By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
The masses are often impressed by extremes. When people think of Yogic methodology, they often think of circus tricks, jumping on your students while they are in Ustrasana, pretzel bodies, and gymnastic feats. Feats of physical prowess are a wonderful thing, but you do not need a Yoga teacher’s instruction or a sage’s advice to perform them. When I was visiting a colleague’s studio, a young woman signed up for a free introductory Yoga class, and a free Tai Chi class. Before the Yoga class started, she was walking on her hands, touching her heels to the back of her head, and doing full splits in every possible direction. She also put on the same performance before her Tai Chi class.
Needless to say, she did not sign up for either class. About Yoga: She claimed that one class was all she needed. She had “been there and done that.” She was bored by Yogic philosophy, pranayama, and meditation. She had “mastered” every Yogic practice in one beginner class. My Grandfather used to say, “You can’t reason with a horse’s tail.” So, there was no point in reasoning with someone, who already has all of the answers to life’s many mysteries. In my life, my Grandfather was to be the first of many sage’s for me to learn from. He did not know much about Yoga, but he knew a lot about common sense, philosophy, and how to apply them to every day life.
The value of a sage cannot be under estimated. Unfortunately, the daily news shows us that wisdom and common sense have been taking a “vacation” for a while. In Yoga, a sage does not need a light show, fireworks, smoke, explosions, or special effects to capture the imagination of his or her students. In Yogic philosophy, we look to the sages of the past, and present, through the written or spoken word. The sage is a Yoga instructor who can capture your imagination and guide students without any special effects. Maharishi Patanjali might be the first sage that comes to your mind, when thinking about the sages of the past, but there were great teachers before and after him.
So, where do you find a sage? You could possibly find one in Yoga teacher training, but please remember that a sage is usually a mentor of spiritual and philosophical subjects, who is a source of profound and innovative wisdom. This does not mean he or she has to be a Yoga instructor, but this is someone you can constantly learn from. If you need a note book to keep up with all of the wisdom you hear from your mentor, then you have found a genuine sage. The true sage has been where we desire to go and is capable of teaching all of us.
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