Are You a Student of Yoga?

Are you a student of yoga? I’m intrigued by the response to this question in the same way you may respond to “what is yoga?”.  I often ask what is yoga to get students thinking about yoga from a broader perspective than you might normally have. 

What yoga means to you may determine if you see yourself as a student of yoga. For example, if yoga is a physical process you engage in by going to classes at a yoga centre, gym, or online you may see yourself as a participant in yoga classes as opposed to being a student of yoga. 

Those who identify as participants of yoga classes over and above being students of yoga often come to a fork in their yoga road where they either start exploring yoga in a more fulsome way or they move away from yoga entirely and find another physical practice to embark on. 

As a teacher, I’m not so much interested in teaching a kick-ass yoga class to please someone’s desire for exercise or a workout. Rather, seeing myself as a student of yoga too, I’m interested in working with like-minded people. My journey may be a few steps further on the path than yours, but we share a desire to experience more than a physical practice. 

One of the reasons I’m ruminating on the question “are you a student of yoga?” is because I just received a new yoga book in the mail today. Yay!  The book comes highly recommended by a respected teacher of Ayurveda, Dr. John Douillard, who recently interviewed the authors. The book, Is This Yoga? explores the concepts, histories and complexities of yoga, especially within the context of modern practice. I’m fascinated by this topic. I’ve been studying yoga, tantra and Ayurveda for 20 years and I still feel like I’m only in my infancy of understanding these rich traditions. 

Another reason I’m interested in the student question is that I’ve just registered for a course with a new teacher! I’m excited to hear and experience the teachings shared from a different perspective and voice after studying in one lineage and system for 15 years. I love the student role and can’t wait to delve into new teachings and techniques that will shape the next stages of my yoga practice. 

As a student of yoga - I’m answering the question for you now - you know that the physical aspect of yoga is only the starting point. When the physical experience is heightened by conscious use of breath, informed by a theme, and culminating in meditation, the overall impact is tremendous. It’s through these experiences - yoga is entirely experiential - an opening is created to explore the teachings that underpin it all. That’s where I come in. 

I’m committed to serving these teachings by introducing the more etheric side of yoga by weaving the concepts into physical practices. You may be interested to know that one of the definitions of tantra is to weave. Think of it as weaving all of life’s experiences into the tapestry that is your life.  

I’m passionate about this approach to teaching just as others are about teaching big fancy poses, lovely flowing sequences and focusing on the body beautiful. The yoga teachings are very clear about how attachment keeps you limited, small, disconnected. When yoga is used as a means of body identification (read: attachment), is it actually yoga? But I digress...

I know that I’ve done my job well if I pique your interest in more than physical practice. I’ve served the teachings well if I’ve given you an experience of something bigger than your self-limiting worldview. I’ve served my dharma if you are on a path of self-awakening and discovery because I’ve inspired you. 

So, student of yoga, I hope you continue on your path of awakening. It’s the rich work of life and often avoided by many (most?) because it is not easy. But with effort and growth, you become the person you were meant to be in this lifetime. You are an active agent in the shaping of your destiny, not a passive participant in the journey. 

Not part of my yoga membership and doing classes with me? Why not hop over to the membership page and sign up now. The first two weeks are free. And yes, you can end your membership at any time. But why would you? 

That’s it for this week. I hope I’ve given you some fuel for thought. 

 

 

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