Want to learn yoga?

A young man who is interested to start learning and practicing yoga has the intention to find a ‘yoga teacher’ to learn about yoga and/or the yoga practice has an opportunity to meet a person who could deliver the teachings and practice of yoga to those who are interested in learning and practicing yoga.

Instead of thinking, “Dear teacher, how can I serve you and what should I do, as I hope you would receive me as your student (to be a student of yoga) and teach me about the teachings and practice of yoga?” this young man asked, “I have been looking for a yoga teacher because I am interested in yoga and want to learn and practice yoga, but first, I need to know what is your level in yoga and what qualifications you have?”

Most probably, many ‘yoga teachers’ would respond with, “I am an advanced and experienced yoga practitioner cum yoga teacher with certain years experience in yoga practice and teaching yoga, and I am a qualified (x) level yoga teacher with many ‘Internationally recognized yoga teacher certifications’ affiliated with such and such ‘yoga alliance’ and ‘yoga association’.” And this is something in common among many ‘yoga enthusiasts’ in the world of yoga.

Does one needs to acquire and possess ‘qualification and certification of peace, kindness, compassion and forgiveness’ to be peaceful, kind and compassionate, to be able to forgive and let go, or to be recognized as a ‘peaceful, kind, compassionate and forgiving being’?

Did any of the ancient buddhas, yogis and gurus had been ‘certified’ by (?) and be ‘qualified’ with one or a few ‘certification’ of Buddhism or Yoga that indicate such and such level in practicing, enlightening and teaching, for being what they are?

Contemplate, reflect, realize.

Certificates for running and attending yoga courses?

Issuing and acquiring ‘Certificates’ for running and attending yoga courses are not yoga practice.

Yoga is nothing to do with ‘certification’, ‘certificate’, ‘yoga alliance’, ‘yoga association’, and so on.

All these names and forms are the products of ignorance, egoism, worldly ideas of identity, values, recognition, acknowledgment, fruit of actions, self/professional image and commercialism.

One doesn’t need certificates to have peace and compassion, or to forbear and forgive, or to love all beings unconditionally, or to show or guide other beings towards peace and compassion.

Having many ‘internationally recognized certifications’ from attending yoga courses affiliated with ‘yoga alliance’, or having all the knowledge/information about different types of yoga practice and knowing how to perform all the different types of yoga practice, doesn’t mean that we are, or will be free from ignorance and egoism and suffering. It doesn’t guarantee that one is peaceful and compassionate, or be able to show or guide other beings towards peace and compassion.

We won’t find certificates in self-realization of the truth.

We won’t find certificates in silence of the mind.

We won’t find certificates in selflessness and liberation from suffering.

Be free.

Yoga teachers and teaching yoga?

“Who can teach yoga?”

“Anybody, who knows what is yoga, who is peaceful and compassionate, who knows about impermanence and selflessness, who knows what is the cause of suffering and how to be free from suffering. It’s not necessarily someone who has been practicing yoga for a long time, who is strong and flexible to do many of the yoga asana poses, or who had attended ‘yoga teachers training course’, and obtained or possessed ‘internationally recognized’ yoga teacher certifications.”

“But, isn’t that all yoga teachers must have recognized yoga teachers certification to be allowed to teach yoga legally?”

“Do you think someone who is free from ignorance and suffering, who is peaceful and compassionate, has to attend some ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to be trained to be a ‘yoga teacher’, to be authorized by some ‘authorities’ and obtains ‘internationally recognized certifications’ sanctioned and approved by some ‘yoga associations’, and be allied to some ‘yoga alliances’, in order to radiate peace and be compassionate, to share the knowledge of yoga and guiding other beings to be free from ignorance and suffering? Is a person not allowed to be kind to other beings because this person hasn’t attended ‘kindness training’ and doesn’t have a recognized ‘certification of kindness’ sanctioned by a ‘kindness association or kindness alliance’?”

“I will not learn yoga from someone who hasn’t been through professional yoga teachers training, who doesn’t have ‘internationally recognized yoga teachers certification’. ‘Yoga teachers’ who don’t have a recognized certification are not allowed to teach yoga classes in many countries. Yoga centres in many countries only employ ‘internationally certified’ yoga teachers.”

“Isn’t that true… It’s your freedom of thinking and freedom of choice then.”

Whether people are well-educated and highly intelligent, or not, many would think that those who teach yoga must go through some forms of professional yoga teachers training to be qualified and certified as ‘yoga teachers’ before they are allowed to teach yoga, and they also think that only those who have been practicing yoga for quite a long time, who are physically strong and flexible to execute many of the yoga asana poses ‘beautifully’, or who have the ‘qualifications of a yoga teacher’, are qualified to attend yoga teachers training courses and be certified as ‘yoga teachers’ to conduct ‘yoga classes’ to teach yoga to other people.

