ASHTANGA YOGA & TEACHER TRAINING IN RIVERSIDE
WYC is more than a place to practice yoga poses. It’s a place where we all share yoga on a teacher-level. That’s also what makes it a college. We help everyone who loves yoga share what they love. So the yoga happens as a two-way teaching process even for beginners. All it takes is love. Everyone who loves yoga, or feels like they have the potential to love yoga is welcome at WYC. If the love is there, with some guidance, the teacher-level experiencing will happen. It can happen for anyone, not just yoga instructors, and WYC is not just for instructors. WYC is for everyone who loves yoga.
Of course, we do conduct actual Teacher Training Programs. In fact, WYC’s founder and director, Scott Miller, conducted the first studio Teacher Training Programs in the Inland Empire. That was back when he was also running the largest non-coastal yoga studio in California. The studio (Inland Yoga) no longer exists, and WYC is not a studio. It’s a college where everyone is taught to do yoga on a teacher-level.
And WYC does have Open Regular Sessions. They are open to drop-ins. Beginners are welcome. The only prerequisite is the aforementioned sense of love. Students need to already love yoga or have a strong sense that it could happen. Students who are less sure of how they feel should attend studio yoga classes and Anam Cara yoga studio holds night-time classes at our same location: 3870 Lemon St, downtown Riverside, CA.
MEET SCOTT & LAURA
WE ARE WHAT WE LOVE
There’s one major prejudice at WYC: we love people who love yoga. It also doesn’t matter whether the love has already helped someone master the poses. We can always teach people the poses. We can always teach people how to instruct the poses. We can’t teach people how to love yoga. Love just happens. It’s there or it’s not there. We love it when the love of yoga is there, because when it is there naturally, then the yogic knowledge comes easily. What we teach makes sense to yoga lovers because yoga evolved in connection with compassion. It became ultimately democratic (inclusive and accessible) because love is what yoga is.
So today’s yoga is for everyone. That’s the main yogic idea at WYC. It’s simple, and the simplicity makes sense because yoga evolved toward increased ease, and that’s what we love so much about it. Of course, people are free to just like yoga too, and our society gets credit for being a yoga-liking culture. But right there is where things get tricky. Merely liking yoga allows society to support a fantasy “yoga world” filled with imaginary happy commerce-oriented yogis eating, and wearing things they don’t really need. At Western Yoga College, we have a different vision.
What we see is the power of an open heart. And though it counters our own financial interests, we recognize that yoga lovers don’t have to be taught how to teach. People who love yoga are already teaching it. They’re sharing it through love and that’s what teachers do. Teachers share what they love, and the love is not a teachable thing. So what do we do at WYC? We just add to what yoga lovers are already doing. Naturally, we hope that (from the WYC student perspective) it’s also great to gain practical knowledge about yoga. And we do teach everything there is to know about yoga on a common level. We even teach new common-level ideas. Thus, those new ideas are democratic ideas. They don’t conflict with anyone’s spiritual or practical yogic beliefs. They don’t interfere with yoga practice. They just help us understand things on a common-level so we can know what yoga is in a regular way.
Of course, our ideas do conflict with western society’s fantasy image of yoga. It’s an elitist fantasy. It makes yoga out to be something that only rich, superficially satisfied people do, and that idea serves society’s commercial interest in yoga. WYC is involved in commerce too, but we want to serve the interests of yoga lovers in a way that at least threatens society’s ruling class on some level. In India, where yoga was born, a Hindu Orthodoxy has run society for several thousand years. But the priests never loved yoga. A long, long time ago, they appropriated a lot of old yogic ideas, but the fully developed Hindu Orthodoxy never loved yoga. It didn’t even like yoga. It rightfully saw yoga as a threat and never embraced it. That was actually good for yogis. People who love yoga don’t trust society, which is why it’s confusing to live in a society that merely likes yoga.
But here we are. We live in the first yoga-liking society in history. And even at WYC, things are challenging. We love yoga, but we fall prey to the foibles of our culture. That’s the truth, and we try to be truthful. We recognize that all yogic institutions have issues. We’re not practicing yoga in a cave like the ancients. We’re part of society, and we know that affects us, so we try to have a sense of humor about it. That’s why our college logo is a funny twist on a well-known cartoon college logo.
WYC in FT. BRAGG-MENDOCINA
It is WYC’s great fortune to have Justine Lemos as an administrative faculty member. Justine conducts her own WYC Teacher Training Programs in the Ft. Bragg-Mendocino area. Far from just being a Yoga Alliance-registered Teacher – E-RYT – Justine holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in Indian dance and South Asian embodied philosophy, as well as Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in other areas of dance and anthropology. She has extensively studied anatomy and kinesiology as the subjects apply to dance and yoga, has received training from Guru Ranjanaa Devi in classical Indian Odissi dance since 1996, and has performed as a principle dancer with the Nataraj Dance Company in the United States, India, Japan, and elsewhere.
Justine’s training and studies both in the U.S. and abroad also include Mohinniyattam classical dance, Belly Dance, Balinese Legong dance, Chauu dance, modern dance, and ballet; guided interpretation of classic yoga texts; and, most recently, intensive yogic instruction from her five-year-old son.