Simple Yoga

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This is a post draft, prematurely published.


relationship between … Exercise and Yoga-Meditation


I had one very good yoga teacher, and one very bad yoga teacher.  Then I gave up on yoga classes.

The good one was really good.  In addition to basic yoga, she also taught a Chi Gong class and a TCM herbalism class in the same building.  She integrated her knowledge of each, and I gained understanding of all three.  Her teaching style was calm, enthusiastic, and with a sense of humor.  She approached each topic with sensitivity, spiritual appreciation, and appropriate physical carefulness.  She countered preconceptions and addressed personal concerns as they arose.

Unfortunately she disappeared without notice or explanation, so something bad must have happened.  And was replaced quickly with a really bad teacher, whose first comment was “I don’t know what you’ve already learned.”  Then she dove inappropriately into an exercise routine which had no element of meditation.  “This is a yoga class?”  No, it wasn’t.  She then made no effort to teach seriously or interact productively.  It was a rushed warm-up routine for jogging, or for a woman to feel good about herself by going through rapid flexibility tests.   Maybe it made her feel good about herself at home, but the class suffered.  She seemed to have no background knowledge of the origin of basic yoga, like the previous teacher did.  It made me very suspicious of teacher certification processes generally.

The class was conducted three or four times faster than the previous teacher.  She gave no focus to smooth transitions and skipped all the basic resting positions because, I assume, she thought they were a waste of the limited time she had to teach yoga.  Ironic..  She said almost nothing, had no spiritual presence, expressed no deep understanding, showed no appreciation for history or philosophy, did not even mention meditation or suggest breathing advice.  She gave no warnings for unflexible people, and mentioned nothing of the freedom to modify or use variations for individualized comfortability.  She proceeded through sequences of difficult stretching motions which I suspect may be easier for a lazy woman than a working man.  All of physical yoga is about balanced resting positions and the slow, smooth transitions between them, but not with her.  We were led as quickly as possible through a series of stretches in a haphazard way, with no serious advice but a lazy instructional comment in between awkward repetitious movements which were likely to strain most people there if followed exactly.

I haven’t surveyed all yoga teachers, but unless you find a unique individual or take a one-on-one class, I expect most of them are bad.  My previous teacher made the class appropriate for everyone, and with proper focus on meditation and the traditional simple positions mentioned earlier on this page.  If you find a yoga class in which the teacher seems like an exercise instructor with an ego, I suggest you run.  It would be healthier for your heart and brain.

Because of the bad class, I developed pain within two weeks and had to quit.  Six months of good yoga, and two weeks of bad yoga, with horrible results.  Any teacher who seems to want to prove her ability to you, or seems to want a class full of people to make progress which was not carefully planned for individually.. is a fool and potentially dangerous.

No egos are allowed in yoga.  If you have one.. Don’t even try.

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