The Making of a Hata Yogi: Learning to Teach
Week 15: The Isha Hata Yoga Teacher Training Program is an endeavor to bring back classical yoga in its purest form and to train teachers who can impart this phenomenally powerful science. In this series, we will be following the participants through their exciting 21-week journey.
Across the weeks, we have brought you various aspects of the Isha Hata Yoga Teacher Training Program. We have observed in some detail how the participants have been learning and imbibing various sets of practices and the range of inputs they have been receiving in the process. Yet another core component of the program is where the group is being trained to teach Hata Yoga. Sadhguru’s vision for these participants is an ambitious one: “Whichever way you go, my business is to push you towards being a yogi, not being a yoga studio manager.”
So the focus has been on stabilizing their sadhana. Sadhguru says: “The greatest statements about yoga came from Krishna. He said ‘Yoga sthah kuru karmani’ – first establish yourself in yoga and then act. But today, the whole world only looks at how to act. Don’t worry about how to act. Establish yourself. Then you will know how to deal with the world. The world is just a small thing. The inner dimension is a zillion times larger than the world because it is the source of the creation.”
In preparation for teaching yoga, the participants have been put through a painstaking and comprehensive process that enables them to teach Hata Yoga when they successfully complete this program. This step-by-step methodology has been devised by Sadhguru and it goes over every detail of teaching: organizing, demonstrating, assisting, as well as conducting programs. From the attitude one must hold and what instructions to give, how to set up a class and lay the mats, how to correct posture and deal with queries… everything is being looked at. Each future teacher has been put through rigorous training processes which prepare them to handle a variety of situations once they set out on their own.
While the practical details are being imparted meticulously, Sadhguru stresses repeatedly on one very important aspect: the intensity and presence of the teacher offering yoga. “When you start teaching Hata Yoga, your very presence should create and instill a certain level of stillness and discipline in people around you. Otherwise you can’t teach yoga. With words or with a stick, it will not happen. If you simply stand there or sit there, you must be able to ‘grab’ them. Otherwise you can’t teach yoga.”
Talking of the right attitude, he says: “One commitment you must always have is that whoever sits in front of you, you must be able to give him the same attention that you would give to yourself. You must pay absolute attention.”
The participants are being trained in conducting multiple modules that vary according to duration, for instance, 1‐day, 3‐day, 1‐week, 2‐week, 1‐month, and ongoing yoga sessions. Sadhguru explains the basis for creating these modules: “One reason why I started this training is so that classical yoga doesn’t get distorted and twisted out by people. I see many yoga studios in United States start with shirshasana. This is complete distortion and is causing enormous damage to people.
So the way these modules have been designed, there is a certain wisdom and science behind it. If you teach it in a committed atmosphere and make the person realize how important it is to do it properly, the chances of them doing it wrong is largely minimized. There are 48 modules that you can teach – for people with certain ailments, obesity, corporate people, people who are seeking achievement, people who are seeking relaxation…”
Putting these modules into context, Sadhguru emphasizes the phenomenal possibility that yoga is, and looks at what the fundamental intention of imparting yoga is. “Yoga is a process to assist an individual to reach his ultimate potential. It is a tool to find ultimate expression to life. I want you to always have this in you that yoga is taught for the purpose for which it was created. The people who sit in front of you may only be here for side benefits, but you don’t change the direction of yoga. If the fundamental focus is kept, even if he is a frivolous practitioner, he will still go there. That possibility should never be taken off.”