be free, be happy, be peaceful

May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Thursday, June 28, 2012

About yoga teachers and teaching yoga...

"Yoga teachers" are those who had found the inner teacher within themselves, and are free from ignorance and restlessness, and are sharing the path of unconditional love and peace with other beings, out of compassion, without egoism of attachment, identification, craving and aversion, and expectation. They don't need to tag themselves as "yoga teachers" or "certified yoga teachers" or "certified yoga teachers with many years of experience" or "yoga teachers who came from which yoga school" or "yoga teachers who learn under which Guru". As all these names and forms and qualities are irrelevant. There is nothing wrong or bad with all these worldly perception of names and forms and qualities for "sharing" the path towards unconditional love and peace, but they mean nothing to those who have gone beyond names and forms and qualities.

The worldly minded need to see or hear all these names and forms and qualities about such and such, about this and that, but all these names and forms and qualities are meaningless on the path towards unconditional love and peace. Even though all beings have different backgrounds or experiences, and have different levels or degrees of ignorance or realization, but the unconditional love and peace in all beings is the same, no differences. It doesn't change, or increase, or decrease, or disappear due to the different degrees of impurities or ignorance. It is unaffected or uncontaminated by actions and inactions in different life experiences. And hence, there is no judgment towards anyone or anything. As even a so called "good person" who did a lot of good actions and didn't do any bad actions, it doesn't guaranteed that this person is in peace and happiness, or is free from ignorance, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, animosity, hurts, offensiveness, defensiveness, fear and worry.

It is about unattached towards what the mind believe as "good" and "bad".

It doesn't mean that we can do a lot of "bad" actions but will be free from the consequences. Some people misunderstood this teaching and take it as an excuse to justify our wrong doings that will hurt ourselves and other beings, and do whatever we feel like doing but being irresponsible for our actions. But what we didn't know is that we did all the "good" or "bad" actions with the identification as the doer and the enjoyer of the actions, and we have selfish intentions coming from the ego with attachment and expectation towards our actions and the result of our actions. "I did this." or "I didn't do that." or "He/she/they did this." or "He/she/they didn't do that."

Whether our intention or expectation to perform or not to perform any "good" or "bad" actions is to attain some sort of good feelings, or excitement, or satisfaction, or pleasant sensations, or to express unhappiness, dissatisfaction, anger, jealousy, disagreement, or due to reactions out of fear and worry, we are still being affected and disturbed by our/other people's actions and inactions, and the result of our/other people's actions and inactions.

That's why even though if we did a lot of good actions, try to be good and do good and try not to do any bad actions, we can still be not peaceful, unhappy and constantly being disturbed by anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, restlessness, fear and worry that arise in our own mind, which has nothing to do with all the qualities of names and forms that we perceive through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind.

We "expect" that, if we do good, we will "receive" something good in return, and we will not "receive" any bad in return. But when this is not happening according to what we think it should be, we will be so disappointed and unhappy. We identified ourselves as "good" people who do good, and being proud and arrogant about ourselves for being good, and we might also expect other people to do good, and if other people don't do good, we'll get unhappy and frustrated, and judge them as "bad" people, and we are "good" people who do good, and we deserve to be here, and those who are "bad", they don't deserve to be here. And so on. Being so unhappy being disturbed by what other people do (bad actions) and don't do (good actions).

Just like in a yoga class while everyone is doing the same exercise but not everyone will be looking the same as everyone has a different body type with different degrees of strength and flexibility and different types of physical limitations. But all these differences of qualities and names and forms cannot determine whether one is peaceful and another one is not. Love and peace is nothing to do with whether we can perform all the yoga exercises in a "perfect body alignment" or not. It is not about if our feet is pointing at certain degrees and angle, and we will be guaranteed peace, or else if our feet is not pointing at that certain degrees and angle, and we will not have peace.

Teaching yoga is sharing the wisdom of yoga with anyone who is looking for unconditional peace, and guiding other beings on how to find the inner teacher within themselves and be free from ignorance and restlessness. If we haven't realized our own inner teacher yet, and have not found peace and are not free from ignorance, then how can we "teach" or "guide" other beings to be free? Even if we have an enlightened Guru sitting in front of us, to teach us or guide us, but it is still our own effort to realize love and peace. If we are reluctant to let go of ignorance, there's nobody can remove ignorance for us, not even an enlightened being can take away another beings suffering or ignorance.

