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Ma, the first teacher

The teachings of yoga honor the Mother as the first true Guru in our lives. Not the Virgin Mary or even the Mother Earth, but one’s actual mother; the one who brought life into a developing fetus, the one whose subtle (and sometimes no-so-subtle) vibrations are heard and felt through the first days and years of life.

A Guru means the one who has removed the darkness, or one’s inability to see the Truth (Ru-remover; Gu-ignorance, darkness, obscurity). The Truth is that we are all connected through our unlimited potential to love and be loved; we are not separate, individual beings, but One. The Guru is the teacher who sees her student completely and transparently, loving the student unconditionally as a holy being.

Traditionally it is the mother who spends the most time with her child through the early years of life. Teaching baby how to eat, sleep, and bathe are paramount; communication, walking and talking fall in place as priorities for survival. However, it may difficult for some to perceive mother as a teacher, particularly if the relationship has been complicated by a history of harmful or abusive behavior. Growing up through the various changes in life is challenging, and often love and hate become intertwined in moments of frustration; anger can emerge as emotions run high.

Yoga philosophy says that nothing is by chance. Past karmas (everything we’ve ever thought, said or done, including in past lives) dictate the family one is born into, whom one’s parents are, where one comes from, and even how a person looks and behaves. Whether or not this is in line with your belief system, resolving past issues with one’s mother can aide in reaching a point of compassion and understanding in the relationship. Through the practices of yoga, we come to appreciate that given one’s samskaras (past karmic grooves or imprints), each and every one of us is doing the best we can in life given our individual circumstances, and this understanding alone can help cultivate loving kindness.

Thich Nhat Hanh says “give up hope of a better past”. By focusing on the present moment honor your mother as your teacher and all the positive things she’s brought into your life.

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