My first experience with Jason Magness and Jedi Training was in June 2012 at a ten day YogaSlackers Teacher Training. It was my first experience with a lot of things. Ten days wasn’t near long enough to accommodate all the disciplines YogaSlackers wanted their graduates instilled with, so we had packed days in our training schedule. Like, *seriously* packed- 7am to 10:30pm of go, go, go. Many of us were physically spent, exhausted, running on fumes. This was not enough for Jason Magness, co-founder of YogaSlackers, and an integral member of a team of adventure racers who have gained the status of being named in the top ten in the world for adventure racing. He wanted us running on fumes. He wanted to show us what we were mentally capable of when we felt at the limits of our physicality.
Yogaslackers are known for gently nudging students far outside the comfort zone and into the realm of ultimate growth. When the students in quesion happen to be striving for the label of “certified YogaSlackers teacher,” well, sometimes the nudges aren’t so gentle! My introduction to Jedi Training was on the tenth and last day of YogaSlackers teacher training. It consisted of an hour and a half long “yoga” class. We students had no idea what we were showing up to. With unparalleled charisma, Jason has the unique ability to make a tiny statement; present a scarce idea, and demonstrate how through power of will, movement of body, and emotional buy-in, you can push your mental and physical edges to achieve goals you previously thought to be outside of your possibilities. That is exactly what he did.
After almost two hours of stringent practice, i, and many others, left that crowded yoga room with utmost respect for our capabilities as humans. It was such a profound experience for me that i’ve become a devotee of this style of training since- in my personal life, raising my children, and in working with clients as an accountability coach. Oftentimes students can gently nudge (and not so gently nudge) their teachers out of their comfort zones, as well. I did some nudging. I desperately wanted Jason bring his Jedi trainng methodology to the greater community. Specifically, i wanted him to offer me another opportunity to experience it and at a deeper level. But Jason wasn't ready. The practice wasn't ready. Maybe the world wasn't ready. Finally, after five years of my waiting (hoping, dreaming, manifesting), with the help of Chelsey Magness and Chip Feiburg, Jason suscessfully developed his Jedi method into a full fledged multi-day course, and around this time last year i recieved my invitation to attend a training for a “small group of physical and mental meta-learners.” Elated! Holy Crap! Yes!
The first ever Jedi Power Teacher Training course was held in June, 2017 in the beautiful Oregon mountains at a retreat space surrounded on three sides by creeks and rivers flowing with melted snow. The retreat space was gorgeous. Seriously, the location looked like something from the set of the movies Avatar or Lord of the Rings. I expected more primitive accommodations. To my standards, tent sleeping on the ground and an outdoor flush potty and shower are not roughing it. We were instructed right away to choose our camp spots and we jumped into our training from the get go. Our schedule consisted of lots of top secret discussions, outside training and adventures, reading, note taking, and physical/mental challenges. There were also three amazing meals every day, a movie night, campfire roasted banana s’mores things, and regular, welcome, and well needed, sauna sessions.
The majority of our curriculum revolved around daily yoga and meditation wherein we were taught to embody the main tenets of Jedi Power by holding timed yoga poses, and performing kriyas. Kriyas are physical movements designed to move stale energy in your body. In the Jedi Power methodology, working with kriyas is a physical way to harness, tame, and focus your life forces toward reaching a mental end goal. It feels ridiculous to perform some of these movements for as long as we do but the internal power you build up during the process has unmistakable intensity. You will feel super human, i assure you!
The term Jedi, while not integral to the idea of this practice, provided much fodder for allegory throughout our training, the "Force" being the most important aspect, of course. Constantly referencing all things Star Wars, however, is an excellent way to pass on information in less abstract terms. Pop culture is something we know and can easily relate to, and in this particular case, referring to George Lucas’ film epic was a way to relay exactly the concepts Jason has distilled into this practice. In fact, it provided the very foundations. Jason Magness effectively took the story off the screen and found a way to apply the idea of the Force to real life situations.
After five days of digital detox and personal change in a majestic forest, surrounded and supported by a group of twelve other trainees, preparing to leave and enter the real world again wasn’t easy. On our last day, in a morning long Jedi practice, instead of our teachers teaching us, we taught our teachers. There was laughter in the room, there were tears. Most importantly, there was POWER in the room. We didn’t know it when our training started, but we all carried that power with us when we arrived- just like we were carrying our backpacks full of clothes and camping gear. What we had learned during the course of the training was how to harness and direct the the power; how to see that power in others; how to negotiate when to tap into our powers of darkness and when to tap into our powers of light. In essence, we learned what the Force is- “It is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” - Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Through trials and triumph we left our training stronger as individuals, and as a group- our journals and our minds fairly exploding with content we were eager to share. We left with a renewed sense of vigor, and in some cases- a vigor we didn't know we had to begin with. We left to rejoin our families and communities who all were anxious for the Return of The Jedi. We left with A New Hope.
May the Force be with you.
****all photos by Chip Fieberg****