Teaching the Spiritual Essence of Yoga with Integrity
The heart of yoga is spirituality, best defined as the process of self-awareness, self-discovery, and self-realization. This is what most of our students are seeking, even if they do not consciously realize or express it, and supporting another being on the journey of self-discovery is one of the greatest gifts we can bestow. But how can we teach spirit, depth, and meaning in an authentic and satisfying way?
Recognize that each of your students comes to class with different backgrounds, aims, and expectations.
Remember the difference between religion and spirituality. An atheist may lead a more spiritual and giving life than someone who professes to practice religion.
Above all, use the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle. This is fundamental in teaching essence, and it never fails.
There are many ways that we can learn and convey essence, and these are just a few suggestions. The most important thing is to be authentic with students. Pretence and hypocrisy are obvious to everyone except the hypocrite. Allow the light of yoga to shine through you, and it will be visible to others.
Dr. Swami Shankardev is a yogacharya, medical doctor, psychotherapist, author, and lecturer. He lived and studied with his guru, Swami Satyananda, in India for more than 10 years (1974-1985). He lectures all over the world. To read more of his work or to contact him, go to www.bigshakti.com.
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