Last week we highlighted a piece — I’m assuming online only — at Yoga Journal about guidelines for yoga teachers.
It got me thinking about a related — it may even be flip side — idea: what qualities, as a practitioner, do I most value in my yoga teachers?
Some are obvious: deep knowledge of yoga — from the Sutras to the asanas. I’ve written about the importance of a sense of humor before. (As far as I can tell, it’s still drastically lacking.) There are more subtle, but at the same time more concrete, factors like parampara. I suppose. That doesn’t do anything to guarantee someone is a good teacher. Or a good person.
For me, though, if I had to put one at the top of the heap, I’d say “understanding.” And I’d put it at the top because I have found it so rarely. The vast amount of yoga teachers I’ve encountered really don’t seem to understand — or empathize with — students that don’t have their strength or flexibility or even their eating habits. (Admittedly, I’ve only read about people having encounters with yoga teachers who complained they smelled like meat when they sweat, but those stories ring true.)
As a result, their instruction — their teaching — is incredibly limited, even if it is limited to enough students to fill their classes.
Hmmm… that really reads harsher than I intend it, although I do think there is a great divide between what most yoga teachers are capable of teaching and what most potential students are capable of practicing. (But, again, for most teachers they are able to get enough capable students in their classes.) And I don’t mean to muddy my question (although muddy it I probably have): What qualities do you most value in a yoga teacher?
Posted by Steve