These are the worldly ideas and values derived from conditioned thinking and belief under the influence of ignorance.

There are many ‘internationally certified and affiliated’ yoga teachers or instructors conduct many different types of ‘yoga classes’ everywhere in the world. Most of them teach yoga (asana) classes with different brand names according to the modules, styles and techniques that they learned from one or different types of ‘yoga schools’. Some might even invent their own brands, styles, sequences and techniques of ‘yoga’. Most of them even trademarked or copyrighted their new invention of ‘yoga’ that is adopted, modified and transformed from the traditional yoga practice. It’s normal that many people are confused and uncleared about the tradition of yoga of its practice and purpose.

“People tell me that I could do all the yoga poses easily and beautifully, that I am strong and flexible, and they say I should become a yoga teacher. Should I?”
“What do I need to do in order to become a yoga teacher?”
“Is there a minimum years of yoga practice in order to become a yoga teacher?”
“How many and which yoga asana poses that I need to be able to perform in order to become a yoga teacher and teach yoga?”
“Do I need an internationally recognized yoga teachers certification to teach yoga in this country?”
“Do these yoga schools and yoga teachers affiliated with internationally recognized yoga association and yoga alliance?”
“Do these yoga courses issue internationally recognized certifications approved and sanctioned by internationally recognized yoga association and yoga alliance?”

In the commercial world of ‘education systems’, ‘qualifications’ and ‘certifications’, a person is obliged to obtain and possess some sorts of qualifications and certifications issued and recognized by ‘internationally recognized’ yoga association and yoga alliance to work as a ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga instructor’ to conduct yoga (asana) classes to be teaching safe and result orientated ‘yoga exercise’ to other people. No doubt that those who teach yoga exercise fitness classes are better off being conformed and regulated under certain ‘rules and regulations’ regulated by ‘those who know what they are doing’, so that they have the basic knowledge to provide safe and effective physical training for other people by teaching varieties of ‘yoga (asana) classes’ with different brands,¬†styles, techniques and routines, that have been adopted and modified from the traditional yoga asana practice. But, yoga is not about teaching or participating in yoga asana exercise classes. Yoga poses, or asana practice is just one part of the many yoga practice to help to influence the mind, to render the mind calm and quiet for meditation. It’s not necessarily that people have to perform yoga asana practice to be practicing yoga, or to be peaceful and compassionate.

If people think teaching yoga to other people is about becoming a certified ‘yoga teacher’ by attending internationally recognized ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to attain ‘internationally recognized certification’ issued and sanctioned by internationally recognized ‘yoga association’ and ‘yoga alliance’, or one needs to go through some sorts of professional yoga teachers training to learn how to teach yoga in order to teach yoga, or how many years of yoga practice will qualify someone to be a yoga teacher, or a yoga teacher needs to have certain level of strength and flexibility to perform and demonstrate the yoga asana poses when teaching yoga classes, or teaching yoga is about training the students to push the body beyond its limitations to achieve maximum strength and flexibility, to be able to perform as many yoga asana poses as possible, and to execute the yoga poses in perfect alignment, or a person needs to have recognized certificate(s) to teach yoga, or teaching yoga means teaching different types of yoga asana classes labeled with different levels, brands and styles, then very obviously they don’t know what is yoga, and so, how can they teach yoga, even though they possess ‘internationally recognized’ yoga teachers certifications?

Teaching yoga is not about teaching yoga asana (fitness exercise) classes. It’s nothing to do with becoming a ‘yoga teacher’ by attending yoga teacher training courses to attain internationally recognized certifications or qualifications issued and sanctioned by ‘internationally recognized’ yoga association and yoga alliance, so that one can teach yoga exercise classes adopted from traditional yoga asana practice. It’s dealing with the mind and its modification, the function of the mind, the perception of names and forms (the worldly life existence), the states of the mind, the habits and behavior of the mind, the actions and reactions of the mind, the impurities of the mind, the ignorance and suffering of the mind, and the liberation of the mind.

Yoga practice is about the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities, to free the mind from being conditioned by worldly thinking and beliefs, to realize selflessness and unconditional peace beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms.

Unconditional peace and compassion is not determined by how good a person can execute the yoga poses, or how long a person has been performing the yoga asana practice, or what type of qualification or certification a person has obtained and possessed from attending yoga classes or courses from yoga schools.

