3.17.2011

The Search

Shiva as Dakshinamurthy, teacher of all knowledge. (image source)
I've spent the better part of the last few days in my own head, searching for an answer to an unnamed question.  Something is amiss, but I can't quite put my finger on it.  Intense dreams descend upon me like a wave and then recede, leaving flashes of broken imagery and a lingering, low cloud of indistinct emotion.  I am drawn, for the first time in many years, to travel, to seek in the exterior.  I yearn to leave the long-held and familiar behind, to disassemble the very structure of my daily life, to allow it to regenerate in a new, improved ideal.

I am wrapped in urgency and aimlessness, trembling in this overload of barely controlled prana.  It hit me hard today:  I need a teacher.  I need a teacher I can trust to guide me along this length of the path.  I am weary of going it alone.

It fills me with sorrow to I say that I have never had a teacher, or a guru -- someone to keep a watchful eye on my practice and nudge me in the right direction. I have had instructors.  During yoga teacher training, I regularly attended the classes of several great teachers.  And then, of course, there were the actual YTT course instructors.  At the time, I softened to become a student and gather what I could, but, looking back, even the teachers I spent hours on end with during the course of those three months never really filled the role of teacher in my mind.  I never arrived in a place where I felt I could trust them entirely -- there was too much frivolity and too many holes in the program.

But it would be unfair of me to say that this was entirely their fault.  I am in intense student.  I work hard and I come prepared, and I am surprised at how frequently teachers are unprepared for this.  This is not to say that I haven't learned from others.  I have, and do every day.  But I need a strong leader right now.  There are signposts on the threshold warning me not to carry on unattended. 

Apart from my own needs, it occurred to me that, as a teacher, I should know the dynamics of a student-teacher relationship within the context of such a highly personal and powerful discipline as yoga.  The union of the body, mind, and spirit.  The realization of the self.  This is not a frivolous pursuit.  I could use a good mentor, at the very least.  And so the search begins.

But where do I start?  How will I choose?  How does one go about finding a teacher, or is it the teacher who finds the student?  And, of course, there's the money.  And the time, not to mention the trust issues and various other psychological blocks to contend with.  It's sounding like a misguided search already, but I'm putting it out there, leaving the door ajar, so to speak, so my teacher, whoever he or she may be, knows they are welcome.

3 comments:

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing this! I've never taken teacher training before so this is good for me to know.

    What kind of qualities are you looking for in an ideal teacher? Are there any yoga classes you've taken where you're like, "Wow, I wish I could teach like this person! I would be so happy if I could ever become half as awesome as him/her!" Teachers like this may be far away though and like you said time and money are issues.

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  2. @Yyogini - It's difficult to summarize what kind of teacher I'm looking for because I don't really know. I just know that I haven't met him or her yet.

    I don't care if he or she is a big name or not, but it is vitally important to me that my teacher also be a student of the practice and teach from personal experience over tradition.

    If you are considering YTT, I only recommend that you select the program very carefully and deliberately. I remember when I was deciding whether or not to attend my teacher training, a commenter (I believe it was Yoga Spy) remarked that, as a skilled and dedicated student, I should wait for a high caliber teacher. I did not heed her advice, but I have often thought since then, "I should have listened to Yoga Spy." Ha! The life of a blogging yogini.

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  3. LOL... thanks for your advice. I will follow what Yoga Spy says. Right now I should really just do more yoga.

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