Meena's Musings

The Business of Yoga

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With so many twists, turns and amalgamations, we have come far with the business of Yoga!  Overemphasis on one limb, asanas(body postures), and at the best, confused and superficial application of the other limbs leaves the real purpose of Yoga far behind.

Yes, the real and true practice remains an illusion. And as a teacher, you watch this evolution( not sure that it is?) go on and without getting caught up in the trend try to offer a practice that is authentic and has some promise of spiritual growth.

Why has it become so confusing. The practice and teachings that are some 5000 years old were cognized and channeled by enlightened sages and gurus to provide humanity a way of life without suffering. This was the most purest, unselfish teachings as teachers were not looking to advance their finances or their name. The students sought after the gurus and were only introduced to the practice if they were ready. This was at the discretion of their teacher, of course.

A lot has changed since then. The challenge is how to infuse the truth of Yoga in a most authentic way in the modern life confusion and try to stay true to the teachings. The marketing advantage further distorts this path. Our minds have become accustomed to gravitating towards what looks good, feels good and is fun! That leaves many real teachers without much financial means and savvy hidden. The line between what is real and what is not becomes blurry for the novice practitioners.   The teachers, if they get caught up, risk distorting their teachings by catering to the students; some postures – but make it fun, yoga fashion, a bit of what may sound like spirituality, mood- making, and throw in a bit of Sanskrit for a good measure, and there you have it. At the best, this kind of setting creates a lure, a fascination towards the practice, but without the depth and all the dimensions, the illusion and the chase remains.

Now the question? Do you give your students what they want or what they need?

I do not claim to have all the answers, but am questioning the path that Yoga seems to have taken. The answer is not as clear cut and we may dance around what is possible and come closer to the truth. In order for the teacher to bring clarity to the students, the teacher must first be clear. To be clear means to not join the race of popularity or trendy. One of my teachers said that the purpose of the teacher is to make the students better than the teacher. Herein I find my answer.

Now with Yoga and wine(Seriously?), the time has come to once again go to the roots of this practice. Serving our purpose here with our limited time on this planet has to be the core of these teachings both for students and teachers and that requires some digging into the truth.  The question is: Do you want the truth or the trend?