By Paul Jerard

Yoga teachers should have good working knowledge of Yoga posture alignment and know how to assist a Yoga student who is holding an asana. When you are about to give an assist – ask for permission first; as this might be considered an invasion of privacy by some of your Yoga students. Yoga teachers should not take for granted that all students want a physical assist and respect their space.

Yogic philosophy: Yamas and Niyamas are the ethical principles of Yoga. Most of us read Patanjali’s guidelines from the Yoga Sutras. If you want to become a Yoga teacher, you should get your own copy of the Yoga Sutras. The Yamas contain the following five self restraints.

Ahimsa: A Yoga teacher should be a living example of how to avoid violence, harming, and especially killing. This principle can be carried further, as you should avoid purposely injuring yourself in any way. To avoid harming animals could also be included within this principle of Yoga. It is one more reason to consider vegetarianism or, at least, to cut back on meat consumption.

Satya: To be true and honest in every way. This is a very simplistic principle and includes avoiding deception of any kind, shape, or form. However, the truth can sometimes hurt people deeply, so you must use your best judgment when you want to avoid harming someone, but do not lie.

Asteya: This is to avoid stealing in any way. This is a simple principle, but throughout history, laws were sometimes modified to justify stealing. The problem is desire of something to the point of jealousy, and finally: Out right theft. The elimination of the Cathars, Africans, and American Indians are just three examples of people who suffered from modified laws that took away their land.

Brahmacharya: To be free from sensual imprisonment and to live in moderation. At first we might think of lust and correct this by seeing another person as more than a sexual object. However, with global obesity on the rise, in the industrial countries, the lust that may kill most of us is over consumption or food.

Therefore, we should strive to be moderate in eating, drinking, sex, Internet use, consumerism, computer games, television, and our behavior. With that said, the use of any illegal drugs is very far from moderate or responsible behavior.

Aparigraha: To be free from greed, wanting, hoarding, and to avoid being selfish. This is one more good reason to give to charity and help those in need.

Yoga teachers should not only know these principles, but should live by them.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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