Teacher Training Essay :: Dez Garbers

So proud to announce that last month Dez opened her own boutique studio
for more information on Dez and her classes visit her website Dezyoga.com
Here’s an interesting essay she wrote as part of her teacher training program

Lessons Learnt Through History 

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was one the forefathers of modern yoga. His yogic journey started at a young age and eventually led him to the cave of one of the few remaining hatha yoga masters, Sri Ramamohan Brahmachari. For 7 years Krishnamacharya studied under his guru memorizing the Yoga Sutras, learning asanas and pranayama, and studying the therapeutic aspects of yoga. When it was time for Krishnamacharya to rejoin society it is said that he had mastered 3,000 asanas and developed some remarkable skills, such as stopping his own pulse. In exchange for the instruction, Brahmachari asked his loyal student to return to his homeland to teach yoga and establish a household. Krishnamacharya returned home, married and began to teach but was stubborn in his belief that only men were suitable to learn this spiritual practice. His words “In difficult times every rule has an exception” came to truth many years later in 1937 when Indra Devi, the “First Lady of Yoga”, went to study with him.

After a year long apprenticeship with Krishnamacharya, Indra Devi began her training to become a yoga teacher. She studied under his instruction for many years before bringing her knowledge to America. Their time together was monumental and pivotal for the growth of yoga. Before him, the practice of yoga was slipping away into the shadows of history but because of Krishnamacharya’s and his  practice of the sutras he could see that his belief needed to evolve to included women in his teachings.

When Krishnamacharya was 98 years old he said, “In the West, women and youth are the future.”  His once rigid perspective now softened with age and experience. What I take from Krishnamacharya’s story is a lesson in his practice of the Yama:  Aparigaha (non-attachment). When he was young he was attached to the idea that women weren’t suitable for yoga. If he had remained firm in his belief and turned Indra Devi away, yoga in the West would probably be very different or may have not have reached us until much later. Now, according to a 2008 Yoga Journal market study, over 72% of people practicing yoga in the West are women!

The Yama: Practice of Aparigraha (non-attachment) can apply to our beliefs, ideas or material things. This practice encourages us to live with an open heart and to not collect things in life that do not serve our purpose. Do not let your ignorance blind your future possibilities and learn to not pass judgement no matter what your past may has taught you. Break the programming and give or ask without expectation.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year was becoming aware and beginning to let go of my attachments. I applied this practice to beliefs instilled when I was a child and expectations that media has brainwashed me to believe. I was attached to the words “should” and “have to” and the expectations that follows these words always led to the disappointment of myself or the loved ones that I attached those statements to. By understanding that those words were programmed into my psyche at a young age, I didn’t attach to any anger for all the disappointment they caused, instead I came to realize that I have grown and those ideas weren’t going to serve me anymore. With practice I get better and better at using Aparigraha in my life. My next act of detachment is to organize my material things and donate everything that no longer serves my purpose.

Yoga is a system designed to liberate and free your soul. The Yamas, Niyamas and Sutras are the instruction guides to a life of contentment. When I’m faced with a challenge I know that I can refer to these guidelines to make a conscience decision. Now whether that choice results in a positive reaction only fate can decide. I am not attached.

Sutra 2:39: “When one becomes dedicated to their self control of greed, one will gain knowledge of their past, present and future.”


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