Advanced Yoga Practices
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Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 388 - Our Role as Teachers  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
388.1 - Balancing Our Spiritual Sharing with the Life We are Living  (Audio)
388.2 - Challenges, Openings, and whether to Teach?

388.3 - Financial Responsibilities and Teaching Yoga  (Audio)
388.4 - The Emergence of Humility in our Teaching and Service   (Audio)
388.5 - Suggestions on the Student-Teacher Relationship  (Audio)
388.6 - Video: AYP Teacher Training Course Experience  (Audio)

388.7 - Suggestions on Teaching Students in Pregnancy, for Home Practice and in Retreat Mode

From: Yogani
Date: February 27, 2010

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"

We stand at a critical juncture in the history of human spiritual development. We are moving from a very long time of superstition and secondhand knowledge, to a time of direct knowledge based on firsthand experience with practices. More importantly, we are taking responsibility for our own spiritual unfoldment through a scientific approach to practices, where causes and effects can be observed and optimized for best effects in each of us individually, and in all of us collectively. It is a major change from how things have been done in the past, leading to a huge increase in the availability and effectiveness of practices for all time to come.

There have been those who have said that human beings are not capable of managing their own spiritual unfoldment, and that this responsibility must be delegated to those who know, with no room for choices or adjustments by the practitioner. The results of this approach have been inefficient, and history speaks for itself in this regard. It is time for change.


The journey of purification and opening requires prudent regulation of practices. Only the practitioner can do that. So it is about responsibility. The level of responsibility shown by those who have taken up the AYP open source system of practices has been impressive.

There have been perennial predictions that open knowledge of spiritual practices would lead to disastrous results. It is not true, at least not here and now. Self-pacing is a concept and a practice that is easy to understand and apply. The "learning to drive the fast car" analogy is one we can all relate to, where self-regulation of our speed is necessary under different driving conditions for us to maintain good progress with safety on our journey. It is the same with applying powerful spiritual practices.

The tendency toward desperation and overdoing in practices is driven more by the lack of effective practices than by the open availability of them. What is withheld we tend to become desperate for, and we often overcompensate with the practices we do have. What is freely available we must develop the skill to use responsibly, and we will. It is that simple.

So, there is much to be thankful for as we continue to move forward responsibly with our practices, going step-by-step. The road to human spiritual transformation lies before us, and many have found that developing good self-pacing skills is at the center of a successful approach. It means we are well on the way to self-sufficiency in our spiritual endeavors. Responsible use of practices with self-pacing is the key to sustaining forward progress in the enlightenment process. It means we can do it ourselves. Once we know that, then there is no stopping us, and the knowledge of human spiritual transformation can easily be spread far and wide.


Everyone is able to teach yoga from their own level of experience. Anyone who has become grounded in deep meditation, spinal breathing, etc., to whatever level, can pass that experience on to others. The AYP writings are sufficiently detailed so anyone can take their direct experience and pass it on, using the writings as an aid and a stimulus. So we should all feel free to do that to the degree we are comfortable, from within our own inner silence. This open process of transmission is beneficial to both the teacher and the student. The teacher always learns at least as much as the student.

There have been reservations expressed over the years on the hazards of people teaching yoga beyond their level of attainment. Indeed, this is a hazard with any teacher, even the advanced ones who may be expressing the concern. To hold everyone back for the sake of this concern is unrealistic. A title or a certification does not guarantee a complete, integrated teaching. Most often, such credentials have certified a sectarian approach, which is much better than no teaching, but still limited.

What we really need is many more people rising independently in inner silence and divine ecstasy from within, and sharing that in daily life by all means that suit the situation and culture. As we move forward in this new era, the teachings will come from within like that, much more than from external systems. External systems will no longer be the primary source of knowledge. They will only be for facilitating the flow of stillness in action coming from within everyone. The most effective teachings will be for stimulating that divine impulse that comes from within, and letting go. The best teachings will be the ones that put themselves out of a job, which has hardly been the situation in the past, where dependencies have been cultivated, rather than freedom.

If we are sharing a pragmatic integration of knowledge based on the direct experience happening within ourselves, then that will be title and certification enough to teach anyone. Which is not to say AYP teaching will never be certified. It probably will be at some point to fulfill societal needs, but this will not limit anyone from teaching in their own right.

