the Philosopher, the General, and the Mechanic

The evolation hot yoga training in Santa Barbara ended on Sunday November 3rd, and the last couple of days I’ve been thinking of how I’m going to describe the training to friends here at home. This is my attempt to put into words the fabulous training I’ve experienced this past month.

First and foremost, it was a total immersion. We practiced yoga, discussed the mechanics of the various postures in the sequence, we took turns teaching individual postures, heard lectures on Paramahansa Yogananda and other great gurus, and held long discussions on teaching consciously.


We had various visiting teachers throughout the month, all wonderful and different, and the main instructors were Mark Drost, Zefea Samson and Torrey Trover. All three know the in’s and out’s of the Evolation Yoga way of teaching but they, in my humble opinion, focused on three distinct areas during this particular training. In my mind I fondly thought them of as the Philosopher, the General (think military) and the Mechanic.

Mark from the onset stressed the ego, how to find our way through the many trappings that our wonderful minds lay out for us on a daily basis, and to be true and authentic each and every time we teach. Zefea, on the other hand, was demanding about how each and every posture was described during practice teaching sessions and on how we approached our individual practice. Practice mindfully. Period. Zefea had her hands full for the training, leading us through hot yoga classes, the posture dialog, and breast feeding Ravi, her and Mark’s beautiful two-month old son. Torrey focused on the posture mechanics; what muscles are being engaged in a particular posture, what joints are being impacted, what internal organs are benefited, what section of the spine is being impacted, etc., etc. The list goes on. They are great teachers and bring their own unique perspective to the training.What is teaching consciously? To be in the present moment – not thinking about the next class or what is planned for the weekend, to be nonjudgmental to students and yourself, and never forgetting that the practice of yoga is about doing the best you can do on a particular day in a particular class. Yoga is not about looking beautiful in a posture, not to suggest that this is a bad thing to strive for, but about doing each posture in a mindful and correct way using correct form, going to your maximum expression of the posture, holding the posture at that maximum point, and breathing throughout the class. Conscious, deliberate breathing is the thread that holds a class together.


Finally, the training is accessible to anyone who loves yoga. Some of my fellow trainees did indeed have beautiful postures, but the trainee group included a student that had just recently taken up yoga, at least one that had never taken a hot yoga class, and others who have been thinking of teaching for a while. For me, the training brought me closer to my ultimate goal in life. Yoga takes my undivided attention, and my focus during every class is to breath mindfully while paying attention to detail, all of which brings me closer to the spirit and that ultimate goal, a quiet mind.

And I made friends for life. Namaste.

Rogelio Pena


Rogelio is from Boulder Colorado and he recently completed the evolation yoga teacher training.