‘Straight legs! No resting! Do that again. Again.’
Whenever I do self-practice, my teacher and her voice go with me. I admire and respect her dedication to the practice and her desire to instill the same in us, her students.
I’ve been with the same teacher since January 2019. She has seen the highs and lows of my practice, my shortcomings as a student, and a few of my so-called breakthroughs.
It’s a simple formula. If the relationship works for both teacher and student, it can turn into a long-term commitment.
When one teaches, two learn.
A good yoga teacher does not harass students.
Look at Bikram Choudhury, the man who built an empire out of hot yoga. The money and fame and began exploiting women.
She does not show off what she can do to students. She demonstrates with the intention to teach but not to brag.
A good yoga teacher does not power trip just because she has practiced longer than the rest of the class.
In March, I attended a class with a male teacher in Bali who taught the class to grind without stopping. It made me feel humiliated and I felt extremely uncomfortable. I talked to the event organizer and stopped attending his class afterward. That was traumatizing and never again will I keep quiet when something similar happens in the future.
A good yoga teacher is not a bully.
She does not only rely on her own knowledge and techniques when teaching. She looks to a qualified teacher and fellow teachers with reverence and respect.
A good yoga teacher does not carry negative energy into the class.
She does not scold students to make them feel bad about themselves.
There’s a way of knowing if a yoga teacher is genuine and has the right intentions.
A good yoga teacher is open to questions and ready for discussion.
She is not afraid to refer to other sources for knowledge and willing to share what those sources are.
She is bound to reality and does not promise a magical transformation out of yoga.
Yoga is a practice that takes a lot of work and that’s what a good yoga teacher focuses on — the work, the time, the effort that students must put in not for anything else but only for themselves. Sri Pattabhi Jois said ‘Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.’
She accepts mistakes and can laugh at herself.
Teachers are humans too. A good yoga teacher accepts that she does not know everything (who does?) and is not afraid to say it out loud. She accepts that just like everyone, she is also a work in progress.
She focuses on how she can help students to become better in their practice.
She is encouraging. She can be strict and demand a lot from her students but the students understand it’s for their own good.
Each person’s yoga journey is different.
There are many ups and downs. There might even be confusion along the way.
I hope that you will stay on this path and be led to being the student that you want to be.
If you have found your teacher, you are fortunate. Be grateful and express it by being committed to your practice.
If you haven’t found one, keep seeking and never stop practicing.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
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