Just yesterday a student of mine was quite agitated about the fact that we caution people not to teach the techniques that they learned on our course to others, unless they have been properly trained to do so. According to him, techniques like pranayama can be taught by anyone, even after a single class. I suggested that it was like a layman attempting a delicate surgical operation just because he had seen it on some TV show, but this analogy cut no ice with him, rather I think it irked him more, poor fellow 🙂
I was a bit surprised that in our own country we seem to undervalue or even trivialize yogic knowledge; or perhaps we don’t allow ourselves to recognize the depth at which it acts. In Hindi colloquialism, this attitude is referred to as “living under a very small sky.”
My argumentative friend contended that if Baba Ramdev can teach pranayama on TV to one and all, then so should everybody else. Perhaps he hadn’t noticed that Babaji teaches only the most rudimentary of breathing techniques, that too in a very easy, generalized format. He never teaches any advanced techniques, as he is well aware that these need careful supervision. Don’t get me wrong, I have met Babaji personally and am all praises for the work he is doing, but I am sure all of us know that beyond a certain basic level, any yogic or spiritual practice mandatorily requires trained supervision.
Practioners from traditions like Iyengar yoga or the Bihar school would no doubt agree, and even go so far as to say that progress must be slow and gradual, even when benefits are almost instantaneous. Even Ayurvedic techniques like nadi pariksha and marma operate on such subtle spiritual principles, and require such intensive training on the part of the practitioner.
While teaching Art of Living programs, my experience has been that every day one realizes how little one really knows about Consciousness, and how miraculously the human system works. Even today, after doing this for fifteen years, my friends and I study, practise and discuss everything from the most basic of knowledge points to the latest medical and scientific advances, to our own evolving spiritual experience. Guruji has constantly guided us and shown us how to maintain the correct attitude towards our craft.
“Daksha” means “one who is skilled in giving” and the very first representation of a spiritual teacher is that of Shiva in the form of Dakshinamurthi, the Adi Guru. Teaching others requires the skill of disseminating knowledge in measured and appropriate doses, with a view to helping the student grow in the best possible way, even when he/she differs from your viewpoint. And to be an Art of Living teacher, in my book, requires just one thing — a commitment to being happy, come what may. Go figure 🙂
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device