By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Are there internal conflicts within instructors who spend their days teaching Yoga? Generally speaking, Yoga teachers are some of the most kind and giving people I have ever met. In local communities, every Yoga instructor can attest to how many times they are asked to give away their services for a community-related cause.
A local hospital, school, nursing home, or homeless shelter may desperately need our teaching services, but the funds may not be available, even in good economic times. Yet, the requests never seem to end; and there are times when it is not humanly possible to fulfill every request.
Selfless service is part of our education in Yoga teacher training courses. It may even be part of a Yoga teacher’s inner being. Working for the benefit of others is called: “Seva;” and as teachers, we have become familiar with the action of it. Seva is not merely a word, but a Yogic principle that each of us has experienced by applying it toward life.
In life, many people are taught to strive to be noble in actions and to maintain high standards of character and ethics. Granted, there are some people who strive to be superior to others. Yet, the ultimate Yogic superiority is to constantly improve one’s character from within.
Therefore, character development is a core principle within all forms of Yoga. If we put others down because of their physical condition, diet, or behavior, what message are we giving others about Yogic principles? The best way to help others is to lead by example. If we represent ourselves as superior to others, then the public perception of Yoga becomes no different than that of a competitive sport.
The best way to make the public aware of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of Yoga practice is to have a flyer or pamphlet prepared, which demonstrates actual cases where people’s lives were improved. Explain the techniques and benefits of Yoga in simple terms.
The point is that some of the complicated explanations about every Yoga technique are completely confusing to people who have never been a part of a formal session. Beside the fact that most teachers need prepared literature, about the benefits of our practice, we should also have a short statement ready for people who are not familiar with Yoga.
One good example would be a family physician, who contacts you about Yoga for his or her patients. How would you explain what Yoga is and what the benefits are in three sentences? It might seem that you need more than a few sentences to describe Yoga and how people can benefit from the practice; however, in the real world, time is short. You may never get a second chance to explain what you do.
© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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