Teaching Hatha Yoga – Faith and Yogic Lifestyle

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Teaching Hatha Yoga – Faith and Yogic Lifestyle

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Do we have faith in Yoga? If we invest time in daily Yoga practice, we have faith in it. Some of us may have moderate, to deep faith, in the universal concepts of Yoga. Yet, if there is any unethical or fanatic behavior, due to faith, that story will make front page news.

What does faith mean to you? To some, it may mean faith in God, faith in our religion, or a steadfast belief in something important to us. Some may say there is a lack of faith in religion or political ideas at this time. I beg to differ.

When you watch the news objectively, faith is apparent in many of today’s political and religious movements. The headlines of newspapers are always covered with tales of fanatics and faith. Most popular newspapers print sensational stories about people, who commit murder and crimes in the name of faith.

Faith can be a wonderful tool for finding one’s self, participating in a great cause, or for finding a cause that is out of control. Who is most vulnerable to be swept up in fanatic movements or cults? Generally speaking, young adults are often at risk, as they struggle to find their place in a hectic world.

Due to the many advancements in Internet technology, anyone can research any subject, without putting himself or herself at risk. Does this show a lack of faith? Maybe, but it also allows an individual the time to mentally and emotionally process ideas, without blindly following extremist dogma or false beliefs.

Imagine if people had taken the time to rationally listen to extremist speakers of the past. Their shallow, intolerant, and racist messages would have been ignored. There is a good chance that some wars would never have taken place.

If we look closely at Yoga, we steadily build our faith in the practice – one day at a time. We see small miracles in health improvement. Yoga teachers witness complete improvements in mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health – every day.

For the young adult students, the Internet has given them the best possible tool to observe styles and to carefully choose a direction. If one has an education, and chooses to listen to senseless dogma, that is his or her prerogative; but the Internet makes it possible to take part in a Yoga class – knowing what to expect. Faith need not be blind if one invests his or her time in research and education.

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