Yoga is a path of transformation. Physical and mental transformation. For transformation to happen, you need to feel safe. It is unlikely to let go of something – be it physical tension, fear or a mental pattern – if you feel the need to protect yourself.
Since a Shala is a place dedicated to the process of Yoga, above all, a Shala must be an environment to feel safe in. Trust and mutual respect are essential in this regard.
Through the work of Yoga, a relationship between teacher and student gradually unfolds. In the best case, this relationship is rooted in love, trust and respect. It is within the role of the teacher to invite the student to go beyond set boundaries and to guide the student through those, sometimes challenging, moments. However: this organic process can only occur, if beforehand, the student has invited the teacher to assume that role. It is a very beautiful, subtle dance between the two which has many many facets and where both sides are committed to give their best.
Impatience, a pushing attitude, a certain sharp kind of authority, the belief in an unquestionable hierarchy, physical and mental violence are utterly detrimental to the teacher/student relationship. They foster the total opposite of what the atmosphere in a Shala should be. After all, they are clear signs that something has gone astray from the path of Yoga.