Of all the different types of teachers, “to be a yoga teacher is the hardest of all, because yoga teachers have to be their own critics and correct their own practice”.
B.K.S. Iyengar ‘The Tree of Yoga’
After many years of requests from people wishing to participate in a teacher training program at the Yoga Room, I have decided to conduct a two-year training program called “The Art and Science of Teaching Yoga”. I’m still finalising the details of the program which will start in February 2017. There will be an information session in mid-January, so if this is something you’ve been considering then see below.
The Yoga Room website has been updated and the timetable is now live and you can book online.
Enjoy this newsletter and have a safe and happy Christmas.
Peace and love to you all
Audio of the Month – BKS Iyengar, Invocation to Patanjali
Article of the Month – Teaching Yoga
Teacher Training Information Session
Upcoming Events; Autumn Morning Yoga Intensive
Yoga Students “off the mat” – Dan Hanson
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
Many people ask about the chant at the beginning of the class.
The sage Patanjali is the author of the Yoga Sutras, one of the classical yoga philosophy texts and the basis of our practice. At the beginning of many of our classes, we chant this invocation to Patanjali to honour the ancient tradition of yoga and the lineage of yoga that we practise.
Geeta Iyengar describes another reason for reciting the chant: “We chant so that at the very beginning that feeling of sanctification comes from inside, with the feeling of surrendering oneself, because nothing can be learned in this world unless you have the humility to learn.”
Here is a link to the audio file on the official BKS Iyengar website. There is also an English written version of the Invocation.
Of all the different types of teachers, “to be a yoga teacher is the hardest of all, because yoga teachers have to be their own critics and correct their own practice”. So says B.K.S. Iyengar in the final chapter of his book ‘The Tree of Yoga’, entitled ‘On Teachers and Teaching’.
Yoga teachers must understand how the body functions, and they must know how to help their students and protect them.
The relationship between teacher and student is complex. It is at once close, and distant; it is “a two-way avenue between pupil and teacher involving love, admiration, devotion and dedication”.
Even at the time of writing his book (1988), Iyengar was dismayed at the trend of Westerners – which has only increased over the years – returning from short courses in yoga teacher training in India to teach yoga back in their own country. He emphasises that, “In the West, people go to classes without ever testing the calibre of the teacher. As the master tests the pupils, so too the pupils should test the teachers’ standards before accepting them as teachers.” He suggests that teachers must do their own practice, just as doctors must undergo proper training to give medicine. “This is known as an ethical discipline.” So, “Teaching with practice is ethical, but it is unethical when teachers teach without clarity in their postures.”
His method involved constantly moving around the room, correcting his students, and he says that while he could have chosen simply to sit at the front of the room and verbally instruct, to do so “would be creating a polarity between my pupils and myself”. He preferred to correct the pupils who were going wrong, “because they also should see the light that I have seen”.
Iyengar makes the point that many people call themselves gurus, yogis or yoginis, and says, “This is wrong. Teachers should not be called gurus, and gurus are not to be seen merely as teachers. A guru is one who removes darkness and gives light. One who protects his or her pupils always so that they may not become victims of circumstances, and makes them work more and more so that they develop humility, is a guru.”
He emphasises that to live spiritually is to live in the moment. In his method of teaching, he used to keep his students practising for anywhere from two to four hours. During this time, students’ minds were fully on their practice; they were fully aware of their body, mind, senses and intelligence. He says, “If, out of twenty-four hours, they remain spiritual for four hours, I can say I have done some good in this world!”
Iygengar always found the reference to the ‘Iyengar method’ uncomfortable. He only introduced certificates for teachers to create and maintain a uniform teaching system and to distinguish between genuine students trained by him or by his senior pupils from those who only claimed to have been. The certificate itself is not important, he says. “What is important is whether you are sincere, whether you are humble, whether you are compassionate.” He says that a teacher needs to be merciless as well as compassionate, and when to be one or the other, in order to help students with their problems.
He gives insight into fatigue when doing asana. “When my body is tired, I say my body is tired; I never say that I am tired. If my brain is tired, I do halasana and get back the energy, and if my body is tired, I do half halasana and rejuvenate the cells.” Therefore, if we are physically tired but we overstretch in the standing poses, then we will naturally become even more tired. He tells us to use our discrimination about what to do, when and how much.
Towards the end of the chapter, Iyengar poses the question, “When should a teacher end the class?” He says this is important, and that if he notices that the pupils cannot take any more, he simply tells them to stop. A mature teacher knows when to make a pupil stop. He tells us there are two types of teaching: teaching using intelligence, and knowing the physical and emotional weakness of pupils. The latter requires creativity in order to introduce a new style that works for them.
