Dan Kotsos, CYA-E-RYT300In the western world the culture of Yoga is beginning to emerge strongly as a new alternative towards health practices. Yet, as it is an eastern cultural perception, certain factions of the western world are trying to either control Yoga or exploit yoga; both in the name of commerce.

It is important to understand Yoga as a 'spirit, mind, body' health system and not as a business or a product to market. The more that one may evolve in their practice of Yoga, the more that one may see how the West is beginning to abuse this resource. For example; an ad of a woman meditating while holding a credit card in her 'chin mudra' formed hand; or even the ridiculously overpriced 'yoga accessories' as well as overpriced Yoga instructors whom claim that their systems and affiliates are the leaders of Yoga. Expensive Yoga Magazines that commercialize and glamourize Yoga; filled full of advertisements of clothing and yoga equipment add to the superficiality and hold Maya has over the mainstream masses.

What happened to the Yamas and Niyamas?

Yoga is about attaining 'Self-Realization' through Union. (Harmony of mind, emotions, body, spirit and breath)

The western world loves to prove its worth through paper before proof of ability and so many active facilities expect a Yoga instructor to have a teachers certificate or they will send one of their own co-ordinators away for a week to attain one at a rather ridiculous cost. Some institutes may charge thousands of dollars for a one month program that the participant then can make claim that he or she is a certified Yoga teacher. As well, one whom may have two hundred hours study verses one whom may have five years study may be just as qualified to teach Yoga. Consider an article written by Alice Dembner (Boston Globe) which focused on the number of muscle and spinal injuries among its' practioners. The most startling was how a 'visiting teacher/guru from India sat on a student in a split position and broke her pelvic bone'.

It is in the nature of the Human Mind to control its' environment and has subconsciously and collectively become obsessed with the idea of 'control'. The CYA does not try to control any aspects of its' members evolution and involution. We receive many inquiries as to "which school is best?" or "what is required for yoga certification?" . Those are questions we are not qualified to answer because we have not experienced six months minimum with each school learning its philosophy and practicing its' art. Thus, we will not hold any bias toward any school nor will we believe heresay or rumor or word of mouth in order to have such knowledge or opinions. Each school will set standards differently and will attract like vibrations. Yoga is not an 'institution', nor should anyone try to institutionalize Yoga. It is when politics enter into the realm of spirituality that we form religion. The CYA is in no way relative to religious policies, rituals or dogmas. The CYA is not to be recognized as an institution either, it is only a network, a communicative tool for the interactions of the teachings, ideas and fellowships.

We do not disagree with the idea of a certificate; however, we do have concern with how most of them are attained. It takes years to develop and refine ones understanding of true transformation, as well as learning and mastering the vital breaths. If an instructor is not proficient in the breath (pranayama) and understanding of the ecology (of the body) and economy (of the energy) of the body, than it is not True Yoga that is being taught.

It is always wise to consider the experience of your Yoga teacher or school wherever you go in the world to learn Yoga. If your prospective teacher is registered with a yogic organization, consider their own personal background and experience before the 'glamour' aspect of the affiliate. Buying a membership into an affilation for status sake does not make one (or organization) a qualified Yogin (or teacher).

Please never feel undermined to ask your prospective Yoga teacher their personal background of experience and daily practice. Trust your first instinct. Experience a couple sessions before you make a decision. Perhaps your vibration will be directed on another path...or perhaps you may have discovered the right one. Believe that the 'Universe' is your best and only 'True Teacher'. Listen carefully and observe wisely. You are worth the knowledge of our knowledge and the respect of true health and safety. If your teacher is not refined in Yoga safety and proper ergonomics it will be to your disadvantage.

Enjoy Yoga, but please be safe, smart and intuitive!

Namaste, the Canadian Yoga Alliance