Modern Yoga is changing, as you may be noticing during these pandemic times. I’m reluctant to claim any “new normal” is on the horizon. However, I will say that the changes I’m seeing in the Yoga world are positive and actually moving us closer to the main aim of Yoga. Read on to learn my predictions about the future of Yoga, and how I believe Yoga instruction is changing for the better if we’re willing to adapt.
The 3 Ways Yoga Is Changing For the Better
Yoga in the U.S. has been quite different from the practice that was popularized in India and other parts of the East. And it’s changed even more over the last 20 years I’ve been teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area, and not for the better in my opinion.
Yoga was once embraced for it’s life changing benefits and the passing down of wisdom from ancient traditions. Here in the U.S. it was reduced down to:
- strengthening and stretching the body to music
- a way to temporarily relax in between stressful activities
- a lifestyle where we get to wear comfortable, fashionable clothes
- a trendy way to bring mind-body awareness to the community
- social time with friends
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE everything I just listed above.
I resigned long ago that this was enough to attract people to the practice. I let go of the need to try to teach everyone to the depth that I experienced as a student when I first started my Yoga journey. But I always tried to give them a taste of this depth to let them know that there was much, much more that could be experienced.
Now that we’re in these challenging times, we’re seeing another shift. Students and teachers who really value the practice are needing to make the following changes. Otherwise, Yoga will be of little help to them and they’ll most likely choose another form of exercise or vocation.
1. Prioritizing A Home Practice
When many of our states enforced a lockdown in March 2020, studios and teachers had no choice but to go online if they were to continue offering Yoga to their students. And if students wanted to continue practicing yoga, they were forced to create a practice space, to purchase their own props, and commit to doing the live or replay classes.
I had to pivot too. Even though it was stressful, I was pleased that students were needing to practice at home. A home practice is something I’m constantly promoting and that’s why I’ve written previous blog posts on the subject:
The experience of Yoga becomes much more meaningful when you carve out time for it at home. You’re infusing your home with your personal intention. You’re modeling the commitment for your kids. The whole vibe of your home changes.
Once students see how easy it is to practice Yoga at home and experience greater depth, I believe many will start preferring it over studio classes.
We’ll see if I’m correct, but at least they’ll have the resolve to continue practicing Yoga in case their usual set up changes. (Unfortunately we are seeing many studios closing and teachers moving or quitting.)
Your home Yoga practice would not be affected by these external circumstances.
2. Moving Toward Private or Small Group Instruction
Even with studios and health centers now open, class size is limited (currently as I write they can only be open to 25% here in CA).
Though I’m really frustrated with the slow pace that gyms are reopening, I do think that small classes are lovely.
I long for my early yogini days when I’d meet my teacher and class at the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. We felt comfortable in this intimate community, sharing our life struggles as we related them to our Yoga practice. I remember having class the evening of 911 and we all processed the day’s event together.
Many people are desiring community right now. Small group classes could be very healing if students are allowed to participate in deeper discussions and if the teacher is sharing classical Yogic wisdom.
I see Yoga classes returning to what they once were for me. And with that, I imagine that students will have a better understanding of how Yoga can help them in life.
This brings me to the biggest change happening with Yoga…
3. Return to the Classical Tenants of Yoga for Personal Development
Modern Yoga only goes so far with instruction the mind-body connection. If one follows the tenants outlined in the Yoga Sutras by a skilled classical teacher and commits to not only the physical practice, but investigating the mind and heart, there is a huge opportunity for growth. In fact, one may awaken to a completely different way of thinking and living.
Everything we’re experiencing right now – from fear of disease & death to social & political unrest – can be resolved inside of you through the process of Yoga.
It’s possible to experience inner peace regardless of what’s happening outside of you. Believe me, I’m pretty happy right now even though I know the world outside is chaotic. I’m not blind to it. I just know how to co-exist with it.
If you want to deepen your Yoga practice for personal development or want to be an inspiring light for others, I recommend reading the books in my home yoga resource article.
Or let me lead you gradually through the layers of your being in my 6 week course Self Healing Practices for Holistic Health. We explore the physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual layers in a very practical way, at your own pace, in this self-led program.
The majority of people in the world are lacking the insights of these teachings. Humanity will experience benevolence and peace if they are embraced and shared.
Yoga is going to be an important part of this new world we’re creating. Are you going to be living it and teaching it too?