How The Dynamics of Ashtanga Yoga Are Changing
The Ashtanga practice provides us with the eight full limbs that create the moral and ethical guidelines we need to live a full life. Your spiritual practice can provide you with a blueprint for taking on the real world and its problems, but those who teach Ashtanga have a responsibility to protect the lineage of the practice while still providing a safe space for all students to practice.
Being a yoga teacher is more than mastering the asanas or completing so many hours of training. Yoga teachers are responsible for tending the path and helping students build a strong foundation for their spiritual practice. Today, however, the role of the teacher is changing, and that dynamic now involves discussing the history of colonization, racial appropriation, and the racism that goes along with it.
If you’re thinking of becoming a yoga teacher, ask yourself how invested you are in the student’s journey. Not just your yoga students but also your personal yoga journey. Even if you practice 10,000 hours in this lifetime, you will never stop learning. Those who love to learn often make the best yoga teachers because they are dedicated to cultivating the path and creating an accessible student’s journey. I share tips for anyone interested in joining a mentorship and becoming a teacher, and I offer advice on why teaching accessible Ashtanga yoga is important.
Asanas are only a part of the practice, and you’re missing out on a lot of spiritual growth when you focus primarily on perfecting your poses. But what happens if you’re injured? Or as you age? Should you stop your spiritual practice just because you’re not physically able to do the traditional asanas anymore?
No! You can still practice yoga, even if you can’t stretch your foot behind your head or achieve a full headstand. You can also continue to access the spiritual experience of yoga in a modified pose, and I discuss ways teachers can bring more accessible Ashtanga yoga to their students.
Ashtanga intimidates a lot of students, and that intimidation is justified. The work required of a yoga student practicing Ashtanga is very intense, but not because of the poses. It’s the work of showing up to practice every day, taking a good, deep look at yourself, and chipping away at our old thought patterns and negative ways of thinking one day at a time.
You don’t need to master the poses to put in the work, but you should be stepping onto your mat every day to try. Many yoga studios offer scholarship programs and free classes, and it’s never too late to sign up.
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