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Saturday, January 13, 2018

It's better not to teach yoga than teaching yoga without correct understanding

Yoga and its practice is neither good nor bad. Teaching yoga is also neither good nor bad.

If people practice yoga with the correct understanding, and if people teach yoga to many more other people with the correct understanding, then yoga appears to be something good. There will be more wise people and less ignorant thinking and behavior in the world.

If people practice yoga without the correct understanding, and if people teach yoga to many more other people without the correct understanding, then yoga appears to be something not so good. There will be stronger ignorance in people with ignorant thinking and behavior in the world.

No doubt that there are many people interested in yoga and love to do yoga practice, and many are also interested in teaching yoga, but it's not necessarily a good thing if the people have no correct understanding.

It's normal and understandable that there are many people who think they love yoga are still very much under the influence of ignorance, they are not free from egoism and attachment towards worldly thinking and belief and behavior.

Many existing yoga teachers are teaching yoga to other people with what they think is yoga, that is influenced a lot by their worldly egoistic nature of social and cultural and spiritual thinking and belief and behavior that is full of passionate love and affection and clinging, desires of craving and aversion, personal and worldly identification, attachment and identification towards qualities of names and forms, attachment towards actions and the fruit of actions, and etc. And hence, they are actually feeding the world with deeper ignorance instead of wisdom, and empowering other people's ignorance and egoism with their own ignorance and egoism.

Many yoga practitioners and yoga teachers mistaken worldly egoistic attachment and clinging of passionate love and affection as compassion.

For example, it's normal for most people to fall in love with other people or animals or things. When someone meets another person who has something in common with mutual feelings of similar interest and liking towards each other, and they want to be friends, stay connected, be interacting with one another, see each other, talk to each other and do some activities together, know that it's nothing to do with compassion. It's just egoistic attachment and clinging of passionate love and affection towards something that the mind feels inclined or attracted to. Compassion is nothing to do with falling in love with people or animals or things.

Compassion is nothing to do with passionate love and affection towards people, animals or things that the mind likes and agrees with, that the minds perceives and recognizes as 'cute', 'pretty', 'beautiful', 'adorable', 'friendly', 'lovely', 'good', 'positive', 'right', 'happiness', or 'meaningfulness'.

Compassion is nothing to do with sympathetic feelings towards people, animals or things that the mind thinks and believes as pitiful and sympathy deserving. Those who have lots of sympathy and affection towards certain people or animals that they like and love are not necessarily compassionate. There are people love and be nice to their friends and pets more than their own parents or children. They would treat their friends and pets like king and queen, but yet, they would neglect or abuse or abandon their parents and children.

People can be very kind and loving towards their own particular community but they would have animosity or ill-will towards other communities. People can be very sympathetic and loving towards someone's suffering, and be very violent and hating towards those whom they think and believe are the ones who are responsible for the suffering of that someone. This is the manifestation of passionate love and affection that based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. This is nothing to do with compassion.

Compassionate minds are free from attachment, identification, clinging, desires of craving and aversion, and are free from impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, regret, guilt, fear, worry, offensiveness, defensiveness, aggressiveness, depression, painful sorrow, grief, vengeance, ill-will and ill-thinking towards all and everything without discrimination of good and bad, superiority and inferiority.

Compassion is equanimity towards 'good' and 'bad' qualities, condition and situation. Free from craving or aversion towards 'good' qualities, condition and situation. Free from aversion or craving towards 'bad' qualities, condition and situation. Actions being performed out of compassion is free from ignorance and egoism and impurities. It's not about "I will be nice to you and you will be nice to me." There's no craving or expectation to be receiving love and kindness or friendship and companionship from other beings.

If one thinks one is full of love and kindness towards 'all beings', including animals, and has lots of love and affection towards particular animal, that one is keeping the animal as pet, receiving the pet animal as a family member, accepting all the good and bad of the pet animal as well as taking full responsibility towards the consequences of keeping a pet animal, showing lots of love and affection towards the pet animal and enduring the potential difficulties that may arise due to the pet animal's imperfect nature and behavior, but one couldn't respect other beings for being different from oneself, one couldn't accept and love all human beings as they are, including those whose one's mind perceives, recognizes, thinks and believes as 'wrong', 'selfish', 'bad' and 'evil', one discriminates towards other people whom one doesn't like and doesn't agree with, and being impatient, frustrated, angry and hating towards certain people's imperfection and the consequences of their imperfect thinking and behavior, having ill-will and ill-thinking towards people who inflict problems and troubles and damages to one's life existence, wishing these people to be punished and suffer for their imperfect thinking and behavior, that one doesn't like and doesn't agree with, but then one doesn't mind at all for all the troubles and problems and damages that the pet animal brings into one's life existence, as one has so much love and affection towards the pet animal to tolerate and accommodate the imperfection of the pet animal, then know that this is not what compassion or loving kindness towards all beings is about.

Most people, including many yoga practitioners and yoga teachers would disagree with this teaching and practice of yoga, and generate intense disgust and aversion towards this very important yoga practice of renouncing all kind of worldly attachment and clinging of passionate love and affection. People will give themselves many reasonable excuses to avoid this teaching and practice. There's nothing wrong with people's such reaction and it's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their life existence and how they want to react and feel about everything.

In yoga, one needs to be able to abandon 'worldly attachment and clinging of passionate love and affection' if one wants to realize unconditional love or compassion. Or else, one couldn't be truly compassionate even one would like to be compassionate, as one ignorantly mistakes 'worldly attachment and clinging of passionate love and affection' as compassion.

Yoga is about dispassion. Dispassion leads to wisdom and compassion. Wisdom and compassion leads to liberation from suffering.

Compassion doesn't bring painful sorrow and suffering, but 'worldly attachment and clinging of passionate love and affection' will lead to painful sorrow and suffering.

In yoga practice, when one is truly and sincerely yearning for liberation, one not just renounces the worldly attachment and clinging of ties and relationships with other human beings and things, and cutting off all kind of social connections, interactions and activities, to retreat into seclusion and solitude to silent the mind, but one also renounces attachment and clinging of passionate love and affection towards all kind of animals, insects or nature.

If one thinks one is practicing yoga of renunciation of seclusion and solitude by staying away from other human beings and worldly connection of social interactions and activities, but one feels so lonely and bored being away from other human beings and social interactions and activities, and wants to keep one or few pet animal in one's life to accompany and entertain oneself so that one doesn't feel so lonely and bored, as well as to feel love and connection with the pet animal, then one isn't practicing yoga at all.

Those who can't bear to see or hear or come in contact with all kind of suffering that exist in the world, and feel very disturbed by one's suffering and other's suffering, and be offended by all kinds of ignorant behaviors that lead to great suffering in oneself and other beings, then know that it's not compassion, but it's mere passionate love and affection.

Not many yoga practitioners are yearning for liberation. They just want to get some good feelings and benefits from doing the yoga practice. And that's their freedom.

Contemplate on this and be free.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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