a balance of Shiva/Shakti. Water/Jala
5. Theme infused 3 times throughout the class. Tell them why they are doing all of this.
*You will also be given very clear transcriptions and instruction in this book comprised by the director and many senior swan teachers on teaching numerous classes that we offer at Swan River Yoga.
Swan School Faculty: * To find out more about these teachers go to www.swanriveryoga.com
Michelle Baker; Director and River Guide. Introduction to all of the Margas (Paths) with in depth lectures on the yoga of Sound (Nada), Mantra Meditation & Receive a personal Mantra (Raja), Philosophy (Jnana), Devotional Practices from India (Bhakti), The Bhagavad Gita, Mythology, Basic Sanskrit Pronunciation, Mantras, Harmonium, Ayurvedic Medicine & The Doshas, Ayurvedic Counseling, Serving Others Selflessly (Seva), The Laws of Karma, Asana and Yoga History (Hatha), Our lineage, The Systems of Yoga, The Art of Sequencing, How to Teach A Swan River Yoga Class and Restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Shavasana & Thai Therapeutics, The Art of Hands on and Verbal Assists, Energetic Cleanliness & Reiki, Business Ethics, Leadership Ethics and Taking Your Seat as a Teacher, Conducting a balanced class, in-class practicum, life counseling and homework feedback. Infinite hours
Brigitte Martin; Teacher Training Staff, Esoteric Anatomy of the Chakras. Infinite Hours.
Robert Dill; Teacher Training Mentor. Infinite Hours.
Kelly Haas; Asana Alignment, Injury Prevention and Yoga Therapeutics, including specific ailments, common injuries and degenerative diseases. How to Teach Beginners Yoga and Prenatal Yoga. 26 hours
John DeMahy; Yoga Anatomy, Safety, Functions & The Systems of the body, along with interesting ways to memorize these systems. 10 Hours.
Valerie Viosca; Integrative Anatomy, Safety, Contraindications. 4 Hours.
Keith Porteous; Introduction to Buddhism, Dharma, An Introduction to The Yoga Sutras and the 8 Limbs of Patanjali. How to teach & experience Slow Flow Yoga. 6 hours
JackSun Slaughter; Introduction to Seva, Liberty and CommUNITY. How to teach and experience an Advanced Level Yoga. 4 hours.
Thomas Q Sims; Introduction to Veganism, a compassionate life style and the Niyamas. How to teach and experience a Quick Flow Yoga Class. NEW 2016 Teacher Training Mentor!
Tim VanDerKamp: Introduction to Ageless Yoga. 2 hours.
Code of Ethics & Dharma:
Also quite unique to Swan River Yoga is our Code of Ethics. It is a very thorough and concise list comprised through years of observation of where yoga communities can, in all humanness, lower or dilute the teachings or diminish the experience into disappointing, self serving, self interpreted choices and behavior. Taking the seat of a teacher is a very High responsibility. It is stated in the laws of karma too that taking advantage of ones seat or “power” plays on other reaps a very low karma. Quality, intentionality and integrity are vitality provoking, like lamps getting plugged into a wall.
This code of ethics is available to you at any time for review and you will be asked to sign in before we get into our public integration where you are a part of the director, Michelle Baker’s public classes.
This is a very unique part of the Swan School Yoga Trainings. After the summer break, you take up offering a class with Michelle, where you observe and offer parts of the class, be it a meditation, breathing exercise, standing sequence, etc. This is rarely done in beginner Teacher Trainings but shows you our level of trust and readiness in YOU due to the level of proficiency we will offer you with our stellar faculty.
The standards that we wish to uphold at Swan River and the level of practice and observation you will receive in a public setting will indeed make you very ready to teach a class right away after these 7 months and 400 hours, where many trainings will ask that you later do apprenticeships or do not have enough time for this type of feedback with so much curriculum to cover.
