Nikki is the co-director of Kula Yoga Project in NYC where she has been teaching for the past fourteen years. She is at the helm of the 200 hour Kula Flow Foundations teacher training program, co-leads Kula's 75 hour advanced...
Ancient Teachings, Modern Approach.
The Sacred Fig Advanced Yoga Teacher Trainings are intensive, modular programs designed to elevate + inform the next generation of leaders in the yoga community. Our advanced 300 hour programming is divided into 75 hour modules. Piece together any four modules, on your schedule, anywhere around the world, for the full 300 hour program. Each 75 hour module has a unique focus, led by experts in their respective fields.
The theme of this 75 hour, 8 day module is The Art of Kula. For this training we’re thrilled to welcome back Nikki Vilella, co-director of Kula Yoga Project in NYC where she has been teaching for the past fourteen years. She is at the helm of the 200 hour Kula Flow Foundations teacher training program, was a contributor and editor of the Wanderlust 200 hour training manual, and guest teaches on other programs around the world. She has written for Yoga Journal and was named as one of The 100 Most Influential Yoga Teachers in America.
We firmly believe that the strongest attribute any yoga teacher possesses is themselves. Learning refined alignment + biomechanics is a given on our trainings, but we don’t stop there – be prepared to explore things like personal development, confidence, and speech. Our 300 hour programs are registered with The Yoga Alliance, but they’re so much more than that. In fact, our advanced trainings are some of the most comprehensive available today. Our graduates now teach at studios, retreats & trainings around the globe. The Sacred Fig Yoga Teacher Trainings produce confident, knowledgeable, articulate, and empowered yoga teachers. Period.
At the core of the The Sacred Fig philosophy is connection + community. Not only do our thoughts affect us in tangible ways, but we also have the extraordinary capacity to affect those around us, and the environment we live in. And so as yoga practitioners and teachers, we strive for the extraordinary, so that we may serve as a beacon of possibility for those around us. We see the divine in everything around us, but we also know that it lies within us. So before trying to shape & control everything outside of us, we first look deep within, and do the work ourselves.
We don’t provide answers (and we’re wary of any teacher or school who claims that they do). Instead, we welcome & provide different viewpoints, we stir lively discourse. We set the circumstances to challenge notions about what yoga is, what it might feel like or look like, and why we practice. We create an accelerated learning environment, where trainees gain the confidence to discover their own “truths” about yoga, about their bodies and their practice. There’s no memorization, no mimicry, and no script. From this place, trainees find their authentic voice… sharing their knowledge & their practice naturally. Join us.
Space for this advanced training is limited – we encourage those interested to sign up early.
About Portugal 75hr
Portugal’s beauty is subtle and understated - the magic here is witnessed only when you slow down. Portugal's beauty is lived + experienced.
The area were heading to is called Coastal Alentejo, and you probably haven't heard of it (that's a good thing). It's far removed from the coastal tourist culture of the rest of Europe. The beaches are windswept and untouched. As you move inland, golden rolling hillsides give way to a rugged coastline, traditional whitewashed villages, and majestic medieval towns.
Traditional farming here is a way of life. Cork production still continues. Even at our property, the eggs come from our chickens, the cheese from our neighbors sheep, and olives from an olive grower down the road. The birds here are some of the most majestic you'll see, and the walking paths, like the Costa Vicentina, are world renowned.
The world is (finally) catching on to Alentejo. Get there before it does.
The Retreat Center
Cocoon is a 275 acre farm and dedicated retreat center on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal, offering inspiration + community for the modern traveller. It's also pure magic, where between the oversized hammocks and the freshwater lake, you'll start to lose track of time. The kind of place where each morning is a celebration, practicing under the canopy of old growth pines, but so is each evening, with incredible farm-to-table meals and elevated dinner conversation. The Guardian recently rated Cocoon "One of the Top 20 Yoga Retreat Centers in the World" and Yogascapes voted it "Top 10 Retreat Centers in Portugal".
Watch this gorgeous 90 second video of Cocoon, which was actually filmed during our last 75hr teacher training!
Cocoon is situated on the breathtaking Atlantic coast of Portugal, near the charming fishing village of Vila Nova de Milfontes, in the Alentejo region, which is known for its long stretches of untouched coastline and charming whitewashed villages. From Lisbon, it's roughly two hours drive south, entirely dependent on how many espressos you’ve had (from Faro, we’re slightly closer). The ocean, with bluffs, trails, and sandy coves, is a 10-15 minutes drive.
There are two yoga shalas at Cocoon. The pine shala is nestled under the canopy of old growth pines, with the occasional sheep or goat roaming around nearby. The pine shala is a dream for morning meditation and practice, especially as the morning fog rolls in. The indoor shala is lightfilled, with high ceilings and traditional handmade Santa Catarina tiles, which are a joy to practice on.