If we keep coming back to the fundamental principles and practices inherent in the human nervous system, how can we go wrong? That is the reason why the AYP writings have been put out in public view. Not to create a following, a movement, or an organization. Not to stand as a monolithic body of teachings either. But to be a resource that can be woven into daily considerations of spiritual transformation in many ways a touchstone of truth that can help anyone become a beacon of light to themselves and to many others. The AYP teachings do not come from any specific lineage. They come from the broad (and often ancient) multi-cultural knowledge of humankind. And, most importantly, from verifications of the practices by many in the present through direct experience in the human nervous system.

As open source teachings like the AYP baseline system come more into the public awareness, more horizontal transmission of knowledge will be occurring according to the direct experience of steadily increasing numbers of practitioners around the world who continue to share. This kind of spiritual knowledge transmission has also been called peer-to-peer. Due to its inherent non-hierarchal nature, this style of knowledge transmission avoids many of the pitfalls found in hierarchal systems where the abuse of power over others has been commonplace. The horizontal peer-to-peer structure is "candles lighting candles until all candles are lit." This is possible with the rise of real spiritual progress in many practitioners. It is not only the transmission of ideas. It is also the transmission of spiritual energy that quickens the process of human spiritual transformation in everyone. Before now, this has not been possible. With the rapid rise of consciousness around the world, this new mode of teaching is taking hold the direct transmission of knowledge and spiritual energy, which is stillness in action.

In terms of practices, it is a step-by-step process of inspiring bhakti (spiritual desire), and then providing the tools for the cultivation of inner silence and ecstatic conductivity in every individual.

Those who have traveled far along the path are to be reminded that everyone must travel from where they are using the most effective methods. There is a tendency for those who are advanced in spiritual progress to teach the destination (their present condition) as being the path. This can lead students to engage in what we call non-relational self-inquiry into the non-dual nature of existence. That is, inquiry in the mind and not in stillness, which is largely fruitless and can be psychologically harmful. With the rise of inner silence (the witness), relational self-inquiry becomes possible. So the first priority is the cultivation of inner silence. In the AYP approach, this is accomplished through deep meditation and related means.

The same is true in teaching about our relationship with karma, the events occurring around us, and with the times we will experience pain in our life. There will be pain, but it can be borne without suffering, but not by only being told that this is so. It is with the rise of inner silence (the witness) that we can transcend suffering that comes with the identification of the mind with thinking, feelings and our perception of the world around us. As we become free from identification with the objects of perception, no matter how glorious or painful they may be, we can share our freedom with others, and we can also share the means for others to be free within themselves. It is in all of us.

As time goes on, many illuminated practitioners will become more visible, along with the supporting written teachings. Writings that are true and flexible in their application will have a long shelf life, and will not wear out. In time, the application of methods and the experiences of practitioners around the world will naturally expand to encompass all eight limbs of yoga.

Those who are engaged in self-directed integrated practices are on the leading edge. From this, the field of yoga will become increasingly more centered on fostering individual self-sufficiency in cultivating the overall process of human spiritual transformation. To the extent enlightenment has been occurring in the world over the centuries, it has always been based on individual self-sufficiency.

Our schools and institutions for higher learning will find an expanding role in this, because the people will be noticing it occurring around them, and demanding the necessary education. The teaching of integrated spiritual practices will be happening in yoga studios, retreat centers, trade schools and universities across the land. But first, it will be happening in the homes of practitioners everywhere, as a vast and diverse network expands outward until everyone has been touched.

Teaching begins at home with our children in ways that can inspire them over a lifetime, not imposing on them in the present. Teaching of our children is covered in detail in Lesson 256.

These days, spiritual transformation is rising in millions. It is something new that has been steadily accelerating over the past century, an emergence of yoga and spiritual practices on a vast scale. It is a global phenomenon. In this highly energized situation, just a little bit of the right information will go a long way. Individual desire/bhakti and daily practice will take care of the rest.

So, let us all do what our inner silence moves us to do in our practices and our teaching. And, by all means, have fun while doing it!

Update 2019: AYP Teacher Training Courses have been occurring since 2017. For more information, see the Programs Page.


The guru is in you.

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Note: For additional discussion on our role as teachers, and detailed instructions on building a self-directed daily routine of practices, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.

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