Lessons Learned From Manju Jois Teacher Training

Manju Jois and Rachel Cieslewicz

Manju Jois and Rachel Cieslewicz

My entire life I have embraced the mantra to never stop learning. This includes my practice of yoga and my ability to share knowledge with others. And as often occurs, each day my knowledge is expanded, I am reminded on a broad scale, how very little I know. But this inspires me to keep learning, growing, practicing and sharing. Each and every day.

One teacher I have wished very much to learn from for many years is Manju Jois. His full bio can be found here. He taught my adoring husband, Eric, to practice and teach Ashtanga yoga. Manju is an Ashtanga Yoga guru of Mysore, South India.  He is the oldest son of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, whom was recognized worldwide as the foremost authority on Ashtanga Yoga. Manju was born on November 16th, 1944 and is a master of the Ashtanga yoga scientific system.

My dream came true to finally be granted the opportunity to become Manju’s student over this past 10 days. And from this point forward I will be his student and seek him out often. Although I have practiced yoga for many years, what I have learned from Manju in just a short time has caused my practice to grow in all the ways I hoped, yet it also awakened me to many other aspects I hadn’t realized were possible. I am grateful. I will never see yoga and humanity the same again. And this is so very good!

All I learned in this beautiful and highly recommended studio in Fort Pierce, Florida called One Yoga Planet cannot possibly fit into a short blog post, or even in some respects, be written about at all. To truly understand yoga deeply, we must experience consistently and observe the shifts of mind, body, and soul as we continuously learn true discipline, consciously evolve, and refine our relationships to ourselves and the world. I am dedicated more than ever to share with my students at Yoga Soul, and each person I touch through life, all I have learned and will continue to learn from Manju and my other aspects of learning and practice.

Over the next while, I will share wisdom from Manju. Today I give five lessons to remember when approaching your practice. Manju taught me, and now I am so very happy to share with you:

Lesson 1 Be kind to yourself. Please never worry how well you can do a pose. Keep practicing with kindness and patience towards yourself. Allow the process to unfold as you meet yourself on the mat each new day. This way you will not injure yourself and practice will be enjoyable.

Lesson 2 Seek kind and experienced teachers. If you enter a studio and the energy is hostile, or the teacher is controlling or unkind, find another studio. Dogmatism and fanaticism is ego, and do not belong in yoga. Yoga is meant to calm the ego so we can live in happiness and freedom. A big ego will eventually harm and destroy. That is opposite of yoga’s true process of connection and uniting.

Lesson 3 Yoga is truly for all people. It is for all bodies, all states of health, all backgrounds and ages. If you have a teacher who is experienced and knowledgeable, they will have the ability to assist you to thrive in a safe practice for you. Be patient as it will take a while for some to become strong and healthy, but it is worth it.

Lesson 4 Practice and all is coming. This is what Manju’s father and guru told all of his students. This doesn’t mean to simply practice without growth. You must practice authentically, meaning without ego or exportation. All will come to you when it is time. We truly do have within us all of the wisdom we need to live our lives in beauty and with rightful purpose and intent. An authentic practice will refine us and allow us to shed anger, guilt and fear. We will learn to live a compassionate life of love and kindness to all sentient beings. This does begin with ourselves.

Lesson 5 Always practice humility. There are examples throughout history of people and entities who began their journeys with a humble heart. But then when they were rewarded with wealth and prestige, they mis-used their power. This is the true test as we grow into knowledge and light. Do not put yourself on a pedestal ever. This is you calling yourself out as a fraud. When you see others do this, they are full of ego, and are themselves frauds. The more you grow into your purpose means the greater responsibility you have to share what you have on all levels. Be kind. Be humble. Live with discipline and simplicity. Keep practicing every day. Your life will be of freedom and happiness.

I will share more lessons as I go. My wish is this helps all who read this blog to remember to live with love and kindness both on, and off your mat.

Love and Light,

Rachel

P.S. Please enjoy a few photos from my training with Manju

Manju assisting me in pinchamayurasana from the Intermediate Ashtanga Series.

Manju assisting me in pinchamayurasana from the Intermediate Ashtanga Series.

Manju teaching yoga therapy.

Manju teaching yoga therapy.

Manju teaching how even tight yogis can grow and love their practice.

Manju teaching how even tight yogis can grow and love their practice.

Manju helping find the full expression of trikonasana and how it can work beautifully with every body.

Manju helping find the full expression of trikonasana and how it can work beautifully with every body.

Manju teaching with the true spirit of Parampara. Handing down knowledge from teacher to student, from the heart of parent to child.

Manju teaching with the true spirit of Parampara. Handing down knowledge from teacher to student, from the heart of parent to child.