Expect three healthy, lovingly-prepared meals each day. Strong coffee (yes, coffee) and herbal teas are available throughout the day. For breakfast, expect homemade granolas, homemade yogurts, local honey, homemade jam, frittata, oats, fresh local fruit, and slow-rise breads. Lunch is typically lighter, like a bowl of ancient grains. Dinner is served family style, expect things like curry, beetroot hummus ancient grains, salads, and soups. Our menu is always changing, depending on what's available. Local Portuguese wine is available for purchase at a reasonable price. We fly in a different chef each year, and so the menu changes according to their personal style. The menu items listed above are just to give you an idea!
The rooms are clean, bright, and simple. Cocoon has 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.There's different options for different budgets. You'll have your own bed in either a shared double or triple room, your preference. You can have a room with an ensuite bathroom, or share a bathroom between two rooms. Please keep in mind this is not a resort - it's a Portuguese farmhouse. If you are looking for a JW Marriott with staff, central AC and turn-down service, this is NOT the training for you. If you appreciate understated beauty, barefoot adventures, a freshwater lake, peacocks, pine forests + salty air, then this is PERFECT for you! The property is so spacious, with many places to relax, chat or study - and from our experience people really only use their rooms to sleep.
How To Arrive. Fly into Lisbon. Rent a car, and enjoy the two hour drive to Cocoon. Stop at Camporta Cafe for a fabulous lunch and a swim, and check in anytime after 2pm. If you don't feel comfortable renting a car (or just don't want to), we can pair you with someone else arriving at the same time, so that you can drive together. Renting a car in Portugal is extremely easy & affordable. If you have time before or after the training, we highly recommend a couple of nights in Lisboa!
This is the largest portion of the curriculum, including pranayama techniques, sunrise meditation, and daily morning asana. The daily Asana portion is typically a 90 minute alignment-based Kula Flow. *Please note that this 75hr advanced TT includes approx. 50 total contact hours and 25 non contact hours, per Yoga Alliance guidelines. Visit Yoga Alliance's website for details.
Kula's Teaching Methodology is unique in it's approach. We'll look at demoing, assisting, and cueing with a fresh lens of intentionality. We'll cover voice, rhythm, tone, and pace - and how confidence and group dynamics filter in. The Sacred Fig advanced programs are specifically geared to provide the tools to reveal a more authentic + empowered voice. *Please note that this 75hr advanced TT includes approx. 50 total contact hours and 25 non contact hours, per Yoga Alliance guidelines. Visit Yoga Alliance's website for details.
Using accelerated learning techniques, trainees will practice teaching in various scenarios. Our practicum is regarded at the forefront of Yoga education, using a thoroughly considered approach to teaching that greatly expands the potential and speed in which one learns.*Please note that this 75hr advanced TT includes approx. 50 total contact hours and 25 non contact hours, per Yoga Alliance guidelines. Visit Yoga Alliance's website for details.
7:30am - 8am
Pranayama + Meditation.
We gather together each sunrise and whip things up with pranayama + meditation, led by Anton Brandt and Nikki Vilella.
8:10am - 9:40am
Thoughtful + intelligent alignment-based Kula Flow, led by Nikki Vilella and Anton Brandt. After practice, there's just enough time to enjoy a dip in the freshwater lake before breakfast.
9:40am - 10:40am
Enjoy a healthy breakfast of living foods. Expect eggs, avocados, local fruits, yogurt, homemade granola, homemade jams, hearty breads. Meals are mostly vegetarian, and there's options for everyone. Food is most often organic & local. Strong coffee & herbal teas are available.
11am - 1pm
Topics vary each day - from learning bandha, sequencing, alignment, and adjustments.
1pm - 2pm
Nutritious vegetarian lunch.
2pm - 3:30pm
Use this time to study, or enjoy a nap on a hammock.
3:30pm - 6:30pm
The afternoon session is hands-on. Topics include teacher breakout sessions, energetics of the body & movement, alignment of key poses, and physical adjustments. Expect to practice teach every day.
7pm - 8pm
Enjoy a glass of vino, stargaze, and take rest.
The Sacred Fig teacher training exceeded all of my expectations! From the world class faculty to the property grounds & shala, and the amazing morning asana. I could stay here for another 5 months, and I'm already thinking about doing their 500 hours!!
This is SO much more than just a yoga teacher training. Prepare to be inspired. Prepare to be challenged. Prepare to explore & learn... This is a transformative journey that has changed my life and allowed me to better understand & accept myself, all while receiving some of the best vinyasa classes of my life, by some of the most amazing people I've had the pleasure of meeting.
