Why Yoga Beginners Need a Veteran Teacher Many guests at the ashram tell us stories of failed attempts to start their yoga practice at home with Youtube videos. This is no surprise to our
visiting karma yogi teachers who suggest there are 10 great reasons new yoga practitioners should start in a group class with a veteran teacher.
- Exit your comfort zone Change, expansion, metamorphosis ““ these are the real fruits of yoga.
Leaving your comfort zone and entering a neutral place with a trusted veteran can accelerate your ability to
leave old thinking patterns behind, and enter the mat as a malleable personality, ready to try new things. A
veteran teacher will create a learning space that is void of extraneous messages and clutter.
- Discipline In the beginning, before we master Pratyahara (withdrawal from the senses), we are
dependent on others for support and validation. Multi-class cards and yoga retreats
are the perfect first steps in committing to the discipline of any new habit practice. You won’t let yourself
down, because you won’t let your peers down.
- Accuracy in asana Starting a yoga practice with the physical postures is a great idea. But
accuracy is important to achieve the benefit of the asana. The body must be aligned according to the time-tested
procedure. For instance Padmasana (Lotus) was researched for more than 500 years by Rishis (sages) all over
India who came together to compare results in a sort of annual conference. If you change the truth of this
powerful posture, you will not receive its benefits. One of our graduates can explain how she evolved within
Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) Journey to Sarvangasana
- Avoid injury You must take care to align muscles, joints, and bones in accordance with their
capacity. Though your body is different than your teacher’s and other students, an experienced guide has studied
anatomy and is experienced in making small adjustments in your body to help slowly extend your physical
potential. She or he will also watch your mind developing through your performance of asana. Just as you can
read a person through their gait, a veteran yoga teacher can read your asana.
- Energy There is a Hindu proverb which states “The three great mysteries: air to a bird, water
to a fish, mankind to himself.” We don’t quite understand the subtle energy that arises when people practice
yoga together, but it is real. Teachers the world over have remarked that they, as well as students, are capable
of an amazing practice when they are together.
- Excellent technique on and off the mat Your veteran teacher will demonstrate accurate alignment
as well as an exemplary life and lifestyle. She/he will provide modifications, how to safely enter and exit, and
offer a dialogue opportunity about what happened in your body and mind during the asana. Read a visiting
teacher’s explanation about our spine Original Spine
- Avoiding distractions Pratyahara is a very important branch of yoga. It is the foundation of
your practice, and must be guided by an experienced practitioner.
It is the essential first stage of meditation. Though no one can go inside with you, you can take instruction
and move with assurance inward if you trust your guide knows what they’re talking about. A sage has weathered
the trials of time, success and failure alike.
- Yogic Counseling There isn’t anything going through your mind on your mat that a veteran
teacher hasn’t already suffered and survived. You can spill your heart right there in the studio, and you
wouldn’t shock one person. Good teachers are able to knit together the psychological movements you observe while
in practice, with the life changing events that occur outside the studio. Even if you aren’t aware of these
connections, she will be able to explain the synchronicity, and perhaps help you open to more potential from the
- Good teachers define yoga Youtube videos may be excellent examples of the visible side of yoga
““ asana, but it cannot impart the subtleties of the larger, more impactful techniques and philosophies within
the 8 branches that Patanjali organized for the sadhaka (person on the yoga path). A veteran guide is needed to
lead the curious student along the intricacies of Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, Dhyana (meditation) as well as yoga
off the mat ““ the Yamas and Niyamas (how you treat yourself and others). These subtleties have been shown to
play a much larger part in a person’s health that “fancy yoga” as Guruji Yogeshwar Surajnath Siddh
calls advanced postures.
- Prepare to pay it forward After sufficient training and encouragement with the right teacher, one day, you will
have the expertise and confidence to pay the knowledge forward. Becoming a great teacher requires the courage of
detachment, to close your eyes and learn to receive from your teacher. Having imbibed in years of trust, abandon
and love, taking the next step will feel obvious, the same as a flower bud should of course blossom.
Sita was born Sherry Minnard in the U.S. She moved to Rajasthan in 2013 to continue her yoga practice, finding the intersection between internal and external nature. She now serves as Director of Yoga Programs for Shri Jasnath Asan and is pursuing a PhD in Yoga.
Yoga aspirants – Do you have a question for our veteran yoga teachers? Leave it here in
the comments section, along with your state & country of residence and we’ll publish an answer.
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guidelines to learn how to contribute to the global yoga movement while improving your ability to communicate the
values and journey of the yoga path. Publishing