Real yoga teachers don't need the title of "yoga teachers". They don't need to be "trained" to "become" "yoga teachers". They don't need a specific time and space to share and teach yoga. They are naturally "yoga teachers" when they are in peace and they have the "opportunity" to be there guiding other beings towards unconditional love and peace.

Out of compassion, it is a very natural action to share and guide other beings onto the path towards unconditional love and peace.

It is not so much about "I want to be a yoga teacher and I want to teach yoga." or "I want to teach these people and these people will learn from me and will be benefited from my teaching and sharing." and then we go to a yoga school, to learn how to do some yoga poses and some other yoga practice, and learn how to organize a yoga school or to teach a yoga class, and then pass the exam, get one or many recognized certificates, and start teaching yoga or run a yoga school.

There is nothing wrong or bad to have a specific time and space for people to participate in yoga classes performing yoga practice, as the "conditioned" lifestyle in the world nowadays, as well as the "limited" time and space that people have in their working and living conditions, there is a need to have some sort of organized time and space for people to come together to learn and practice yoga. But love and peace is beyond that conditioned and limited time and space of the timing and the hall for performing yoga practice. Yoga practice is happening in our mind wherever we are, at anytime, in any situations and conditions, every moment.

It is not so much like "Oh, it's a one hour class, and it is a "certain style" of yoga, and so, I have to teach this class with these certain practices in such style within an hour." or "Oh, it's the day for "particular" practice, and so, today I perform this "particular" practice." or "Oh, today our intention/Sankalpa is forgiveness, and let's practice forgiveness today."

Beside having a fixed "routine" that we perform everyday to gain maximum result by performing repetitive practice of the same "routine" and to develop continuous and steady mind concentration, to make it into a natural habit for yoga practice regularly, yoga practice is being performed according to the present condition and situation of what the body and mind need in this present moment. It can be very different from moment to moment. If we have nose blocked now, we stop performing heavy asana practice, do some light practice and maybe perform neti kriya to help to ease the nose blocked. And if we are low energy now, we can perform some asana practice that will boost up our energy level. If we are agitated now, we can perform some yoga practice that will calm down our mind and balance the energy field. Maybe in the same class, some people need to do more forward bends, and some people need to do more backward bends, and some need to perform longer relaxation, in that present moment. And all the yoga practice is to develop non-attachment towards the body and mind by letting go of the ego, develop mindfulness, concentration and steadiness, to allow the mind to be quiet to meditate upon the Truth. And this is not limited by specific time and space. It is happening from moment to moment, continuously.

It is also not so much about going to one particular yoga centre and attending one specific type of yoga class, nor it is about going to different yoga centres attending different types of yoga classes, follow whatever the teacher/teachers tell us to do in the class, but it is more about getting to know the practice through our own experience, to know what is going on in this mind and realize the inner teacher within us (The mind is its own highest teacher), and know what we are doing and what we suppose to do, without the need of following instructions from the teacher for us to perform our practice. This requires inner strength and flexibility like self-discipline, patience, perseverance, determination, adjustment, adaptation, acceptance, accommodation, tolerance, cheerfulness, truthfulness, solitude, silence, and etc.

It is not about "I can only practice yoga in a particular yoga centre, in a particular yoga class under the instruction of a particular teacher, or in certain type of comfortable condition and environment, or else I can't practice yoga, or I don't know what should I do by myself."


A real yoga teacher is allowing the students to learn to be their own teacher and stop depending on him or her to practice yoga. This might be contradicted with the policy of many yoga schools and yoga centres as that is part of their source of income, sustaining people to keep coming back for the classes, as well as attracting new people to join the classes and continuing to come regularly. And some might bring up more different types of  new "yoga practice" or "yoga classes" to make more "interesting" courses for attracting more people to "invest" into ongoing refresher courses or further studies. And some like to use the phrase of "There is no ending of learning, and we need to keep learning until our last breath." Well, that nothing wrong with keep learning, but it doesn't mean that there has to be in a classroom with a teacher giving instructions and a group of people follow the instruction of a teacher to do the yoga practice. And if the mind is free from ignorance and suffering, this mind doesn't need to learn anything or practice yoga or meditation.

Teaching yoga is to allow people to come to a point where they can stop "learning" and "practicing", when the mind is free from ignorance and realize unconditional love and peace.

We need to look for peace and happiness (for example, performing yoga practice), because we are not peaceful and are not happy. If we are peaceful and happy, we don't need to do anything to be peaceful and happy (the end of yoga practice). We are peaceful and happy as we are. It is our true nature. It is not coming or accumulating from doing something or not doing something. It is by stop attaching or identifying with the body and mind, which is not "I".

