Approaching a teacher asking to be accepted as student of yoga

Traditionally, when someone is interested in finding a teacher to learn, study and practice yoga and meditation under the guidance of this person (the teacher), one needs to approach the teacher humbly asking to be accepted as a student of yoga under this teacher, serving the teacher without asking/expecting “What am I getting from learning yoga under you?” or “What can you (the teacher) give me in return for offering fees/donations to you to be learning and practicing yoga from you and serving you?”

The teacher will then observe and test this person to see whether this person is fit to be a student of yoga. Once the person is accepted to be a student of yoga, this person will live closely to the teacher for many years, where in the first few years are merely doing some random ‘work/service’ in daily life, such like housekeeping/cooking/gardening/cleaning/washing serving the teacher (very important/efficient initial purification to eliminate worldly habits of egoism and impurities) before being initiated into the practice. There’s high degree of segregation/non-physical contact among the teacher and the student. It’s not like nowadays, most people are looking forward to be touching and hugging as the way to show friendliness, love and care.

The teacher doesn’t advertise/boast about “I am a certified/qualified/experienced/internationally recognized/affiliated yoga teacher” and “What kind of benefits/certification/qualification/result/achievement you will get if you attend my classes/courses learning yoga from me.” but instead, “It’s a hard-work. There will be lots of unpleasantness/pain and hardships/obstacles that you need to deal with by yourself. You have to walk the path alone by yourself. You need to be determined, persevered and vigilant to discipline your own mind until you attain self-realization.” And the students of yoga will be determined to finish their learning under the teacher no matter how much difficulties and obstacles arise during the physical/mental/emotional purification process, while developing discipline and independence in their own practice, as one day, they will have to leave the teacher, or the teacher will leave.

It’s not about to be ‘qualified’ as ‘yoga teachers/masters’, be ‘affiliated’ with ‘yoga alliance’ to be ‘conducting yoga classes’ to teach ‘yoga classes’ or ‘conducting yoga courses’ to be ‘training yoga teachers to teach yoga or conduct yoga classes/yoga courses to other people’. As a ‘yogi’ who knows yoga doesn’t need to be ‘trained’ to be ‘qualified’ to be ‘certified yoga teacher’ and ‘affiliated with’ such and such ‘yoga organization/alliance’ to be ‘recognized/authorized’ to teach yoga to anyone. It’s neither about ‘correct/proper physical alignments’, ‘teaching techniques’, ‘effects/benefits of the yoga practice’, ‘healing’, ‘connecting’, ‘sharing’, ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’.

Nowadays, this tradition is no longer be seen/practiced/appreciated. One of the reason would be the existence of ‘sincere teacher of yoga’ and ‘sincere student of yoga’ is very rare now.

In this modern commercialized world of ‘higher education and higher quality of life with worldly social values and practice’, the ‘yoga teachers’ have to ‘advertise’ or ‘boast’ about their ‘certification/qualification/recognition/affiliation/experiences/achievements’ and ‘to be presenting’ something ‘unique, enjoyable, innovative and attractive’ to attract people to be interested to come to attend the ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ conducted by them, while gratifying the people’s desire of craving and aversion, by giving them what they want/like and don’t give them what they don’t want/like, to make them feel treasured, appreciated, valued, pampered, satisfied and empowered. Both the teacher and the students also want to develop and maintain an inter-dependent ‘connection/relationship’ where the students ceaselessly need to receive attention, love, care, support, acknowledgement, advice or feedback from the teacher, while the teacher wants to ‘be close’ to the students, ‘be there’ for the students, ‘be connecting’ with the students, or ‘be loved/needed/glorified/supported/respected’ by the students.

Because most egoistic impure minds are being conditioned deeply by the worldly thinking behavior pattern, almost all of the ‘yoga enthusiasts’ or the ‘prospect/potential students/clients’ of the ‘yoga school/yoga studio/yoga centre’ will have some kind of ‘request’ or ‘expectation’ towards the ‘yoga school’, ‘yoga studio’, ‘yoga center’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘yoga courses’ or ‘yoga teachers’ to meet up their ‘requests’ and ‘expectation’ in terms of the ‘quality’ of the ‘professional profile/image’, ‘qualification’, ‘certification’, ‘recognition’, ‘affiliation’, ‘organization’, ‘experience’, ‘achievement’, or ‘result orientation’, and above all, “How much and what do I get from paying this amount of ‘fees’/’donation’ to the ‘yoga school’/’yoga studio’/’yoga centre’/’yoga teacher’ for attending the ‘yoga classes’/’yoga courses’.”

Many of the untrained worldly egoistic impure minds will have doubt/insecurity towards their own ‘determination’ being determined by whether they will like/enjoy ‘the teacher’s over-all presentation/image/charm/professionalism/credibility/teaching style’ or ‘the classes’ or ‘the practice’, or not, where they are unsure/unwilling to pay fees in advance which might be ‘non-refundable’ if they want to ‘give up’ when they experience discomfort or difficulty, or when they ‘don’t like/enjoy’ the ‘teacher/classes/practice’, while the truth of the purification process deriving from performing ‘serious/intense/persevered yoga and meditation practice to eliminate ignorance/egoism/impurities/restlessness’ is inevitably ‘unpleasant’ and ‘painful’ physically/mentally/emotionally for all egoistic impure minds. Even before the students come to the ‘yoga school/yoga studio/yoga centre’ to begin learning and practicing yoga under the teacher, the test/obstacle derived from the purification process already started. All kinds of obstacles manifest in the form of physical/mental/emotional discomfort and doubt.