Level of Homework/Tapasya: Like being at a University, 100 hours of this training is considered in the high level of homework you will have. This will steep the teachings into you and give you very personal and hands on feedback from the Director and mentors from all of their numerous years of care and experience. You will be expected to write papers of the books that are required to read, to memorize the asanas in Sanskrit and learn Sanskrit mantras, to create a complete transcribed class sequence that will be graded and refined, to offer an accepted video of an Open Level Swan River Yoga Class, take a Take Home Test that is similar in collegial standards and you are required to pass a final exam. Think of this as a Life PhD! It is your personal class that gives you permission to truly dive in, contemplate the teachings, access them and invite change.
Weekly Personal Practice & Austerities:
Meditate 10-20 minutes each day
Chant 20 minutes each day
Practice asana 4-5 times per week, 3 of which must be at Swan River Yoga so that you understand what you will be learning to teach.
Commune with nature
Be kind to others (humans, other wild animals or all sentient beings) and write about this 3 times per day so that it is clear that yoga is the natural state. It is our very lives.
Before we begin our life immersion and transformational journey, I would like to offer you these 4 pillars, called “The Four Agreements”. They will assist you as you develop and unfold so that you remain upright as a pillar for your surroundings and community. Growth for all things in nature can be uncomfortable, yet yogis are not looking to be comfortable. They are on a quest and personal walk about to remember their True Luminous Self and to be available to share this with others.
These four personal and simple commitments I make to myself on a daily basis and I find them very pertinent to being a yoga teacher and community leader, especially in more challenging situations. One quote I like from an old teacher is “keep your eyes on your own paper” and really just be willing to get your hands dirty, doing the deep and true work, free of your personal preferences or ego needs of exclusion alone. That is all that we can do, is to Be Love.
The 4 Agreements by Miguel Angel Ruiz
1.Be impeccable with your word. 2. Don’t take anything personally 3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best
“Love not anyone, for your picking and choosing bring nothing but misery. Instead, Love God. Instead, be Love itself.” Swami Nirmalananda
Welcome aboard your Swan flight. Be sure to place your own oxygen mask on before assisting others... Namaste! Michelle Baker
Another unique part of our training is that you may pay monthly over an extended period of time so that it is accessible to all beings. Our hope is that no being is turned down for this reason. We are also honored to pay our staff and faculty for their hard work.
We offer a suggestion of an 8 month payment plan of $400 per month so that you may continue to live your life during the training.
What you will be paying for is an incredible amount of feedback and graded homework, 1 four hour lecture per week in general, some weekend workshops, 1 visit/stay to Florida for a Teacher Training Gathering, 1 newly edited Swan School Flight Manual that is not offered to the public, 1 DVD, 1 Chant Book of Swan Songs, kirtan concerts, life therapy and more.
Dates and Meeting Times:
*Meeting May 12- December 8, 2016
*400 Total Hours (twice as long as most beginning Trainings, this is still meant to be very accessible to living your regular life and is spread out steadily and evenly in a week)
*Over a 7 month period with a 4 week summer break (where no attendance at all is asked of you)
*1 Thursday per week from 5:30-9:30pm.
*1 month break is July 22- August 25, 2016
*3 other full weekends. These dates are: July 15-17 Yoga Anatomy with John DeMahy, August 26-28 Yoga Alignment with Kelly Haas and Sept 16-18 Yoga Therapeutics with Kelly Haas.
Go to www.swanriveryoga.com Trainings Page.
To interview for a space, email firstname.lastname@example.org, Swan School’s creator and Director to see if this is a good fit for you.
To hold a space, a non-refundable deposit of $650 is required.
8 Monthly installments of $400 will then apply beginning May 12 and due at the middle of each month.
*Payment in full to receive certification upon payment plan completion
- Swami Sivananda and his current lineage of Swami Swaroopananda
- Ram Dass (initiation in the Neem Karoli Baba lineage)
- Shri K. Pattabhi Jois ( the direct disciple of Krishnamacharya) and his grandson, Sarath Jois)
- Sharon Gannon and David Life of Jivamukti Yoga
- Anusara Yoga teachings
- Radhanath Swami of the ISKON movement ( International Society for Krishna Consciousness)
- Amma, the hugging Saint
- Jaya Shree, the Sanskrit scholar
- Tibetan Buddhist lineages and teachers
- Ayurvedic Studies & Reiki Energy Healing Studies
- The numerous silent Sages encountered in all travels and on a daily basis.
