Who You Learn From Is Important

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

by Suleiha Suguna

In my last blog post, I emphasized that one cannot learn Yoga from reading the Gheranda Samhita alone. This is also true of the Shiva Samhita and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, both ancient and accepted texts on Hatha Yoga. It is not possible to read and learn from these texts because the finer details are kept hidden. These details have been passed down from guru to guru over time.

In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Svatmarama (the author) says:

"The Yogin desirous of obtaining siddhi (perfection) should keep the Hatha Yoga very secret. For it is potent when kept secret and ineffective when [carelessly] revealed"

Svatmarama implicitly indicates here that not everything is revealed in the book. In the commentary of Jyotsna of Brahmananda on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, it states in relation to the above verse that "it is plain that everything is not revealed and the most important processes are to be learned direct from a Guru".

It is therefore imperative for the Yoga instructor to be trained by a qualified guru. It is also equally important for the student of Yoga to ensure that his or her Yoga instructor is properly qualified. But how does one determine qualification? In a time and age where Yoga is becoming increasingly popular, how does one differentiate fad from tradition? I will admit that this is not easy but you can look out for the following:

1. Experience - How long has the Yoga instructor been around for? Where did he or she learn Yoga?

2. Knowledge - Ask questions. Be inquisitive. See if the instructor understands the subject matter. This does not mean you should be rude. Being inquisitive is an important aspect of learning and will benefit you tremendously.

3. Breathing Technique - Breathing plays a central role in Yoga. Every posture has corresponding breathing techniques. Your instructor should provide proper guidance in this.

4. Testimonials - Sometimes it is not enough to read testimonials alone. Speak to other students and find out. Most reputable Yoga instructors will be happy to oblige you.

5. Publicity - Some of the best Yoga Gurus are not very public but you can try Google-ing a Yoga instructor and see if you find positive or negative results. You could also ask around.


Anonymous said...

It is very hard to find a qualified Yoga instructor. Thank you Maya for the tips. I guess sometimes we just need to go through a few 'bad' ones so we can appreciate the good ones when they come along!

Unity Fitness said...

If you are serious about learning how Yoga can improve your quality of life, then finding a Guru is of great importance. A Guru will help you understand the rocks that may be on your path and how to get around them!
Some great tips on how to identify a Guru instead of a teacher.

Honey said...

Informative blog you have presented. Finding a qualified guru how much important for us I have understood. Along with you have written about hatha yoga, It gained my knowledge. Very thanks to you for this unique blog which taught me that how can I find a good instructor.


Anonymous said...

The practice of yoga is well-demonstrated to reduce the physical effects of stress on the body. The body responds to stress through a fight-or-flight response, which is a combination of the sympathetic nervous system and hormonal pathways activating, releasing cortisol – the stress hormone – from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is often used to measure the stress response. Yoga practice has been demonstrated to reduce the levels of cortisol. Most yoga classes end with savasana, a relaxation pose, which further reduces the experience of stress.

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This blog is dedicated to providing Yoga resources for all our students and anyone interested in well-being. We hope that through our posts, we help spread health and happiness.

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