What is Missing from Most Yoga?
If you’ve ever wondered about my real feelings about my experience with yoga classes online and off, then stay tuned.
Hi I’m Melissa from Yoga with Melissa. I offer Real Yoga for Real People. We are all about connection. Connection with a teacher and teachings that allow you to connect with your True Self and to a community of people who support each other on a genuine path of spiritual transformation.
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Today I am going to share with you what I think is missing from most yoga, teaching.
Most of the time, I am deeply involved in my own self-directed practice, or I am following the teachings of my meditation teachers, Neil McKinlay or Reggie Ray from Dharma Ocean. However, there are times when I venture out into the world of yoga in search of my fellow yoga brothers and sisters with whom I hope to make a genuine connection and potentially collaborate with on my Yoga with Melissa channel.
In my experience, I find that when I am practicing yoga with most teachers today, I am being guided through the physical practice of yoga that is almost entirely focused on physical cues and directed towards how to move my body and what to feel in my body. And I totally get that. When I came to practice yoga over twenty years ago now, it was because I wanted to stretch. However, I don’t believe that a purely physical point of view can sustain a genuine path of transformation over time.
Our body is made up of many layers, called the koshas. There is the physical layer, yes, but there is also the mental body, the emotional body, the energetic body and the spiritual body. I believe for a practice to be sustaining over time, there needs to be some teaching included to deepen our understanding and experience of yoga. In my opinion, without the teachings, we will continue to be lost and confused and caught up in the anxiety and stress of our lives. The teachings then, provide us with a kind of road map from the golden chain of teachers who have traveled before us and who can show us the way.
And so it is important to hear the teachings from a qualified teacher, to spend time contemplating the teachings and over time, through our practice we will arrive at a nonconceptual realization of the teachings themselves. In Buddhist philosophy these are called the Three Prajnas, in our membership community this month we are focusing on them as the three ways of knowing.
In my yoga classes I will almost always present some kind of teaching alongside the physical practice. I have received almost as much criticism as praise for this over the last fifteen years I have spent teaching yoga. In our membership community I give a short teaching talk in our live classes every Monday at 9:30 am PT and 5:30 pm PT with time for those present in our community to spend in contemplation by asking questions and offering their thoughts on the talk.
If this is something that appeals to you I will leave links in our show notes for members and a link for those of you who are interested in joining a community of members who support each other in a genuine path of spiritual transformation.
In doing my preliminary research for this video I heard one woman say, “You are not Patanjali, so zip it!” What are your thoughts? I know this is a controversial subject. Let me know in the comments below: Should yoga teachers keep their talking completely to the physical? Or are you on the other side of the fence, do you appreciate the spiritual teachings in a yoga class?
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