When I’ve started yoga, and even before that, I used to think that yoga practicioners were super open minded, generous, honest and happy people who were smiling 24/7 because they were probably enlightened or something like that.
Very quickly I found the smile of one of my teacher a little bit suspicious, too wide, to “teethy” (does that word even exist?), too… fake? Was that even possible? I mean yoginis are supposedly close to nirvana, they must be happy all the time! Well at least that’s what I thought.
And then I took my teacher training after 4/5 years of regular practice, and I started to hear some stuff about yoga teachers (male mostly but probably female as well) who were kind of using their yoga teacher position to take advantage of cute students, and date them (and that’s a nice version of what some of them are probably doing…), and we had this class about the “does and dont” for a teacher… I was surprised because, naive as I was I used to think that yoga would make you an ethical person. Well it’s not.
Just make your research and you will be amazed by the stories you’ll hear. Let’s take Bikram example: he was a world known teacher who came up with the idea (a good one) of doing yoga in a room heated at 40°c. There are numerous yoga studios in the world who teaches his method. Well the guy has no less than 6 lawsuits for sexual harassment and even rape! It’s safe to say that we are far from Nirvana here….
There is the Osho case as well. A lot of yoga teacher are still quoting him, but he was very controversial, some people used to call him the sex guru, and some members of his community tried to poison at least 750 people in Oregon. The guy was arrested in the USA for violation of immigration laws, he was carrying some jewelry and some weapons.. A very yogic attitude!
Without talking about those extrem cases, when I look around I see war between yoga studios, some would call that competition, but how can you tell your students that there is no such thing as competition in yoga and having a “wall street attitude” towards the other studios, or teachers? It sounds wrong. I see people who wake up one morning deciding they are going to teach yoga without taking some trainings of any kind, thinking that their “infinite” knowledge is enough. I’ve heard teachers trashing each other, and I’ve seen teachers stealing slots to other teachers (not very asteya…)
And I could go on and on and on….
No the yoga world is definitely not as peaceful as you think it would be. It’s the reflection of our society, and let’s face it our society is far from being a pretty one. But what matters is YOU. You can make a difference in that jungle, when you step off the mat you can carry with you all those beautiful sentences your teacher told you and try to apply them to your life, even though your teacher might not. You could be an ethical yogini, it takes one person to change the world.