What is the purpose of a yoga teacher in today’s culture?
In addressing this topic I think its necessary to provide or at least attempt to provide a working definition of yoga that may fit more closely to my values, what it means to me and outline some of the key benefits of yoga.
According to Sri Swami Satchidananda’s translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Yoga citta vritti nirodhah, the “restraint of the modifications of the mind” is Yoga.
However as outlined in T.K.V. Desikachar’s translation of the Sutras (The Heart of Yoga) “Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.”
Meanwhile Nischala Joy Devi interpretation of this well known Sutra states that “yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart”. This view of the principles at the basis of yoga practice is an approach from a heart-centred, intuitive, feminine perspective, resulting in the first translation intended for women.
Personally I find her idea that when this sutra is translated referencing only the mind, with emphasis on control, restraint or some form of restriction as encouraging students to be harsh with their consciousness, to be highly persuasive and most definitely compelling.
As Devi sates: “Consciousness abides in the heart, not in the mind, as many believe.