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How To Choose The Yoga Teacher That’s Right For You

3 Questions to Ask

Yoga can be a very intimate, rewarding practice. Your first experience can often make it or break it in terms of whether or not you will continue to pursue the practice of yoga. That is why it is so important to find a truly great yoga teacher, one that you can trust to guide you through the tangled terrain of physical postures and emotional journeying within.
Yogi Aaron, Yoga Director at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa in Costa Rica, reveals the three questions he asks teachers before taking their classes.
Are you asking the right questions?

1. Who was their teacher and what is their lineage?

Some yoga lineages are not lineages, but more of a name-brand style of yoga. Like McDonald’s and Burger King is for hamburgers, so we have the same for yoga. They are not connected to a tradition or a teacher. There are many in the yoga world who would have you believe otherwise, but do not be fooled.

There are other lineages that have popped up in the last 100 years. You may think that they are ancient in their techniques and lineages, but they are not. Some of those are Iyengar Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, and Ashtanga Yoga, just to name a few. 

Find out who the teacher’s teacher was, and then who their teacher was, and so on. If what you learn feels right to you, you will know that you have found your teacher.

2. Are they actually thriving in life?

Yogi Aaron recalls, “in the late 80’s and early 90’s I lived in Vancouver, Canada, where spiritual leaders seemed to come out of the woodwork. There was a constant theme in all of their lives – they were not thriving. All of them seemed to be simultaneously ending a relationship, a marriage or a partnership of some kind. They were nearly all in debt or financially insecure. There was another theme of heavy drug use or pot smoking. They all gave the illusion they were doing well, and it was all ‘cool,’ but none of them were thriving. It was just an illusion.” 

Find an instructor who you are proud to call your teacher. Not because they have a lot of things or live in a big house, but because they are taking care of themselves and their responsibilities. And most importantly, because they do what they say they are going to do.

3. How content are they?

A great way to gauge if a teacher is right for you is to notice how content they are. Try asking them, but contentment is an interesting word and it is a hard one to define. That statement in and of itself demands more explanation. Perhaps it is not so much a statement as an observation. An observation more clearly outlined by finding or seeing discontentment. 

Here are things to take note of that display the opposite of contentment:

  • Perpetually negative or complaining about their life
  • Needing to have new things all the time
  • Obsessed with the latest yoga clothes and fashions
  • Constantly dolled up whenever they show up to class
  • Surrounded by a lot of stuff and things
  • Seems restless and agitated.
  • Cannot sit still for very long and fidgets a lot

The gauge in finding a yoga teacher that is right for you is a difficult path. For some of you, you might go years and even decades without finding your teacher. And for some of you, you will meet them and not even know it.

Just remember to always keep your spiritual ears open, your heart sincere, and stay devoted on your path. Don’t be distracted. Pray every day for guidance. Stay true on the path to enlightenment and the right guru or spiritual mentor will show up and change your life forever.

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