Many people go out of their way to berate and put down the hometown unauthorized, uncertified Ashtanga teacher. How dare they teach without the Jois family blessing? What a sacrilege. I get it. Technically, you are not supposed to teach without the blessing of the Jois family. There are many good reasons for that which I will not go into for this blog. However, Have you seen the authorized/certified teacher list? None of those people live in Nutbush Tennessee,Elba Alabama or Charlotte North Carolina. If you are fortunate enough to have the money, time and babysitters available to travel, that is awesome. However, the average person does not.
This brings us to the old argument that got many people kicked out of Sunday School . Is it possible for a person to be a Christian & know Jesus if they are never exposed to Christianity & can these people get into heaven? I am not saying that Ashtanga is the way to heaven, but if it is, & we all sit around and wait for a certified/authorized teacher to bless us with their presence, most of the world would wind up in the fiery pit.
How are people to learn about Ashtanga and experience its benefits if they don't have access to it? Unauthorized teachers exist because there is a hole. There are areas where people want it and there is no one to teach it. It is not about fame, glory and money. Those who come in it for that quickly drop off because the dedication needed to practice Ashtanga doesn't appeal to the average yoga student. Those teachers who venture out to teach traditional Ashtanga are in it for love.
I am a hometown yogi teaching without the Jois family blessing. Like many, I fell in love with the practice & it changed me. People came to me wanting to know what I was doing different in my life. When I told them Ashtanga,they wanted to learn it so I taught them thus lighting the fire for many. Without the hometown Ashtanga teacher, Ashtanga would not have spread the way it did & many people would never have realized its benefits.
It is always funny to see the Ashtanga snobs come out of their caves when the authorized/certified teachers come into town. What they don't realize is that without the hometown teachers, these people wouldn't be here. There wouldn't be a demand. The hometown teachers created the buzz and lit the candle that drew the workshop attendees to the light. These are the creators and change makers.
But what impact does the Ashtanga snob have on the world? The person who refuses to share their practices or energy with others because of righteousness and superiority? They say they make this choice because they are true to the tradition, but how does their behavior actually help the tradition? There is a quote by Margaret Mead that says,
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
There is also a great quote from the Bible Matthew 18:20,
" For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
There is power in a group. Power for change and power for growth. The tradition stays alive only if their is someone to practice it. The energy of our gurus, vande gurunam charanarvinde, stays in the world through us and our actions. When we gather, they are with us. That is the energy that will change the world and the face of yoga. The hometown yoga teacher is a keeper of tejas, which is the divine light that lights up all hearts & I am thankful to you all.
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