You are the Guru


When I first began to advertise my classes, many years ago, I chose this phrase to headline my brochure: You are the Guru.  My intention was to encourage more self awareness among students of Yoga.  Back in the nineteen-seventies Yoga was as misunderstood as it is today. . . but in a different way.  The Yoga experience which the Beatles brought back from India offered mystical teachings and trance states under the guidance of a religious teacher called a Guru.  It wasn’t long before ashrams began cropping up all over the western world.  These Yoga centers were founded by self-styled Gurus who demanded absolute obedience from their followers.  Capitalizing on the new wave of enthusiasm for eastern mysticism, these ashrams thrived for a while until they eventually crashed under the weight of scandal and “fired” their Gurus.  I’ve seen one or two Gurus in the local area come to disgrace, leaving their followers devastated and disillusioned.  Now don’t get me wrong.  We need teachers; we need guidance.  But even the Buddha, one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers, told us not to accept another’s authority but to find your own light.  This advice rings true especially today when Yoga is presented as a fitness program and the practice can be quite rigorous.  Too often, in the pursuit of health and fitness, Yoga students are actually abusing their bodies.  There is a saying from Qigong: Your body is your true teacher.   Whether you see Yoga as a spiritual discipline or a health regimen or view Yoga as an all-embracing path for body, mind, and spirit, please remember this.  Be your own light.  Listen to your body.  You are, after all, your own Guru.

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