This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)
When I was in my first 200-hour yoga teacher’s training, the lead teachers came from many different backgrounds. They all said the same thing about finding your guru. To pick one. To know who to follow, and your yoga journey will become easier. And I believed them.
I always felt this emptiness within me, that I thought only a guru can fill. I kept my eyes open for who to follow. A few years later, my schedule opened up and I came across another 200-hour program. This time with an organization who had what they call, a guru. I made sure to be there. I have no regrets about attending the training. But I was unsure if the traditional teachings, the mantras, and the spiritual name would fill the void within me.
Questioning the need for a guru
At the end of 2019, sexual harassment and assault allegations came up in the organization that I referred to as my spiritual home for many years. A lead teacher who is also referred to as a guru and some senior board members took part in the abuse. I was, and still heartbroken. Not only for those who had these experiences, but how they were silenced. How the organization tried to brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened. And I was also scared of how as someone who took part in the organization, I was uninformed of the potential danger I or my peers were in. It feels like the spiritual rug is being pulled out from underneath me.
The really sad thing about this is, my spiritual home is not the only organization that has had these issues. If you want to learn more about issues around gurus, scandals and how we can move on I highly recommend you check out the Yoga is Dead Podcast, episode 3: Gurus killed yoga.
Finding my own truth
I was fortunate enough to not dip into a deep confusion because of this. It made me realize what the void in my soul truly needed. I have always been a seeker of the truth, and of my true self. I was able to find it right before my yoga world started crashing. My spirituality is not only tied with yoga, but it’s also tied with many things, like the stars above me and the earth below me. That I have made a promise before I showed up on earth, and a yoga hiccup was not going to stop me from fulfilling that promise.
As much as I absolutely love yoga and all that it holds, there are also many, many issues that need to be addressed in modern-day yoga. If we put one person on a pedestal as the ultimate truth, your world can potentially crash. We also have to keep in mind that teachers are human. This does not dismiss their actions in any way, it means we need to hold those who take advantage of others accountable to their actions.
Keep yoga in your spiritual toolbox, and make sure you keep adding to the toolbox, just like you would do to your self-care toolbox.
Because the real truth is, everything you need is already within you. Sometimes we just need a little reminder on what that is. Yoga can be that little reminder, and so can many other things.