By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Disciplining the human mind has been a documented challenge for centuries. Some people have the perception, that the only method to train the mind, requires intensive study in groups and classrooms. While this is true for children and students, who need to learn the fundamental building blocks of a subject, it is entirely another matter for one who is capable of absorbing new information and knows the basics.
Some will say Yoga is strictly a “hands-on” learning practice. If that is so, then Yoga practice should be just like a personal training session, with a micro-managing teacher, in face-to-face situations – constantly correcting every possible flaw of our practice.
Heaven forbid that any one of us could be capable of reading, viewing, listening, and researching Yoga, while being free from external control. Should we consider Yogic independent study, or a path of self-study? If we are incapable of learning without a teacher present, then we should not practice Yoga at home.
In fact, if this over-handling philosophy were true, Yoga would have ceased to exist after the first generation of Yoga teachers passed away. The reason being: The second generation of teachers would have been completely lost without a guru to show them the answer to everything.
Learning the basics is a fundamental requirement toward mastery of any subject, but making people dependent, stifles creativity and innovation. Yoga is a science, and an art of living, that constantly evolves. There are many forms of Yoga, and all of them are continuing to grow exponentially.
Just within Hatha Yoga, there are many sub-styles, and all of them are constantly growing. If a guru tries to control a Yoga system, by limiting techniques, refusing to modify techniques for needs, strict dogma, and cloning teachers to become parrots, some teachers will eventually abandon the practice and grow independently.
Humans were designed to believe in independence. Religion, politics, philosophy, and language have many varieties. People do not easily accept absolute control over life’s details. It is only natural to expand the mind through independent study, when one has mastered the basics.
Yoga is much like any other subject – we learn the basics in the classroom and apply them to real life situations. Each of us learns different subjects in a variety of classrooms, but the real test is when we apply a technique, and take note of the results.
In the case of Yoga teacher training online: Some web sites have so much free information available, in the form of videos, articles, MP3s, newsletters, forums, and Blogs, that this truly looks like the “Golden Age of Independent Learning.”
© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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