One of my biggest peeves about life, and specifically Yoga, is the idea that many people have that someone who is labeled or deemed as an authority (teacher, supervisor, owner, etc) is considered to be above the rest of us “minions”. When it comes to Yoga, it is so disappointing to me to see people believe that the ‘teacher’ or the ‘guide’ is the end-all. Perhaps you have seen it as well where the person leading the class has become hero-ized. What comes next is that there is often no amount of self-discipline in place because the people taking the class rely solely on the teacher to be the source of wisdom and even more, the practice.
And yet, the practice itself is one of discovery, exploration and experience of the self.
Sure we all have favorite teachers that we work hard to make sure we get to their class, and we even might experience some disappointment when we see that there is a sub. If you find yourself latching on to one particular teacher, or you realize your are having an emotional response during those times when your fave is unexpectedly gone, it may be time to ask yourself a few questions and then make some needed changes.
Consider exploring the following:
1. Am I attached this person’s teaching style because I am comfortable? Maybe too comfortable?
2. Do I find myself believing that she/he is the reason I show up on the mat?
3. Have I told myself that I am not able to practice with anyone else? If so, why?
4. Do I have a personal home practice? If not, why?
5. Can I embrace the teachings of someone else without comparison or judgment?
6. Am I seeking relationship or approval from this person?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it may be time to practice alone or commit to a different teacher. Find someone who isn’t putting out energy that they have the answers or the only style that you can practice. Look for what energy you are putting into the situation and be reminded that the true yoga is of the Self, through the Self, to the Self. The waking up process should never be reliant on someone else. Consider what is yours to own and walk away from a practice where the teacher puts out that she/he is above you.
It is my belief as a Yoga teacher that we should share the experience of the practice with those that show up. I am no better than the person who attends class. To believe that I am such, is a disservice to those who are on the path of self-discovery.