Teaching young people yoga, sometimes I am aware of a clash between my values and the values of the school or the establishment I am teaching in.
I suggest to my students the ideas of collaboration vs competition, love vs fear, self care vs pushing the boundaries. Sometimes I have to be careful how I do this. Our whole society is built on fear of failure, of poverty, of loneliness and of illness (among other things) and so school emulates this and echoes these values. Yoga professes the opposite, if you have love, if you trust and believe and see others as your equal or even as yourself, all will be well with the world, in fact, all is well with the world.
The kids often come in hungry to prove something, a posture, a piece of clothing, a victory. Noisy, uncomfortable, rajasic. After the first relaxation, the noise has abated somewhat, but there is still this vibe of “look at me!”, the noisy ego and the fun, joyful child which emerges in me too!
And then…. Yoga nidra, meditation, visualisation or however that particular class ends, and there is silence, a deep, satisfied silence, santosha enters the room. No longer hankering for attention, the final victory, standing out, but rather the true experience of collaboration in the partner postures, the true, deep experience of belonging to one heart, one soul, that emerges in yoga nidra.
Deep silence, deep satisfaction ensues, collaboration in rolling the mats, silent smiles thrown across the room, gentle unspoken support offered to each other. I know at these moments, that there is another way to educate, to co-exist. This new way is an old way, it is the way of love, of acceptance in the absence of fear.
This feeling has drawn us to plan a conference “Instill” in London this July with the aim of looking into the future of an education integrated with yoga, hosted by some of the inspiring leaders in the field of neuroscience, education and yoga philosophy, I hope it might act as a start to a gentle revolution in education. I hope you can join us.
To this end we are also inviting a group of teenagers and yoga students to come together in Spain for a training course and a forum for discussion around this topic, this is happening in March in Orgiva, and I very much hope you can come and join us!
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In the meantime, I will leave you with a quote from the inspiring Jiddu Krishnamurti: This is the function of all education. We need to bring about a good society in which all human beings can live happily in peace, without violence, with security. As a student you are responsible for this. Also, here is a clip from the forward looking school in Hampshire, Brockwood Park, which is based on Krishnamurti’s principles. Enjoy!