Finding a Teacher

So I have recently moved to NYC from Los Angeles and I am facing all the important necessities of life, including but not limited to finding a job, and now finding teachers of my own.

I make it a point to always be a student. I grew up in a family, which believes we are never finished and we need to constantly learn in order to be true teachers. So finding a teacher for me is a necessity.

Now that I’m in NY, where and with whom should I practice? I know that understanding many styles is important to grasping modern yoga. After all, modern yoga is a melting pot of structures. It would be a disservice to a student to practice with just one teacher for the rest of her life without experiencing other forms. Just like it would be a disservice to ourselves if we just ate one thing for the rest of our lives…not only is it boring; it’s unhealthy!

I came to NYC with the intention to practice with great teachers, ready to learn from those who are new to me and who are specialists in their field. I’m eager to find leaders of the industry who impact and shape the yoga community both locally and worldwide.

So far I’ve found a lot of mediocre yoga. But I think the quality of yoga I’ve experienced is related to the shocking amount of teachers who don’t practice with a teacher in town and may not be furthering their practice.  And yet if a teacher is learning from someone, they will not let their guru’s name passed their lips. Why not share the knowledge, yogis?

Before you completely hate me, please know that I’m comparing the yoga community here to what I know from LA. In LA, it is very common to see well-known teachers from different lineages taking classes with each other and quoting them in their own class. I’m not saying that everyone gets along perfectly in LA. There are hurt feelings and grudges after businesses pop up and students shift. But I have yet to find camaraderie in NY between teachers from different lineages like in LA. I know life in New York is hard in a million ways and for most of us it’s survival of the fittest.

In my experience, great teachers support and share knowledge they get from each other. In an ideal world, wisdom and education is fluid and accessible to all. I realize that I might be too much of a naïve optimist for most New Yorkers. I am a recent transplant to this city after all.

But I’m a teacher in search of a teacher. This journey has caused me to redefine my own meaning of what that means. I don’t have all the answers, but hopefully I’ll find someone soon who can help me distinguish between the questions.

Sarah Girard

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2 comments

  1. It is pretty intuitive that you picked up on the scene so quickly. There is so much yoga in this town and so much bad yoga at that. I have been practicing for close to 20 years here and I can tell you that the last 5 to 10 years have produced a glut of new teachers. They are not being trained by established teachers but by recently graduated teachers. It seems the yoga studios have figured out that the only way to make money is to hold teacher trainings. Sadly all this does is dilute the core teachings and turn the whole thing into one big marketing blitz with everyone branding themselves. It’s so sad and discouraging. The competition is out of control. Social media is filled with people posting their teaching schedule. Ugh. Annoying. If you do find a teacher that inspires you please share. Good luck!

  2. I love your article Sarah! I can really relate. One of my favorite ‘teacher’s teachers’ here is Jennifer Brilliant. http://www.JenniferBrilliant.com Her classes are not sweaty or physically demanding though – but she is good at challenging you out of your comfort zone and picking up on things to help you grow in your practice.

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