There are four main styles of Yoga Teacher
One style of Yoga Teacher is not really aware that asana Yoga is one small aspect of the spiritual science and lifestyle called Yoga. This style of teacher may have heard about the mumbo-jumbo of the other stuff but she and her clients are only interested in the stretching exercises and probably also in the expensive stretchy pants–and thats OK. She may even like the term yuppie yoga. Works for them and we have no issue. We thank these devotees for being the financial motive why today we have yoga gear that really makes one’s butt look so very good. We do take umbrage, however, with some of the advertising. I would hate to think that one day things may stoop so low, we may even have a brand of clothing called Namaste. God forbid. Some things are just beautiful the way they are and should not be messed up with commerce. It is actually sacrilegious the way things go sometimes. Prana is Sanskrit for the life force that streams from the Godhead. It is a special gift, a healing gift. But now, we have a clothing line who may very well have called themselves Holy Spirit yoga pants. Prana clothing has a market who loves to pay $90 for stretch pants. That is one month’s salary for the woman who makes 25 of these pants per day in the Phnom Penh, Cambodia, factory. And…Chakra fabric?
The second style of Yoga Teacher takes the spiritual aspect seriously, but did not have the privilege to really learn about it. He is probably a Vegan. Not vegetarian, Vegan. It is important to him to have had a famous teacher, one who could contort his body in exceptional ways. He paid more for his course than most others, and probably went to Indonesia for as long as 20 days to study in the East. He may not be aware that Indonesia is a Muslim country with 1st-world resort areas that pander to wealthy westerners on a spiritual path. This teacher knows of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and learned from his school that chanting the sutras brings peace and enlightenment. These teachers try to teach their flock about the deeper spiritual truths but it is well-known how hard it is to pay the bills and keep everyone happy.
There is a good thing going on here
It is true that in Patanjali’s time it was thought that acrobatic contortionists get to heaven first, but that is not what the source documents, 1,000 years earlier than Patanjali had to say. Nevertheless, the old master did spell out Yoga as a full discipline that goes way beyond contortions.
The third style of Yoga Teacher is where we join in. We help Yoga Instructors to know Yogi philosophy. Yoga instructors know that asanas are stretching exercises and do not contribute to wisdom, which is required for enlightenment. Wisdom and enlightenment cannot be achieved through yogic acrobatics, or postures. We help teachers to know and embrace the full spectrum of Yogi Philosophy.
Oour graduates study hard to ensure safety of their class. They study Patanjali’s sutras and compare his version of Raja Yoga with that of the source in Baghavad Gita. Graduates of this school find that asana yoga is what it is, part of a healthy physical regime that goes hand-in-hand with a healthy diet, healthy meditation habits, mental control, mystical awareness, love, bhakti yoga, pranayama, loving-kindness and soul development. Our teachers impart Yogi Philosophy as well as stretching exercises and active meditation exercises. They pay the rent not only with Yoga Teaching classes but are well-rounded spiritual healers with Prana Healing, Reiki, Holistic Massage, Chakra Karma healing and other skills. They are as comfortable teaching an active meditation class, as they are on the yoga mat or in front of a spiritual group celebrating an Equinox in their spiritual tradition. This style of yoga teacher is not better than another, just different. Our graduates are different in that true spirituality and soul-spirit coaching and guidance are the primary focii–not an asana class. It is simply a matter of priorities.
The fourth style of Yoga teacher is the classic Yogi. Not that classic is better, in this instance, but he (it’s always a he) holds to old master Patanjali’s classic teachings of severe austerity, asexuality and other extremes in devotion to the classic style. He punishes the body, neglects it, castrated himself, probably ties large bricks around his scrotum and performs his austerities and contortionists abilities for crowds (as a means of income). He denies the world, possessions, and worldly customs altogether. He may smoke, have alcohol sometimes, and even eat meat when he wants to because he has risen above and below what people think he should be. More often than not, he is deeply devoted to the Shiva aspect of the Godhead. Typically, he has an odour of unwashed flesh and hair about him, yet he is known to embrace cell phone technology. Students do not last long because, for most, they insist on taking breaks for meals and toileting, washing and sleeping and such.
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