yoga instructor certification onlineBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

How do we begin teaching Yoga students about attachment? According to the Buddha, attachment is one of the primary causes of human suffering. Attachment can come in many forms. We can be attached to romantic partners, to a Guru, Yoga teacher, and even to our own internal image of ourselves. The level and depth of our attachment is like an intricate spider’s web. If you pull one stand of the web, other stands will be effected, and may even become strained and pull the web apart.

This is akin to when an individual realizes that his or her personal or professional dream is unlikely to be realized. The deep, underlying attachment and desire to achieve that dream or goal, even if it is very unrealistic, is most likely tied to the person’s internal image of him or herself. As the cherished internal image, dream of the perfect career, spiritual teacher, or romantic partner fades into the distance, depression and despair may rapidly ensue.

By offering your Yoga students some of the timeless wisdom of the Yoga Sutras and other classic spiritual texts during class, you will help to enable them to sail through the shifting tides of their lives with less anguish. This is one of the critical inner practices of Yoga. According to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the antidotes to attachment is generosity. If we pause to contemplate our attachment to objects, goals or other people, it makes common sense that expanding our inner state or bhav through the practice of generosity will ease the bonds of attachment.

However, this is much easier said than done and can be quick tricky in some cases. For example, if you have a student in your class who is a solid intermediate Yoga practitioner and wants to take an advanced teacher training course, you may have to gently persuade your student that he or she needs some more practice before engaging in an advanced training program. This may be quite easy, understandable and come as no surprise to your student. On the other hand, if your student is deeply attached to studying to be an advanced Yoga teacher immediately, this may cause great distress and trigger feelings of unworthiness and incompetency.

In this case, recommending that your student be generous with time, by allowing his or her practice to deepen and expand at a natural pace, will help to alleviate the suffering of being overly attached to signing up for an advanced level Yoga teacher training program, right now! Truly speaking, the root antidote to attachment begins with a sense of ease and generosity towards ourselves as Yoga practitioners in all areas of our lives. Practicing this sense of ease and generosity of spirit with ourselves can help to loosen the bonds of attachment, ease suffering and fill our hearts with joy and unconditional love. With that said, teaching Yoga students may be the most rewarding work of all.

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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