The Purpose of Yoga: Character

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The Purpose of Yoga: Character

yoga teacherBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga classes, of any style, require persistence and fortitude. Many students try a class, but they do not stay long enough to learn that Yogic methodology is deep, and can be very rewarding, beyond the physical level. Many Yoga instructors have been teaching so long that they forget to mention the character building components of Yoga training.

Good character is a “skill set,” which a student can carry around for life. Unfortunately, aging is a major factor in our physical appearance and we do not always maintain complete control of each health situation, through out the course of our lives. If that were possible, we could “cheat death.”  The character building components you should be learning from your Yoga teacher are the foundation of good health. If we cannot sleep well at night because of guilt, hate, envy, or greed, this will have an adverse, and possibly a long-term, effect on our physical health.

It is obvious that our mental, spiritual, and emotional health will be improved by good character, but it can also be said that our physical health will be improved? How can this be? Feelings of fun, gratification, kindness, happiness, and forgiveness, are just plain healthy. The opposite feelings will cut our life spans short.

The building blocks of good character are integrity, patience, tolerance, respect, and compassion. If your Yoga teacher does not have these qualities, you should consider finding one who does. Why would any of us want to waste our precious time with a cruel, sarcastic, arrogant, greedy, and impatient, Yoga instructor?

If we feel the need to be around a powerful negative influence, we are on the short path of self-destruction. Some of us are magnetized to negative energy. A compulsive need to be around dominating and negative personalities is counter productive to improving our lives.  Psychological counseling and therapy can steer us in the proper direction, before it is too late. If, for some reason, it is not possible to receive professional help, we must still get direction from a trusted friend, or relative, who is of noble character.

Integrity, patience, tolerance, respect, and compassion, are more than “hollow” keywords or sales slogans to building your character. To have control of any one of them is a major feat. Each character-building aspect is an avenue toward our higher purpose in this life. All of them contain gratification and rewards. The most obvious reward is that you will influence others toward a better life.

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