What you really don’t know about your yoga teacher
Okay, normally I have been staying to writing strictly from the ancient texts but this one is not in them. So call it opinion or judgment or whatever you want. Just inform yourself.
First off, did you realize that yoga is a science. Yes, a real science. No matter what “yoga” (ashtanga, bhakti, karma, jnana, etc…) you are talking about, there is a science behind it. This is the beautiful and tragic thing. See, we in the West have pretended yoga is not a science. We have made it into a free for all so that anyone can call themselves a yogi. Most self gratifying and narcissistic to say the least. This science is as deep and detailed as the milky way. There is a strict template for the yamas and niyamas, how asana works and what is it mechanics and why, how pranayama is done correctly with its mechanisms and why, how pratyahara is done, what is meditation and what does it do, and then of course samadhi has many levels to it, each distinct. It is like rocket science. There is alot to understand. Worst of all when done incorrectly these modalities cause disease. Yes, disease. Says so right in the very texts about yoga. and with so much bastardization without ever actually walking the path what do you think is happening?
The structure of yoga comes from all the vedic thought, all the vedic vidyas work in the same language and of the same cogs and gears. This takes quite a long time to understand, it is a different paradigm that forces you on a quest internally to understand it. Any paradigm shift wil do that, right.
Okay, on with the rant…..
Did you know that anyone can get yoga teacher certified in just 6 weekends? Most of the teachers that are out there teaching have.
Did you know that all you have to do is show up and you are certified? Yes, that is right, pay $2000 to $5000 and you to can be certified. There is no checks or balances system in place to verify someones knowledge or anything with these certifications.
Did you know that Yoga Alliance, the membership collection agency that is certifying the teacher trainings and teachers does nothing but collects money? They collect it from the teacher that is trying to get their training certified and then they collect again from the student becoming a teacher. Once again, no check or balances goes on in this. There are plenty of people who have not studied yoga at all for any length of time out there teaching teacher trainings. I have met plenty.
This all might seem pretty far out, it is.
In India, a sadhaka would be learning under his teacher for years. He would not be able to go out and start teaching others as he hasn’t walked the path so his experience would be as deep as a shallow bath tub. His teacher only would tell him when he was able to teach. This might be half of his life spent learning and practicing. Brahmins would be raised from early age studying the vedas, studying vedanta, studying yoga or whatever their course was. The would be a master before they were able to teach.
Today, we have all sorts of what we call yoga. Most of it has been dreamt up by people that have not even started to walk the path or even worse have twisted the foundation to fit their own meanings of it, such as brahmacharya. Wow, that is a touchy one. Yes, it is celibacy and celibacy only. But we twist the rules according to our own take on them. Has the person who is saying that brahmacharya is not celibacy ever walked the path of celibacy? Guarenteed not.
What we are left with is a mish mash of unlearned, unexperienced people walking around with malas, spouting spiritual words like, it is all good and just trying to move thru their lives like everyone else.
The foundation and the “rules” are lost completely. We are not taught fundamentals or prep work of this beautiful science rather we jump to the asanas like they are our savior. It is just exercise like step aerobics the way it is taught from a western exercise theory lens. Sorry, it is true. Asana is only the second rung of the ladder in yoga. There are only four or so asanas that are important as per all the texts. These are all meditative postures not pretzel forming gymnastics. Asana does not make you spiritual as much as wearing a mala does or as does eating a burrito.
This is a science. There is rules to follow to be on the path. There is consumption of intake to be followed, there is a time and prep work that has to be done for true success.
It is not a religion. It is not whatever you want to make it. It is not up to the individual, the ego, there is mechanics to this science.
It is based on prana. Balancing, building and stillness. Not aggravation of the prana through excessive western exercise means.
If we were to really study this science and really put teachers out there with integrity, wow, what would the world look like? What would the yoga community really be?
Would we have John Friend, Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee and the so many others that have put themselves out there as yogis to only have the veil lifted to see that they are actually so far off the path that they have spoken too? Maybe, the world would be the exact same, who knows?
So go inward, get out of your head, get away from the sales and consumerism of spirituality. It isn’t spiritual. Don’t read westernized books by famous ex models on yoga. All of this has nothing for you on the path. If you really want the path then walk it. Close your eyes to the external party, you may just find yourself and a whole lot more there. Yoga is what is called the Nivritti Marga or inner path. Your not gonna get that in a class.
A true yoga teacher is not going to be found in the masses giving certifications and retreats to exotic luxury locations.