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To Share, To Teach: Who is authorized to Teach Yoga Practice

Nichole2010-07-04 18:18:28 +0000 #1
At the 2007 Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park, Colorado, there was a evening panel discussion entitled, To Choose or Not To Choose. The choice that was being referred to in the title, as well as the intended topic of the panel, was between lineages or of styles of yogasana practice. The discussion organically shifted to who and what authorizes one to teach the practices of Yoga. It was really something to be part of and I was glad to see that Yoga Journal offers the mp3 of their part panel discussions on their website.

Here is the mp3: of this panel, which included a deep and resonate comment from master teacher, Mukunda Stiles, who added to the discussion after it was opened to the larger group.

Something else that I appreciated very much from this panel was something Gary Kraftsow shared from a conversation that he had had with Sita Rimpoche over 20 years ago; he said that after nearly 15 years into his study of Yoga and the Yoga Sutras, that he had some concern about teaching from them. That he sometimes still felt like "a journalist" when teaching from them because of the sublime and deep teachings that were found there. That many times, he had not been there himself, but he had an idea of it--as in some of the Buddhist text, "Thus I have heard." To this, Sita Rimpoche, shared with him: teach what you know and share the rest; but don't pretend to teach what you do not know.

I breathed this in deeply and let this settle deep into my bones. Like Kraftsow on Sita Rimpoche's insight, there is Yoga that I teach, and there Yoga that I share. I move between student and teacher always and in all things.

I wanted to share this mp3, but I also hoped to spark a discussion of our own here at on the teaching Yoga and the sharing Yoga. On being in integrity in yourself, in relationship to all other beings and out in the world in what you are sharing and what you are teaching.

I am curious: who do you feel is authorized to teach Yoga practices? And why?

What other questions should we be asking ourselves as part of this discussion?

Highest respect,

InnerAthlete2010-07-04 18:30:06 +0000 #2
It hardly matters who I think should be "authorized" to teach yoga practice. It is apparent from application that the answer is "anyone", or perhaps "everyone".

Here's the link: to the multimedia page on YJ so that you might find and download those things of interest.
Nichole2010-07-04 18:36:34 +0000 #3
Thanks IA.
Pandara2010-07-04 19:24:13 +0000 #4
Namaste Nichole,

Years ago when I was searching for a yoga teacher I went to a few different teachers and schools of yoga. The one thing I knew and which I decided beforehand was that I don't just want a yoga teacher (refering here to the teaching of the physical asanas only), I wanted more. So after about three teachers who were each excellent at teaching yoga asana and some of the philosophies and teachings of yoga, I landed with my teacher Sri Durga Devi.

The BIG difference between her and the others was one thing: she shared. She shared her wisdom and insight and awareness through her teachings and I immediately knew this is it, this is what I want and need. Anybody (one) can teach the theory, can teach yoga asana, but can they impart (share) it with wisdom, with insight and awareness?

I think individuals seek different things, some seek just yoga asana, another seeks different styles of yoga, another different linages etc, it doesn't really matter, it will always be right as that individual will be in the right place there and then.

Sri Durga always taught me to go within, teach, share, impart from the heart she told me. Once she said: "Willie, you are a Christian and as such connected to the heart chakra this is where you will get your wisdom from in this incarnation, share from here (she pointed to the heart centre) and it will always be right." In hindsight, teaching yoga myself now, this is so true for me.



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