Our next Soul School session is set to begin in January 2022.
Eleven years ago, I began a collaboration with Seán Johnson that would forever change my life. Seán is one of the most phenomenal yoga teachers, and human beings, that I have ever met. A New Orleans native, Seán is the owner/founder of Wild Lotus Yoga in New Orleans and founder of Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band. He had envisioned and created an interdisciplinary yoga teacher training that he called Soul School. I was a participating teacher for the very first one. A couple of years later, Seán wanted to recreate Soul School, but offer it in a slightly different format. One night, after his mantra music concert at our yoga studio in Connecticut, the two of us began brainstorming a new version of Soul School. Now, eleven years later, ten Soul Schools & one online Soul School, we have a truly unique, one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary yoga teacher training. But in many ways, I feel like it is so much more than a yoga teacher training program: it truly is a place to dive deep into your soul, and emerge transformed, with life-long skills that keeps you curious, creative, and empowered. What has been so amazing about Soul School is how much it has been a platform of my own growth as a human being and yogi. Teaching with Seán is one of my favorite and greatest experiences as a teacher. He brings such soulfulness, knowledge, playfulness, respect, and creativity to everything he does. Honestly, there is no yoga program that compares to the kind of experience and journey that Soul School offers, and for the second time ever, it is available to anyone anywhere in the world.
We have re-imagined Soul School to better fit this Covid era utilizing the technology that can connect us together from the comfort and safety of our homes. Yoga is meant to be a holistic practice that is richly integrated into our home and lifestyle. One of the silver linings of today's challenging circumstances is the opportunity to dig deeper into our practice at home, to support our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical well being so that we can be of even greater service to others.
Soul School is a one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary teacher training program facilitated by Seán Johnson and Mitchel Bleier that offers depth, fun, community, and an opportunity to transform your life through committed practice in yoga and teaching. The program is designed for dedicated yoga students who wish to enhance their connection to yoga and spirituality, aspiring yoga teachers, as well as current teachers who are seeking to bring more depth to their practice and teaching through continued study.
Soul School creates an opportunity for trainees to deepen their spiritual path through self-exploration and build a strong foundation for teaching yoga in a soulful, imaginative, and integrative way. We will explore the connections between yoga, art, mythology, poetry, music, philosophy, and with a strong emphasis on Bhakti, Tantra, and Vinyasa yoga. The first half of the training is called “Ignite Your Soul” and includes spiritual practice, self-exploration, meditation; pranayama; mantra and chanting; an exploration of yoga and social justice, harmonium; play; dance; mythology; poetry; yoga’s history including Veda, Buddhism, Bhakti, and Tantra; anatomy and kinesiology; and study in the alignment and forms of over 60 asanas. The second half of the training is called “Share Your Passion” and includes practice and study in: Teaching Skills, Art of Teaching, Language, Constructing and Sequencing Classes, Adjustments, Sanskrit for Yoga Teachers, and more. We will also have content dedicated to giving you tips and advice on teaching yoga online in the Covid era (and beyond), and the experience of this online training will be a great training ground for you in teaching online classes.
Graduates who fulfill all requirements of the program will receive a certificate and be eligible to register at the 200 hour level as a yoga teacher with The Yoga Alliance, the national education and support organization for yoga in the United States.
The Soul School At Home Structure
Soul School At Home will begin with a home retreat designed to support you in beginning the Soul School journey with depth and clarity. We'll have twice monthly live Zoom sessions in manageable and engaging doses which will include meditation, chanting, storytelling, dharma talks, small break-out groups to connect more deeply to your peers, and guest adjunct faculty to offer fresh perspectives. To connect more deeply to the community of your peers, we'll also have monthly satsangs and small group meetings. You'll have access to over 80 pre-recorded lessons and workshops you can practice with independently on your own time and can utilize as a resource library for as long as you wish after the program is complete.
During our twice monthly curriculum sessions, we'll be joined by some special friends-- inspiring visiting adjunct teachers including renowned Sanskrit teacher Dr. Anuradha Choudry, who will be joining us from her home of Bangolore, India; Michelle Cassandra Johnson-- yoga teacher, anti-racism trainer, licensed clinical social worker and author of "Skill In Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice To Create A Just World," joining us from her home in Raleigh-Durham, NC; longtime meditation teacher and researcher Dr. Lorin Roche, author of The Radiance Sutras and Meditation Made Easy joining us from Los Angeles; and Jessica Carlin, a registered yoga teacher, a licensed massage therapist, Kinstretch™ (mobility) instructor, manager at The Movement Guild, and provides continued education courses to yoga teachers that replaces conventional anatomy and memorization with modern movement education and foundational joint mechanics.
