Teaching and Experiencing

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Bihar School of Yoga stopped all the Teacher Training programs that it used to have at Ganga Darshan. For us it was part of the firstchapter of yoga, which was yoga propagation. Bihar School of Yoga propagated yoga for 50 years and it had its standard programs which used to be conducted year after year in the same manner, whether it was yoga teacher training, yoga instructor program, health management or any other course.

After 2013, it was realized that the age of propagation was over. There are thousands and thousands of yoga teachers throughout the world in every city, every town and village. I thought, ’If everybody becomes a yoga teacher who will be the student?’ So we stopped conducting all training programs.

As teachers you know enough to teach, but not enough to experience.

When we came to the ashram and Sri Swami Satyananda, our guru, was teaching us yoga, the intention was not to make us into yoga teachers. That was very far from our mind. He taught us yoga so that we could experience yoga and he took us through all the aspects of yoga. The firstgeneration of teachers propagated the original yoga, but when teachers were trained later it was limited yoga, not the original yoga.

Limited yoga

What do I mean by limited? What is the training that is being given? Some asanas, not all the asanas, and even those you cannot perform perfectly. Some pranayama, not the complete series of pranayama, but the few important ones. Some mudras and bandhas which you use in your own practice, some techniques of pratyahara, like yoga nidra and maybe two or three practices of pratyahara and dharana, like ajapa japa or antar mouna. Beyond that there is no other learning in yoga for a yoga teacher. So as yoga teachers you are not even representing one percent of yoga; but even that is plenty.

I am telling you this so you can understand that the teaching aspect of yoga is very limited. You cannot teach more than a few asanas, a few pranayamas, some techniques of relaxation and some techniques of concentration. That is what you learned as a teacher and you will be teaching that: this is very good.

Your yogic journey should not stop after you become a teacher of ten asanas, two pranayama, one relaxation and three meditative practices. You have to embark on the journey of self-discovery, and that will happen when you experience yoga in your life and forget about the benefitsof teaching – the economic and financialbenefitsof having students. If financial benefitis your aim then the 10–15 practices which you know are good enough, but if experiencing yoga is your aim, then even after the teacher training course and after your teaching, you should continue to explore yoga and experience yoga as a sadhaka.

Yoga Chakra for the sadhaka

This will not be part of your teaching but part of your personal effort to experience yoga and deepen your knowledge of yoga. From this year the entire system, the entire course program, the entire methodology of yoga training and teaching has changed. From 2016, every course and every program is new. It is a total step up from the last 50 years.

In this system we are having the Progressive Yoga Vidya Training (PYVT) for one month. Senior yoga teachers who have been teaching for the last 30 to 40 years have come to participate and have derived a lot of benefitfrom reconnecting with the yogic experience.

Similarly, in order to deepen your understanding in the Bihar Yoga system, the Yoga Chakra concept has been introduced, the system of yoga as developed by Sri Swami Satyananda. The Yoga Chakra comprises of six yogas – three which are practices and three which are expressions. There is a sequence of practices – first, mastery of hatha yoga; second, mastery of raja yoga; and third, mastery of kriya yoga.

Hatha yoga is for the body, raja yoga for the mind and kriya yoga for special awakening. Body, mind and spirit are covered in these three yogas. They allow you to explore yourself, they allow you to findequilibrium within yourself. They allow you to explore and awaken the dormant potential and prana shakti within yourself. They make you aware of the transformative process that you go through in life with sincere application of yoga. It is not just random performance; hatha yoga, raja yoga and kriya yoga represent the physical, mental and spiritual disciplines.

The expression of these three yogas happens in jnana yoga, bhakti yoga and karma yoga. They are the six yogas which constitute the Yoga Chakra, the teachings of Sri Swami Satyananda, our guru. Now we are following those teachings of Sri Swamiji which allow us to experience yoga.

The focus is not on training any more. Training is given by people in other places, by strong committed teachers. In Munger, teacher training is over and we are going to another level of yogic experience.

—25 September 2016, Ganga Darshan, Munger With teacher trainees of Atmadarshan Yoga Ashram, Bengaluru