Seek Experienced Teachers
“My practice feels more habitual than intentional” I tell my meditation teacher as we sit in private session.
“Oh, that’s a very good distinction to make” she says. And once she discovers that I don’t have a set daily asana sequence she tells me to stop meditating. Well, not entirely, but to meditate every other day instead of daily and to practice asana on the off days.
That’s why my mat is unrolled at 6am and I’m drowsily going through motions that could be called asana if you look at them the right way. It’s also why I’m longing for my meditation practice. As soon as she suggested taking it away - I wanted it right back. A good tactic for making meditation a gift not a chore.
I love working with experienced teachers because they really know what they’re doing. She knew how to make me WANT to meditate. She has seen it all: 40 year old women who’s meditation has gone dry, 50 year old men who keep losing their tempers. People with cancer. People divorcing. People having babies and break downs and break throughs. She has seen all of it and helped each person try to bring more attention and consciousness to the circumstances as they are.
She can do that because she has years of practice herself. She isn’t trying to direct from a place of theory. She has lived and breathed the teachings she conveys.
Those are the elements I’m looking for when I’m looking for an experienced teacher. Do they have a practice of their own? Have they been there and done that in their own life? And do they have experience helping others with it?
When you work with an experienced teacher you get nuance and fine tuning that a new teacher just doesn’t have. You get personal guidance that can fit you precisely because the teacher has already tried things like this on other people. Sometimes the teacher will say something that will completely transform your practice. You get deep wisdom from years of personal knowledge. You get humility from them because they know they don’t know everything and that they’re not supposed to. Mostly you get a person who you can truly look up to. An experienced teacher should feel like the person you want to be when you grow up.
Be choosy when you look for a teacher. Seek out teachers who serve you fully. Find the person with the depth to help take your practice deeper. And if you can’t learn from that person all the time, find their students who are becoming teachers and stick with them. Ask questions and get answers. Look for the people who’ve been down this path many times before and have helped many other people. Look for them to inspire you to live your best in this lifetime. And stay close.
I would love to hear about some of your favorite teachers. Please share about them in the comments below!
And, I am so excited that one of my greatest teachers, Todd Norian, is coming to Richmond in September. He has been practicing yoga since I was 2 years old - so I consider him an extremely experienced teacher.
Learn more and register!