Learn Yoga Online: Where to start …
I was having a conversation about how to best learn yoga online with some fellow yoga teachers, and one of them asked me if my Swamiji would turn in his grave if he knew that I was promoting yoga via the internet? …
The internet preceded my guru, Swami Gitananda, but he was definitely not one to shy away from exploring the positive potential of anything.
He shared his thoughts on the idea of learning yoga via books and other media once, and those words have helped to guide me through this ancient teaching meets modern technology” experiment I’ve been engaging in for the past few years.
Swamiji reminded us that yoga has always been considered to be something that cannot be learned from books. But he also was quick to point out that what the majority of what people are doing today is not the “yoga” that he is referring to.
What he really meant to say was that at the higher stages of yoga the personal guidance of an experienced teacher is essential, but most people who practice yoga today are really only at the beginning stages of yoga … and at that level there is definitely much that can be learned in various other ways.
He explained that through clear and insightful writing, along with proper diagrams – much can be done to lay the foundation of a healthy personal yoga practice. These resources can also play a key role in helping people to understanding the concepts and principles of healthy yogic living.
But Swamiji also made the clear point that those teaching must still accurately represent the oral tradition of yoga, and not be watered down to suite the emotional needs of the growing numbers of wandering yoga tourists.
Swamiji wrote probably one of the most profound pieces of modern literature I have had the privilege to lay eyes upon, back in the 1970s. He eventually engineered this into his own yoga correspondence course, which was called “Yoga, Step by Step.” That course was my own introduction to Swami Gitananda and it ignited a spark which would ignite the raging fire of transformation in my life for years to follow.
If you’re curious to learn yoga online, you’ve probably found that there is a lot of stuff to sift through. The internet is full of yoga-related material, but if Swamiji were here today, I’m sure that he would consider the vast majority of it to be a far cry from an accurate representation of the yoga tradition.
It seems like so many yoga teachers think that all they have to do is film themselves teaching a yoga exercise class, and that’s what teaching yoga online is all about.
There are so many websites, and impossible number to count, with pages and pages of yoga exercises and yoga-related information all indexed for the casual visitors to scan through and pick and choose what interests them. But you definitely won’t learn yoga online if you take that approach. I guarantee it!
We’re certainly in an exciting technological age, but new technology alone doesn’t make learning yoga any easier. Simply creating well-polished websites and professional looking videos alone does not make for good yoga instruction. A deep understanding of the tradition of yoga must lie behind it all … and equally as important, the rare wisdom of how to transmit that knowledge must be present in the teacher. Both of these things are rarer than you might think today.
Swami Gitananda was a yogic scientist in every sense of the word. He had knowledge of yoga that only a true guru can … and he also had the rare ability to take that ancient wisdom and demonstrate it in a way that is practical and relevant in this modern day and age. I can only imagine what he would have done if he had all these new technological tools at his disposal as well.
I’m sure he would have given us all a humble lesson of what it really means to learn yoga online …
For more information on International Yogalayam’s educational programs to Learn Yoga Online, visit our Yoga Training Center …