Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)
Ann Arbor Yoga and Meditation founder and director, Ema Stefanova is one of the most highly trained and experienced master yoga and meditation teachers in the nation. She was born in a family of natural yogis and healers, and holds advanced degrees in engineering as well as English language and literature. Her teaching, yoga therapy, and meditation are inspired by her miraculous yoga and meditation life journey and the direct guidance by one of the most renowned gurus of all times, Swami Satyananda Paramahansa (Swamiji) and senior swamis.
Emma Neuberger United States
November 2017, BookMeditationRetreats
Ema is a wise instructor and the retreat center was inspiring, learned a lot from this experience that I will take with me my whole life.
All experiences were positive
October 2017, BookMeditationRetreats
1. Ashram is beautiful with vast libraries, shrine, and museum.
2. The caregiver of the ashram is a kind and quiet man.
3. The teacher organized a surprise kirtan session with the caregiver that was nice though likely uncomfortable for others in the group who did not know mantras or were unfamiliar with kirtans as we were all expect to lead the chants.
4. The teacher was very well versed in the yoga body of knowledge and superb at yoga nidra techniques. One should know that she is not a member of the Ramakrishna group (associated with the ashram) and that she is a disciple of Satyananda Saraswati who has a controversial history.
Food - Blend and simple. Had to clean up after each meal.
Ashram – Not frequently visited so it was dark, very cold, and uninviting. Was supposed to stay extra days and decided not to when I arrived; I felt unsafe being there alone with doors unlocked and walking around the dark facility.
Sleeping accommodations - Tri-level cottages across the street; hidden from view. Spooky alone. You drive to the ashram when it’s pouring. Lots of rooms; you share your space and privacy. Very basic. Cottages stay open all day; you carry your valuables.
Retreat – Don’t expect to downward dog. Lots of sitting around and lectures. Few pawanmuktasanas and pranayam once. Several variates of meditation and yoga nidra. No set schedule. At times we were told to do whatever or given books to read. Yoga mats were banned in the ashram.
Value - I assumed that space at the retreat center and for the class (max. of 12) were limited. I did not want to share my room, so I paid double. My assumptions were wrong and the teacher left me in the dark through our emailing prior to my registration. She knew no other events were scheduled at the ashram plus only 3 students signed up. So, everyone had private rooms. No response from teacher when I requested a refund for the extra I paid.
Overall, there is nothing wrong with ashram style retreats. But, I did not sign up for that based on the description. You should know that all 3 students left at 11:30 pm on the second day.
Ema, I enjoyed learning meditation with you. Medical School can often be very stressful, so it was nice to learn techniques to help. I also enjoyed learning about the difference between yoga you teach versus commercial yoga brands. After our conversation, I am definitely more interested in learning about specific practices for specific diseases and overall health in general with a focus on both the body and the mind. I will definitely use the meditation skills as a break each night to reset. I see how this system of yoga can be beneficial to everyone!
A couple weeks ago I told my mother I'm in your program. I told them because of the news article my dad sent me. A little while after that my mom called with a stiff neck and sore hips to ask if I could help her. Over the phone I talked her through some gentle stretches to practice. Last night I called my dad and he said my mother was on the floor practicing yoga. I had to laugh! [Debbie elderly parents were against yoga initially since deeply religious, but that has changed.
I found this session very informative. I have suffered from asthma attacks before, so I was interested to hear how yoga therapy could help. I will definitely keep this in mind as a physician, because I now understand how classical yoga can help any patient to live a healthy life. Overall this was a very interesting and informative session. Thank you for meeting with us.
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