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What Does Yoga Do for You?

    Someone commented to me the other day that he has a neighbor who is a yoga instructor and he said, “she is so mean.”  He said that other neighbors also had the same impression so this was not just an off-day the yoga teacher was having. Mean-ness is not one of the qualities you think of in a yoga practitioner.

     Since having a peaceful mind is the goal of yoga, a person who is agitated, or mean is not very far along the yogic path.  ( - Just like going to a physician who smokes and is grossly overweight is not far along the path of health.) There will always be people at various points along the path teaching yoga.  You have to decide for yourself whether that person would be the right yoga instructor for your needs.  The mean yoga instructor may have valuable information to enhance your alignment for the posture part of yoga practice, but will not be able to teach you the way to a peaceful  mental state. 

     If the yoga teacher is not able to have a peaceful mind then, any advise along the lines of a peaceful mind  would be from general book knowledge, and not through a lived experience.  The teaching from a lived experience is much richer and impactful.  At some point, if you want to advance your yoga practice you will need to find the yoga instructor who can guide you further along the path. That instructor will display those attributes to which you aspire. The yoga teacher will have passed through their own trials and errors to help guide you with the tools of yoga practices.

     The question comes for the teacher and the student, what is your intention for doing yoga?  For many the intention is to use yoga as a form of exercise and only teach about the postures.  This approach misses the underlying intention of yoga (through all its tools of postures, breath, mantra, mental focus, and meditation) as the way to reduce suffering, and mean-ness.


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