The typical 200-hour Yoga instructor certification course contains ten hours of ethics discussions, but how many adults really need to hear it? Apparently, anyone who is in a position of authority must be reminded of guidelines for proper conduct.
In any academic atmosphere, the student / teacher relationship must be reinforced with courtesy, respect, and dignity. This behavior should be mutual, but Yoga teachers should clearly understand that the integrity of a student is not to be compromised, at any time, in the relationship.
With this said, all Yoga teachers are expected to be living examples of a healthy lifestyle. Yogic philosophy guides students toward a happy, healthy, tranquil, and wholesome lifestyle. This can only happen if an intern is mentally prepared during the Teacher Training process.
Just because ethics violations occur in other fields, it is not a sufficient reason to “let your guard down.” During the course of your teaching experience, you may experience the temptation to compromise the student / teacher relationship. If this is the case, you must refrain from teaching that particular student, or give up the teaching position.
If you are married, you should know better. If you are single and have romantic feelings for a student, he or she should study with another teacher. At that point, there is nothing wrong with romantic feelings, if you are both consenting adults.
The reason for all of the precautions is simple. Yoga teachers are not to abuse their authority within the classroom or outside of it. Yoga teachers, who break ethical guidelines, risk permanent dismissal, with no chance of re-instatement, depending upon the severity of the infraction.
Therefore, be certain to touch students for Asana assistance and education, only. Any self-respecting organization should have ethical guidelines, so there is no excuse for teachers who know better and violate them.
In regard to discrimination and intolerance: This goes against the very foundation of Yogic principles. There is no excuse for discrimination of gender, age, race, religion, color, nationality, disability, or sexual preference.
In regard to vices: Moderate behavior is expected of Yoga teachers. If you are a living example of a healthy lifestyle, moderation in all forms of behavior, is an expected part of your teaching practice. In fact, when a person is abusing himself or herself – counseling and rehabilitation should be a priority.
Any organization, involved in the certification of Yoga instructors, should never condone addictions, or self-abuse, which are counter-productive to the path of holistic health.
© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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