‘Duty’ is a double-edged sword of a word. It can suggest all the stuff we don’t want to do but must. Yet certain duties have the capacity to liberate us – or at least, in asking for our disciplined awareness, offer up a path to growth. Parenting, for instance, or any labour of love.
Here we can flip the word over: duty can be elevated to devotion, something we may be bound to, but out of love, an inner feeling or sensitivity.
So what is duty in the context of yoga practice? Is the thing that gets us onto the mat in the first place, the same thing that keeps us going? What compels some practitioners to take the extra leap to become teachers? Could we call that a duty?
Of course each of these questions is a potential rabbit hole of inquiry. For instance, if our yoga or spiritual practice is a duty, are there consequences of not fulfilling it? What is the real responsibility of the teacher?
I was intrigued to hear what these four senior yoga teachers – Eve Grzbowski, Mark Robberds, Maty Ezraty, and Trevor Tangye – had to say on the matter of duty.
By Neera Scott
Illustrations by Francesco Lo Iacono
Photos by Cynthia Sciberras