Yoga instructors to the stars headed to Naples to teach future yoga teachers

If your regular workout needs a bit of a breather, try a bit of breath.

From October to April, Naples yoga studio Bija Yoga will host noted yoga instructors Ana Brett and Ravi Singh as the duo leads a seven-part Kundalini yoga teacher training class.

Kundalini is an ancient yogic form that blends breathing, movement, stretching, meditation, chanting and sequence. It first arrived in the United States in 1969 with Yogi Bhajan. Singh was introduced to Kundalini in 1972 and studied with Bhajan.

“Literally, in those days, people didn’t know the difference between yoga and yogurt,” Singh recalled.

In the years that followed, Singh taught Kundalini yoga to a variety of students, from socialites to stars. By 2002, he owned a number of yoga studios in New York; Brett was an instructor at one of these studios. They met and something clicked, he said. Together, they began working to develop ways to bring Kundalini to more people.

Their first efforts included creating instructional Kundalini DVDs, including those titled “Fat Free Yoga” and “Kundalini Yoga for Beginners and Beyond.” They’ve since created a total of 22 instructional DVDs together and are the authors of a forthcoming book.

“Those DVDs brought us into the national spotlight,” Singh said. “They also helped catapult us into the mainstream.”

As teachers, they’ve trained more than 300 practicing Kundalini yoga teachers and have worked with Olympic athletes and such big names as Madonna, Sting and Gwyneth Paltrow. Jillian Michaels, the trainer from NBC’s reality show “The Biggest Loser,” has cited Brett and Singh as her favorite yoga teachers.

“Every celebrity you could ever think of has done Kundalini yoga,” he said. “I think that its time has finally come.”

Singh believes Kundalini’s appeal lies in its ability to provide not just a physical workout, but to also give its practitioners a spiritual lift. Additionally, the method grants practitioners a chance to strengthen their total body, including their nervous and glandular systems, Singh said.

“It’s a lot of what you would expect from a traditional yoga class, but it’s more dynamic and it puts a lot more emphasis on breathing along with the exercises,” he explained.

Brett and Singh’s seven-part Kundalini teacher training will begin on Friday, Oct. 14 and be held over seven weekends through April. The pair is relocating to Naples to lead the teacher training.

In the almost four decades since he started practicing Kundalini, Singh has seen yoga grow into what he describes as an “American phenomenon.” He noted how the discipline has evolved more in the United States in the past two decades than it has in thousands of years in India — and how in India, where yoga originated, Indians learn yoga from Americans.

“Now, if you want to learn yoga,” he said, “you stay right here.”

If you go:

What: Kundalini teacher training with Ravi Singh and Ana Brett

When: October through April

Where: Bija Yoga, 1250 U.S. 41 North, Naples

More: The 200-hour certification is recognized by Yoga Alliance, an international organization for teacher training programs. A full schedule and more information, including registration details, are available at www.bijayoga971.com. Total cost for the teacher training is $3,600.

For those who want to practice with Brett and Singh but may not be ready to plunge into the full teacher training, the duo is also holding a series of four, shorter Kundalini workshops Oct. 14 to 16; the workshops range from $60 to $65.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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