These times in which almost everything has stopped have offered the possibility of pausing and reflecting.
And if while you were reflecting or, rather, meditating without knowing it, the idea of starting a yoga practice came to you, a world opened up for you.
Directly on your home sofa, hundreds of courses, teachers, types of yoga, styles, approaches, methods, and prices. A mediatic ocean in which it is easier to be shipwrecked than to sail. In all languages and latitudes.
The word yoga is combined with anything. Literally: yoga with beer, on horseback, with the dog, goats, on the surfboard or with the hula hoop, making a joint, singing karaoke, or screaming like a baby (sometimes it may seem the same so pay attention to details) …
Obviously, in all sauces: in the heat, in the cold, hanging from the ceiling, immersed in water, dressed, undressed, disguised (as Harry Potter, for example) or in traditional clothes (with the Scottish kilt, to try _ndr), signed, casual, colorful or monotonous … And more: alone, in company, mothers and children (and fathers?), in couples, singles … laughing, writhing or concentrating depending on the case.
For many of these, I avoid saying “typically American” so as not to indirectly reveal my geographical origin and out of respect for all those Americans who currently are working hard to redo their look.
In any case, to us who have also drunk for years a fruit juice called Yoga, much more is needed to amaze us.
So, what might it be useful to know to orient yourself towards a genuine yogic practice? Here is a brief guideline /reminder:
Yoga does not put anything in, it brings out what is there.
Yoga promotes a healthy relationship with oneself. In all aspects.
Yoga aims to balance and heal rather than perpetuate harmful habits.
Yoga is not competitive but inclusive.
Yoga brings awareness.
Yoga aims to balance systems, not exhaust them.
Yoga brings us to us and not far from us.
Yoga is in the present not in the past.
Yoga is the adequate expression
and the fully suitable method
to blend body and spirit together until it becomes
a unit hardly contestable, and creating a psychological disposition
that allows insights transcending consciousness.
Carl Gustav Jung
That said, how to choose a course that respects these simple basic rules if we don’t know anything about yoga?
In fact, we always know much more than we think. Anyway, here is the second basic guideline for choosing a yoga class rather than another.
Three key questions to correctly answer are already a big step forward:
Who is the teacher?
Where does she/he come from, where did he/she train, does she/he has a diploma/certification? What school/lineage does she/he belong to? Are there any witnesses? Comments? Good news about her/him?
Do as parents do when they have to choose the kindergarten for their children: they go to visit the school, meet the teachers, sit at the counter where their beloved heirs will sit, eat at the school canteen, try the swing in the garden, check the bathrooms… In short, be aware, do not stop at the first handy course.
What kind of yoga is it?
Classic or modern, to be called yoga it should include: pranayama (a conscious and targeted use of the breath), asana (body positions that, however complex, should never depress you, leading you to think “I’ll never make it”), a meditative part (which does not aim to “stop” the mind but rather to stop following thoughts in favor of a greater ability to concentrate) and a rest part (to consolidate the work done).
How much does it cost?
A popular belief based on unknown principles advocates the cause of “free” yoga classes.
As if being a yoga teacher cannot be considered a profession. As if the years of study and training (long and expensive, in most cases) had been a hobby and the professionalism achieved just a habit to exhibited in the condominium meetings. Here too, using common sense gives the ability to discern between “seva”, something that is offered without anything in return for the good of the community, and a sense of gratitude for what one receives (valid for everyone, not just for those who teach yoga _ndr), and “work” (made up of time, preparation, presence, and availability) which, as such, must be paid. Maybe with an apple if we can’t afford anything else, but never show up empty-handed. And evaluate the “offers” that are too generous or disproportionately expensive.
The eight means of yoga are:
yama (self-control), niyama (observances),
asana (postures), pranayama (breath control),
pratyahara (abstraction), dharana (concentration),
Now, if you have already turned on the Zoom engines and positioned the mat in favor of the camera, with these short guidelines you should be able to make a selection and find the one that’s right for you.
And if you’ve made it this far (thanks!), you’re already on the right track :-).