By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Of course, you practice Yoga with the best of intentions. Now, your thinking: Doesn’t everyone practice, learn, and teach Yoga with the best of intentions? In a few words: No, they do not.
Some Yoga teachers step beyond ethical boundaries. Each of us has some students who were abused verbally and physically, before they ever came to practice with us. Some were picked on for being overweight, insulted for their lack of flexibility, and one of my current students had her back jumped on, by her former Yoga instructor, while holding Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). By the way, this same student had told this Yoga teacher, she had back problems, before she took her first class.
We have all heard stories of different cases of abuse, by anyone in authority. The problem is not the training – it’s the inherent lack of common sense and compassion. Most people grow into a Yoga teaching position just fine, while a rare few develop “petty dictator syndrome.”
It is amazing what people will justify, and then, insist their acts were done with the best of intentions. My Grandfather used to say, “Hell was made with good intent.” Ponder that for a while, and you will come up with many ideas.
If you think of the worst atrocities known to man, you will find someone who can justify them. Do you think Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin thought they were wrong? Unfortunately, each of them would justify their intentions.
Now, on a much smaller scale, going into your Yoga class, with a competitive mindset, is not the best of intentions. Whether you are a teacher or a student, you would eventually injure yourself. All of us age, and we will not get the same results, from our bodies, every day. Your body is not a machine and if it were, a machine would show signs of wear too.
A competitive mindset will bolster your ego and that has nothing to do with Yoga training. Your mind, body, and spirit cannot become healthy, when your ego is in “the driver’s seat.” There is no tranquility, harmony, peace, mindfulness, or loving kindness within the ego. To the ego everything is a perceived threat to its existence.
Leave your ego at the door, with your shoes, before going into class. When you practice Yoga, savor each lesson, and take it out into the world, for practice. When you leave the ashram or studio, practice is applying what you learn in class to real life. So, it does not end, when you roll up your mat.
Be courteous to everyone all the time. You are projecting loving kindness and being mindful of life in the present, and practicing the unity of mind, body, and spirit.
© Copyright 2005 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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