teaching the modern studentBy Gopi Rao

What makes the modern student tick? People practice Yogic techniques for many different reasons. Some of us do it to get into or stay in shape, others do it to help decrease stress, and others do it as a way to challenge themselves. There really is no right or wrong reason to practice. One person practices at home with videos, while another practices in a hot studio full of sweating bodies in bathing suits and another decides to become a Yoga instructor. The differences in the Yogic way of life are limited only by our imaginations.

To many modern students, yogic methodology is a highly regarded form of exercise that is guided by principles that have been around for a very long time. These principles include proper exercise and breathing techniques, as well as correct form, and a healthy way to eat and think. Practicing all of those makes us into well-rounded and healthy individuals. Many students have not read classic Yogic literature.

Principles of Modern Yoga

Let’s face it, Hatha has become the primary system most students think of. Good form and proper breathing techniques are essential to Hatha Yoga. Following the correct way to move through a sequence and paying attention to the breath coming in and out of the body are two of the ways to get the most out of your practice. It is an exercise form that has countless benefits. Some of those benefits include improved muscle tone, healthier cardiovascular function and of course, better flexibility. It is not intended to be a cure-all, but when practiced correctly, it can certainly improve physical health. And it’s good for people of all fitness levels and body types.

Achieving balance mentally and emotionally are also very important. Yoga gives us insight on how to aspire to achieve that balance. Regular practice can help to alleviate stress and help to let certain things go, especially negative thoughts that we all tend to hold onto for way too long. Positive thoughts and positive energy are side effects of Yoga, just as much as physical strength and relief from certain types of pain.

Most of us lead hectic lives and are often on the go. This is not good for us mentally or physically. All too often, we don’t take the time to eat healthy, instead opting for fast food that is full of things that we certainly don’t need. Yoga training can teach us to be more mindful of our bodies and what we put into them. It is a celebration of our bodies and the miracle of what they can do.

What is a teacher to do? 

Each of us has a choice when considering the path to become a Yoga teacher. We can bury our heads in the sand and vow to teach classic Yogic methodology as it was taught before we were born or we can look at it as an ever changing science. No science is ever carved in stone. Science changes with new discoveries and research. We must be willing to accept change or retreat from society by living a monastic life. However, if you interact with the public, you make a positive impact on the world as we know it.

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