Modifying Upward.

How does one translate from Russian to English?
Firstly- Who’s English? Social strata and social conditioning from all over the world have their own form of English spoken.
Can we even say UK English?
How do we translate from Chinese to French or even French to UK English?
Google has tried and done a pretty good job. But can it carry emotional resonance?
But how do we, people, convey the depth of emotional resonance associated with a word, phrase and its context of thousands of years of cultural development and divergence into something quite different?

Is it terms of reference? "I was referring to you farting when I said biscuit… " Terms of reference change regularly – every parent will tell you.
How many of us have asked our children “what does ‘fo shizzle’ mean?”… and “what’s my nizzle?”.
They laugh.

It’s an example of the language of the young, and those who see themselves oppressed.
An anti-language that excludes those of us in our dotage (“whats ‘dotage’ dad?”) and those not of the tribe.
“But Dad your language excludes us, you pretend to be an intellectual with your big and uncommon words and phrases.” Or “Shutup old man you know nothing”.
Sure I paraphrased – I was referred to with colourful language that made me delight in its power.
So powerful I couldn’t publish the words in here, hahahah ☺ Your readers are too religiously offended.

See what I mean!

I explained that intellectualism is a game played by those who seek to gain power over others.
In the same way that the youth and oppressed exclude with their language of shizzles, intellectualism seeks to gain exclusion through oppression – oppression of language and apparent superiority of thought.
I suppose its attitude and terms of reference. Marxist ego if you like.
The oppressed see oppression in the language and actions of others while the oppressors seek ways to maintain their position of power. The power ego itself may be so subtle ,that the intellectual players of the spectrum may be unaware of the ego their words convey about themselves and their mind.
What am I saying?
I am saying that power is a two way street. You don’t have power over others unless they give it to you.

What’s the solution?
Answer 1) Everybody dumbs down to lowest common denominator so we don’t exclude.
Reply – But I don’t have time to explain my terms of reference to every tom dick or harry and besides why the flack should I?

Okay – Answer 2) Get the those who need different terms of reference to learn them. To smart upward rather than dumb down.
Reply – Seriously ? What if they don’t want to? … they shouldn’t complain really should they?!?

Blimey – Answer 3) Limit the growth of the people and their thoughts through 1984 Newspeak.
Hang on – won’t that limit our imagination and make us really easy to control?
Yeah – Fo shiz it will.

So the big book of the western world – the one that shaped our common development for years – the Bible.
How does it’s language stack up? And… What does that have to do with Yoga?
Simply put – It serves as an example of the translations the Gita and the Upanishads.
I had a heated moment with Neelam Taneja regarding a translation which referred to Shiva as ‘Lord’.
WTFlip? Lord? As in the “Lord and God”? Lord? Medieval language Lord? Game of Thrones Lords? House of Lords?
The inadequacy of this translation – Seeming to take a lazy inspiration from the Bible, which itself is a lazy and inadequate translation of Aramaic and Hebrew from cherry picked Gospels.
What an image of Shiva I have!

So what do you believe? Who do you believe? Why believe the translators and their inadequate language?
How do we translate?
How do we translate the words that give context to ourselves in Savasana. Why do we believe our own delusion?

We should all just start thinking. Start feeling. Feel the truth in and of our hearts.
Love in our thoughts, words and actions.
Those of us with teaching positions should include rather than exclude.
Those with philosophical teaching positions should learn to modify up (it’s a yoga thing).

Yoga is just learning to listen to your heart.

How do we translate that?
We can start by using the common language of Compassion, Humility and Love.

Peter O'Connor
Faculty Administrator


 National Occupational Standards

Fear is ego.
Yoga is not a thing that can be constrained. It has a glorious diversity of practitioners and teachers.
Some of them certainly need a better form of training – but most – those with integrity, wouldn’t try to teach unsafely.
I think that’s what it may be. Making yoga safe.
The thought of anything being ‘safe’ fills me with dread. How would I grow if I don’t push my boundaries?
Except when I put my trust in the teacher in front of me to teach my 80 year old mother correctly.
To have enough awareness that certain pranayama shouldn’t be practiced by sufferers of bi-polar varieties,
along with a hundred more contraindications.
Trust in the teacher to nurture the student in a way that's right for the student is vital.
Trust in the teacher/guru/elder/respected person/ person who has been put on a pedestal to hold the student with physical and mental care, while opening doors to their development at a rate or way that they can achieve.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I love being pushed to the edge – I almost always jump – but I cant consider myself to be the same as other students. We all need to be humbled by our students.
Aren’t we all merely simple students – even Jim Gough was sent back to learn more.
There is a wide variety of us – some fit, some clever, some fat, some short, some who just turn up at the start, and walk away at the end.
Some of us are ‘thick as a brick’ and some of us say ‘yes’…
I actually don’t know what the NOS is going to achieve but if it means that students can turn up and have a level of safety (mental and physical) in which they can trust the teacher then its got to be a good thing.

