Yoga schools and language
I want to practice yoga and I like your approach to yoga. But I do not like your curators and teachers, especially the ones who give yoga lessons. What should I do? Can you replace them with other ones?
We appreciate that you share our point of view on yoga but there is no option for students to select their teachers at the present moment. But the same time the role of the curators and teachers and your interpersonal relations are playing the key role in our studying process. And the problems in interpersonal relations will seriously slow down your studying process. Therefore, it would be more reasonable for you to find another yoga school with the same approach like ours and with the teachers you trust.
I have studied your point of view on yoga. But as I have already studied and seen many things, I going to study at your school only if you will prove the following things. Firstly, that yoga teaching is better and higher than all other doctrines or teachings which I have studied before. Secondly, that your yoga school is the best in comparison with other yoga schools. What answer can you give to me?
Firstly, we would like to congratulate you with serious intention to study yoga. It really can become the crucial moment in your world perception. But at the same time we have to disappoint you. We do not know where you were studying, who your teachers were, and how seriously your attitude towards your studies was. We do not have any moral rights and capabilities to evaluate those philosophy and religious doctrines which you have studied before. Yoga does not claim to be the Universal Judge of all doctrines and traditions. Yoga is the system of self-exploration but is not the assessment system of human spirit and intellectual activities. Certainly, we may know something about other doctrines but we cannot prove something to somebody.
In regard to other yoga schools, we treat them with high respect. We do not have any wishes, even in our thoughts, to introduce them in negative light. We consider that yoga teachers or instructors who follows the First and Second Yoga principle should be built a monument for their hard and thankless work. Therefore we cannot help you with this.
Language of teaching yoga
There was a time when vast amount of yoga knowledge in the West was only available in English. There were many reasons for this phenomenon. Firstly, for a long time India was the British colony and before any yogic text become available to people of the West it was primarily translated into English and only afterwards in some other languages.
Secondly, English-speaking countries and especially the U.S.A. escaped the horrors of the World Wars of the twentieth century. Respectively, there were more preconditions for interest and practice of yoga than, let`s say, in Russia where people`s life was a succession of bloody commotions. English-speaking countries are economically wealthier than other countries. That's why in these countries Yoga Teachers had more possibilities to find financial support for yoga distribution. Also we should note there is a certain tolerance for new things in the English-speaking countries. And so on.
There is certain advantage in this because English is more or less understood all over the world as well as Latin was widely known at the time of the Roman Empire. Indeed, the roots of most often used words of modern English for more than half are made up of the Latin words and big percentage of words originates from French. Therefore, in the absence of knowledge of yoga in some countries, the translation of this knowledge into English was a real way to convey yoga.
On the other hand, the multiple translations from one language to another and so on could seriously distort the meaning of yoga, especially if the translators hadn't practiced yoga and hadn't studied the theory.
It also should be noted characteristics of life priorities, especially of American way of thinking, definitely left the imprint on the translation of yogic knowledge. The influence of this factor led to a superficial and sometimes vulgar pragmatic understanding of yoga as a form of exercise, without an understanding of the philosophical foundations of teaching. This, in turn, gave rise to the vacuum of theoretical knowledge of yoga in the West, where with rare exception the very limited number of people knows the deep essence of yoga. Thus, most of the modern literature on yoga in the West does not hold the critics. The situation has become so funny, that, for example, in the works of American science fiction Robert Sheckley there is more humanistic understanding of the philosophy of yoga than in ninety percent of all published books on yoga. This situation is unsatisfactory.
For this reason now there is another situation when the followers of yoga begin to study yoga directly ignoring the American way of thinking. Therefore, some knowledge of yoga begins to penetrate directly to the countries where these followers live. This seriously raises the level of yoga in these countries, and gives sometimes strikingly deep understanding of the science of self-exploration. But then another related problem appears. This knowledge remains within these countries.
But yoga should belong to all humanity. As a result, the need for translation of yoga into other languages, including English arises again, so that more people at least partially had the possibility to touch the treasure of theoretical and practical knowledge of yoga which is not presented in modern Western literature about yoga.
In case of International Open Yoga University there is a need to translate these small pieces of yoga knowledge which we have in our school to the maximum number of different languages. This is the contribution the University can do for the good of the whole world. If the humanistic ideals of yoga penetrate into the minds of people from different countries, they will affect the overall field of thinking in these countries making life more meaningful and good.
Of course we should not impose anyone our approaches of understanding the world. We just should give the chance to all people to join this grandiose knowledge no matter which language they speak or think. Translation of knowledge of yoga into other languages will also be a tribute of respect and gratitude to the English-speaking countries, especially the U.S.A. and the Great Britain, for the great work in the preservation and dissemination of yoga which they have done in the. Almost every second person has practiced yoga at least once in his/her lifetime in these countries. If there was no such attitude to yoga the situation of yoga in the world would have been incomparably much worse.
The translation of texts into different languages in the International Open Yoga University is mainly entrusted to intramural and extramural students who have skills in one or other language. Student Free Listeners sometimes help them in it. Naturally we hope that our students living in another countries will seriously help us in it and thus help all the people living in these countries regardless of whether these countries are their home countries or countries that have provided them their hospitality. Firstly, you should change the world around yourself where you live and work!
Is yoga a sect or not? I am very much afraid of any sects.
No, principally, yoga cannot be a sect. Yoga is a system of self-exploration, thereby it is not a religion. The dictionary gives the following definition of the word "sect": "The sect is a breakaway from the main or dominant religious belief, a group of believers, adhering to their views and interpretations of some of religious dogmas, ceremonies, teachings, etc. The following is characteristic to the sect: isolation, claim to their exclusive role. "
1. Yoga - is not a religion.
2. There is no "main or dominant religious beliefs" in yoga. It is regarded that in self-exploration the main thing is experience, not faith.
3. Yoga is a system of self-exploration, open to all. There can be no questions of any insularity and isolation, i.e. being closed to somebody.
4. As any system of self-exploration, yoga continues developing and it is not a fixed system. Therefore, yoga does not claim to be the ultimate truth.
5. The purpose of yoga is to give freedom to humans, not to detach you from normal life, common sense and logic with dogmatic rules.
Of course, we can always find dishonest people who are hiding behind the name of yoga, trying to create all sorts of marginal groups that are very similar to sects. But, if you know at least the basics of yoga, such as the striving for freedom, the first and second principle of yoga, harmony and other methods, then you will immediately feel that something is wrong. And as soon as you feel that something is wrong, then leave this group immediately.
In addition, sometimes frankly religious teachings penetrate from the East (where people are very fond of religion), and in the West they mistakenly are considered to be yoga. But, even in this case the slightest look on this teaching will eliminate all confusion.
Remember, yoga will never encroach on your freedom of, it will never intimidate or try to make a zombie out of you. If this happens, you will know that it is not yoga.