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My Experiences Teaching Yoga in the West

All life is learning and development via Self-knowledge.

I was taught yoga from a guru shishya tradition of oral transmission, whereby you embody a student-teacher role and relationship. I never understood the struggles of racism and oppression my parents faced until I went to their homeland, India, for a school field-placement abroad.

I felt like I was experiencing culture shock, not from India but from Canada. My experiences abroad allowed me to critically examine the ways social, historical and political contexts impinged upon my identity construction and, more importantly, how identity informed my learning. I looked at my own culture and the penetrating sense of shame and guilt that accompanied how I became conditioned to see my Indian culture and yogic philosophies within it as inferior to Western civilization.

Years later, yoga and Vedic consciousness-based sciences are valued by many people who find healing and spiritual freedom in cultural practices rooted without any guru-shishya tradition, parampara (lineage). You will often meet yoga teachers in the West today who completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training curriculum that uses the mechanical memorization and regurgitation of essential knowledge and facts as baseline adequacy in a students' learning.

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