A friend called to my attention an article in the Independent about two pioneering women yoga teachers in London.
The article briefly profiled Yogini Sunita who was a popular yoga teacher — and instructor of future yoga teachers — in the 1960s in Birmingham, as well as Kailash Puri, who taught yoga from her home in Merseyside for more than 20 years.
Both these women were instrumental in spreading the knowledge and practice of yoga in the UK and — as the article notes — both have sadly been largely forgotten.
One reason for this is that they focused on the practice of teaching, while many of the best-known yoga teachers are famous because they have written books.
This got me thinking about the legacy of yoga teaching and what’s important.
Though it is tempting to say that people who write books, or create a style of yoga, or star in hit YouTube channels are “more influential” it is important to remember that real influence happens on the personal level.
Teaching yoga changes people’s lives. When a teacher helps a student overcome an injury, illness, or insecurity, that’s a legacy. When students grow more mindful, compassionate and calm, that’s a legacy.
Of course it is a tremendous accomplishment and privilege to become a famous yogi, but it is equally an accomplishment to promote the practice of yoga, even if the only people who ever hear your name are your students, in your class.
What do you think is the essence of a ‘yoga legacy’? Share in the comments!