A good yoga teacher should disappear

3 min read

One of my dearest yogi friends once told me: “A good yoga teacher should disappear.” It took me years to understand what she meant.

Finding My Teacher

My yoga practice began to help me heal after I was hit by a vehicle. It wasn’t my favorite. I wouldn’t say I liked it at all. On the doctor’s recommendation, I went to this dry and sterile place one day per week.

My teacher was great. Competent and experienced. It’s not surprising that her yoga style is dry and precise. I stretched myself and more or less endured the class.

I then discovered a brand new style of yoga. My new yoga teacher was bursting with personality, energy, and dynamism. She had a cult following among her students, and her studio was like a secret to which only the chosen few were privy.

She encouraged me, and I did not want to disappoint. I sweated for 2 hours every morning. My body was coaxed into positions that it had never taken before. And my heart swelled with delight when she gave her approval.

Finding Myself

Unfortunately, I also injured myself without realizing it. In the early years of my career, I felt like something was missing. I was that missing piece.

It’s still a wonderful feeling to see a well-choreographed, poetic yoga sequence performed fluidly, in sync with an infectious beat. It feels so great.

Sometimes, the charisma and personality of a teacher can be used as a form of entertainment that helps us avoid what’s really happening. A teacher who is bursting with pride at the idea of saying something important can fill the air with a lot of words and “wisdom.”

This can make our yoga practice another way of not being with ourselves or what is happening. Here, now.

Why a good yoga teacher disappears

After a major surgery, and during the months that followed my first yoga instructor’s simple and practical teachings became clear to me. I knew I needed to change the way I approached my yoga practice if I was going to continue.

I count myself fortunate that my injury made me start slowly and quietly. It’s not because this is a better method of practice, but rather because I was able to hear what my body had to say before I moved too fast to notice. Connect with the subtle sensations of my channels and the natural impulse that runs through them.

The role of a good yoga teacher is to be a signpost and then get out of the way. You can ask your teacher to whisper, “Look here” as you search for the alignment. When you compare your experience with your inner knowing, seeking harmony and resonance within yourself, that is yoga.

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