Whether a being is liberated from ignorance and suffering, and is peaceful and compassionate, or not, it has nothing to do with ‘yoga associations’, ‘yoga alliance’, ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘yoga courses’, ‘yoga teachers training’, and ‘yoga teachers qualifications and certifications’.

There are some qualities which can determine a yoga aspirant – Viveka, Vairagya, Shat-sampat and Mumukshutva. And all these qualities has nothing to do with being in yoga class, attending yoga class, teaching yoga class, being strong and flexible, performing some yoga poses, yoga schools, yoga association, yoga alliance, yoga teachers training courses, and certifications. Yoga practice is about Vichara, to perform self-inquiry to know the truth of names and forms. One can learn and practice yoga anywhere, anytime. One can teach yoga anywhere, anytime. All the names and forms are teaching us yoga, it’s not limited to a human being who identifies himself/herself as ‘yoga teacher’. Anything and anyone and all our experiences that can teach us about impermanence and selflessness, that allow us to realize compassion and be compassionate, is our yoga teachers. In the end, both the teacher and the student is the mind itself.

The one who is free from ignorance and suffering, who is peaceful, wise and compassionate, doesn’t need to attend any ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to be trained to become a ‘yoga teacher’ to teach yoga. This being doesn’t need to be certified, authorized and approved by ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga associations’, or ‘yoga alliance’ for being peaceful and compassionate, to radiate peace and compassion, and to guide other suffering beings onto the path of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, to also realize unconditional peace and compassion. This being doesn’t need the title of ‘yoga teacher’, or naming the act of sharing the knowledge of unconditional peace and compassion as ‘teaching yoga’. It’s free from egoistic attachments and identifications of ‘I want to teach yoga’, ‘I teach yoga or yoga classes’, ‘I am a yoga teacher’, ‘I am an internationally qualified and certified yoga teacher’, ‘I am qualified and certified to teach yoga’, ‘I am a good and experienced yoga teacher’, or ‘I have been practicing and teaching yoga for xx years.’

The realization of ‘Selflessness’ which leads to unconditional peace and compassion is undetermined by all the worldly impermanent qualities of names and forms. It doesn’t belong to a particular being, species, gender, sexual orientation, age, social status, intellect, personality, behavior, impermanent states of the mind, physical appearance, physical condition, limitation and ability, worldly education and knowledge, worldly commercial ideas, thinking and beliefs, worldly achievements and contributions, personal belief, cultural belief, religious belief, spiritual practice, yoga class, yoga school, yoga association, yoga alliance, or how many years of yoga practice.

If people want to think and believe that they will only learn and practice ‘yoga’ under the guidance of a ‘yoga teacher’ who possesses and advertises ‘internationally recognized’ qualifications and certifications, and those who want to teach ‘yoga’ think that they need to possess ‘internationally recognized’ qualifications and certifications, and be authorized by ‘internationally recognized yoga associations and yoga alliance’ to teach ‘yoga’ to other people, then the ‘yoga’ that they practice and teach will be what they think what it is. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Yoga is not about achieving peace and happiness by having the life or the world to be the way that we like it to be, but, it’s realizing the unconditional peace being undetermined by all the impermanent good and bad qualities of names and forms, pleasant and unpleasant or desirable and undesirable experiences.

Whether a person is practicing yoga, or not, it’s not determined by being content and happy when everything is the way that we desire it to be, but, it is seen whether the mind is able to be peaceful and compassionate under any challenging, difficult, undesirable and discomfortable conditions and situations, being free from all sorts of impurities, ill-will and ill-thinking when everything is not the way that we like it to be

Be free.

Yoga, the teachings, the practice and teaching yoga…

There were some people suggested to us that we should be teaching ‘yoga teachers training course’.

There were some people asked us whether our yoga studio issues any ‘Internationally recognized certification’, if they participated in our yoga retreats and workshops.

There was ‘Yoga Alliance’ wrote to us whether we want to pay them some member fees so that we can put some ‘logos’ on our website and be affiliated and registered with their organization.

I don’t disagree nor criticize anyone or any organization to think and do what they want to think and do.¬† Everyone has the rights and freedom to think and act the way that they want to think and act.

There’s nothing wrong with all these worldly qualities of names and forms.

Most people are conditioned to think in certain ways, to believe in certain ‘commercial’ or ‘worldly’ values and qualities of names and forms. There’s nothing wrong with that. And it’s okay if some people cannot go beyond those conditioned thinking and beliefs, no matter how hard they try to understand what is beyond their thinking and beliefs.

