The Purpose of Yoga: The Components of Good Character

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The Purpose of Yoga: The Components of Good Character

yoga teacherBy Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Kids Yoga programs, and kids Yoga classes, work on many aspects of Yoga; but the most important aspects are those that build character. These aspects are integrity, patience, tolerance, respect, and compassion. The importance of all of these character-building aspects should be mentioned by your Yoga teacher. As the saying goes, “You lead by example.”

Integrity is complete honesty. To be completely ethical in behavior, traditions, and relationships, has never been the “easy road” to follow. To hold your tongue, when tempted to engage in gossip, is a genuine display of good character.

Patience is a virtue.” This saying will be around as long as humans walk the earth. If you display impatience, almost everyone who is present will remember it. You could have been patient for ten years, but one eruption of impatience is what most people will remember.

However, the importance of patience is to think clearly during stressful times. To willingly wait, without showing anger, requires a trained or good-natured personality. Yet, patience can be a life saver in a critical situation. If you are performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), there is a specific sequence of events, which must take place, to save a person’s life. The person on the ground cannot afford for you to be impatient.

Tolerance is a difficult quality to achieve. To be tolerant of age, religion, race, gender, ethnic origin, color, gender, or any reason, which makes someone different, is a work in progress. It is surprising how many people in leadership roles display intolerance, but that does not make it right.

Respect is in short supply sometimes. Common sense is integrated with respect, but the obvious eludes some of us. How often have you heard a cell phone go off in a Yoga class? This happens, despite the fact that there are signs, which tell people to turn their cell phones off.

When cell phones ring off at funerals, and a person answers it casually, you have to wonder what has happened to etiquette and respect. Technology is not an excuse to be disrespectful. Children need to learn social skills, by socializing with each other, instead of playing video games for five hours per night.

Compassion is helping those who suffer. To take the time to understand someone else’s bad situation, in an empathic sense, is a noble quality. Compassion is also directly related to mercy, which requires ethics, higher thought, and a deep moral sense.

Side Notes for Yoga Teachers

Development of good character is a constant work in progress.  If you want to see how people will act with no rules, do not bother to establish them in your classes.  You will also notice a massive exodus as your students leave you with the worst behaved students.  People complain about rules, but observe what happens if traffic lights are out for five minutes.  A Yoga teacher compassionately guides a class with structure and purpose, while the entire class demonstrates good character.

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