How to choose teachers

One of my students asked me the other day, how I choose my teachers. There are several things I do to find these teachers. The most important of all is that I would only choose to trust teachers who are willing to honor their lineage. Who were their original teachers? Where did they learn their art form? Do they still study with them? 

If you have to dig a lot to find out their lineage, I would question their authenticity. Yoga teachers are humans. Humans full of flaws, egos and mistakes who are trying to do their best in their own ways. They are not perfect, glowing, “enlightened” beings who know all things about life. They are the mothers, fathers, divorced, financially, mentally, physically struggling human souls who delight in someone else’s breakthroughs. At the same time, like any other humans, there are times we may like to hide our past, pretend to invent something we didn’t or teach that very “unique and original” sequence and claim it all.

No one is perfect. in fact, the more perfect they look, the more they may be hiding. But I wouldn’t be looking for perfection in teachers. I am looking for their humility, authenticity and their very real way of dealing with every day challenges that we all face. I look for their words and actions amongst their family members or friends. If I’m not close enough, I send them Emails with questions and see when or if they answer. Did they kindly take time to consider my questions? Or are they selling another “transformational” workshops coming up next month that’s “perfect” for me? Or is it perhaps their assistants who answered them? Nothing wrong with their asstants’ answering. If they look like they took time to answer your questions, then their are great disciples of a great teacher. 

Great teachers always answer our questions. It may take time but they do and their answers may not be an answer but rather leads to another question towards your inquiry. When I was particularly confused about my path, I confided in my teacher that I was lost. He reminded me by saying that I was “part of a lineage which doesn’t mean you are perfect but there is a process of continuous connection that you can rely on.” It was one of the kindest things any teachers could ever say to his/her students. I immediately gathered my soul, collected my strength and confidence and got back to my work. 

If you are looking for a teacher, first relax and sit back, continue your studies. As a great student emerges, a great teacher naturally appears. And when he/she does show up in your life, ask questions and watch what happens. 

About the author: Tomomi Becot

Tomomi is the owner of Flying Elephant Yoga in Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia. She started practicing yoga when she first moved to Canada as a teenager in 2000. She then became a certified yoga teacher in 2008 and has been an integral part of extensive yoga teacher training programs both at a 200hr and 500hr level. After teaching and traveling in North America, Mexico, Australia, and Bali, Indonesia, she established her own independent yoga school in 2014. Her classes are based on vinyasa or flow mixed with her own personality and experience, and various styles of yoga she studied along her journey. With the background of vinyasa, power vinyasa, yin, pre- and post-natal yoga, she encourages her students to observe their minds while nurturing their own individuality. Her classes are about honoring both the traditional and the modern, physical and mental aspects of yoga.