Finally, Iyengar exhorts teachers to remember that they learn as much from their pupils as the pupils learn from them.
(Source: The Tree of Yoga (1988), B.K.S. Iyengar, Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.)
Please note there are no classes on Sunday 25th, Monday 26th, and Tuesday 27th December and also Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd January.
There is a General Class at 9:30am on Wednesday 28th, Thursday 29th, Friday 30th and Saturday 31th December.
The regular timetable resumes on Tuesday 3rd January.
“Thinking knowledge of the head combined with the experienced understanding of the heart should be the dharma of a teacher.”
LEARN & BUILD
· Exemplary, well-tested practice and teaching
· Deepened, authentic self-study and expression
· A clear understanding of how to communicate
the art and science of yoga through language,
demonstration, observation, correction
· Practical, effective experience in how the body
works, moves, feels, and knows.
· A foundational sense of connection to the yoga
community regionally, nationally, and
An information session will be held mid January Email us or call 0431 837 244 to register your interest.
This intensive will focus on the Body, Breath and Mind connectedness with a strong focus on breath techniques for deepening the practice.
In this section of the newsletter we introduce Yoga Room students showcasing some of the amazing things they do off-the-mat and encourage you, where possible, to support their endeavours.
Dan Hanson, originally from Liverpool, UK, and now a Burleigh resident, has been a Yoga Room student for around 18 months. During this time, his practice has become regular, although he is not new to yoga. When he is not travelling, for work or pleasure, he attends Yoga Room classes between three and five times a week. When he is travelling, he tries to do a few poses to wake up in the mornings, or wind down in the evenings. He occasionally also gets to the self-practice sessions with Maurice.
Like many sportspeople who take up yoga, Dan’s love of extreme sports causes him to get injured more than he’d like to. He finds yoga helps improve his flexibility and resilience. “I also find it helps me get out of my head and into my body,” he says.
Aside from these benefits, “I get to give myself the biggest gift I can…attention and love.” Dan has worked as a dentist on the Gold Coast for the past eleven years. For the past two and a half years, he has been in private practice. Because of his profession, he can become very focused on helping others and it then becomes easy for him to neglect himself. By dedicating himself to yoga, “I get to take time out for just me and nobody else. This is new for me and I’m loving it.”
Dan is a qualified Buteyko Institute Breathing Educator. “I work with kids and adults when they have symptoms of breathing dysfunction such as asthma, allergy, snoring and sleep apnoea. This is not dentistry so I take my ‘dentist hat’ off to do it. However, I do it from a multi-purpose room in my holistic dental practice (Heal Dental Care) in Burleigh.
“This room is my ‘work playground’. From here I carry out lots of my passions in my working life. I use it as a post-op recovery space for babies who have been struggling to feed, when they have just had tongue and lip tie laser surgery, while they feed with their mothers, and of course the breathing clinic. I also use it for community health talks and men’s groups. I host my own men’s group there but also co-facilitate other men’s groups for the men’s wellbeing organisation.”
Dan’s work as a breathing educator inspired him to invent a great product called sleepYstrip. It helps to reduce snoring and dry mouth, and improves sleep by ensuring nasal breathing.
In his spare time, Dan loves to be in the outdoors, whether it’s walking his huge dog Obi with his wife Rach, or going kite-surfing in the crystal-blue Gold Coast waters. He also likes to spread vital information about his work in tongue tie surgery – helping breast feeding – and children’s facial growth to prevent the need for braces. “For these subjects I’m fortunate enough to travel the world lecturing to my own profession as well as to chiropractors and osteopaths. While I’m travelling lecturing I like to fit in side trips to cool destinations. Last year while lecturing in London I managed to squeeze in a snow-boarding trip to France. This year while at Tokyo Health Expo I did a sneaky snowboarding trip to Hakuba.”
Dan and his wife Rach both love to travel and do fun things together. This year they took up rock climbing. “It’s a great sport for couples as it requires complete trust and patience.”
If you would like to learn more about Heal Dental Care, the Buteyko breathing method, or Dr Dan Hanson, please visit:
www.healdentalcare.com.au or www.drdanhanson.com
To learn more about sleepYstrip, go to: www.sleepystrip.com
Chapter 2 Verse 47
“Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.”
BKS Iyengar. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pg 150
“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”
William Gladstone 1809-1898
Yoga Room Burleigh Heads
+61 438 837 244