Unfortunately, there are quite many stories of ‘impure yoga teachers’ existing in the world ‘taking advantage’ of the attention/love seeking ‘yoga students’, where people looking forward to be ‘touched’, creating many forms of ‘corruption’, and then there are ‘impure yoga students’ who didn’t get what they like and want from the teachers and they criticized and bitched about the teachers with the intention to hurt/damage the teacher’s reputation, that makes it even harder and more challenging for ‘yoga enthusiasts’ to ‘surrender’ all doubts/insecurity, to be opened to approach a teacher to ask to be accepted as ‘student of yoga’ and to ‘serve’ the teacher without attachment, identification and expectation, to be effectively purifying and eliminating egoism and impurities, to free the mind from restlessness and the veil of ignorance.

There’s neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad. It’s just how things are in this world.

Anyway, ‘sincere teachers of yoga’ and ‘sincere students of yoga’ will meet each other in due time and due cause. There’s no ‘attachment’, ‘identification’ or ‘expectation’ towards each other. The students/practitioners ‘serve’ the teacher humbly for years, surrendering the ego and worldly passionate desire/ambition/thinking/belief/social behavior pattern, and developing self-discipline. After learning/receiving the teachings from the teachers, the students retreat into seclusion and solitude, working diligently and independently towards purifying and silencing the modification of the mind, to perform self-inquiry upon the truth of everything, to attain self-realization and total annihilation of the mind or the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of countless ‘births’ and ‘deaths’ of names and forms (thoughts/feelings/emotions/relationships) arising and passing away, of ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

“You are left alone now.” – Swami Sivananda

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May all be free…

It doesn’t matter if we think we have been practicing yoga and meditation for a long time, or we think we are smart, friendly, caring, good and kind people, it doesn’t determine that we are free from ignorance.

Ignorance leads to corrupt thinking and understanding. Corrupted thinking and understanding strengthens ignorance.

It’s not easy to be free from ignorance and egoism, but be determined, don’t give up, keep practice.

Om shanti.

Keep practice, without intention nor expectation, allow the result to be what it is…

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By being able to perform any physical exercises or yoga asana poses that requires certain skills, stamina, strength and flexibility doesn’t guarantee us to be free from ignorance, unhappiness or suffering, nor will guarantee us unconditional peace and compassion.

Unconditional peace and compassion that derives from realization of the truth and be free from egoism and attachment, is not determined by the conditions and abilities of the physical body to do this or that.

Yoga practice of letting go of the egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, requires great patience, determination, perseverance, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation. Throughout the journey towards the realization of the truth or selflessness, there’s no judgment, comparison nor expectation. Just keep practice, without intention nor expectation, and allow the result or the fruit of our actions / yoga practice / duties and responsibilities to be what it is, as it is.

In the process of practicing any yoga asana poses, in order to be able to come into any of the poses effortlessly without struggle, we need to be patient, be determined, be persevered, be tolerant, be able to forbear any discomforts physically, mentally and emotionally, be able to adjust ourselves to adapt and accommodate the practice under any circumstances, conditions or situations, be able to accept the body and the mind as they are from moment to moment while allowing changes or improvement to be happening naturally as it is, allow the physical body and the mind to develop all the requirements that allow the body to come into the yoga poses effortlessly without struggle, without giving up, without judgment, comparison, expectation nor intention, and allow the result or the fruit of the actions / yoga asana practice to be what it is, to be there as it is.

In the process of performing all these yoga asana practice, it is not about achieving certain results or attaining certain benefits from the practice, nor it’s about to look good and feel good about ourselves (the ego), to boost self-esteem or self-confidence, nor strengthening the egoism, identification and attachment towards the qualities of names and forms, but we should be letting go of the egoism, letting go of identification and attachment towards the impermanent conditions and abilities of the body and the mind, letting go of attachment towards any qualities of names and forms, letting go of attachment towards the egoistic likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion, judgments, comparisons, expectations, intentions, and eventually be free from being disturbed, or affected, or influenced, or determined by the qualities of names and forms, or the result of our actions, and be free from impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt, guilt and regrets, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, fear and worry.

When the mind is free from egoism, attachment, craving, aversion, and impurities, the mind is able to perceive the truth of everything as it is, uncontaminated, uninfluenced, undetermined by impurities that arise due to egoistic reactions towards the perception of names and forms based on what the mind believes what things are, under the influence of incorrect information, thinking, beliefs, judgment, imagination, projection, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion. And this allows us to realize unconditional peace and compassion.

Even if our physical body is in good conditions, being strong and flexible, and is able to perform all the yoga asana poses perfectly and beautifully, but if we don’t know what is letting go of the egoism, identification, attachment, selfish desires, intentions and expectations, craving and aversion, then we will still be affected, disturbed, influenced and determined by impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt, guilt and regrets, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, fear and worry coming from the egoistic reactions towards the objects of the senses (qualities of names and forms) perceived by the mind through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and thinking faculty. The mind is constantly being in a state of restlessness, and have no peace nor be compassionate towards oneself or others.

Om shanti.