Just that, Yoga and teaching yoga, or self-inquiry and self-realization, or to develop mindfulness, insight, self-awareness and self-control, or the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, or the truth of names and forms, or transcending qualities of names and forms, or the elimination of the egoism, or selflessness, or be free from ignorance and suffering, or the realization of unconditional peace and compassion, or sharing wisdom, love and peace with other beings, or be compassionate towards other beings, or be free from anger and hatred, greed and jealousy, dissatisfaction and disappointment, craving and aversion, fear and worry, really has nothing to do with all these organization, certification and qualification.

It means nothing if a ‘wandering yogi’ hangs a few certificates issued by some yoga schools around his neck, going around with a statement of his personal profile about how many years, months and days he has been practicing yoga, where he has been learning and practicing yoga, who are his Gurus and teachers, what he has achieved from his practice and self-inquiry, since when he has started sharing his wisdom and unconditional love and peace with other beings, how many people have been learning and practicing yoga under his guidance, or what sorts of certifications he will issue to those who practice yoga under his guidance, and etc.

We don’t even display our ‘Internationally recognized yoga teachers training certifications’ anywhere in the yoga studio or at home. We respect everyone for their personal freedom of thinking, speech and actions, and we are really grateful and thankful for all the teachers and the Ashrams to provide us with the opportunity to learn and practice yoga, as well as the ‘Internationally recognized’ certifications. But whether by attaining and displaying these certifications, or not, really doesn’t determine anything about ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’, and it has nothing to do with the teachings of yoga about transcending the body and mind, the modifications of the mind, the worldly existence, all the qualities of names and forms, be free from egoism, ignorance and suffering, realize unconditional love and peace, and rest in ones nature as it is.

We don’t mention about what type of certification or qualification that we have in our website, as it doesn’t determine anything.

If some people are looking for all these qualities of names and forms to find a teacher or a school to learn and practice yoga, then let them be.

If people didn’t find what they are looking for in our website or in our classes, retreats or workshops, and are not interested in what we share, let them be.

May all find their own way, their own path, their own realization.

May all be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Be happy…

I have just found out that an old photo of me has been used as the front cover of a Malaysian yoga magazine in one of their issues in year 2013 without my knowledge.

I don’t mind if any contents or photos that I shared online might be used by anyone for sharing yoga with others, but, just to be clear that I have no interest at all in being associated with any ‘Yoga Alliance’ or ‘Yoga Teachers Association’ whether they are from Malaysia or International organization.

Yoga is beyond qualities of name and form. It’s not about a great and beautiful yoga pose. It cannot be represented by some forms of image or photo. People are mislead about yoga by some images of ‘beautiful’ yoga poses, or images of ‘yogi’, or images of some forms of ritual, or images of doing some forms of yoga practice, or even images of someone in a meditation posture. Yoga poses is only a small part of the yoga practice to help to prepare the mind for meditation. Not being able to do any yoga poses doesn’t mean that one cannot or doesn’t practice yoga. Not being able to put the body in a particular meditation posture doesn’t determine that one is not meditating, or one is not peaceful and compassionate. We neither agree nor disagree with how other people want to promote ‘yoga’. That is their freedom. But we do not associate with what people want to do or don’t do.

Be happy.

“Professional profile” of a yoga teacher or a yoga school?

“How long have you been practicing yoga?”

“How long have you been teaching yoga?”

“Where and whom did you learn yoga from?”

“Who is your yoga teacher or Guru?”

“What type of recognitions, certifications and qualifications do you have?”

“What type of yoga do you practice or teach?”

“What is the level of this yoga course or yoga class?”

“What type of certifications I can get from attending these yoga courses or classes?”

“What type of results or benefits I can get from attending this yoga course or yoga class?”

All these are the common questions coming from most people who want to practice yoga or to teach yoga. But yoga is nothing to do with all these names and forms…

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Normally, when people are looking for a yoga school or yoga teacher to learn about yoga, or to do some yoga exercises, most of us will want to know the “professional profile” of the yoga school or the yoga teacher, to know what are the qualifications, certifications, affiliations, past experiences, achievements, types of courses, classes or services of the yoga school or the yoga teacher.

Same as when a yoga school or a yoga teacher wants to “promote” their classes or services, naturally, they want to have a “professional image”, and to give a “laudable”, “highly recommended”, “reliable”, “professional”, “expertise”, “highly experienced”, “outstanding”, “competent”, “recognized”, “affiliated”, “updated”, “distinctive”, or “beautiful” type of profile to show to the respective “clientele” or yoga enthusiasts who might be interested to take up yoga courses, yoga classes or yoga exercise classes at this yoga school or with this yoga teacher.

