Is traditional spirituality/sādhanā practice on the decline around the world? The guru and the student/sadhu/renunciate/ascetic/sannyasi/monk that spent most of his/her time learning by sitting at the feet of their guru; are these practitioners on the decline? Practices, knowledge and wisdom passed on from guru to student via discussions and stories in ashrams or from caves in the Himalayan mountains; is this form of practice found less and less as we move through the twenty-first century?
People say that there are too many Yoga teachers in the world and I disagree. I think becoming a Yoga teacher is a continuation of the expansion of spiritual practice and growth in a different or new form. I believe Yoga teachers are the new wave of those seeking truth, knowledge and wisdom that will lead to union with higher consciousness and lead to the liberation of the mind for inner peace and joy/Ānanda. Majority of teachers continue to explore the eight limbs until they are able to apply and live the wisdom through devoted practice and effort. Our most respected Yoga teachers around the world today, are those that have been practicing for fifty or more years. I believe more teachers will continue in this path as for me as long as I have breath I intend to practice the eight limbs of Yoga.
I am so very fortunate to have discovered the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, where I was trained on how to train and certify Yoga teachers. I am humbled each time I hear from one of my trainees how they learned so much more than what they were expecting from a Yoga teacher training. I can relate to what they shared; many trainings, including some of my earlier trainings, I received focused mainly on one of the limbs, Asana or Yoga poses. As I did more training I began to see the whole picture, if you will, of the eight limbs of Yoga which are: Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna and Samādhi. These are part of the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali divided into four systematic chapters towards the attainment of freedom/moksha.
My 200hr Yoga teacher training focuses on how to practice, apply, and teach others about all eight limbs. Students are often surprised to discover that Yoga is more than just asana, the third limb. The other seven limbs, together with the third limb, form a wholesome and all-encompassing practice that first transforms the teacher, as well as their students. After doing five different types of Yoga trainings to work with kids, teens, adults and to train individuals to become Yoga teachers, I am still excited about doing more trainings and workshops at the Himalayan Institute for my personal growth and for my teaching. What I know for sure is that the more I learn, the more I understand and the more I am transformed.
I continue to train with the Himalayan Institute and try to spend time there each year. The institute completed their meditation center called the Sri Vidya Shrine in July of 2019. According to one of my teachers at the Institute, Shari Friedrichsen the shrine is a safe place where all practitioners, teachers and students who meditate will have access to and enabling one to deepen and grow their spiritual practice.
Mr. Rajmani Tigunait, the spiritual head of the institute, said that when we do our eight limbs of Yoga practice with love, devotion, truth and sincerity, our practice remains in the universe as a positive force. I believe that our practice for deeper inner and world peace will combine with that of the previous gurus/teachers practices and so even though we do not practice like our previous teachers, in the caves of the Himalayan mountains and Tibetan Ashrams, we somehow are continuing in their footsteps, in caves that we practice and teach Yoga in called retreat centers, studios, parks, YMCA’s, hospitals, hotels, beaches, living rooms, schools, offices etc.
It is my belief that we need more Yoga teachers in the world; we are part of that awakening that past spiritual teachers have mentioned. We are individually and collectively continuing the tradition of Yoga practice and teaching. We are adding to that effort of striving for a better, more collective and cohesive peaceful world that individually and collectively we need to create for all.
If you are thinking of becoming a Yoga teacher, or want to deepen your practice then I encourage you to pursue that calling or need. Choose your training wisely, unfortunately, not all trainings are equal. Look for a training with a curriculum that covers all eight limbs.
View our listed trainings on this site www.yoga.gd for more details.