Why teach yoga?

I am in the middle of the torturous phase of rewriting and editing my book, so I thought I would share a sample of what is to come in the weeks ahead. The book is called “Teaching Yoga in an Upside-Down World,” and will cover many aspects of teaching, teachers and those we teach. Here is a brief excerpt:

“Teaching has the power to change peoples’ lives and alleviate suffering. The teacher and student develop a privileged bond, and being a part of an unbroken chain of teachers and students throughout the centuries has been my greatest joy and blessing.

People today are in so much pain. It’s often being expressed in hatred, misogyny, bigotry and racism and a general sense of powerlessness. Of course, we don’t get fascists and bigots in the typical yoga class, but teaching yoga to people of any age, ethnic group and socio-economic class helps them make peace with themselves and others. I am not naïvely suggesting that yoga will resolve all of the massive social challenges we face today, but it can certainly go a long way to helping people find a more solid footing at a time when so many are turning their backs on religion and community support is dwindling.

The generalized suffering that we are exposed to these days is a strong motivator for us as teachers. Teaching an hour of yoga poses will not change the world. But helping people understand the true nature of their being, their mind, and life itself might. Finding a way to support people psychologically as well as physically through your teaching will be the greatest gift you can give your students. This has nothing to do with any New Age feel-good factor and everything to do with empowering people about the choices they make as they go through their lives. Practicing and teaching the ethics and philosophy of yoga brings benefits to you and your students that have the potential to transform your community.

Teaching yoga is challenging in modern times unless you see it as a simple set of postures that you simply show to others. To really transmit the essence of yoga requires a different level of both practice and commitment to the teachings, as well as a context which allows for people to really appreciate what yoga is and can do for their lives. Despite the financial challenges, the constant upgrading and investment in training, despite the sometimes awkward hours and disruption to family and social life, it’s the best job I’ve ever had.

What other job brings such deep satisfaction? With a far higher income and a certain amount of prestige, working in international institutions never gave me the satisfaction I get from leaving the room of people feeling better than when they arrived, more positive about themselves and their lives, and more connected to themselves and the world around them.”

I will send out more details of the book and other upcoming projects in the coming weeks. In the meantime, it is still possible to join us in India for the Align with Purpose retreat if you’re feeling the desire to shake things up a bit in your life. You’ll be joining a wonderful international group of motivated and stimulating people, and Elisabeth and I look forward to sharing this amazing journey with you.

With much love and light as always,