Yoga always starts with goals. Classical yoga, being what it is, works on the overall personality of the practitioners, taking them away from their material selves, and closer to their ‘real’ selves. So as a classical yoga teacher, what are the signs one can look for among the learners to assess progress and genuine improvement in the state of the ‘personality-complex’? Here’re some of things to look for:
1. They linger longer in the asanas
Be it the ever playful joy of continuing in ‘ekpadasana’ or the surrender-ful luxury of ‘yogamudra’, when the practitioners love the feels of it, that’s when we can be convinced that it is kind of going on the right track. Stability and steadiness indicates the unique beauty of classical yoga – it’s motherly caress, it’s friendly nudge and it’s wise lessons for the body and the mind.
2. Their posture improves
There is real power in the geometry of natural physical alignment and it signifies not just physiological health but also overall emotional well-being. It is all over Hatha yoga texts and one can experience it for themselves how the energy improvements and emotional strength come with continued practice of correct postures in sitting, standing, walking and so on.
3. They begin to trust their bodies
Be it the ankle hold in Ardhamatsyendrasana or the hip lift in Halasana, when the practitioners are able to cross their earlier limits, it is a small undeclared celebration between the yoga teacher and the practitioner. Body limits are manifestations of mind limits. Yoga teachers know very well that it is things like fear, stress and held up emotions that keep our bodies from going smoothly into various positions.
Stability and steadiness indicates the unique beauty of classical yoga – it’s motherly caress, it’s friendly nudge and it’s wise lessons for the body and the mind.
4. They apply it off the mat
Traditional yoga gurus always say that practicing yoga in not what you do for an hour on the mat, but it is what you become through it. Thus, be it anger or stress or general tendency to feel negative – it is all supposed to be systematically but sub-consciously addressed through yoga by habituation to ‘positive attitudes’ in day to day life. And when that happens to the learners, it is a definite sign of success in yoga.
5. Their breath rate decreases
A yoga practitioner knows how critical it is to bring the breath rate lower, below a certain threshold. It is very much advised to use this as a measure in the practice sessions to assess the progress. It does happen for real, and it works like magic. There is no better overall report card for any practitioner’s well-being – physical, mental and spiritual.
6. They dive into the unknown
It is no small feat for the modern man today to be wakeful and yet keep the eyes closed for longer than a few seconds! So, when some of them really dare to go inwards during ‘dharana’ (meditative practices) and relate their experience of having gone a bit into strangely peaceful mental zones, we can be sure that they are inching closer to themselves”. After all, self-discovery is yoga.
Are you a classical yoga teacher or practitioner who would like to share your experiences? Please write in! 🙂