Yoga is versatile and adaptable, which makes it a constant source of enjoyment for me. However…one of my difficulties with yoga is how its evolved into modern consumer culture. It's a commodity. Something you can purchase in exchange for personally feeling better.
I don't think we need any more 'I- ness.' What we need is connection. That's what the ancient Yogis sought out, and it's what we still need today.
A good yoga practice has every potential to make us feel better, calmer, more at ease. Which may be as far as you take it, and that's great. But there's more to a yoga practice, if you're open to it.
...In an effort to sell yoga here in the West it's been presented as individualistic; something you do for yourself, it's 'Me Time'. The practice has been stripped of it's spiritual assets; a way of cultivating compassion for (yes ourselves but ultimately) others.
The sure fire way to sell things is to speak directly to invidividual benefits. These sales techniques work; we'll hungrily snap up things that claim to offer relief from overactive minds trapped in exhausted bodies.
What I'm teaching students is that they pratice for the people in their life. I know that when I'm tired and achy, I'm not a very nice person to be around, I can be less generous with my time and patience, and being uncomfortable makes me very focused on increasing my comfort levels, rather than being present for others.
So the 'me time' is in fact 'us time'. I want to be motivated to do good, healthy things for other people, rather than my own self interest, and that's what I'm looking for in students and trainee teachers.
How to manage the individualistic approach?
I'd really like to encourage students to be part of my community, and grow it by bringing theirs.