Yoga in America: Forecast for 2004

Sample from the Winter 2004 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine

In this special section we will hear from some prominent Yoga teachers weighing in on the “State of the Union” (Yoga) in 2004, voicing concerns they have about “American” Yoga, along with news of their latest programs and projects.

Excerpt from the interview with Rama Jyothi Vernon:

IYM: What kind of a responsibility does that put on Yoga teachers today, especially with the passing-at least in their physical form-of the great Yoga Masters?

RJV: All the Great Ones that I have studied with are gone physically. And, you look around and you say, “Where do we go from here?” It is as if someone says, “Tag, you’re it-for the newer generation that is coming.” Can we pass down the stories and the experiences that we have had with these teachers and imbue others with what we have gotten from them? Can we be the carriers of that for the other people, so that they don’t forget the origins of Yoga in America?

Excerpt from the interview with Lilias Folan:

IYM: I think that you have touched on such a crucial point. In these times where there is “Yoga on every corner,” what would your message be to the new teachers who are finding that they have to compete in the Yoga world?

LF: It is to remember our roots. Remember our roots. Find teachers-and they are there-who are experienced and who have roots-whatever Yoga tradition it is or wherever their teaching has come from. Find the many levels of Yoga. The athleticism is fun. It is interesting. But, that is the smallest part of what this is all about. The biggest part is actually the smallest. The biggest part for me is the flame in the heart. And, no one can see that. But, I can see this body. And, I have to start somewhere. You can get into a good class that is many-layered and heart-felt. And, there are teachers like that.

Excerpt from the interview with Shri Yogi Hari:

IYM: What do you feel about teaching Yoga in settings such as in fitness centers or other places where they don’t want the teachers to chant or speak of the spiritual aspects of the practices?

YH: First of all, it is the teacher’s responsibility to make the students understand that Yoga is a highly spiritual practice. The reason that it is spiritual is because you are spirit. Who you are is the spirit, the soul, the Atman, functioning through these bodies. I am teaching Yoga so that you will experience your Higher Self, who you are. If you want to have good health, if you want to experience happiness, you can only experience that when you can touch who you are, the Self. When you can have peace of mind, then you can have happiness. When they can understand this basic thing, then they can see that Yoga is not just a physical thing.

Read the rest of this article in the Winter 2004 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.

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