By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
How do you measure success? Do you think of physical, mental, spiritual, influential, or monetary success? It is important to be honest with yourself and know that you may be very successful in one area, but not in another.
Therefore, look at your strengths and be honest with yourself about what your goals really are. There have been many successful Yogis, and some spiritual leaders, who had the clothes on their backs as their only possessions. They did not pursue material wealth, but instead, helped others until their last day.
How can I say they were successful? They chose the path that they wanted, and some have had tremendous influence without material wealth. They were men and women of conscience who humbled the powerful.
This is not to say that a Yoga teacher must live in poverty to be influential. An oath of poverty to help humankind is noble, but not for everyone. Personally, a balanced approach to physical, mental, spiritual, influential, and monetary success is easier for most of us to live with. Let’s take a look at the five successes and see how you can build on them, help others, and live the best life you can.
If you teach Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa, or another physical style of Yoga training, your body will be in “good shape.” Many people perceive good shape to mean muscles, but forget about the benefits to the joints, bones, and internal organs. Yoga is good for all of them and is a total health program.
Anyone who takes the time to meditate, and practice pranayama, will have better mental health. As a serious practitioner, or Yoga teacher, you should practice this daily, even if you do not have classes today. All of the other forms of success will yield mental health, as well.
Some Yogic styles are more spiritual than others. In the west, most practitioners only think of Hatha Yoga (union through physical mastery), but there are many other Yogic styles. However, if spiritual Yoga does not fit into your lifestyle, this is not a problem. Physical health is just as important as any other type of success.
The power of influence is a part of teaching Yoga. Therefore, never misuse it and never take advantage of your students, family, or friends. However, if you see an opportunity that will help the common good, never avoid using the influence you have acquired.
About money: Some people think, “Money is the root of evil.” I totally disagree because money is only a commodity, such as energy. If we misuse it, that is our loss, but if we help others, that is rewarding to all of us. Much like when we use energy, we are only temporary “keepers of money.”
Make use of money, and help those who you can. Strangely, more money will come back to you, as a result of being charitable. This is the cycle of karma, success, and life.
There is nothing wrong with success and self-improvement. When you take each aspect of success, and develop them all in harmony for the common good, that is also a form of Yoga. You might even refer to this method as the “Union of Success,” which could be named “Jayati Yoga.”
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