Yoga has been around for thousands of years but the yoga we practice today has evolved a lot. Even though the teachings are based on the thousand year old wisdom, the application of the teachings have been modernized, or at least they’ve mostly been adapted. For a modern day yoga teacher it’s a search to balance the ancient wisdom and making it accessible in our modern society.
In the past yoga was only studied by dedicated men in India who could sit on a mountain and meditate all day. There were very little distractions and their practice wasn’t something they did on the side, it was their one and only focus.
When you try to place those exact teachings into our lives, you’re going to struggle hard because these yogis lived yoga. This doesn’t mean that you can’t live yoga, but it does need some adaptations to make it work for the modern yogis who’s looking for more balance in their busy lives.
From Ancient Practice to Present Day
Yoga has changed a lot over the past decades. Some might argue that this change hasn’t been for the good, but I would argue against that. Like everything is this world, there needs to be an evolution to survive. If yoga doesn’t go with its time, it’ll slowly fade away. The adaptation isn’t disrespecting the ancient wisdom, on the contrary, it’s honoring the wisdom by making it accessible for modern day life.
We live in a fast world with many distractions around us. Technology is everywhere, opportunities are abundant and we can create the life we want, yet there’s never been a society more depressed and lonely. Now more than ever we need to go within and find the silence within ourselves. With everything around us we need to reconnect to that inner voice and listen to our intuition.
When yoga first became popular in the west life was very different. The yoga culture started to grow around the 1950’s and has been growing ever since. The western yoga teachers came back with all the wisdom from the Indian teachers (who were influenced by Western teachings, but that’s a whole different story!) and began to teach this style of yoga. Some never strayed away from their original teachings and others saw a way to adapt it to the changing needs of society.
Modern Day Yoga Teacher
What does it mean to me to be a modern day yoga teacher? My first and foremost intention is to simply allow the teachings to come through me. In my personal practice I strayed away from a rigid daily 60-90 minute asana practice. I’m a mother, an entrepreneur, a wife, a friend and many more. If I want to be able to be present with all of them I can’t spend my whole day in meditation or on my mat. The real shift started to happen when I fully embraced the lessons into my everyday life.
That’s the way I teach. I don’t teach yoga classes that often, what I do is incorporating the teachings so that my students and clients can use it in their everyday life. The most important thing a modern day yoga teacher can do it making sure the students can take the teachings off the mat and into their lives. In an ideal world we would all have one hour a day to meditate and do our asana practice at least four times a week but that’s not always possible. The shame and guild around not doing your asana practice often enough isn’t beneficial either. What is beneficial is to do a practice every day, regardless how long. Tuning into your breath is way more powerful than beating yourself up over not stepping onto your mat.
A modern day yoga teacher shows his/her students how to Be yoga not how to Do yoga and incorporate all the struggles and challenges modern yogis face in their everyday life. How can you make sure you don’t get sucked into social media and the comparison game? Or how can I be more mindful around my children? What can I do to be less stressed at work? The list goes on.
Yoga isn’t the time you spend on your mat. Yoga is life. I am Yoga. And the beauty of allowing these lessons to guide you in your everyday life, is that you look at life differently. Like my own yoga teacher Alanna Kaivalya perfectly puts: “Yoga doesn’t make your life better. It makes you better at life.”
To me that’s the essence of yoga. How to live yoga in the mundane tasks of life, to be more aware of the beauty in the ordinary. The time we spend on our mat helps us to open that door to our inner world, but the real work start once we step off our mat into the real world. A modern day yoga teacher bridges the gap between the ancient wisdom and modern day life.
Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher? I couldn’t recommend my own yoga teacher enough. She offers an amazing online program that is so comprehensive and in depth. Are you sceptical about an online training? Read more about the Kaivalya Yoga Method Teacher Training and get an awesome deal!