April 9, 2010

How Important Is Your Yoga Teacher’s Personal Practice?

She shoots for the stars…and falls!

Do As I Say, Not As I Do?

You know the yogasana students who seem to glide effortlessly into the trickiest arm balances and just pop right up into the most challenging inversion without skipping a beat? The dancers, the gymnasts, the supernaturally strong?

Well, I’m not one of them. And for the most part this isn’t something that concerns me because I love the practice of yoga and sharing it with others, on and off of the mat. It’s a challenge that I often find myself resisting but it’s also a source of joy, inspiration, and comfort.

As a teacher though, I sometimes feel limited by what I can’t yet and may never be able to do – physically and otherwise. Not because I believe the teachers with the strongest asana or meditation practices make the best teachers, but because I teach what I know. I don’t teach from the mat in class but I do “practice what I preach.”

Sometimes I wonder if my limitations in turn restrain the students who practice with me. Teachers, practitioners – let’s discuss. How important is the strength of a teacher’s personal practice (yoga, meditation, pranayama, etc.)? What are the qualities you seek out (or avoid) in a teacher?

BIO: Lindsay Jean Thomson teaches yoga in beautiful San Francisco. She’s a student too (and clearly has a lot to learn!) and she wants you to know that you’re your own best teacher. Om Mani Padme Hum – you’ve already got it all inside you, you’ve just got to believe it.

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