So fear is ego. But lack of fear can also be ego.
Throwing toys out of the pram wont achieve anything except exclusion.
I recommend seeking a dialogue with the BWY – its kinda the ‘grown up’ way to do things.
For my own sins I have to speak to them regularly and am seeking to build those bridges.
How do I know that my yoga trainees will be accredited to a sufficient standard to meet NO Standards?
It’s my job to ensure the integrity of the qualification at my end, and to ensure that our students graduate with the highest level of training, ability and student focus if they intend to teach.
I have the utmost certainty that our graduates will be physically, energetically and posture safe in a class environment.
I’m not sure our graduates will be ‘safe’ in every aspect though.
There will always be a certain danger of thought, a deep fire, which imbues the true yoga practitioner.
You can’t really keep a true yoga practitioner down, so whatever happens, yoga will still exist in all its variances.

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Peter O'Connor
Faculty Administrator

More from Peter O'Connor.
 Absolutely NO Standards
Peter O'Connor

I am currently enjoying considering the implications of the NO Standards approach to the future of legislation possibly affecting yoga.

Through change we learn, and have the opportunity to embrace new challenges and opportunities for improvement. It’s a good thing. ☺

This morning I tried to strip everything back and look simply at the National Occupational Standards wording.
I enjoy the humour of ‘NO Standards’ half acronym and am amazed that this hasn’t been adopted by the militant among us (though admittedly I am old and out of touch, so I may be wrong and there could be huge posters, placards, street marches…).

It seemed churlish to me that yoga communities of all flavours hadn’t suggested or recommended an Alternative National Occupational Standard (which has the almost perfect acronym ANOS) in which we could define what perhaps we would like to see included. Being part of the IYN (Into Yoga Now) and practicing their tenets of Ahimsa Svadhaya Satya (ASS) it seemed that I should strip back even further.

I like being wrong… how else can I learn, so feel free to correct my impaired thinking at any time.
I believe that like the three sided coin of NOS – there are only three types of yoga teachers.
Not the Good Bad and Ugly, though that could certainly apply to my own teaching.

Simply following a top down approach I could see:

Vocational Yoga Teachers – Those who teach for the heart.
Occupational Yoga Teachers – Those who teach for the bank balance.
Vocational-Occupational (VO) Teachers. – Those who have been teaching long enough or deep enough to have not escaped and now do it for a living – or – those who did it solely for a living and have reached epiphany.

Please don’t get me wrong. I consider myself a VO; I am belligerent enough to not to be drawn to feeding usury, and my yoga meditation practice developed through active Abstract Expressionism in the 1970s – but I DO rely on yoga for a living.

Categorising yoga teaching in this way brings a fresh perspective to the
National OCCUPATIONAL Standards.

In my simple minded way of thinking; by naming the NOS they have immediately placed it into a straight jacket.
They have described their organization as ONLY serving those who do their ‘thing’ for a living.
We all know plenty of yoga teachers who have 1 or 2 classes a week and teach for the love of the subject or so that they can learn more about yoga through teaching. I think 2 evening classes per week with 5 students constitutes more of a ‘sit-in’ than a full occupation.

So where does that leave the Vocational teachers voice?
I have to ask if they even care.
If they don’t – they may need to soon, and perhaps its incumbent on those who try to follow the IYN ASS, but can see over the hedge, to ensure that their members voices are being heard or at least recorded for posterity.
If we don’t monetarisation will surely follow like a hot class.
Creating a balance is what we do in yoga.
We must surely ensure that NO Standards have balance.

Yours With NO Standards.

Peter O’Connor
Faculty Administrator

British Yoga 'Unwrapped': How to Counter the British Yoga Aristocracy

Mat Witts

A highly respected and influential owner of a prestigious and established enterprise based in London took a minute or two out of what must be a very busy schedule to email his thought that: there are much more important problems in Britain than looking into yoga training.

Also in the message was information that the (somewhat belligerent) chair of the British Wheel of Yoga, Paul Fox 'seems like a nice guy' and 'is trying to do his best', even though some preliminary research shows the market for teacher training isn't failing due to an over-supply of 'nice guys' on the 'British Yoga' scene.

So, are we politely being nudged to mind our own business? And if so, why?

Soon after, the non-ministerial government department responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities in the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) also emailed about the recent decision to take no action following an investigation into a suspected abuse of a dominant position by the commercial giant, Unilever plc in the supply of something called 'single-wrapped impulse ice cream' in the UK, which (for British readers at least) translates as 'Magnum', 'Mars' or 'Cornetto'.

The only nagging doubt was the announcement from the CMA said nothing about the ongoing problem of double-wrapped confectionery, often purchased with some level of premeditation. This seems like it may be 'more imprtant' because all the millions of tins of chocolates we buy for folk (secretly hoping to see less than once a year if we're lucky) are probably ending up in the neoliberal burial mounds left for future generations to visit, just like our yoga mats.

Collecting data on yoga training in Britain may turn out to be just like the aristocracy say it is, like the CMA's investigation into 'single-wrapped impulse ice cream' - a total waste of time but until we look, we won't ever know.

Keeping tabs on all of this, while the 'big wigs' in yoga training are telling us to pack up and go home won't make it any easier, but despite the appeal to (unreliable) authority and (precarious) prestige in British Yoga, we've decided the best way to find out how something really tastes is not to take messages from the grandees at face value, but simply 'suck it and see'.

If you don't feel you're at the top of the yoga training food chain in Britain either, then maybe you might want to help out with this project.