In short, I have been practicing yoga for 5 years. I have practiced many styles and finally decided on Purna Yoga as the style of my choice. In July 2013, I enrolled at All Life Is Yoga’s (www.alllifeisyoga.com) studio to complete the 200 hour teacher training with Rutu Chaudhari. By the way, Rutu is AMAZING! I dove into the month long intensive training with an open mind and the thought that I was already a yoga guru. Ha! I was so wrong.
Aadil Palkhivala, the founder of Purna yoga, has a very precise way of teaching alignment in his manual. His parents conceived him through the study of yoga from B.K.S. Iyengar directly and he has been practicing his whole life. This information alone, allowed me to think, “This man probably knows a thing or two about yoga.” More information on Purna Yoga can be located at http://www.yogacenters.com/. Rutu is a personal student of Aadil’s which also made me feel more confident I was making the right choice.
The Purna style of yoga is by far the best training I could have taken for myself. Nevertheless, Rutu suggested the students attempt a class outside of the Purna style during or after our teacher training for the experience. I followed her challenge after my yoga teacher training at my local gym (please don’t judge me, lol) with a Vinyasa Flow style teacher. During the class, I witnessed all types of things: knees out of alignment, a 65-year old inexperienced women being asked to do a backbend (wheel at that!), and last but not least no awareness to contraindications such as high blood pressure, women’s menstrual cycle, and lower back pain. I noticed the sequencing was a little off, the class was missing a steady flow, and the level was defiantly too advanced for a room full of beginners. One lady even pooped out to stay in child’s pose (Balasana) the majority of the hour long class. The instructor began the class with a hips theme; however, the majority of the asana focused on the shoulders. To respect her class, I followed the instruction; however, she just lost a potential customer.
At first I assumed the teacher was a personal trainer substitute because I was indeed in a gym setting and that is known to happen from time to time. After inquiring on her yoga journey I found out she is also a 200 hour certified yoga instructor, whom also teaches at a studio. Hopefully, as you read this short article, you will have said “oh no!” to my post training yoga experience. I wish to encourage my fellow yoga instructors to pay attention to your class. While I totally understand we all have different flows and styles, the one thing I defiantly can not bend on is the fact that proper alignment is key to avoiding injury. Also, just because you are a yoga guru, please do not force your students into intermediate asana too early. In my personal opinion, it defeats one of the purposes of yoga, which is to grow at your own pace and feel good doing so.