ASHY represents a global network of yoga teachers committed to ~ Shri, Satya, and Svantantrya
The ethics of Anusara Yoga is an invitation to create, honor and uplift that which is life-affirming, truthful, and freedom-enhancing.
ASHY’s Ethics Committee is an international group of teachers focused on helping the Anusara community grow by fostering communication and building relationships between Anusara teachers. To learn more, contact Ethics Team Leader Tiffany Wood.
The Seat of the Teacher
As yoga teachers and students, our behavior reflects upon the great tradition and lineage of yoga which we represent. Consequently, we must exhibit a very high degree of personal integrity in all matters, both inside and outside the classroom
Students look to the yoga teacher as a guide and mentor. Students tend to project high ideals onto the teacher. This can create an inherent power differential between the teacher and the student. Therefore, clear boundaries must be established and maintained in our role of serving our students.
Take responsibility for creating and sustaining a sacred and safe environment for all students. The student needs to be able to take refuge safely in the seat of the teacher. Trust in the seat of the teacher needs to be present for transformations to occur in the student.
The following ethical principles are guidelines instead of rigid rules. They are to be applied on a relative basis to each unique circumstance and context.
Classical Ethical Guidelines
Yamas: Social observances – Guidelines for the yogi in relationship with others in society or Nature. All the yamas apply to actions, words, and thoughts.
Ahimsa: Non-harming – Loving kindness to others, not blocking or obstructing the flow of Nature, compassion, mercy, gentleness.
Satya: Truthfulness – Being authentic to our inner nature, having integrity, being honorable, not lying, not concealing the truth, not downplaying or exaggerating.
Asteya: Non-stealing – Not taking what is not yours—money, goods, or credit. Not robbing people of their own experiences and freedom. Not desiring another’s possessions, qualities, or status.
Brahmacharya: Having ethical conduct like God – Behaving with love and integrity, without selfishness or manipulation. Restrain from sexual misconduct.
Aparigraha: Non-clinging – Non-grasping, non-possessiveness, voluntary simplicity, non- attachment to possessions, non-greediness, non-covetousness.
Niyamas: Personal observances – Guidelines for daily activities pertaining to one’s own physical appearance, actions, words and thoughts.
Shauca: Purity – Cleanliness, orderliness, precision, clarity, balance, Internal and external purification.
Santosa: Contentment – Equanimity, peace, tranquility, acceptance of the way things are.
Tapas: Heat – Burning desire for reunion with God expressed through self- discipline, purification, willpower, austerity, and patience.
Svadhyaya: Study of the Self – Self-inquiry, mindfulness, study of the ancient texts, Searching for the Unknown (divinity) in the Known (physical world).
Ishvara Pranidhana: Devotional offering to the Lord – Surrender to Grace, open-heartedness, love, willingness to serve the Divine.
Honor and love yourself as a divine being full of goodness and you will connect more powerfully with the students. Honor and embrace the seat of the teacher.
Truthfully and accurately represent your training, teaching experience and ASHY licensing in all self-promotions.
Show humility. Objectively show your physical and empirical limitations of yoga. Be willing to do research and to bring an answer back to the student.
Tell and show the students that you are also a student. Keep in mind your days as a raw beginner and you will foster compassion for your beginning students.
Be modest when showing or describing your talents and experiences. Trying to impress your students, will likely to create discord with students.
Be confident and strong in actions and words to express your authority appropriately. Stand tall with full power.
Verbally honor and pay tribute to your teachers and the sources of your knowledge and skill during each class.
Avoid making direct comparisons between Anusara Yoga and other systems. Be an ambassador for the tradition of yoga that all systems represent.
When speaking publicly about other yoga teachers or yoga systems, speak only something positive. Never publicly degrade or demean other yoga teachers or yoga systems.
If the student-teacher relationship is about to be compromised by any intimate relationship, it is advisable for the teacher to assist the student in finding another qualified yoga teacher.
Follow all civil laws and other legal codes of behavior.
Student Relations Guidelines
Welcome to all students regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, nationality, cultural background, or sexual preference.
Be compassionate and willing to serve the students. For every step that the student takes toward the teacher, the teacher should take two steps toward the student.
Give feedback by first looking for what is right—the beauty, the light, and the positive in people and things—instead of what is wrong. Always give the student the benefit of the doubt.
Use The Four Gates of Speech:
- Is it truthful?
- Is it necessary to say?
- Is it the appropriate time?
- Can it be said in a kind way?
Never demean, physically or verbally abuse a student. Never hit, slap, kick, or yell at a student.
Never sexually harass a student.
Never condescend, degrade, or talk down to the students as if they were children or stupid.
Encourage and honor independent thinking and exploration in the student. If a student respectfully disagrees because her experience is different than yours, honor her for not conforming mindlessly to your view.
Be patient with yourself and the students. Acknowledge that yoga is a process.