During the second half of the program, we'll be putting more emphasis on the art and skill of teaching an inspiring and accessible yoga class in your own unique voice. You'll work in small groups to co-create classes and receive supportive feedback and coaching from Seán and Mitchel. We'll also host a special panel with some Soul School alumni who have gone on to become yoga teachers who can answer questions and offer guidance.
Homework between our meetings will be designed to help nurture, inspire, and empower your spiritual practice and development as a teacher. Assignments will include engaging with specific videos; reading in manageable amounts; journaling assignments, meditation practice; participating in yoga classes, and more. The second half of the program's homework will focus more on practicing and cultivating yoga teaching skills.
The finale of Soul School is a final project to integrate and crystalize the experience, where you design and teach your own class, drawing inspiration from the training. We'll conclude the Soul School journey with a closing ritual and celebration.
PROS of TAKING an ONLINE TRAINING
EASE OF MIND
In this Covid-era, online yoga from home is the absolute safest way to practice and support your health and the well-being of your loved ones and community. Yoga is meant to be a holistic practice that is richly integrated into our home and lifestyle. One of the silver linings of today’s challenging circumstances is the opportunity to dig deeper into our practice from home, to support our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical well being so that we can be of even greater service to others.
No Jet Lag.
Less Time Away from Family
That’s a huge cost saving in hassle, commute, flights, hotels, childcare, or time. The technology now exists for an in-depth, highly interactive online.
PAUSE, REWIND, REVIEW, RETAIN
Most of us need to hear something multiple times before we truly understand it and feel comfortable teaching it. With our online training, you can literally pause, rewind, and review. The content gets to sink in at your pace and at your preference to contemplate. Students love being able to re-watch videos, especially denser ones like all the poses, anatomy, mythic stories, or Sanskrit.
TIME & SCHEDULE FLEXIBILITY
In addition to our online meetings which will be recorded and become a part of the growing library of content, you will have access to over 80 videos covering a wide range of topics and practices to work with independently on your own personal schedule.
Because our training is online, we’re able to give you personalized feedback on postures that you send to us as photos and videos. And you have the opportunity to see many more bodies with commentary in all of yoga’s key poses. Students share that this is by far the most valuable resource when they go out and teach in the studio world. Our program is much more comprehensive than looking at one or two bodies in-person. Looking at one or two bodies in person doesn’t prepare you for the vast diversity of students you’ll encounter in your classes. In this training, you’ll learn to read bodies and engage the kind of inquiry and suggestions that we make to you (or the student). We can take our time doing this because no one is having to hold a pose (and not move) for 5 minutes while we all look and learn. Pictures and videos give us the opportunity to pause, go back, and make sure you understand what is being seen and offered. This interactive online format allows us to view photos and freeze-frame videos – and truly look at different types of bodies and different levels of students, side-by-side.
In its online form, Soul School is now available for participants around the globe to experience! We are also thrilled to include four adjunct teachers who are many miles away, who we have been deeply inspired by. This would not have been logistically possible or feasible in an in-person format. They are renowned Sanskrit teacher Dr. Anuradha Choudry, who will be joining us from her home of Bangolore, India; Michelle Cassandra Johnson-- yoga teacher, anti-racism trainer, licensed clinical social worker and author of "Skill In Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice To Create A Just World," joining us from her home in Raleigh-Durham, NC; longtime meditation teacher and researcher Dr. Lorin Roche, author of The Radiance Sutras and Meditation Made Easy joining us from Los Angeles; and functional movement and anatomy specialist Jessica Carlin, joining us from Chicago, IL.
RESOURCE FOR LIFE
We’d do anything to re-take or re-listen to all the incredible lectures from our teachers so many years ago. Instead, we reconstruct from memory and notes as best as we can, but with this online training, you have these resources for your reference always. Re-watching and learning new things every time you return to the dozens (and dozens) of audios and videos. Once you graduate, you keep access to all this material. It’s here for you, indefinitely.
