By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga has been shrouded in mysticism for thousands of years. This is not a bad thing, as the goals of Yoga are far beyond the pictures you see on the covers of Yoga magazines today. So, what are the real goals of Yoga?

Should you go into a long speech about Atman (the soul or true self), and the divine cosmic being (Brahman) becoming one? To be honest, I did once see a Yoga teacher go into an “elevator speech” about the union of self and the “Absolute,” but he successfully scared his prospective students away, before their first lesson.

In a nut shell there are many goals of Yoga, but make it simple for people who walk in the door. Just say: “Tranquility” and they will understand. Tranquility is just one word, which thoroughly explains what a student should be able to expect from his or her first Yoga class, and the following classes, as well.

The initial benefits of physically oriented classes are balance, muscle tone, improved circulation, and a sense of well being. These are the most basic benefits of Hatha Yoga practice and they yield a sense of harmony with the world around us.

So, when do you tell them about all the other fantastic benefits? Please let your students “enjoy the ride,” as you did. Just because you can show them the deeper aspects, does not mean it is time to do so. Let them develop a sense of self-observance, bliss, wholeness, and tranquility, without all the dogma.

The Yoga teacher’s mission is to guide students, when they need our help. We can accomplish this by letting them breathe and practice beyond the classroom. This is the only way a student can become self-sufficient. We cannot hover over our students like concerned foster parents, because we would take away their joy of discovering.

Ultimately, the best students will discover the “teacher within them.” When this is accomplished, our students have learned the meaning of “Union.” At this point, the student is seriously dedicated to his or her personal practice. Then, the serious questions will come, because an advanced student of Yoga will experience self-realization and spiritual growth.

If the questions do not come to you, do not worry about it. If a teacher constantly chatters, with free advice, no one will listen, because it is free. Loving parents also make this mistake, because they want to protect their children, but free advice is often ignored. Yoga teachers are no different. Keep your explanations simple and show your students the way, when they are ready.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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