How Do You Discover a Yoga Mentor?

This entry was posted on Mar 26, 2024 by Charlotte Bell.

Yoga Mentor

Till the twentieth century, yoga—the entire system—was all the time taught one on one. An aspiring yogi studied with their yoga mentor usually for many years. Through the years, the instructor realized the coed’s particular abilities and their blind spots. The yoga mentor then tailor-made the instructing to the coed’s particular person wants. Some college students went on to grow to be lecturers when their mentor felt they had been prepared. Others remained lifelong practitioners, however by no means taught yoga.

That’s not what the teacher-student relationship appears like today. It’s not fairly really easy for a instructor to know their college students within the context of group courses and huge, short-term trainings. Nonetheless, the chance exists. Whereas it’s not frequent, there are lecturers on the market who need to educate to small teams. I’m lucky to have discovered lecturers, again in 1986, whose calling it’s to create house for small teams to dive deep.

You’ve in all probability by no means heard of the place. The retreat heart is named The Final Resort, and is nestled within the mountains east of Cedar Metropolis, Utah. In case you haven’t heard of it, it has nothing to do with the standard of the retreats. It has the whole lot to do with the lecturers—Pujari and Abhilasha Keays—and their intention to maintain issues small in order that they may get to know every particular person alongside the way in which.

Longevity is Key

As a result of I’ve practiced yoga for therefore lengthy, I’ve had the nice fortune to get to review with a plethora of nice lecturers, most of whom I met at a time when a “huge” workshop consisted of 20-30 college students. I’ve gotten not solely to study from, however to know lecturers reminiscent of Donna Farhi (with whom I’ve co-taught and hosted in my metropolis in all probability 18-20 occasions) and Judith Hanson Lasater (whom I met in 1986 and have studied with in all probability a dozen occasions). Whereas I’ve taken workshops with many extra senior lecturers over the many years—and realized one thing from all of them—it’s the lecturers who I’ve gotten to know by means of many workshops, retreats and conversations that I think about to be my yoga mentors.

Pujari and Abhilasha knew me in my 20s, after I was a really totally different particular person. They had been totally different then too. I’ve been really privileged to have witnessed the metamorphoses of my essential asana lecturers, Donna Farhi and Judith Hanson Lasater, as effectively. That form of continuity and longevity is uncommon and actually has no substitute. A instructor who is aware of your historical past—the place you began and who you at the moment are—is like having a private information as you journey alongside your path.

How one can Discover a Yoga Mentor

Today, with big workshops and retreat facilities that home a whole bunch, it’s rather more troublesome to domesticate this type of private relationship. Provided that that is yoga’s present actuality, how are you going to develop a deeper relationship with a yoga mentor?

  • Look domestically. There are extra individuals than ever instructing yoga today. Go searching your personal space. Many native lecturers are simply as educated and dedicated because the lecturers who journey. Free from the calls for of cultivating a nationwide or worldwide presence, native lecturers are prone to have extra time and vitality to present to their college students.
  • Discover out which lecturers have been round for some time. Individuals who have taught for greater than 10 years are in all probability in it for the lengthy haul, and their data and observe will probably be extra mature. After I consider the place I began, I usually really feel that I ought to have paid my college students to take my courses in my first 10 years. It’s not that my intentions weren’t good; they had been. All of us have to start out someplace. There are some very competent youthful, newer lecturers on the market. Contemporary, new lecturers can lead energetic and provoking asana courses. However if you happen to’re in search of a mentoring-type relationship, an individual with extra life expertise and some many years of observe to develop perspective is perhaps a better option.
  • Take courses from all kinds of lecturers. In case you like vinyasa, go to vinyasa lecturers in your space. But in addition look into slower, extra meditative courses. If a instructor tells you that you simply shouldn’t observe something apart from their model of yoga, be cautious. This usually has extra to do with the instructor’s insecurities than a priority to your wellbeing. Search for an individual who can rejoice in your evolution, regardless of how intently it follows their prescriptions.
  • Check out smaller courses. The lecturers with big courses are often a lot much less accessible. It’s very troublesome to maintain observe of fifty college students, and in a category the place college students are mat to mat, the instructor can usually barely transfer across the class. A instructor with 5, 10 or 20 college students can rather more simply get to know her college students.
  • Discover a instructor who’s prepared to inform the reality—with kindness and compassion. Pujari provides telephone counseling. I’ve taken benefit of this numerous occasions, and it has all the time helped make clear issues that appeared unsolvable. Nonetheless, there have been occasions after I knew he’d see by means of illusions I desperately needed to carry on to. At these occasions I’d keep away from calling him, although I knew it will be useful. A mentor will allow you to see by means of your blind spots, however in a manner that’s type and respectful.
  • What’s vital to you? I felt a right away connection to all 4 of my most influential lecturers: Pujari, Abhilasha, Donna and Judith. Whereas I didn’t essentially assume they might grow to be mentors early on, I instantly acknowledged and revered their dedication and integrity. These qualities are extraordinarily vital to me. My belief of their integrity and dedication to continue to learn induced me to return to them repeatedly. What qualities are vital to you in a instructor? Spend a while figuring out what’s most vital to you and as you check out totally different lecturers.
  • Discovering a yoga mentor—or mentors—doesn’t imply you may’t study from all kinds of lecturers. However a discovering a mentor who will get to know you through the years of your personal evolution, by means of all of your ups and downs, can result in a profound friendship that may allow you to negotiate not solely your yoga observe but in addition your life observe.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and started instructing in 1986. Charlotte is the creator of Conscious Yoga, Conscious Life: A Information for On a regular basis Observe and Yoga for Meditators, each printed by Rodmell Press. Her third e book is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and people sextet Purple Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.

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