Hear Testimonials from Past Soul Schoolers
WATCH THE INFO SESSION
“What is soul? It’s like electricity - we don’t really know what it is,
but it's a force that can light a room.”
— Ray Charles
DATES & SCHEDULE
Opening in-person retreat
Mid training in-person weekend
Final weekend in-person weekend
Saturdays 10am-noon, 1-3pm (CST)
Monthly Zoom Satsangs
Wednesdays, 7-8:30pm (CST)
Yoga Teaching Coaching Sessions and Group Classes:
4 three hour meetings scheduled with Mitchel and/or Seán and your group over these dates:
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
— Ferdinand Foch
Mitchel Bleier is known for his immense knowledge on all yoga topics, especially asana, philosophy, therapeutics, and adjustments. He teaches with passion and offers a kind, generous, humorous, easy, and sophisticated approach. Mitchel’s classes are an inspiring vinyasa flow incorporating clear alignment direction, deep breathing, and a playful narrative of Indian philosophy and myth.
Mitchel integrates years of his studies and experiences into his classes. He began yoga with Jonny Kest, and quickly deepened his study of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga with Tim Miller and Richard Freeman. At 23, Mitchel lived in India studying asana with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sanskrit with teachers from the Sanskrit University in Mysore. Mitchel left India to study with John Friend and his newly formed Anusara Yoga®. He was one of two students with the privilege to travel with John as his apprentice and assistant for 3 years. In addition, Mitchel lived in Rochester, NY for 4 years studying closely with Douglas Brooks both at the University of Rochester and privately with him. For the last 11 years, Mitchel has traveled the world teaching workshops, trainings, and retreats. He is known as a teacher’s teacher and has taught at the Yoga Journal, Midwest, and Southeast conferences as well as annual teacher trainings nationally and internationally in the United States, Central America, Europe, and Canada.
Seán Johnson, founder of Wild Lotus Yoga and Soul School, is a nationally respected yoga teacher whose passion is merging the heart of bhakti yoga with the sensuality of hatha yoga to bring more love, creativity, and depth to our lives. His classes focus on opening the heart through ecstatic chant, storytelling, mythology, creative vinyasa flows, mystical poetry, and enchanting music. Seán and the Wild Lotus Band are celebrated as one of the leading voices in western kirtan music, known for their dynamic sound that merges mantra, rock, funk, and world grooves. The band is a favorite headliner at yoga festivals and conferences worldwide, including Yoga Journal, and they are also the first kirtan band to ever play The New Orleans Jazz Festival. Their music has appeared on Nettwerk/Nutone Records, home of Krishna Das and Jai Uttal, and their songs have been featured on Putumayo World Music’s compilation Yoga and World Yoga, and Sounds True’s album Kirtan Nation.
Seán’s unique yoga education began with intensive, experiential, interdisciplinary study of yoga and related spiritual traditions in college and in graduate school. He received a Master’s Degree in Creation Spirituality from The Naropa Institute where he apprenticed with South Indian teacher and yogi-musician Russill Paul. Seán is also gratefully inspired by his friendships and study with many heart-centered yoga teachers including his college mentor and first yoga teacher Doranne Crable and Soul School co-facilitator Mitchel Bleier. Seán has taught at conferences and centers worldwide including Yoga Journal, The German Yoga Conference, Bhakti Fest, Kripalu Center For Yoga and Health, The Telluride Yoga Festival, Midwest Yoga Conference, Art of Vinyasa Conference, The International Ojai Yoga Crib, and more. Seán is a Yoga Journal contributor and is the co-curator and writer for Putumayo World Music’s music for yoga series.
YOUR GUEST TEACHERS:
Yoga and Social Justice
I am a social justice warrior, author, dismantling racism trainer, empath, yoga teacher and practitioner, and an intuitive healer. With over 20 years of experience leading dismantling racism work and working with clients as a licensed clinical social worker, I have a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind, body, spirit, and heart. My awareness of the world through my own experience as a black woman allows me to know, first-hand, how privilege and power operate.
I have a Bachelors of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary and a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. I have worked in several non-profits and served as an elected official and on many non-profit boards of directors. I have led Dismantling Racism Trainings with large corporations, small non-profits, and community groups, including the ACLU-WA, Duke University, Google...
Dr. Lorin Roche
Dr. Lorin Roche was lucky enough to begin practicing asana, pranayama, and meditation in 1968, and he still feels like a beginner – every day. He has been practicing, researching, and teaching meditation for 50+ years.
