Yoga and Kindness

By Aadil Palkhivala, a Master Yoga Teacher, Co-founder of Purna Yoga and Alive & Shine Center, Bellevue, WA

Though being respectful can take unexpected forms, there is one constant in all true expressions of respect:  Kindness.  There is no respect without kindness, or kindness without respect.

Once I was teaching in Idaho, and the class was full of beginners.  I noticed two older men in the back of the room, struggling with every move they made.  I gave them tips and treated them with kindness.  That evening, I learned that one of the men was chairman of the board of one of the world’s top corporations.  He had appreciated my kindness and efforts, and later arranged for me to deliver lectures to his executives, managers, and staff about the mind, integrity, and the workplace.

Photo by Leslie Waugh

As teachers, we are constantly around people who are struggling to do what we might be able to do with relative ease.  Any feelings of superiority draw us into the traps of the ego and we can begin becoming less respectful of others.  To counter this tendency, remind yourself that classes are filled with professional chefs, concert pianists, ballet dancers, marathon runners, expert swimmers, mothers of five children, CEO’s, medical doctors, massage therapists…. Yes, we may be able do yoga and teach yoga well, yet each student possesses qualities and skills we may never own.  If we keep in mind that each person is unique and do not judge, our ego will be humbled, and our innate kindness will flourish.  Kindness is respect, and respect is kindness.

Aadil Palkhivala©2008-2017