Krishnamacharya’s scholarly description of the Teacher’s role, identity and function would make it impossible for teachers to become focused on their celebrity or their own power. The teacher according to our teacher Krishnamacharya has only one interest, to empower his or her student. When I say “our,” I mean all who are interested in modern day styles of Yoga in the West because he is the teacher of all our teachers. He said, it is the students power we are interested in, not our own. So this whole identity and structure of the powerful teacher cannot arise, or therefore fall, as we see in the Anusara example. Krishnamacharya’s own words, “one who calls himself a Guru is not a Guru. One who calls himself a Yogi is not a Yogi” makes this pretty clear. This system of idealizing a teacher or a linear system of some future attainment in body performance, meditation, spiritual or philosophical perfection simply does not work. And is the problem itself, which denies each person’s inherent perfection as Life. Yoga is each person’s direct participation in the extreme intelligence of Life already given. It is the teacher’s role to see that each student can actually do that. The precise way that Krishnamacharya taught asana as union of opposites, of inhalation and exhalation in the natural polarity of strength that is receiving must be given now. As well as to the students of celebrity systems, brands and styles, so that the public can go beyond the naïve yoga experiments in the West.
As William Broad stated in his book The Science of Yoga, Yoga can stay in its infancy in the West or grow up. It is my earnest request that Yoga Journal and other influential people who speak for Yoga take up at this formal position. That the principles of the teacher Krishnamacharya, the source of modern day Yoga can now be given and placed into the systems of asana that have been popularized. This makes each person’s Yoga entirely their own, efficient, powerful and safe.
It is very easy to do this and it is a curious question as to why it has not happened before now. Iyengar Yoga and all that derivatives of his work, such as Anusara all arose from Krishnamacharya’s life and teaching, so it must be easy now to include the full spectrum of Yoga practice into them. Also into Pathabi Jois’s work and derivatives of. After William Broad’s book and the downfall of Anusara as a celebrity belief system, of teacher and technic, the broad public is legitimately questioning even the validity of yoga. We are undergoing a major review both within the Yoga community and beyond. It is not good enough to defend the partial systems that have been branded and merchandized, but to see the bigger picture, honor the early experiments, but now be open and “grown up” to modify these systems.
The principles of the modification are these: 1. Make the breath the central feature and purpose of the asana. 2. Sequence the asana to individual needs where the breath is the gage and action of the movement. 3. Let the breath initiate and end the movement. 4. Allow the strength of the asana to receive the inhalation. 4. In stationary asana allow the breath to remain the central focus. 5. Allow the asana to create bandha in the four part breathing cycle (the intelligent cooperation of muscle groups in the polarity of strength receiving). 6. Each day, asana allows for pranayama and pranayama allows for meditation as a seamless process. Meditation arises as siddhi or natural result of asana pranayama and cannot be willfully practiced.