Yoga is lifelong learning – plan early

How many students start practicing yoga, then quit and never do it again? If they started with a reasonably good teacher, and they felt good with the practice, most will keep returning to yoga.

Students usually begin with an asana class. They do movement with good breathing and attention. Then they gradually try some pranayama and meditation. Each step adds a layer to their wellbeing. It becomes harder to stay away for long. If a month goes by without doing their yoga, they notice the decline in their physical and mental wellbeing. The reasons behind dropping out from classes are usually accessibility, life situations, or cost. The practice itself, when taught well, is hard to say no to.

There are many directions the discussion could go from here, but I’d like to highlight one point: If you have a positive experience with yoga, it is likely that you will learn yoga lifelong. Even if you stop for a while, you will restart in some time. Therefore, if you choose your learning pathway with the long term, lifelong journey in your view, you will save a lot of time, money, and effort, and get much better results too.

For example, let’s say you find regular pranayama helps you. You decide to do just 5 minutes of pranayama every day—at home or in a quick break at your workplace—or 10 minutes on alternate days. That is still over 30 minutes a week and 30 hours a year. You could skip a week every month, and that would still be >22 hours of pranayama a year. On top of this, let us assume you skip 3 months of practice over a year. Still, over two decades, you will accumulate around 500 hours of pranayama practice!

Once you think of pranayama as a 500-hour journey—or a 1000-hour journey, easily, for even moderately serious yoga students—it makes sense to invest 5-10% of that early into learning the theory and practice of pranayama really well.

The key: what you learn should be clear and deep enough to support your lifelong journey. Your teacher should aim to make you self-sufficient in knowledge and practice.

This is one of the most important principles of Svastha—in all courses, we try to teach students to support their lifelong journey. When you look back at your studies from year ten, what you learned in year one should make deeper sense to you, because the teacher always had the long-term pathway in view.

Thank you for reading! 🙏

Dr. Ganesh Mohan