Finding a suitable Yoga teacher :

A scriptural perspective

Finding a yoga asana, pranayama, meditation or scriptural teacher suitable to one's temperament is not always easy. Very often, teachers who have achieved name and fame will not be suitable at all since they are so scattered with myriad responsibilities that it is not possible for them to give the custom guidance that one needs. Here is a story from the Buddhist scriptures on how to determine if a teacher is suitable for one's temperament.

Mahaprajapathi Gautami was Gautama the Buddha's foster mother (Gautama's mother passed away soon after he was born). She was also the first woman to be appointed as a Buddhist Nun. At a certain time, after she became a nun, the number of teachers within Buddhism had increased and each teacher taught quite differently, often with conflicting viewpoints. Gautami, like many other students, was confused by these conflicting viewpoints and decided to make a long journey to go to the Buddha and ask his advice on which teacher to follow.

She made the journey and arrived at the place where the Buddha was staying. She approached the Buddha and asked for his advice on how to find the right teacher. This is what the Buddha told her,

" The teachings of the right teacher will result in

  1. Lightness to one’s heart and not burden

  2. A feeling of freedom, not imprisonment

  3. Dispassion not passion

  4. Aroused persistence and not laziness

  5. Shedding not accumulation

  6. Modesty not self-aggrandizement

  7. Seclusion and not entanglement

  8. Contentment and not discontent.

Use these guidelines to determine which teacher is right for you”

These principles are valid even today in how we find the right yoga teacher suitable to our own nature.