Self-Taught Yoga and the Need for a Teacher

August 28, 2014 3:44 PM

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Self-Taught Yoga and the Need for a Teacher

I was a self-taught yogi. After I joined my first yoga class at 19 I bought books on yoga and started doing it on my own at home. I experimented with the postures, meditation techniques and breathing exercises that I read about in books. This was before the plethora of yoga videos was readily available on the internet so my self-study in yoga consisted of a bunch of rather disorganized stretches done at odd hours of the day that suited my schedule and level of interest. When I joined my first Ashtanga Yoga class nearly two years later I got a hint of the discipline, dedication and determination required to do this practice. But it was only when I traveled to Mysore, India to meet Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson R. Sharath Jois that I truly experienced the transformational power of having a teacher on the inner journey of yoga.

When I practice alone in the many months I spend away from India each year, I am often back to self-practice. If something is difficult the option simply to skip it hangs in the air. I know from experience how hard it is go through difficult places in the practice alone and how much easier it is to ...

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