The latest RSA Animate video has taken the interwebs by storm and is turning up all over the place. Rightfully so ~ Sir Ken Robinson‘s talk on changing education paradigms is inspiring and persuasive. He calls for reforming the public education system for economic and cultural reasons. Clearly, the current paradigm, which is based on the intellectual culture of the enlightenment period and the economic model of the industrial revolution, isn’t applicable to our world. Inherent in these structures are also assumptions of social standing and capacity.

So basically, the education system, which is modeled on the interests and images of industrialism, continues to meet the future by doing what’s been done in the past. He illuminates how the current education system results in conformity and standardization, instead of creativity and “divergent thinking” (to see lots of possibilities). He also reveals recent research which indicates that we are all born with the capacity of a genius, and this is smothered out of us by schooling. Sir Ken calls for changing the education paradigm because it has and will continue to cause chaos in people’s lives. But before change can happen, we have to think differently about human capacity and recognize that collaboration is the stuff of growth.

As I was watching this, I thought about the system for educating people about yoga teachings in North America, and how this is based on a model that often serves economic interests (ie, keeping a studio in business, training more teachers to teach in one’s studio, etc). And I wondered if the  North American yoga community is also meeting the future by doing what’s been done in the past.

Yet, I also see how the way that yoga is often taught (and this speaks to my experiences studying at Yasodhara Ashram and in the Anusara teacher training) speaks to Sir Ken’s suggestions for adopting a new paradigm. Most yoga training happens collaboratively, in groups, and lacks rote learning and written exams (which some people are calling for in yoga training programs). And at the heart of yoga is the belief that human capacity is infinite and limitless.

What does yoga have to offer a new paradigm? How is the current paradigm distorting or not serving yoga in North America?

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