The Yoga Teacher

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

One of the most important qualifications of a yoga teacher is a steady mind and a balanced personality. If he is restless, unstable and caught within the storms of life and emotional upheavals, then at the most he can only be a tutor. All over the world there are hundreds of thousands of yoga teachers, professors, lecturers, tutors and masters of yoga. Apart from transmitting knowledge, these teachers should also give forth their personal vibrations, magnetism and spiritual qualities. Otherwise when you attend their classes, you may learn many things which you can discuss afterwards, but when you think about it, you feel that in your spiritual life, or in the realm of your inner personality, you have really gained nothing.

What can a teacher of yoga give you? An experience and knowledge. Knowledge is confined to the intellectual domain. Experience is what enables us to imbibe what we have learned on a practical level. What is experience in yoga? Facing the situations of life with peace, courage and understanding. Life is not a flat plain or a simple path; it is a series of experiences of ups and downs which occur on the economic, emotional and spiritual planes.

When you go to a yoga teacher, you should not be intent on seeing his certificates. True, sometimes certificates are necessary for opening an institution, but for a disciple or student they are not important. Don’t look for certificates or the quantum of knowledge a teacher possesses, but see if there is complete agreement between the two lobes of his brain. In most people, the right and left sides of the brain are always in conflict. What the right side thinks, the left side is discharging. What the left side accepts, the right side is always criticizing. That is the source of conflict in man’s behaviour. In order to become a teacher of yoga there should be harmony between these two giants within the head.