The quality of Yoga practice is all that matters in Yoga. And all that matters for learning anything about Yoga is the quality of the teacher.
When I found my ideal teacher after years of practice and exploration, I have experienced that even in a few days one’s understanding of all Yogic practices can be fundamentally transformed. I understood the practical implications of the Yogic scriptures. I discovered deep pranayama and meditation experiences which fundamentally changed my practice. From doing to experiencing.
In a few days you can learn how to overcome the limitations of blind faith, dependencies, mindless repetition, strain, injuries and narrow-minded misunderstandings that have become so common in Ashtanga Yoga today. In one week you will see that Ashtanga Yoga can be practiced as an elegant, internalized and safe method just as described in the Yoga Sutra, leading to a meditative mindset. In one week you can easily understand how Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga can be practiced according to the yogic scriptures.
Grischa’s retreats are offering a very intense approach that will transform the way you look at Yoga. That is what you need for teaching Yoga, not years of repeating ultimately meaningless adjustments and empty words of wisdom. Yoga means overcoming the obstacle of a fundamental misunderstanding of the true nature of reality. We have to learn not to know, but to experience. As teachers we have to educate and trust our inner teacher.
Taking responsibility and striving for ethical perfection are the most meaningful seeds of good teaching in my personal experience. Teaching asana, pranayama, concentration and meditation is easy on that foundation.
Yoga is the immediate experience of reality through various practices. It cannot not be studied like any other topic. Please read why Yoga teacher trainings have become a toxic mistake in Yoga and greedy business models such as Yoga Alliance have perverted our understanding of Yoga over the past 25 years.
The term is borrowed from Richard Freeman’s Teacher Intensives in Boulder that I have joined a few times. The intensives attracted Yoga enthusiasts of various backgrounds who share an longing for diving deeply into all layers of Yoga as a practice. You become a practitioner that is qualified for becoming a teacher.
Until I have met Richard in 2004, I had considered myself to be a “Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga teacher”. But I already knew (theoretically) that even the most “advanced” Ashtanga asana practice hardly relates to the standards of the ancient Yoga teachings. Anyhow all other “senior” teachers so far had only been experts on the asana practice in various flavors. I started to get frustrated (and injured, too).
Richard was like the Hubble telescope. Suddenly, I could actually see the existence of those different galaxies of practices with my own eyes. Even more he was able to create an understanding of (and a longing for) experiencing the meaning of them, the “what is the point of doing a Yoga exercise”. This understanding is essential for giving our practices a direction and this is a primary requirement for teaching, too.
Imitating a teacher and applying adjustments is not teaching Yoga. Yoga is not about names, forms and numbers or learning when to say “look navel” or “grab toe” with an Indian accent. Yoga is not about anatomy. You must learn to understand that the meaning of asanadoes not mean can merely imitate them. The meaning of pranayama is not holding the breath for any amount of time. The meaning of Yoga philosophy is not knowing them as as a theory. I saw how only by reading Sanskrit I can overcome the problem of translation that prevents us from seeing the texts as practical guides. I understood that only by integrating all of those (and a few more) layers of practice I can would ever call myself a Yoga practitioner and possibly a teacher without feeling like a fraud.
The initial deep frustration about my extremely limited knowledge luckily turned out not to be a problem. It was the ignition of an amazing journey. In my intensives I will try to create the same excitement for going beyond the ordinary limitations of what we think is Yoga in the West today. I share my experiences and “aha-moments” about how all these layers of Yoga practice are connected and interdependent. I teach an approach that is ultimately very simple, based on patterns and a deeply intuitive understanding of mulabandha as your perceivable inner teacher. Based on this experience you can leave behind the ever inconsistent opposing opinions about “correct” practice. You will learn You will learn an approach in which correct practice is intuitive AND in line with the teachings of the scriptures. The same is true for pranayama and even studying the scriptures. We must leave behind the comfortable (yet irresponsible!) “I practice / teach exactly how I was taught”. Yoga means taking responsibility for your actions towards ourselves, others and in fact the whole world.