Thursday, February 3, 2011

11) Moving from One Yoga System to Another to be a complete Movement Teacher

Some of my friends who are Certified  Sivananda  Yoga teachers were surprised to see me starting a new blog  related to my Ashtanga Vinaysa Journey and my new interest in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga  .There is a reason for their surprise as I have been associated with the Sivananda System for more than 10 years and have completed all their 3 levels of Certifications i.e TTC ( Teachers Training Course ) , ATTC ( Advanced Teachers Training Course ) and SI ( Sadhana Intensive ) .I told them that I have elaborated very well in my earlier postings about this transition from one Sivananda System of Classical Hatha Yoga to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and that this transition is only for my own personal sadhana and to enrich myself with another system which I will start teaching at a later date when I feel competent to do so and that I still continue to teach the Sivananda System of Classical Hatha Yoga . I still  believe that the Sivananda System  is the best starting point for any one to start their yoga journey and also the best system for those busy house holders and professionals who have less time to spare for their yoga practice on a weekly basis and who need a simple and straight forward method to do yoga to keep their body fit and mind calm .
Also I wish to point out that I never believe in hopping one yoga style to another just like that and I made a transition from Sivananda to Ashtanga only after investing 10 years in the Sivananda System and also after completing all their 3 levels of training and that gave me lot of insights regarding its positive points as well as some of its limitations and my transition to Ashtanga  was  to only to overcome the limitations that are in the Sivananda System to make myself a more complete teacher .Here I wish to point out that neither Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga  is free of limitations .All Yoga styles have some limitations in one form or the other and no system can completely address all sections of the population for all of its needs . It does not matter whether it is Sivananda , Iyengar , Ashtanga or Bikram .All Yoga Schools have their own pluses as well as their own limitations and as a Yoga Teacher I feel that I need to equip myself with as many variety  of styles as possible to address  the needs of various types of students .So I will not just stop with Ashtanga but will continue to learn Yin Yoga , Restorative Yoga and why only Yoga , I plan to learn other movement therapies like Pilates , Tai Chi , Feldenkrais Method ,Undulation method etc and be a complete Movement  Teacher /Therapist and I know that this cant be done in a year or two and it involves a life time of learning and I am prepared for the same .I love learning and I am very curious about various Movement therapies beyond Yoga as I believe that the human body is very complex as well as mysterious and no single yoga style can help address the needs of all the people .I am saying this because I found even great Yoga Teachers like BKS Iyengar ,Krishnamacharya  could not solve the problems of people due to their rigid "my method is right "approach  and that resulted in students going to other teachers / other movement systems to have their problems solved . Today many of the Popular Yoga Systems have become institutionalized and hence to maintain the purity of their institutions / teachings they need to be rigid with they teach and I accept that . That is why I never pointed out the limitations of the Sivananda System when I was a student / teacher there and I will never point out the limitations of the Ashtanga Vinyasa System while I am learning the same now . As I am only an individual and not representing any System / Institution I feel quite free to pursue learning  as many styles as possible , of course learning and digesting one at a time and not gobbling all at one go and I want to be known as a Complete Movement Teacher .I believe that best starting point for any healing is to start with the body , more specifically through body movement and that was why Yoga was popular in the last century but now as our lifestyles have changed a lot  and we encounter different form of problems both in the body and mind and sometimes the problem in the body is due to a problem in mind and vice versa and sometimes it is due to both and hence in such cases as a Yoga teacher I feel that I need to have as many tools at my disposal to understand the problem of a person and suggest a suitable remedy  . Before I conclude I give an real life  example as to why I want to have this multi dimensional  approach .
Everyone knows that Krishnamacharya was a great Yoga teacher and he himself had various skills like asanas , pranayama ,mantras , ayurveda etc to treat a person and did cure the ailment of many people who came to him but once the great rebel spiritual teacher U.G.Krishnamurti came to him for treatment regarding some mysterious energy flow in his body that was causing him discomfort and Krishnamacharya was employing alll his yoga skills in treating U.G.Krishnamurti and making him do various asanas but it did not have any positive effect on U.G and U.G got frustrated and left Krishnamacharya as he felt that Asanas wont do him any good and  tried doing tai chi to get some relief .
In another case BKS Iyengar was teaching J Krishnamurti ( JK ) and JK did not like his rigid approach to asanas and preferred the gentler style of Desikachar for his yoga practice and Vanda Scravelli who was herself a very dedicated BKS Iyengar Practitioner /teacher  finally quit the Iyengar System as she felt it was all wrong and while she was grateful to BKS Iyengar for putting her on the path of Yoga ,she felt that time had come to discover her own approach to Yoga and she developed her own unstructured approach to Yoga and did not want it to be named as any style though it is popularly referred to as Scravelli Yoga by her students .
I am giving the examples of Krishnamacharya as well as BKS Iyengar not to belittle them ( in fact I hold both of them in very high respect ) but to point out as to how even great yoga teachers like them could not address the needs of all the people who came to them . So let us not be rigid in our approach to yoga and adopt a flexible approach to it without compromising the discipline .


  1. Krishna, yes that is a good point, but I doubt that any one teacher would ever be able to address the issues of all students that come to them... I guess we resonate with teachers, and sometimes we do not... I know that you are a true seeker and whatever direction you chose will be the right one for you, and I wish you very good luck!!! does this mean you wont blog here anymore? or do you think you might keep a little of your ashtanga practice?

  2. Claudia , I love ashtanga very much and it will keep occupying my time and energy for the next few years and I will continue to keep blogging about my ashtanga journey which is just 6 months Old .What I was pointing out in this article was the danger of getting struck in one system for long and trying to solve all the problems through one system . But I will not stop with ashtanga but will continue to keep learning other movement therapies and also started a blog for that ( before I started this ashtanga blog ) and it is : and I have no blue print or time frame for learning these as I believe that learning is a life long process and that I will continue to learn anything that helps enrich me and also enrich my role as a yoga teacher .
    So for the next few years my focus is definitely on ashtanga only ( at least to the point of learning primary & Secondary Series ) that I am yet to motivate myself to spend time practicing at Mysore and I prefer Rishikesh for my own self practice and currently I am practicing using Sharat's audio CD and Richard Freeman Primary DVD .But who knows , next year I can be at Mysore as I am highly motivated seeing your blog posts about Mysore .

  3. Nice posting. Do you know about these yoga books?

  4. Jiddu Krishnamurti telling a joke...

    “There are three monks, who had been sitting in deep meditation for many years amidst the Himalayan snow peaks, never speaking a word, in utter silence. One morning, one of the three suddenly speaks up and says, ‘What a lovely morning this is.’ And he falls silent again. Five years of silence pass, when all at once the second monk speaks up and says, ‘But we could do with some rain.’ There is silence among them for another five years, when suddenly the third monk says, ‘Why can’t you two stop chattering?”

  5. Dear Krishnaji

    As long as there is a seeker there will be a quest,so good luck with your path..

    Om & Prem

  6. Good work…unique site and interesting too… keep it up…looking forward for more teacher training india |yoga therapy teachers training india |yoga courses india