The End of the Guru Part 2

Could it be that in order to develop your highest potential you have to blaze your own trail? Whether we find that to be true or not I believe that this world is in a deep spiritual crisis and spiritual teachers are in demand as never before. On the other hand the current trajectory of gurus being debunked one after the other for sexual abuse, manipulation, psycho-terror, accumulation of massive wealth, etc. deeply mars the prospects of spirituality to revolutionize our society and propel our evolution. And this despite the fact that this evolution and revolution is absolutely urgent and imperative as it can turn us away from the chasm of ecocide (destruction of our biosphere).
Let me propose a few ideas, which may enable spiritual development such as yoga to take on this role. These ideas are intended to create an ecology (relationship of organisms towards each other) and hygiene of the student/ teacher relationship. I propose that what we need are teachers that know, in Ram Dass’ words, that they are just ‘showing’ the path but that they ‘are’ not the path.

Sparing Your Spine Off The Mat

We give a lot of attention to what we do on our mat, precision, alignment, conscious movement, etc. However, it is what we do most that matters the most and most of this time is off our mat! The relatively short time we spend doing our yoga practice can never compensate for what we do for the other 22 hours of the day. The greatest stress for most people is the static monotonous postures that we adopt. That spells out as lack of movement being the greatest problem.

The End of the Guru, Part 1

A reader asked: “What are your thoughts on the need of a guru? Ramana Maharshi said that the guru and the self are the same so it seems that a guru could be unnecessary?” Nowadays a lot of people say that they teach in the Ramana Maharshi lineage. However, Ramana himself repeatedly observed, “I did not have a guru and I will not have disciples”. Although he himself is often cited as the sadguru (teachers teacher) he refused to be classified in this way.

As already hinted at in my previous post on “Personality Cults and Charlatans”, gurus are making poor headlines in recent years.

Hypermobility – A Blessing or A Curse

Many talented yogis seem to be blessed with bodies that are able to perform a myriad of different and for others seemingly impossible yoga postures. However, after more than 30 years of teaching my observation and personal experience is that it is often these ‘talented’ very flexible yogis who are much more vulnerable to injury and thereby have more physical problems than their stiffer colleagues.

Not surprisingly yoga attracts these flexible bodies. Often this natural flexibility is in fact joint hypermobility due to a generalised laxity in connective tissue.

Pranayama versus Jnana Yoga

One of my readers posted the following question: Is it absolutely necessary to practice asana and pranayama to evolve to the highest human level or is it possible to do so by exclusively following the path of Jnana Yoga as taught by the likes of Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta Maharaj?
First I would like to point out that Ramana and Nisargadatta are in Western countries very differently portrayed than in India […]