|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 536 ]
We've covered a lot ground over these 24 lessons and regardless of your motivation for taking this course, I hope it has helped you to gain a greater appreciation for depth and vastness of yoga. However, the large number of practices and techniques, and the wide range of theoretical and philosophical elements presented to you throughout this program still only represent the tip of the iceberg of yoga, so-to-speak.
All that has been presented to you here needs a great deal of continued practice and study (self-study) in order for the techniques to be mastered and for the wisdom to reveal itself at the ultimate level of transformation.
The Modern Yoga Teacher
Contrast what you have come to know about yoga throughout your study here with the fact that some people who teach yoga today have had only a fraction of the exposure that you have had to the concepts and practices of yoga. Many have behind them scarcely a month or two (sometimes even less) of training in this vast science and fail to continue to study yoga much further after that.
Too often those who aspire to teach yoga feel that since they have been going to yoga classes for a few years, that it means they have a good background in yoga and thus may only need to proceed with some short-term structured training, write some certification exams, then be qualified to teach.
But many of these folks have not had the necessary initiation into even the basic foundations of the higher life (yamas and niyamas), nor crafted a life based upon the principles and teaching of yoga, nor explored themselves to the ultimate depth necessary for personal transformation to occur.
Their experience often lies largely with the idea that once one gains some aptitude with the physical yoga postures, that they have reached a more advanced level in yoga. This attitude, so prevalent in the modern yoga scene, lacks any real understanding of the depth and true nature of yoga.
As a result, once these folks become 'yoga teachers' themselves, they are ill-equipped and unable to relate much at all of the teachings of yoga to their students. As Swami Gitananda said:
"I'm surprised at how many yoga teachers have not yet experimented with yogic living... (and) how many profess to teach yoga without first bothering to find out just what it is all about."
It is indeed unfortunate that many today have chosen to teach yoga with a very limited understanding and experience of this vast science. Becoming a yoga teacher is not a right, but a great honour and a tremendous responsibility. In order to teach yoga, one must not only 'know yoga', but live it -- fully and completely.
The prevalent attitude today seems to be that learning to teach yoga is something that is done 'on the job', so to speak. How confident would you be in your physician if they simply learned a little bit about anatomy, and then started practising medicine with the notion that they will 'picked up the rest' as along the way?
In order to guide others along this often difficult and demanding path of yoga, one must have successfully walked that ground themselves first; and as you have begun to see in your studies here, that ground is immense...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of
leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world
... It is indeed a masterful work."
Dr. John Michael Christian
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