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

Monday, December 5, 2016

How yoga is being perceived in the world as one type of physical health and fitness exercise

Some people asked us if we teach TTC (Yoga Teachers Training Course). No, we don't.

Anyone who has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace through self-realization, who knows the path to free the mind from suffering that derived from ignorance and egoism (attachment, identification, worldly desires, craving and aversion), not necessarily that one has to be a yoga practitioner and disregards how long one has been practicing yoga, one can share the knowledge of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with anyone, without the necessity of becoming a 'yoga teacher' to 'teach yoga classes'. One doesn't need to attend TTC to be trained to become 'qualified yoga teacher' to 'teach yoga classes' to share the realization of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with other beings. One doesn't need 'approval', or 'authorization', or 'qualification', or 'certification', or 'affiliation', or 'graduation from TTC with excellent results' to share the knowledge of unconditional love, peace and fearlessness through self-realization with other beings who are in search for liberation from ignorance and suffering.

Attending TTC and graduating with excellent results from TTC doesn't determine that one is, or will be free from ignorance and egoism. Teaching yoga is nothing to do with 'professionalism', or 'teacher training', or 'certification', which is part of the worldly ideas born out of egoism.

TTC are a platform or medium for anyone, including those who have never done any yoga practice before but who have the interest to know about yoga, to be open-minded and be humble to learn about the teachings of yoga, and begin their self-practice with self-discipline to purify the mind to free the mind from egoism and ignorance. Once the mind is purified and has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace, one can share the knowledge of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with other beings without intention, without identification, without attachment.

Meanwhile many of the 'professional TTC allied with yoga alliance' are about being a platform or medium for people who think they know a lot about yoga and that they are good enough or ready to become 'yoga teachers', and they think they need to attend 'internationally recognized TTC allied with yoga alliance' to be trained 'how to teach/conduct professional, safe, effective, creative, fun and motivative yoga asana exercise classes' to acquire some kind of 'internationally recognized certification allied with yoga alliance' so that they can find a job called 'yoga teacher/instructor' to teach/conduct 'yoga asana exercise classes' in yoga centre or fitness centre or community centre, and lots of these TTC exist to cater to their 'needs' to provide the appropriate 'training' and 'certification' that they are looking for.

These 'professional' TTC also teach about the teachings or philosophy of yoga but emphasize mainly on training the people about how to teach/conduct a 'yoga asana exercise classes', about how to give instructions, how to perform the yoga poses, what to do or what not to do, what are the benefits of the different yoga poses, the breathing exercises, the relaxation and the other practices, how to make physical adjustments, what are the 'correct alignment', general knowledge to share in the class (about diet, lifestyle, positive thinking, anatomy, physiology, health and fitness, stories telling, philosophy, and etc), how to interact, what is a 'good teaching technique', or a 'good practice', or a 'good class', how to make the students or clients happy and satisfied, how to 'touch' people's heart, and etc. It is a great contradiction because during the philosophy class they teach/talk about "perform all your actions without attachment and identification, renounce the fruit of actions and allowing the fruit of actions to be there as it is" but then in the 'yoga asana classes' is about feeding the egoism of both the teachers and the students - empowering the identification and attachment towards the action and the result of the action. Such like, "I am a good yoga teacher who teach/conduct good yoga classes" and "I am a good yoga student/practitioner who performs the yoga poses nicely and achieves good results/improvement from the practice"

Love and peace has nothing to do with how a person look or feel while being in particular yoga poses, or what is the physical condition, ability and limitation, or what type and how much benefits coming from the yoga practice. People don't have to put their bodies in any particular yoga poses to be kind and compassionate, or to be peaceful. The impermanent physical condition, ability and limitation doesn't determine a being would be free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and suffering, and be compassionate and peaceful, or not.

If one truly knows what is yoga or has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace, one doesn't need to attend TTC to learn how to conduct 'yoga classes' to attain 'certification' to be 'authorized' to become 'professional internationally certified yoga teacher' to be teaching or passing the knowledge of yoga to other beings, or to be compassionate towards oneself and all beings.

No doubt that there are 'TTC graduates' who realize yoga through the practice of silence, self-inquiry, dispassion and right discrimination, and they may or may not be teaching 'yoga classes'.

The attachment towards the performance/results/effects/benefits of the yoga practice, and the emphasis on the technical/professional teaching instructions about "the correct body alignment of each yoga pose", or "how a yoga pose/position should look like", and the 'positive' encouraging words, cheering and hand clapping to congratulate or give encouragement, such like 'Well done!', 'You can do it!', 'You did it!', 'That's very good!', 'You're amazing!', 'Awesome!', 'Feel strong!', 'Be strong!', 'Let's boost your confidence and self-esteem!', 'Yoga strengthens your body and mind', 'Yoga elevates your mind!', 'Yoga makes you feel great!', 'You should be proud of yourself!', 'I am so proud of you!', and etc, as the core structure or important qualities of the 'yoga exercise classes' are indeed feeding the egoism (attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation).

But there is nothing wrong with all these TTC producing 'internationally certified yoga teachers' teaching 'yoga asana exercise classes' because most people who want to attend yoga classes are only interested in doing something that will make them feel good and look good, or give them the benefits/effects/results that they want. Being conditioned by worldly ideas, people evaluate a 'yoga teacher' based on their 'qualification' and 'certification', their 'professionalism', their 'ability' to give a 'good yoga exercise class' that can make them look good and feel good physically and mentally, or their up-to-date tips/general knowledge on the latest styles and techniques and about health and fitness. Many people are not interested in the practice of silence, quieting the mind, self-inquiry, dispassion and self-discipline to be free from ignorance and egoism, mainly it's because people don't think their minds are influenced by ignorance, they don't think they need to free the mind from egoism, as they love their ego of who they think they are. They don't see what's wrong with egoism. They enjoy being passionate about worldly life and social activities, and spend most of their effort on gratifying all their desires, and do what will make them feel good and happy as the meanings of life.

All these TTC graduates are 'good people' who have 'good intention' and hope to 'be qualified' to share yoga with other people, and it makes them feel meaningful and happy when their students look good and feel good about themselves after taking yoga exercise class with them. There's nothing 'wrong' with that.

It's like many children don't like to eat healthy food, the parents or care-taker might give them something that they like in return, such like desserts, to persuade them to eat the healthy food that they don't like to eat. And the parents feel happy seeing their children eating the healthy food and enjoying the desserts afterwards. So everyone is happy. That sounds very 'good'. Eventually, some of the children might start to realize why it is important to eat the healthy food, and even without any desserts in return, they will eat the healthy food out of their own choice. But very few children will have the self-realization, and in the end, they are addicted to the desserts, and they won't be happy unless they have their desserts. Just like people won't do something that is good for them or other people unless they will get something that they like and want in return. This is not yoga.

Imagine when a great 'yogi' who has attained self-realization and is compassionate comes to the yoga centre and offer himself to share the knowledge of yoga to whoever are interested in learning and practice yoga, and the yoga centre staff ask him, "Do you have internationally recognized either 200 hours or 500 hours yoga teacher certification allied with yoga alliance?" The yogi tells them, "No." And they tell him, "Sorry, we only employ 'qualified' professional yoga teacher with internationally recognized yoga teacher certification allied with yoga alliance to conduct yoga classes here."

Everyone has the freedom to choose what they want to do with their life, their bodies and minds. If people are contented with living a restless passionate worldly life full of attachments and identifications, and are okay with being the slave of their desires of cravings and aversions, and enjoying doing some yoga exercise regularly that will make them look good and feel good, that's their freedom.

Be free.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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