Sunday, November 14, 2010

Upanishads and Private yoga

There is a wealth of yoga philosophy that I find totally fascinating and highly recommend reading.  I will go into more detail in a later post of particular recommendations of editions and translations, but Patanjali's sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Upanishads all have one thing in common - they were originally passed down from master to student orally, and individually.  In fact, Upanishad is literally translated as "Sitting down near"which basically means, "sit down and I'll tell you a story about how to live your life. Or how you could live your life.  Or about cheese."(I'm actually not joking about the cheese - read Satchidananda's translation of the Sutras and you'll know what I mean.) 

Cool lookin' guy, right?

As yoga was meant to be taught intimately from teacher to student, it's interesting to see how far away we are from that in the yoga industry.  In the business side of yoga, classes ideally have 20 or more students to be lucrative to the teacher and the studio.  Don't get me wrong - I love the community aspect of a large class taught by a wonderful teacher - there is a feeling of "all for one and one for all" as well as the inspiration of seeing someone else's asana and learning from others.  However, as my teachers always say, "what do you gain, and what do you loose?"  While you gain a significant amount of excitement and strength from a group asana practice, you definitely lose the personal care and and consideration that comes from a private teacher.

While yes, I do know that I am a private yoga teacher so this may sound like a pitch to study with me (hey, what a great idea!)  I so want to recommend so many other teachers to study with, as well. For example, I study with Laurel Beversdorf, a YogaWorks teacher trainer, who has totally shifted my practice.  While I wish I could study with her regularly, whenever I can have a lesson with her, it is always amazing - she is an utterly brilliant teacher with a keen eye for and understanding of alignment and musculature, which is essential for me. Juliana Mitchell is another wonderful New York based teacher - incredibly wise, warm and knows exactly how to challenge you according to your needs.

Who are your favorite teachers, and what do you think about private yoga lessons versus public classes?

Share your thoughts below, if you would, and have a beautiful day!

Keep practicing!


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