Over the past 10 years there has been a dramatic change in the yoga school scene in WA, and most likely the whole of Australia with the explosion of Vinyasa and Bikram schools. Typically before this, the styles of yoga taught was generally hatha, ashtanga, iyengar and of course the odd Vinyasa school. Accompanied by the rampant drive of some yoga teachers to post photos of themselves in all states of dress and postures, the public’s impression of yoga can only have changed. I would suggest it has changed to a view that yoga is more of physical pursuit than a spiritual. The term yoga used to describe any style of class in which classical yoga postures are performed.
This change in the yoga scene has undoubtedly changed the way yoga is sold and taught. Traditional schools, with teachers who have done their time and offer an authentic yoga experience have had to question why keep teaching beginner courses when I know a student can choose to pop on down to another class and be thrown into an advanced posture by a teacher who hasn’t mastered it themselves.
The answer is integrity.
Whilst not the most popular consumer choice and usually more expensive that the sexy intro offers available, there are many good reasons to undertake a beginners course in yoga if you are wanting to tackle challenging dynamic styles of yoga.
Here are just 3 reasons as to why you should seriously consider undertaking a beginners course in yoga.
Asana is a technical pursuit in most styles of yoga, laying the foundation for deeper internal inquiry. Without technique and correct instruction a pose simply cannot be undertaken correctly or safely. The angle of feet, the opening of the chest, the rotational direction of limbs, the drishti and breath and all important elements to combine and come together with synchronicity in order for a student to fully experience a pose. Without this teaching, it really is just yogaerobics.
Any long-term yogi, who has done a LOT of yoga will tell you the secrets of postures unfold for years and years. These secrets will not be revealed without the basics, the foundations firmly in place. A good beginners course, taught progressively will give you foundations from which a big oak tree can grow. No beginners course and you might stay a weak sapling, blown to and fro in the wind forever, never experiencing the magical view from the highest branches.
Yoga should be practised in a quiet, clean place, away from the busyness of life. Quietness so you can hear your thoughts as they trumpet through your mind and you develop awareness of your thoughts and of the space the lies behind them.
A clean space at room temperature keeps it real and is respectful to the natural body and your current state of existence. You can truly experience where you are at, practise accepting yourself at this place and move forwards with grace.
An important part of teaching beginners yoga is teaching the student skills in developing awareness of their breath, body and mind. Any spiritual person will inherently know the importance of silence, peace and quiet. Appreciating the gifts in this starts with learning how to experience it openly and for many students is quite challenging with the constant distractions and noise of everyday life. A beginner’s course will show the student how beautiful it can be to move through asana quietly and awake.
You will learn a lot about your chosen yoga school through undertaking a beginners course with them. How much the teacher really know about yoga? Have they just undertaken a month long teacher training intensive without spending time under a Senior Teacher and launched themselves solo? Are they teacher who has a Teacher, who has practiced for years and has an in-depth knowledge of posture and philosophy? Does the school have support and guidance systems in place for more junior teacher from someone more senior and experienced? Do they keep appropriate boundaries? A professional Yoga Teacher will be compassionate and caring, at all times holding appropriate boundaries for the student-teacher relationship to grow from.