Back in the late ‘70s when I was living at our ashram in Connecticut, Sri Gurudev invited me to be Director of Teacher Training. I gulped and said, “I’ve done a bit of Yoga, Gurudev, but who am I to be Director of Teacher Training?”
“Well, Prahaladan,” he smiled, “you can always teach beginners.”
I come before you today with that credential. If you will put on “beginners mind” (a Zen term), and pretend you don’t know anything about teaching Yoga, I will boldly offer a few ideas to our Integral Yoga Teachers Sangha. We drink from the same fountain of love and wisdom, and we are each blessed to be called to this holy service.
The following lessons are a few things I heard Gurudev say over the years regarding our Hatha practices:
* A little Yoga every day is better than a lot of Yoga once in a while.
* If you don’t have time to do a full Yoga practice, at least do your pranayama.
* If you don’t have time to do all your pranayama, at least do Deegha Swasam, the deep three-part Yoga breath.
* In fact, do that deep breathing several times/day; it will keep you centered and peaceful.
Keep on teaching, even if just to a few people in your living room; it will keep you practicing your Hatha and meditation.
Back in the early ‘70s Gurudev organized a committee of us meeting at the New York Integral Yoga Institute to develop an ashram. One of my jobs was to go to a printer and get buttons made to put on our shirts that read “Let’s Will Yogaville.” As I was leaving, he called me over and said, “Make the letters clear and straight.”
What he said kept coming back to me over the years, becoming deeper: Make my letters clear and straight. Make my words clear and straight. Make my sentences clear and straight. Make everything I say clear and straight. Make my life clear and straight.
Gurudev usually gave a Satsang on Saturday evenings at the ashram. Sometimes one or another of us was invited to speak for a short while before he spoke. I was invited to do so once. The next day as Gurudev drove by my house at the Virginia ashram, he slowed his car. I quickly came over. “I heard your talk last night, Prahaladan,“ he said. “You know the teachings. Now can you live them?”
He wasn’t putting me down; that’s not his way. He was giving me a banner to live by.
That’s the game, sisters and brothers:
Know the teachings. Live the teachings. Be the teachings.