During my teacher training I was told to buy this book by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements and read it. I automatically rolled my eyes and gave out a big sigh with a little “blah more work”at the end, assuming this was going to be yet another assignment I was going to have to fight with myself to do. What I found was completely different. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly suggest it, or just listen to us yogis while we explain why this is kinda like our guidebook.
What are the Four Agreements? Well it's pretty simple. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom,
The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.
They are as follows...
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
2. Don't Take Anything Personally
3. Don't Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best
Let's start with lose everything that society has taught us. What is bad and what is good, “children are domesticated the same way that we domesticate a dog, a cat, or any other animal. In order to teach a dog we punish the dog and we give it rewards. We train our children whom we love so much the same way that we train any domesticated animal, with a system of punishment and reward. We are told , “You're a good boy”, or “you're a good girl” when we do what Mom and Dad want us to do. When we don't, we are a “bad boy” or a “bad girl”.” Such a strong quote to think about. Has society taught us wrong? Have we really forgotten what is important to make our lives fulfilled? Where do we go from here?
Four agreements to for ourselves to live by not only off the mat, but on as well. As a teacher, student, or maybe for just the average Joe. To some of us these agreements may be so simple, for others (like me) panic may be creeping up your throat. Don't worry, just because you mess up at times doesn't mean that you're a “bad boy” or a “bad girl” it just means you're human. I have found though, the more you work on it the less scarier it gets. So let's break it down. We will start the first agreement and progress down the list over the next couple months.
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
“The first agreement is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor”
We can break down the word impeccable like this; im means without and peccable derives from the Latin word “to sin” so impeccable means “without sin.” Hmmmm, does that mean we all need to quit our jobs and become monks? Nah, sinning is anything you do which goes against yourself. It's really not about being or doing evil. So be honest with your word, for yourself. Take responsibility for what you say, but don't judge youeself or blame yourself. No need for punishment. Maybe we stay away from blaming others, criticizing or even gossiping. Maybe we honor our commitments and maybe we only say “yes” to the ones we know we can honor. Flaking out later only hurts the one we were trying not to hurt by saying “yes” in the first place.
As a yoga instructor it is pretty simple. Practice what you preach. We have the honor to empower our students with our words of intention or in meditation. What we say, we must truly believe though. We don't just spit out quotes we see on the internet, we need to make it come from our hearts. We don't just teach yoga, we need to practice it daily, on and off the mat.
By - Jessica McReynolds