I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training, paid my money and waited for classes to begin. A few weeks later, the leader of YTT contacted me to set up an interview before I was fully accepted into the program. I was surprised that my money was not enough to secure my spot in the training. Before meeting with my leader, I was asked to write a little statement about all the things that make up who I am so I wrote my piece and showed up for the interview. This meeting was my first taste of the depth that this program would offer my practice. Let’s just say that I was unprepared for a big box gym versus a small more focused yoga studio to offer such a holistic program that required total commitment. Then again, I knew that the two women who I would be studying under believed deeply in their yoga practice, so all I can say that deep called to deep creating instant connection!
During the interview, the YTT leader asked if I could follow 5 precepts for the duration of my training. She qualified this by saying that the 5 precepts purified our bodies and minds so that we could offer our best self to the training. The precepts protect and preserve our practice! I am a sucker for that kind of challenge! Here are the 5 precepts with some interpretation (by me!). If you are a Christian, these will sound very familiar!
1-Protect all life or Do not Kill including watching my negative self-talk that kills my soul
2-Practice Generosity or Do not Steal including not taking credit for someone else’s idea.
3-Purity in Sexual Conduct respecting my commitments made to myself and others by engaging in sexual relations only in a loving and long-term committed relationship.
4-Use my Words Mindfully or Do not Lie
5-Cultivate Good Health including abstaining from drugs, toxic food/books/TV/conversations so that I preserve peace, well-being and joy in my body understanding that “to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society and future generations.”
Watching TV this morning, a man who was being interviewed summed up the Golden Rule this way, “Don’t be a dick.” That just about sums it up doesn’t it! Using the language of the people, he communicated the spirit of the Golden Rule in a way that means something.
Reflecting on this interview made me think about how the church fears asking too much of people who want to be leaders within the church. For my yoga certification, they required a sacrifice of my money, my time and a commitment to follow the 5 precepts for the length of my training. If an organization asks this of their “leaders in training” why should the church shy away from requiring the same types of commitments? I know the church fears no one will step up to the challenge. I know that some denominations fear “law vs spirit.” I think the beloved body of Christ should rethink just filling the leadership positions with a warm body. If commitments preserve and protect our practice of what we mean when we say “I follow Christ” then maybe we are missing a crucial aspect in our church leadership.