As we embark on the journey of YTT, it is reasonable that we spend some time to contemplate on the roles and relationship of the teacher. In the olden days in some traditions, a teacher is viewed as respectful as, if not more venerable than own parents. Once a teacher, the person will gain the status of a lifelong parental figure of the student.
However, in today’s rapidly moving world, when we go to the yoga classes, we merely wish to have some good workouts, exercises or stretching by imitating the shapes and following the instructions led by the person at the center of the front stage, and hopefully if lucky enough (due to a big class) the person would come over and help align and correct your poses. Most often we call that person as the yoga instructor. Often times, people come, do the asanas then leave with minimum interaction between the the instructor and the students.
In the yogic world, a teacher is the container where knowledge and wisdom are conveyed through oral tradition, as well as the medium where the knowledge are passed on to his student through generations of knowledge transfer. Even if we just receive a drop of wisdom, that wisdom had been passing down all the way from the time of Patanjali through generations of lineage and finally reach us through our teacher.
A teacher is a mentor who provides the light of knowledge that guides a student to make changes that serve the best of the student. The teacher is also a protector who guides to remove the ignorance that cause ego and enable the student to attain an open-mind in order to learn and grow in a safe environment. A teacher is a role model, who practices what he teaches and embodied the true yoga philosophy and lifestyle.
We might ask the question whether is the teacher who seek out for the student or the student who choose the teacher? The answer is neither as it is like a radio when it is tuned to a station, it immediately starts to play. The union with of our teacher has been destined to happen when the time is ripen since our chakras’ vibrations attract each other to come together.
In the Om prayer the we chant before beginning of every yoga practices, there is a verse specially dedicated to our teachers. The underlying essence of this verse is to express our gratitude to the great teacher Patanjali, as well as respect and salutation to all the teachers and its lineage (Guru Parampara).
Sankha Chakrasi Dharinam
Sahasra Sirasam Svetam
By surrendering ourselves to humility to learn as a student, one will be able to fully receive the knowledge and reap the benefits of yoga, When the heart is surrounded with love and gratitude and by letting go of our ego, we experience an elevated inner sense of serenity and our learning journey will go much further in the years to come.