Meet Anton Brandt - teacher, leader and founder of The Sacred Fig, which offers quality retreats and teacher trainings around the globe...
RYB: Tell us a bit about yourself…where you’re from, what you’re passionate about.
AB: I come from a small beach town in California. Both my parents are immigrants: Iraqi mom, Danish dad. So growing up, I was the kid who had hummus & baba ganoush in his lunch pail. This was before hummus became fashionable, so it took some serious charm & persuasiveness to convince fellow students to swap their PB&Js with me.
Lunchtime dramas aside, my parents instilled in me a genuine love for the world. From a young age, I travelled often, and alone. By the time I finally settled in New York, I had spent over half of my adult life abroad, from Costa to Greece, India to Ubud, Shanghai to San Sebastian.
RYB: What inspired you to create The Sacred Fig?
AB: As a student in my first yoga teacher training, it was immediately clear that my dharma was to lead retreats & trainings. The format of an intensive, residential training resonated deeply with me – it’s where I was able to peel away the layers, and reveal a greater version of myself. So naturally, that format is what The Sacred Fig offers for its 200 hour programs.
The more trainings I participated in, and the more I integrated into the global yoga community as a teacher & facilitator, the more evidently I saw the gap in the quality of education offered for aspiring yoga teachers. I was unable to find a training that not only incorporated intelligent & thoughtful asana and philosophical roots, but also the depth of personal development. By bringing in some of the most well-respected faculty from literally all around the world, our yoga teacher trainings set the global standard for yoga education.
RYB: What is the mission of The Sacred Fig?
AB: World-class yoga retreats & teacher trainings in the most awe-inspiring locations around the globe.
RYB: What do you love most about leading teacher trainings?
AB: For many people, doing one of our teacher trainings is the most important month of their lives. They start to understand themselves and engage the world in entirely new ways. To be a part of that, to hold the space for that kind of process, is wildly fulfilling. You should see the wonderful emails I get!
RYB: Favorite retreat destination, and why?
AB: I tend to love places way off the beaten track, the kind of place where nature smacks you in the face. In Costa Rica, my favorite property, Tiskita Jungle Lodge is an 800 acre private biological reserve. The owner is a dear friend, she has a profound sense of connection to the land & animals, and it’s contagious. The last time we were there, she ran around to all the jungle bungalows, waking us all up before sunrise, and dragged us all groggy-eyed to the sea, because the turtle conservationists were releasing thousands of newly hatched turtles to make their first crawl from the sand into the ocean.
RYB: Vision for The Sacred Fig in the coming years?
AB: We’re in the process of creating a scholarship fund for those who aspire to become yoga teachers but don’t have the financial means. This really excites me.
RYB: What’s your best travel advice?
AB: Travel any chance you can. When I tell people about my life, they often tell me how lucky I am, and then proceed to list all the reasons why they can’t travel. Anyone can travel – it’s just making it a priority. If you don’t have much money, then camp! If you’re afraid to fly, learn to sail! You have one precious life, you can spend it on your couch watching Netflix or catching up on emails, or you can go out & experience the world.