Yoga is a form of exercise that not only benefits the body, but benefits the mind as well. It has often been used as a way to open up spiritual growth. However, that doesn't necessarily make it a religion, as it depends upon exactly what a person wants to get out of his or her practice.
How can we teach our students about self-mastery? Ultimately, our students need to find the teacher within. The heart of yoga is spiritual. Before being introduced to the West during the past few centuries, yoga was virtually unknown outside of its culture of origin. The term "yoga" arose in ancient India and often referred to Patanjali's school of philosophy. When used in this sense, it is sometimes called Raja yoga to distinguish it from the schools that arose later.
The principles of Yoga are universal to all religions. As a result of this, anyone, of any religion, can see the link to Yogic principles and their religion. There is no need for religious conversion, or indoctrination, at any Yoga teacher training, to accept spiritual dogma.
If you studied to become a Yoga teacher in an ashram, or a local studio; you learned the art of Yogic relaxation. How well did your Yoga teacher training prepare you for the levels of chronic stress you see within your students?
As I was reading your "So You Want to Teach Yoga" book, a couple of questions occurred to me. It was implied that Power Yoga applies to people from the ages of 20 to 30. What I had in mind is to teach to a middle-aged group as well - would that be possible?
There comes a day when each of us “takes up the torch” from the preceding generation. For some of us, this event may happen in our family life, at work, with the passing of one’s Guru, or after a Yoga teacher training course has concluded. We learn valuable lessons from the generation ahead of us. Then, we initially tend to copy the ways of our teachers, before we become creative Yoga teachers.