July 4, 2012

How Yogic Is Your Yoga Teacher? ~ Sue Fuller

As yoga continues to grow in popularity, the demand for yoga teachers increases—which makes me wonder whether all of today’s yoga teachers are teaching for the greater good of the student.

Or, are some viewing teaching as an easy way to make money or using class as their own personal stage?

On my twenty-year yogic journey, I have experienced some amazing teachers that have been inspirational, life changing and totally selfless—and others who unfortunately did not appear to share the same altruistic motivations. So, to help you determine how “yogic” your teacher is, I have put this fun quiz together.

The Three Gunas

Before we go any further, I would like to introduce the three natural qualities (gunas) that are present in everything and are forever changing.

In Vedanta (the philosophy of  the yoga), it has been recognized that for any form of evolution or change to occur, there must be a predominant guna. The balance of the gunas changes constantly depending upon current company and circumstance; they are also governed by how comfortable we feel at any given time.

There are the slow-moving and rather lazy—tamas, the highly energized, theatrical and often ego-driven—rajas, and the well-balanced and pure satva. As a group they are known as the three gunas.

It is important to remind ourselves that everyone needs to possess qualities from each guna.

In this quiz, there is no wrong and no right, so please don’t take it too seriously.

You have selected your teacher for a reason. Hopefully you have developed a sense of connection to your teacher, and feel that they are able to guide you safely and effectively through a yoga practice that is suitable and relevant for your current needs and requirements.

Answer the following by selecting A, B or C and then check to find out how your teacher did.

 1. Your teacher arrives to class finishing off a snack.  What is she/he snacking on?

A) A large chocolate chip cookie and a takeout coffee because it happens to be close at hand.

B) An energy bar and a fizzy drink.

C) A fresh fruit salad and mineral water.

 2. Your teacher is always…

A) Just on time for class and leaves you in Savasana while they continue to finish preparations for the class.

B) In the studio performing their most advanced postures whilst their students arrive.

C) Arrives early prepares the class and environment and sits quietly so that they are able to meet and great all students.

 3. Your teacher……

A) Does not help or advise those who are performing postures incorrectly.

B) Does not adjust their students because they are absorbed in performing their postures at the front of the class.

C) Assists all students and pitches the class to accommodate the students that have attended.

 4. Someone new to class has an injury, how does your teacher accommodate them?

A)  Lets the student struggle through the class and do what they can.

B)  Assume that they are the expert and that by following their advice they can heal this person.

C) Are they sensitive to their needs and requirements and offer alternatives and props to assist this person and recommend that they seek further advice if they are unsure.

5. What does your teacher wear to class?

A) A pair of un-ironed baggy track pants and an old t-shirt.

B) Whatever it is, it is always showy and accessorised to the max.

C) Clean comfortable, practical yogic clothing which is unintimidating to beginners yet suitable and relevant so that postures can be clearly demonstrated.

6. Your teacher…

A) Very rarely chats to students after class and is always very quick to leave the studio.

B) Always socializes with the same group of students before and after the class, which creates an uncomfortable environment for new class members.

C) Ensures that all students feel comfortable and welcome.

How did your teacher do?

Mostly A’s:  Tamas is their prominent in guna;(new sentence) this type of teacher might not be overly committed to the sharing and teaching yoga.

Mostly B’s:  Rajas is their prominent guna. A rajasic teacher is very theatrical and a natural performer. This type of teacher can be very good at presentation and delivery, but they may be prone to treating a class as their own personal showcase.

Mostly C’s:  Satva is your teachers prominent guna. A satvic teacher will share yoga in a selfless manner for the greater good of  all their students.


Sue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher and writer. She is the creator of the “Yoga 2 Hear” audio classes and is the resident yoga expert for Natural Health Magazine UK. To find out more about “Yoga 2 Hear,” visit www.yoga2hear.co.uk . Sue is also the founder of wellbeingworldonline.com, an online store that retails audio classes by leading teachers from around the globe in yoga, meditation, pilates, relaxation, sound healing, vocal training, music and more.


Editor:  April Dawn Ricchuito

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