Apr 16, 2005, 9:18 AM
Post #1 of 2
Practicing withour a teacher ?
Hatha yoga is not that much spread in my country. Just very few people have even heard the name of Mr. BKS Iyengar here (!), “Light On Yoga” has not been translated and one first, tiny Iyengar yoga center, that was opened last year had to close down few months later, because of lack of enough students to even pay it’s rent.
My husband and I, took courses of Hatha yoga in India 3 years ago. We were lucky to have stumbled upon a very clever and inspiring Iyengar-certified teacher. From the first classes we started to feel that this was a change in our lifes. We were taking very good notes of the teacher’s accurate instructions and we would ask questions all the time. We were also trying to make our bodies “remember” the exact sensation of each asana we were learning.
Then when we came back home, we couldn’t but go on practicing by ourselves, based always on the directions/method/sequence of those courses. We very well know that this may be dangerous. But then on the other hand, this lonely exploration, without the guidance of any teacher nearby made us even more careful in experiencing/observing ourselves and I feel that this has put us deeper in the meaning of hatha yoga. In the beginning little problems/pains were created here and there: we would observe each asana, “meditate” on it: “What might have created it?” “How can I cure it?” And then we would cure these problems by the use of other asanas or even by correcting details of the same asana that had created it. Gradually, we couldn’t but deepen the whole practice, add more asanas from within Iyengar books, explore more. As time was passing and with everyday practice, even the most difficult asanas were becoming comfortable and we could better feel the effects. Which brought us to the most important part: The exploration of emotions and feelings derived from each asana. The real “trip inside”: “This asana needs too much energy, let’s not keep it too long since I have a busy day today” or “What a melancholic weather, I need to do forward bends” or “I have to go out and meet all those people, let’s do some backward bends that make you more “open”, or even “My voice is tired, my throat is inching, I will stay longer in my shoulderstand to cure it”
So, to be practicing alone, it has it’s interesting part. You can adapt your own practice to your own needs. You become more responsible to yourself. You don’t have a guru, and you don’t have a teacher, but still you do have… the dealing with “the laws of nature”, the… union and the wisdom that comes out of it ! And the joy !!(you may call the “laws of nature” God, Powers, or whatever else you like). My conclusion is that for any mindful and careful grown up person, who at least had some basic teachings and from a good teacher, to be practicing alone, is still better than to not be practicing at all and is also certainly better than to be practicing with someone you don’t trust !
Of coarse I very much miss socializing and exchanging ideas with fellow students !! But what can we do…? At least I have found this forum and I visit it very often.
So, apologizing for my long email that might have wasted your time (from practicing) I thank you for your “electronic company” and for the nice discussions on the main matter that interest us: hatha yoga