If you follow yoga related social media accounts, you may have noticed a lot of beautiful gratitude circling around last week. A lot of thank you’s to teachers. You may have also seen the words Guru Purnima and wondered what it was all about.
What is Guru Purnima?
The full moon day in the Hindu Month of Ashad (July-August) is observed as the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, a holiday devoted to teachers in India (Gu – darkness – Ru – light: The one who brings light to darkness). On this day, we take the time to be in a state of gratitude for those who have shed light on our moments of darkness. This gratitude may take any form that is comfortable for you.
You can also celebrate Guru Purnima everyday, by taking a moment to honour that which life has taught you.
What is the significance of Guru Purnima for students of Yoga?
As students of yoga we have many teachers. We have those who we recognise and call our teachers. Our yoga teachers, our educators and our bosses. We also have teachers in our daily life. These teachers come to us in the form of parents, friends, children, co-workers and partners. As yoga students, we also try to recognise those teachers who come to us in mysterious and hidden forms. We may not have a good relationship with these people. They may have hurt us or been hurt by us.
As students of yoga we are on a lifelong path of learning, and it is significant for us to express gratitude to our teachers and their lineage who have passed on the wisdom that we have used to grow and transform.
How to celebrate Guru Purnima.
Study. Spend the day studying. Immerse yourself in yoga books or traditional texts. This is honouring the tradition of yoga. You may also spend time in swadhyaya or self study.
Write a letter. To yourself, your students, your teachers. Even if you do not plan to share it, take the time to transform your gratitude into words on the page.
Light a candle. In respect for your teachers and their teachers. For all the teachers we meet on our path, in whatever form they present themselves to us.
Acknowledge the teacher within you. Because we are all teachers, and being a teacher is a role with a lot of responsibility. And a great deal of respect.
Set intentions for the future. Guru Purmina falls on a full moon day, a perfect chance for setting intentions for the future. Start as small as you like, even if it’s just for the day or the week ahead.
Reflect. What have you learned? In what ways have you become wiser? Notice how this wisdom has transformed your life and feel gratitude for this wisdom. Perhaps write it down in a journal or mediate on this wisdom.
How do you acknowledge Guru Purnima in everyday life?