We asked Namaste Yoga teachers one question: what is the best advice that you’ve received regarding your yoga practice? (spoiler: we have some seriously wise teachers!).
Here’s what they said:
When I began my teacher training with the late Larry Schultz, I had NEVER practiced yoga before and was not enjoying the training (to say the least). Yoga broke me down, humbled me and was too much for me in every way. In fact, it felt like a sort of painful death. I approached Larry with my discontent and he told me, “You are on the path to becoming a great teacher,” and GENEROUSLY gifted me my teacher training because he believed in me. That’s real yoga.
A friend of my wife is a professional astrologer and psychic and he once gave me a free session. Though I’m not a psychic kinda guy, I went just to be polite and he told me that “as a yoga teacher I’m not working with people’s bodies as much as with their souls” this advice has stayed with me now for many years.
I think the best advice I’ve received was a simple reminder mid-pose to notice the quality of my breath. If my breath felt constricted, I could gently back off. It gave me permission to be gentle with myself, and I experienced a profound relief and freedom within. Whew, I feel good just thinking about it!
“Master the practice of ahimsa (cause no injury or harm). Make that the most important thing in your yoga practice right now.”
The best advice I received from my teacher Darren Main, was when he said: “Ken, teach from your heart!” He really encouraged me to connect to my authentic self and through following his wisdom, I have focused much of my on-the-mat and off-the-mat healing on connecting to Source so that I can teach what the students want/need without my worries or doubts getting in the way.
I draw constant inspiration from one of my teachers, Sam Chase. He told me that a yoga practice should “meet us where we are and help guide us toward what we desire to become.” I strive to live by this on a daily basis.
My favorite advice is something passed down from senior practitioners of Eknath Easwaran’s Passage Meditation and the collective wisdom of the satsang. “The spiritual path is not easy. It is similar to climbing a mountain. On our trek towards the summit, the conditions of our journey change all the time. Sometimes, the sun shines brightly, the weather is fine. Maybe the incline isn’t even that bad. We experience progress during our travels and we feel pretty good about ourselves. Other times, the weather is dreadful and we cannot find shelter. Maybe the trek around the dark side of the mountain, where the sun is hidden from us, is longer and harder than anticipated. Maybe we come to an obstacle in our path that causes what appears to be set backs. (sic) In our own time, we eventually arrive at the summit where we meet each other. Keep practicing. And all is coming.”
The best advice I received from a yoga teacher was about how “the inhale is a rising up and the exhale is circling down”. In this way we create an energetic loop around the spine every time we breathe. The change of direction above the head and below the tail bone are important, crucial points of transition– the moments in between when time stops and for a moment we cease to exist until the loop picks up momentum again.
“Practice less, more often”
Dr. Domonick Wegesin
“Just fucking do it” from mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat- Zinn.
The best advice I have ever received is from my teacher Baba Hari Dass, who always said “Teach to Learn.”
My teacher Sofia Diaz has said some things that have stuck with me for many years, here’s a couple of zingers: “Yoga is the willingness to feel what you have committed to through being alive.”
And a little more complex & shocking, perhaps: “The difference between dragging your body around behind you like a dead dog on a leash and yoga, is the answer to the question: “Are you in love?”
The best yoga advice I’ve received from one of my teachers was to “get on my mat for just 5 minutes.” This taught me that all I needed to create a practice was a mat and my breath. After those few minutes I had the choice to stay on my mat or finish my practice and it worked! I never stayed on my mat for just 5 minutes. I got inspired to take care of myself because those five minutes felt great and I wanted to stay longer!
Best advice about my practice was from my teacher Sharon Gannon who said, “The best way to uplift your own life is to do all you can to uplift the lives of others.”
What is the best advice you’ve received from a yoga teacher? Please share in the comments!