Updated: Mar 22
In March 2020, I was about to throw in the towel; that was it; I would not teach any more yoga classes here and there. Then suddenly, a pandemic happened! I wanted to give up all my yoga classes everywhere and only focus on my yoga teacher training. I found a job with a major tourism operator that would cover my living cost, but due to Corona, that got postponed.
In the last few years, I was so disappointed by some yoga teacher "friends" and surprised by their unwillingness to face challenges (good friendships face challenges together, and this is a skill set many do no longer possess).
Nowadays, instant gratification generations are not willing to develop this skillset and avoidance of communication, unfortunately, is the norm. I thought, "that's it" - life is too short to be bothered by this any longer, and maybe I should do my own thang too. Nah, that's not me. I love yoga more and more and believe it's the "we" that is important rather than self-care; I care about yoga's future!
Yoga teaching can exhaust, especially if this is the major income you have. You are not blessed with a privileged status in society, that is, maybe a family that supports you in your passion or/and partner that is the main breadwinner.
I am not saying it is impossible, but to be realistic, it is even more challenging if you live in an area where you hardly know anybody. So, here I had a new full-time job, a teacher training to start in April, where I wanted to employ various yoga teachers (this time with more care) and bang! Lockdown, and the slightly confusing question "what's next".
For many, who work as yoga teachers, questions such how to achieve better job security have been on the agenda for a long time, but like everything else, time passes quicker than we can digest the changes around us. What could teaching look like in a post-COVID era?
courtesy my beautiful niece
So what is the future of Yoga teaching? – what next? Future of Yoga – “There is no doubt in me that Yoga changes according to socio-economic influences around us. The meaning or goal of Yoga has changed throughout history, and we as yogis now can influence the path it will take in the future. You must decide what your part is.” Yoga is constantly evolving, and it has evolved a lot in the last 100 years or if we go further back, in the last 2500 years. Right now, Yoga serves many to overcome loneliness, anxiety and strengthen our connectiveness with ourselves and others. We are a bit freaked out by the pandemic, and Yoga comes in as a useful tool to ground ourselves and keep focussed. It is not a surprise, having lived in uncertainty and fear for too long now.
In recent times, Yoga has become a synonym for psychology, science, health and wellbeing and mentoring people to choose the right way of living. Psychologist, doctors, therapists incorporate the pearls of yoga wisdom into their work. The purpose of an aesthetic yogi used to be entirely different; it was more a means to escape Karma, preserve vital energies, or even get certain siddhis. In my teacher training in the first two months, you hear me speaking about the history of Yoga and the different traditions that existed. I explain the different methods used to achieve Yoga as a goal according to different traditions and cultures (Brahmanic, Tantric Shaivism, Tantric Buddhist, etc.). We also discuss the evolution of Yoga and how it can be part of taking it forward to make it an all-inclusive honest, and a real asset for people. Regarding postural Yoga, we see the necessity to adapt classical postures to a modern yoga body; that is, humans nowadays are different from humans only at the beginning of our century! We walk less; we sit more, and therefore, we have lost specific natural movement patterns. Our hip flexors are stiffer (from sitting), and we need to stabilise and strengthen our hips. We don't move naturally form our core anymore! Through active yoga practice, we can strengthen the core muscles again, which often has become weak through our modern patterns. I was so happy to receive this message from one of my students: "Thanks for your teachings. My core is getting much stronger; I can do a little bit more each week. My arms were so weak, too; even at @the start of the classes, I could barely do cobra, but I can now. I don't know how people get by not doing Yoga." Yoga Student 2020 in lockdown Actually, I ask myself the same. How can people get by not practising yoga! Life is full of challenges; we meet humans that steal our ideas, work, and are greedy. Yoga gives us a life philosophy (on and off the mat), take a step back, take a breath and relaaaaxxxxxx.
Yoga is in constant flux. However, if we have a look at Instagram or the kind of pictures often posted by yoga enthusiasts around the world, it shows many complicated contortionist postures that many people or modern bodies will not be able to do and to be honest, "I could not care less". For me, the connection with a real person is the highest benefit.
The connection to your own integrity within yourself and shining your light regardless of the people around you trying to dampen that light. Not all of us were growing up with the right dose of parenting, and it’s not the fault of the parents but a society that puts less emphasis on education, caring and support and encourages competition, individualistic advancement and lesser resources for all. We abandon friendships without talking; we throw old items into the bin without moving an eyebrow. We have the newest gadgets, and with a click, we can film, podcast or appear in front of people. As quick we appear in front of people, we can disappear. This is all so shallow, and instant gratification avoids the deeper formation of friendships etc. and long-term growth. Modern Yoga seems to be online now, and yogis from all over the world are trying to copy shapes and with shapes also attitudes. Still, the real evolution we need (as in politics) is cooperation and coming together. Only together can we save our planet. Only together can we make our planet a better place for everybody! This goes above only including certain people into your Kula (community); it means to be all welcoming to everybody!
In my opinion, it is ok that we have different teachers catering to different bodies. Still, we need teachers providing for those modern bodies so that those do not injure themselves if they force themselves into shapes that are not meant for their body. Suppose we want Yoga to be inclusive if we wish to Yoga to be healing if we want Yoga to make people feel good in the long term. The world is crying out for more compassionate and authentic people! The world needs more people in conflict resolution, more kind and loving people! By going online with my classes, I feel I have managed to boost people's mental and physical well-being. All this without needing to leave their homes, that is, in the own comfort of their home. Something that feels good, and I have decided to continue in the future. So, you will see me online for more years to come. I do look forward to meeting you in person again, but in the meantime, join me on one of my lifestreaming online yoga classes. Send me an email, and I will send you the timetable and ID. Thanks to those who have already joined me in one of my lifestreaming classes. Let's practice together! I am so grateful for the support.
Want to learn more? Sign up for my next online lifestreaming yoga teacher training. You can also organise a class with your family with me. Read more about yoga and politics and conscious activism, or maybe read about modern bodies and "self-care".
With love, Claudia www.sundaraygaflow.com