Teaching Yoga and Practicing Kshama

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Teaching Yoga and Practicing Kshama

yoga training for certificationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What is Kshama? The meaning of the Sanskrit word “kshama” is forgiveness, forbearance, patience, or pardon. In Yoga, and in life, there is much “empty talk” about the values of kshama. The lack of conviction, concerning these values, stems from our previous lessons in life.

As we age, we usually become more patient, but we may be tainted by life experiences. One reason may be the constant absorption of unpleasant events. Every crime and scandal is instantly broadcasted around the world – thanks to modern technology. The burden of absorbing unpleasant events takes its toll on the young people of today.

Young people, who consistently absorb messages of sad events, tend to become somewhat narrow-minded in their viewpoints. These same qualities can be observed in adults who cannot forgive. During the course of life, we learn that none of us is perfect, but anger and jealousy will destroy us from within.

How can a Yoga practitioner learn to practice kshama? One can learn about the concept of kshama, but to practice it daily is a voluntary task on the Yogic path. One point to remember is that forgiveness “starts at home.” To begin, you must accept yourself, family members, friends, and co-workers for being human.

Kshama may seem simple, but how many people make a sincere effort to put forbearance into practice? Almost everyone wants someone else to forgive, or make the first move, toward reconciliation. Practicing kshama is accepting each person as unique, regardless of their differences in comparison to us.

Every philosophy, government, political belief, and religion has an extremist wing. In addition to this fact, people can be steered toward anger. Yet, we know the path of tolerance and moderation, in all matters, is the logical choice. It is only human to be swept up by dogma, but the path of tolerance has kept humanity intact up to this point.

Why should Yoga teachers point out the values of kshama? If you listen to the daily news, on any given day, people need to be reminded about forgiveness and reconciliation. To accept the path of moderation is freedom from the burdens of hate, anger, and jealousy.

To accept extremist viewpoints is to create your own prison of hate. Do we want our life’s work to be remembered for what we created, or what we destroyed? Forgiveness is humanity’s legacy, while intolerance has been our curse. Kshama is contagious – share it with others and it will proliferate. Sharing kshama with others is a mission for Yoga practitioners and humankind.

© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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