What Does It Mean to Be a Yoga Teacher These Days?

By Adrian Molina

Looking back, I think I decided to take a yoga teacher training simply to better understand the microcosm that formed every time I showed up at the yoga studio for seventy-five minutes and left a new person. I didn’t care about teaching per se. I didn’t care about my community. I barely read the news. All I cared about was myself, the ocean, getting a job that paid the bills, having enough discipline to remind myself not to go to crazy at parties or get too crazy in relationships, and alleviating the loneliness of being in a country without my family.

The consistent practice of postural yoga and becoming more curious about those moments of expanded awareness that happened during or after class made me want to broaden the notion of my yoga practice to incorporate an understanding of the world at large—until that point, neither religion, nor parents, nor anyone else had been able to inspire me to become interested in anything beyond the nose on my face.

Once you open the door and consider that yoga—its lineage, its philosophy—is designed to help you live better and realize your full potential and the potential of others as well as our interconnectedness, then it hits you over the head like, “Right! No wonder I was hooked from the very first moment without even knowing it.”

In my journey, I have been presented with situations that tested my ability to hold this philosophy—death, grief, depression, more grief, setbacks, disillusion, more grief. And all the while I was teaching yoga and trying to use it, understand it, and embody it.

I can no longer say that I became a yoga teacher to show people poses and make them feel good. Back in the day I didn’t have the words, I didn’t have the understanding to articulate my thoughts the way I do now.

I became a yoga teacher because I like to give people hope.

I don’t get any satisfaction from watching people accomplish difficult asanas that have little to do with the philosophical underpinnings of yoga. But I do get great joy from seeing people feel free in their bodies and accept their bodies as their friends and from offering a practice that can easily accommodate anyone’s needs like a memory foam pillow.

What does it mean to be a yoga teacher these days? It means not dissociating from the world. Recognizing that the practice we learned a few years ago is changing. Acknowledging that our traditions are not so “traditional.” Acknowledging that what we once considered “yoga” will continue to expand in the seer who wants to see. Acknowledging that yoga has, in one way or another, shifted the reality of how we live and interact with others and the world. Yoga is no longer yours or mine for an hour in our busy schedules to be enjoyed in the privacy of our apartments, disregarding the pressing social issues we all face.

Yoga is a revolutionary, empowering, political, antiracist, nonviolent technology for the empowerment of all people that encourages us to embrace activism.

What does it mean to be a yoga teacher these days?

It means showing up. Looking. Learning. Finding ways to make a difference in people’s lives, to make the world a better place. It means initiating a dialogue, an internal conversation, a ripple effect, opening a door for someone who might never have considered looking to see what lies behind it.

Adrian Molina has been teaching yoga continuously since 2004. He is a well-known and respected instructor in Miami and New York, with an extensive worldwide following through his platform and school of yoga, Warrior Flow. Adrian is a writer, massage therapist, Reiki healer, meditation teacher, sound therapist, end-of-life doula, Mental Health First Aid facilitator, and a Kriya yoga practitioner in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda. Adrian is recognized for the community building work he does in Miami and New York as founder and executive director of The Warrior Flow Foundation, which brings the benefits of therapeutic and accessible yoga, mindfulness, and stress reduction tools to schools, shelters, hospitals, first responders, and hospice care.


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