I first met Neel in the spring of 2015 when I attended a lecture he gave at my yoga studio. He was so knowledgeable. When the teacher training was announced and I found out the trainer was Neel, I very much wanted to attend. It took a bit of doing but, now half way through my 200 hour teacher training course with Neel Kulkarni through Clayton Yoga Shala, my understanding of yoga has changed. Before yoga was asanas, now it is bringing “focus to the mind.” Neel’s Adihyoga system of teaching has the student looking inward from the first. Neel believes a student must build capacity and build up to a difficult pose so as to be correct and safe once a student achieves that asana. It is all about defining your goal and logically taking steps towards it.
Neel himself is wonderful. He is caring and positive. He teaches the group but also meets with each student individually and helps them first identify and then take steps towards that goal. He is beyond knowledgeable. Neel has read and studied yoga and yogic texts for over half his life. He has studied under many great masters and has been all over the world. Neel teaches his authentic yoga system to teacher trainees wherever he finds students. We have learned about meditation, chanting, Om, philosophy, and yoga nidra in addition to learning how to teach students. We must know points to begin a pose, points of what to feel while in the pose and how to exit a pose. If working dynamically, we add how to move. It is all very logical. Along with all this, we worked on how to begin a class, how to end a class, and what teaching points to remember.
We have all been able to work on personal practice goals as well. Neel is quick to diagnosis what we need to do to improve our pose goal and give steps to take to achieve better alignment in said pose. I am looking forward to the second half of my training in spring 2017 when Neel returns to Northern California.