In steeping into the teachings, it will establish a more present, steady and resilient mind, of which affects everything that we do. An aspiring yoga teacher or community leader or epic being must do all that they can to preserve the innate sweetness of the mind with thoughtfulness and authenticity of heart by working hard, walking our talk so that others are moved and might hear the inspiration that depth and Self acceptance brings.
Group gatherings and trainings also elevate your frequency through entrainment. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Offer your best version of yourself. You are exemplifying what yoga is in your very practices, experiences, words, thoughts, actions, training and being.
Especially as a yoga teacher, since your art medium is your voice, what you say matters. May you naturally liberate whomever you meet!
There is no time like Now in serving your community. Every experience you have had before ha lead you to this point here and now. Now, you are ready to begin and to share, taking your seat as the teacher.
Atha Yoga Nushashanam. Now this is Yoga as I have perceived it in the natural world.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1:1
About Michelle Baker; Director and Founder.
Michelle came into yoga in 1996 with severe scoliosis and a back brace and got so lit up she became a Certified Sivananda Yoga Teacher in 1998, a Restorative Yoga Teacher in 2000, a Reiki Master in 2001 and a Jivamukti Yoga Teacher in 2002 in NY.
She has trained exclusively under Ram Dass, the author of "Be Here Now", initiated in his lineage with Neem Karoli Baba. She has studied very closely at the feet of Sharon Gannon & David Life since the year 1998. She honored Radhanath Swami in the year 2012 as a teacher in Bhakti Yoga and Jaya Shree in Sanskrit. She has extensively studied numerous forms of yoga, including Anusara Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga. She has studied with Shri K. Pattabhi Jois himself as well as both his daughter Saraswati Jois and his grandson Sarath Jois in both the United States and India. She bows to each of these teachers and founders of all of the styles of yoga in which she has had the extensive chance to be very close to all of her teachers and observe deep learning from them.
She has a background in studying Sanskrit, Mantra, kirtan and Indian music, Ayurveda, Restorative Yoga and Bhakti yoga in India for Sound Therapy purposes. She has studied Bhakti Yoga with The Mayapuris, numerous Krishna devotees and with Radhanath Swami in India in such places as Rishikesh, Mayapur and Vrindavan. She is the founder and lead vocalist & harmonium player in the group Bhakti Caravan. Bhakti Caravan is in the midst of recording a C.D!
She is the founder of Good Karma Cafe, plant based cuisine and sanctified food. She assisted for numerous years in it's resurrection and in raising funds with the Berg family for one of the first vegan restaurants in New Orleans, LA.
She has completed all 3 Levels of the traditional Usui Reiki Training for clearing energy, The Kabbalah Tree of Life Energy program, various Shamanic practices and has her own solid and consistent practices of asana, meditation, mantra recitation, singing, praying, daily energy clearings for both herself, others and atmospheres.
She has completed over 400 hours of Thai Yoga Massage Therapeutic course trainings both with the Vedic Conservatory and in Thailand at the Sunshine School as well as learning different energetic healing techniques & psychic awareness from Shamans in Bali Indonesia. She has taken Yoga Therapeutics trainings over 1o times, completing over 300 hours in the style of Anusara with Kelly Haas.
She has also studied Ayurveda and will become an Ayurvedic counselor and therapist in March, 2016 at the Sivananda Ashram and Ayurvedic Institute of California with Marc Halpern, offering Dosha specific council in psychology, philosophy, exercise and diet.
Michelle has produced DVD's, written numerous books and Training Manuals and a mantra book, called "the Bhakti Book". She has creatively delved deep into healing her own body from a degenerative disease, thus inspiring her to be a healer and advocate of Self rule and an expansive imagination.
She travels the world doing this in such places as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Indonesia, Nepal and India. She also provides services of healing ceremonies and pujas for those leaving the body, being born into the body and in the union of marriage. She has also studied "Vastu", learning to properly clear out spaces and environments so that they are sacred.
Michelle's greatest joy is to experience life, to travel, to serve, to be kind to others, to understand the challenges of the human condition and to sing and dance in the joy of the abundance of life. Being born on Valentines Day, her greatest desire is to offer and to be Love itself.