Increasingly I observe Yoga teachers, even if not trained specifically in this area, offering private tuition or 121’s as an adjunct to their other teaching activities.
I also observe a proliferation of Yoga trainings for becoming a teacher within 121 situations, especially Yoga Therapy, often as an adjunct or ‘bolt on’ to group teacher trainings, accepting students even if from other approaches, styles or traditions.
I have increasing questions around the personal developmental aspects of these options within the context of them being acquisitional skill based professional add-ons to ones teaching repertoire.
For example how does offering 121’s, as if a group class for one, or as I have observed, even advertising 121’s for up to two people; or offering short term therapy (i.e. palliative) based Yoga lessons, compare with the ancient models, such as the one I experienced over two decades of personal lessons with my teacher arising out of T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar’s traditional transmission of ‘apprenticeship’ over a long period?
It also concerns me increasingly that even the newly styled ‘authentic’ trainings in the area of individual 121’s and/or Yoga Therapy can be completed without any requirement for a profound 121 relationship ourselves.
How can we really appreciate what is involved in a developmental, as against a palliative, relationship without having undergone a profound experience ourselves of what it means?
It feels, for me. like comparing short term counseling such as CBT, with its strategy based approach, with the long term profundity of the self-inquiry approach of Psychoanalysis.
Here I feel that treating somebody with Yoga, or supporting somebody with Yoga, is not the same as teaching somebody Yoga.
It also feels as if this intensive long term mining of the precious metals that such a relationship can unearth is becoming further ‘functionalized’ through having Skype, phone and emails as part of the primary or even sole nature of the relationship because of the distance, cost and convenience.
For me it feels that this fast food, fast track style of training arises out of a desire for a proliferation more based on quantity rather than quality and commodity rather than privilege.
Does this mean that energies such as renown, status, power, popularity, wealth and other trappings of external success have become the dominant agendas for the Yoga organizations, bodies, schools or individuals colluding in this essential compromise of what once was quality with quantity and privilege with commodity?
Are these forces now driving priorities and availability towards a downward trends in terms of the minimum qualifications bar or upwards trends in the maximum numbers of students?
For example I look back at the apprenticeship that I, and my peers around me from this epoch, received and compare it with what is happening today. I even get students from within these modern trainings contacting me to ask to work with me because of the inadequate consequences of these compromised factory based production priorities, even if it means travelling across continents to receive it.
It seems that the MacDonald’s fast food, fast service philosophy has permeated Yoga trainings at all levels and now manifested as ‘approved by’, or ‘franchised style’, or ‘named/belonging to’, journeyman priorities rather than ability based, long term, personalised apprenticeships within what were once noble and sacred methods of transmission of a noble and sacred teaching emanating from noble and sacred teachers.
Having observed this process of what I feel is a debasement, as in precious metals with its consequence of lowering the value of, arise over the past decade I do wonder where we will find ourselves in a further decade around these questions.
Whether it will have any significant relevance to me then is another matter, meanwhile I feel increasingly a Yoga Dinosaur within this new breed of swift moving, fast footed animals taking over the running of the plain.
Meanwhile I live my Antya Krama (contracting sequence of life) in my Cotswold aerie ever grateful that my teacher both taught me the multilayered tools of Yoga and transmitted a multidimensional map to guide their ever subtler application in the process of refining self-inquiry from the body towards the beyond.