Q&A Interview with Yoga Teacher Trainer Agni Deep Rijal

I would really like to tell all upcoming teachers that yoga is not about mechanical practice, but rather a systematic methods to apply in our daily life, the moment we wake up from the bed till we go back to bed. If we learn to apply the philosophy of yoga, including the physical practice, and methods in our lifestyle then spontaneously, the people around us and our society will be influenced by our presence. If we just practice mechanically and teach mechanically then one day boredom will affect us and we will seek other forms of methods to deal with our restless mind.

Yoga Teacher Training at yum
By Isabella Magnoni

Isabella: Please share your experience learning and teaching yoga! When and where did you begin practicing?

Agni: I have been into this field of yoga and meditation since I was small kid. My mother was a meditation teacher and my house was very near to an Ashram (a kind of yoga school). Since it was very close, I used to be part of the place and learn. As I grew up, I travelled to different parts of Nepal and India. I went to different yoga and spiritual places, stayed there for longer periods and learned a lot about yoga through that.

Isabella: When did you begin teaching?

Agni: After some time, I returned to Nepal and started to teach and share my knowledge at a yoga retreat place. I was also working as a trekking guide and organising yoga retreats in the mountains.

Isabella: Who has guided you in your teaching career (teachers, mentors and inspirational figures)?

Agni: I don’t have one specific main teacher because I have perceived the knowledge of yoga from different people. I dont recognize myself as teacher but as an aspirant, who is always on journey of seeking, experiencing and sharing.

Isabella:
What do you believe is the role of a yoga teacher in society today?

Agni: Today, the society has become very unhealthy in many aspects and the yoga teacher needs to be different than in any other profession. Yoga teachers should be role models to the family, businesses, to politics, sports etc. As yoga is about living a healthy and conscious life and teaching others to live a life full of harmony and love. Yoga teachers should know that yoga is not about mechanical practices, limited to physicality or class but rather an art of living a life by being a sensible friend, parent, co-worker. Basically, a sensible human being who can motivate and influence the society in every field.

Isabella: What can students expect to learn from you in the upcoming 200 hour teaching training?

Agni: A yoga teacher training is the beginning phase for the students to teach, so for my part, I provide them the fundamental knowledge of yoga that will help them to implement and apply yoga philosophy and tools towards themselves, in their lifestyle. This will inevitably enhance the reflection and sensibility towards their surroundings. When they are able to see, reflect and understand, they will be able to experience life from a different perspective – and teach it to others.

Isabella: What aspects of yoga philosophy do you think are most important for new teachers to understand, and why?

Agni: For me Yoga means a holistic flexibility, and when I say holistic flexibility, it applies to every aspect of our life. We need to maintain the fitness of our body and mind, and along with it we should ultimately seek for who we really are. Just doing asanas and some limited practice will not provide a path to self realization and realizing the self has to be the true purpose of yoga. Where there is authenticity, the methods should to be followed. When our foundation is strong, then we are able go through any form of difficult practices – in life and on the mat.

In todays world, everything is changing and hence our collective mind of society is also changing according to time and along with it the concept of yoga, meditation and spirituality is also changing. I would rather call it a distortion. Today’s form of Yoga is not what it used to be. It is used as a kind of therapy, medication, fitness method. Yoga is about knowing who we really are and once we get to experience the truth, every problem will disappear without any effort. If we focus on knowing the self, peace will become a by-product and automatically harmonious society is sure to happen.

Isabella: What advice would you give to aspiring yoga teachers interested in the upcoming 200 hour YTT?

Agni: I would really like to tell all upcoming teachers that Yoga is not about mechanical practice but rather a systematic methods to apply in our daily life, the moment we wake up from the bed till we go back to bed. If we learn to apply the philosophy of yoga, including the physical practice, and methods in our lifestyle then spontaneously, the people around us and our society will be influenced by our presence. If we just practice mechanically and teach mechanically then one day boredom will affect us and we will seek other forms of methods to deal with our restless mind.

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