Thanks for your comments, Patricia! It’s funny b/c I just started reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” for the first time the other day. A major part of Stephen Covey’s premise is that character ethics are the foundation of success, as opposed to personality ethics, which lend more weight to someone’s outward-facing image. Across all the various strata of society, we tend to care more about personality traits (firm handshake, nice smile, appearance, niceties) than moral character. And somewhere deep in the book Covey notes that the fastest way to build character is to make promises that you keep. So, for me, and if nothing else, this whole exercise has been about making a promise to myself, to my students, and to my community.
I have only had one person (that I know of) complain that I am drawing on the framework from a Buddhist teacher and not a yoga teacher, and her comment was motivated by a concern around cultural appropriation of yoga and changing things up to suit my own needs. But I push back on that for several reasons: The Buddha was an adept yogi and yoga philosophy and Buddhism share some of the same vedic roots. There are some that believe that Patanjali’s sutras were written within a Buddhist context (this of course depends on the timing of the text). Other yoga philosophy scholars have pointed out that each of my points could be traced to a Yama or Niyama anyway. (I have had some time to reconcile my interest in Buddhism as the spiritual bases for yoga own yoga practice. It’s ok if others don’t want to go along with me. I’d be just as happy if someone wrote something like this in their own words). I just really liked the wording, the specificity, and contemporary context in Thich Nhat Hanh’s interpretation of the five precepts. I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with someone who was at Plum Village and part of the group that updated that language a few years back. It was nice to learn about some of the thinking that went into their word choices.