There is nothing wrong with this universal worldly idea and practice in the process of getting a “product” and promoting a “product”. Just that, all these “identifications” that identify with certain qualities of names and forms has nothing to do with the practice of yoga and meditation, or the realization of the Truth, or the propagation of Dharma, which is about annihilation of ignorance and egoism, realization of selflessness, fearlessness, oneness, namelessness, formlessness, compassion and wisdom, and transcend suffering, birth and death.

As liberation, or selflessness, or compassion, or realization of the Truth, is undetermined by all these qualities of names and forms that consist of worldly minded business marketing standards, ideas and strategies, qualifications, certifications, affiliations, achievements, past experiences, excellent and extensive services.

All these identifications with qualities of names and forms are irrelevant to what yoga is, or the teachings and practice of yoga, or the realization of yoga, or the beings who learn, practice and realize yoga, or the liberated beings who share the wisdom of yoga with other beings.

Here are some examples of a common profile of most yoga schools and “professional” yoga teachers who provide yoga courses, yoga classes, or yoga exercise classes :-

“Want to teach yoga? Want to be certified as an internationally affiliated and recognized yoga teacher? Come to us, let our professional yoga teachers trainers to train you to be a qualified professional yoga teacher and be certified and recognized internationally”

“Our yoga school is a Yoga Alliance 200 Hour & 500 Hour Registered Yoga School.”

“Our yoga school has been established for how long.”

“I am a Yoga Alliance 200 Hour & 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher.”

“I have been practicing and teaching yoga for how many years.”

“I have been to such and such yoga schools.”

“I had learned and graduated under such and such yoga teachers and gurus.”

“I have attained such and such qualifications and certifications recognized and issued by such and such organizations, or alliances, or affiliations.”

“I am a qualified and certified yoga teacher, I teach such and such types of yoga classes.”

“The type of yoga classes and practice that I teach will give you such and such benefits and results.”

“I am an advance yoga practitioner and yoga teacher, I practice and teach advance yoga.”

“I am experienced, knowledgeable and well-trained yoga teacher. Come to my yoga class. I teach you yoga. I teach you yoga exercises.”

“I have how many years of teaching experiences.”

“I have taught yoga classes in such and such (creditable) yoga schools.”

“I am a good, happy, healthy, experienced, knowledgeable, fit, strong and flexible yogi and yoga teacher.”

And so on…

There is nothing wrong with all these worldly thinking, ideas, qualities and identifications, and most people want or need to see all these qualities to find what they believe is a “good” and “reliable” yoga school or yoga teacher, that will give them what they want after they have paid some fees to be getting something that they are looking for. As well as most yoga schools and yoga teachers also think and believe that they need to have such qualities to convince themselves and the world that they are experienced, qualified, knowledgeable and good enough to give or provide some forms of services, courses or classes to those who pay them some fees for some services or results in return.

But, yoga is nothing to do with all these worldly image or identifications, or worldly ideas of marketing strategies, business exchange of services and achieving results.

All these names and forms have no meanings or values for beings who truly practice yoga and meditation to transcend suffering, egoism, ignorance, names and forms.

Who is being there to identified with all these qualities of names and forms, to acknowledge ourselves and others that “this” is who I am, what I am, what I do, and what I can give you?

Those who had realized selflessness, who have gone beyond the qualities of names and forms, who are free from egoism, and who can guide anybody towards selflessness from their own direct experience and realization, out of compassion, undetermined nor limited by any worldly individuals or organizations to qualified or certified them to be sharing love, peace, compassion and wisdom with anybody, without intention, without identification, without discrimination, without attachment, they are not determined nor limited by any qualities of names and forms, nor will they strengthen the worldly ideas and attachment towards the qualities of names and forms, when the basic teaching and practice of yoga and meditation is to go beyond all these qualities of names and forms, and realize selflessness, namelessness and formlessness.

Those who are suffering, and are determined to be free from suffering, they will either meet the teacher, or the teacher will come to them naturally, when the time is right, to guide them, to show them the way. And the teacher is not necessary in a form of human beings who bear the title of “experienced, qualified and certified yoga teacher”.

Everything else is just a play of some worldly ideas and egoistic desires.

The Truth or Dharma, is always here as it is. It doesn’t belong to anyone or any organizations. It is not limited in yoga schools, yoga courses, yoga classes or yoga teachers. It’s not tradable nor exchangeable. It can’t be sold nor be bought. It is whether we realize it, or not.

Om shanti.