Teaching yoga is the person himself or herself has realized the Truth about unconditional love and peace from within, and be free from ignorance, and naturally he or she knows what and how to share with other beings who are looking for unconditional love and peace, by guiding them on how to realize the inner teacher within themselves that will lead them towards unconditional love and peace. Yoga teachers cannot "give" love and peace to the students, or "make" them peaceful and happy.

Maybe by showing loving kindness to people can "make" them feel good and being loved, but it won't take away their root cause of unhappiness - ignorance. Everyone has to remove ignorance through their own effort and be free from unhappiness that derives from ignorance, and realize the unconditional love and peace within themselves, and be truly happy as they are. When a person is truly happy from within, then whether other people are nice to him/her or not, he/she will still be happy. Because his/her happiness is not coming from the conditional impermanent objects of names and forms from the outside. When a person has not found the happiness from within, even when other people are nice to him/her, even though he/she is "smiling" and "laughing" in front of other people, he/she will still be unhappy, being dissatisfied or disappointed with himself/herself, or with other people, or with life, or with the world, and so on.

Some people might think that only those who have been practicing yoga for some time and they already know about yoga, and are having a strong and flexible physical body to be "good" in performing most of the yoga poses, are qualified to attend yoga teachers training course. But it's not really like that. Anyone who doesn't know anything about yoga, or have never done any yoga practice before, or doesn't have good physical strength and flexibility, can go to a yoga school or ashram and participate in a yoga teachers training course, as the objective is not about trying to become a yoga teacher, but to learn more about yoga and its practice, and devote ourselves into the practice and realize the effects or benefits of the practice through our own effort and realization, and to realize unconditional love and peace from within, and be free from ignorance, and then naturally we'll know how to guide other beings on how to be free form ignorance and realize unconditional love and peace.

We don't "learn" to "become" yoga teachers, or "learn" how to teach yoga, or "learn" how to "become" a "good" yoga teacher. We don't need to call ourselves "yoga teachers", or judging/tagging ourselves as "good" or "bad" yoga teachers. If we still have doubts in our own practice, then obviously we are not ready to "teach" or "guide" others towards liberation from ignorance, but of course we can still teach other people to perform some yoga exercises for attaining health and fitness benefits. If we know what we are doing, then even though we are not "perfect", we can share our knowledge and experience with others, as we are walking on the path of yoga together, learning, practicing and sharing at the same time. At one moment, one might be the teacher of the others, and vice versa. There is no superiority or inferiority.

Everyone and everything is our teacher to teach us about the universal truth of impermanence and selflessness, it's not only human beings in a specific manners and background can be our teachers, nor only things that are in specific conditions can teach us something. But above all, look beyond all these qualities of names and forms, and find the inner teacher (the higher Self) within the mind (the lower self), who is the only one and always there every moment with us, for us, guide us towards unconditional love and peace. When we realize this inner teacher within us, all and everything is our great teacher (including the people and things that we don't agree with and don't like).

It is not about teaching a yoga class according to the guidance and information written or printed in the yoga books, or teaching the class by imitating some other yoga teachers' styles of teaching, but teaching the yoga class with the wisdom that we realized from our own sincere practice, knowing what are the effects of the yoga practice through our own direct experience, and how these yoga practice can help us in realizing the unconditional love and peace that is already there in us. It is not about "Well, according to what the teachers said or what the books told us, and this is the Truth we should all believe in and follow and practice."

If we still need to rely on doing something, or experience something, or possess something, or attain something, or eat something, or drink something, or smoke something, or see something, or hear something, or smell something, or taste something, or feel something, or think about something that we like and agree with, for us to feel good, or to be happy, or to be confident, or to feel meaningful, then know that we still need to keep practice or keep purify the mind to realize the wisdom of unconditional love and peace that is not coming from all these external worldly names and forms with different qualities that our mind likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with.

Teaching yoga and practicing yoga is not about to feel good, or to be happy, or to be confident, or to feel meaningful. It is going beyond the attachment towards the yoga practice with intention and expectation to feel good, to be happy, to be confident and to feel meaningful. The one who needs to feel good, to be happy, to be confident and to feel meaningful, is the ego. And yoga practice is to free the mind from this ego and egoism.

Here is a link to a blog post written by one of the students who is now teaching and sharing yoga with many others - http://yogakee.blogspot.ie/2012/06/becoming-yoga-teacher.html

Om shanti.

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