Lorin is a pioneer in developing personalized meditation practices, designing the techniques around an individual’s inner nature. He is the founder of two related meditation systems: The Radiance Sutras®, which utilizes the richness of the Sanskrit language and is oriented toward the yoga community, and Instinctive Meditation™, an approach that uses common sense language and is designed to match one's individual nature.
Lorin has a PhD from the University of California, Irvine, where he has done extensive research on meditation and meditative experiences. His books on meditation are treasured by meditation practitioners across the globe and have been widely recognized as a "must-read"...
Dr. Anuradha Choudry
Sanskrit as Yoga & for Yoga
Dr. Anuradha Choudry is a highly motivated Sanskrit scholar dedicated to revealing the deeper secret of the Vedas and promoting Sanskrit as a living, modern, spoken language. She also seeks to create awareness about the power of ‘sounds’ from thoughts to languages in our lives with a special emphasis on the transformative power of Sanskrit sounds which can serve as an aid to a more peaceful and healthier individual and collective living. A graduate from the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Puducherry, she completed her Ph.D in Sanskrit on Vedic Psychology under Dr. K.E Dharaneedharan from Pondicherry University where she sought to show the practical application of this new kind of psychology in our daily lives. As a volunteer with Samskrita Bharati, Anuradha is an active advocate of Spoken Sanskrit and has conducted many 10 day Spoken Sanskrit camps in Bharatam (India) and abroad...
Jessica is a registered yoga teacher, a licensed massage therapist, and manager at The Movement Guild. She offers customized manual and movement therapy to private clients and teaches
specialized yoga and Kinstretch™ (mobility) classes. She also provides continued education courses to yoga teachers that replace conventional anatomy and memorization with modern
movement education and foundational joint mechanics.
Jessica holds certifications in functional range conditioning, integrative movement systems,
cranio-sacral therapy, functional movement taping, and RockTape blades and myofascial
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Stuart - Encinitas, CA
Soul School has added a new and essential dimension to my practice, my teaching and my life. Anyone who is making yoga part of their life will benefit deeply from this experience!
Priya - Reno, NV
Soul School is a special and sacred experience for anyone looking to broaden their horizons in asana,philosophy,art, music, and life in general. The journey positively changes the way you see yourself, others, and the divine. Along the way, old ways of thinking and moving are set free, setting the stage to welcome new opportunities and even the unknown…Then suddenly one day you wake up and find that you can teach that which has inspired and taught you, in your own voice and in your own way.
Genevieve - New Orleans, LA
I began my Soul School journey after quitting two jobs within a year and suffering from immense anxiety, overwhelm, and lack of fulfillment. I felt lost, an inexplicable void I was unable to fill with money or outside sources, and was seeking meaning. Soul School allowed me to let go of past trauma, heal old wounds, and positively transform my life in ways I could not imagine. Thank you Sean and Mitchell for your inspiration and kindness. I will always deeply treasure this experience and continue to use the skills I have learned in my daily life
WATCH THE INFO SESSION
“When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy. When action comes from another section it disappears.”
Over 80 videos and audios to keep indefinitely
Comprehensive online Manual
Zoom meetings with Sean, Mitchel and adjunct teachers.
Diversity Scholarships For Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color
The diversity scholarships dedicated for Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color are one small way Wild Lotus and The Yoga Teacher's Lab seeks to contribute to the fight against systemic racism, and the hope to widen yoga’s diversity and representation. We have been offering these scholarships for the last four years, and this year we are excited to announce a partnership with Inner Sense Healing Arts Collective to accept donations for the scholarship fund. Our hope is to support the training of more yoga teachers of color who feel inspired to share the many gifts and benefits of yoga with their community.
The requirements in exchange for the scholarship are to:
Have the intention to teach yoga after the program is complete
Fully participate in the program, and completing all required work to receive the certificate.
Write a short impact statement to help give future applicants to the People of Color Scholarships a clearer idea of the experience in Soul School. We will utilize the impact statement to also help with fund-raising efforts to expand the POC Scholarships.
Please indicate on the application if you would like to be considered for one of these scholarships, as we have a limited number of them available. We also encourage all scholarship applicants to do some online classes with Seán and Mitchel to get a deeper feel for our approach to yoga. This will be of benefit as well when being considered for the scholarship.