Anton has thought of every last detail, allowing for a smooth, challenging, & rewarding yoga teacher training. I was blown away by what I received from this course. I had the space & encouragement to engage in powerful & meaningful self-study. He brought in knowledgable, inspiring & engaging teachers who are experts in their respective fields, and learning from them was unique & fun... I feel like I'll retain the information long after I leave the course. I'm confident with what I've learned, and how I've transformed! I had expectations for this training and I will honestly say they were vastly exceeded! I'm smiling as I write this. Thank you Anton for your attention to detail in every aspect of this course!
I find that when you meet a spirit with an exceptionally radiant, guiding light, you feel the desire to surround yourself with their presence. And if you’re fortunate enough to find this light source, it’s a gift. Anton Brandt, founder of The Sacred Fig, has a sparkle that exudes from an authentic place of ease and happiness deep within.
Completion of a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training.
Trainees are required to take 5 Vinyasa classes (from 5 different teachers), and 5 non- vinyasa classes (such as Kundalini, Iyengar, Katonah, Yin, etc) prior to the training, and take notes on these classes. Include in your notes what you loved about the class & teacher, what you didn’t like, their musical choices if any, how the teacher entered the room & engaged students prior to class, sequencing, adjustments, language, how the teacher moved about the room, did they demo, how your body felt during & after, and anything else that struck you. It is your responsibility to bring these notes with you to training and give them to our coordinator upon arrival.
For trainees that live in or around NYC, take 5 Kula classes prior to training, and take notes on these classes. Include in your notes what you loved about the class & teacher, what you didn’t like, their musical choices if any, how the teacher entered the room & engaged students prior to class, sequencing, adjustments, language, how the teacher moved about the room, did they demo, how your body felt during & after, and anything else that struck you. It is your responsibility to bring these notes with you to training and give them to our coordinator upon arrival. For those of you who do not live near NYC, take 3 of Schuyler Grant’s FIXX classes online.
Ability to communicate in English.
A positive attitude. An open mind and a willingness to learn are truly the most important pre-requisites for this training.
Like all great things in life, the more you put into this training, the more you’ll get from it. That starts before you arrive. The Tom Myer’s book below is required reading, please have it finished before you arrive, as well as write a one-page commentary on it. We don’t expect you to understand or embody every page in this book, but rather just read it with an open mind, play with whatever resonates with you, and leave aside whatever doesn’t make sense. We’re not expecting you to be a pro at anatomy prior to this course, so please don’t stress! Email your finished commentary (attached as a word .doc, in an email, with the subject line: YTT book report, trainee name) to [email protected] prior to the start of the training. This book is purchased at the trainee’s expense, and can be ordered online.
Listen to J Brown’s Podcast (available on iTunes and Spotify) with Schuyler Grant, “Kula + Wanderlust”. Stream it here.
Body³, by Tom Myers
Buy it on anatomy trains website.
Trainees do not need to bring this book to the training. Upon arrival, students will receive The Kula 75 hour manual, as well as Sacred Fig select materials, which together will serve as the master course curriculum & guide.
The following books are not required. They’re quite varied in subject matter – so you can choose areas of your particular interest. Again, these are recommended, but not required, and listed in no particular order:
A New Earth. Eckhart Tolle (If you haven’t read it, now is the time. This is required for our 200 hour programs)
Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. T.K.V. Desikachar. (A yoga classic, a must read for any yoga teacher)
Rising Strong, by Brené Brown. (Dives into vulnerability, shame, and worthiness)
Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar (This serves more like an asana reference manual, not really one to read cover to cover)
Mastery, The Keys to Success & Long-Term Fulfillment. George Leonard (Attain a higher level of excellence in your daily life. Who doesn’t want that?)
what you get
- A shared room for the duration of the course
- 3 farm-to-table vegetarian meals per day, for the duration of the course, including spring water, coffee and local teas
- Access to the entire 275 acre property, including lake, bicycles, animals, and wifi
- Tuition for a total of 75 hours of Yoga Alliance education (55 contact, 20 non-contact)
- The Kula 75hr Manual, as well as The Sacred Fig curriculum based on accelerated learning principles
- World renowned faculty - all experts in their respective fields
- Access to The Kula + Sacred Fig global community of yogis
- Support & mentorship from faculty, including post-training guidance
- Recognition as a graduate from Kula + The Sacred Fig Yoga Education Program
All inclusive of the above:
USD $1800 (Single bed in a shared triple room, with en-suite bathroom. Remainder payment is due by June 1st, 2020.)
USD $2000 (Single bed in a shared double room. Bathroom is shared between two bedrooms. Remainder payment is due by June 1st, 2020.)
USD $2400 (Single bed in a shared double room, with an en-suite bathroom. Remainder payment is due by June 1st, 2020.)
USD $4000 (Private room with en-suite bathroom. Remainder payment is due by June 1st, 2020.)
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