Who is better, your regular teacher or the visiting teacher?



Many years ago I participated in a weekly mediation group. I felt my teacher was very wise (and still is) as he was steadfast in adhering to the weekly meeting no matter what. He even held the group when his newborn child was in intensive care! We would sit quietly in mediation for one hour, and then he would give a one hour talk. Once upon a blue moon he would pass out information about the new 10 day retreat coming to town, or the 10 day retreat in Bali, or the visiting teacher who was giving a talk at the university. He would never go to these events stating that “I used to be a 10 day retreat habitué, but I found that they don’t really provide me any more insight than I already have.”

The yoga world has more of it’s share of “10 day retreats” with so and so teacher. I admit I enjoy attending workshops with visiting teachers as they bring new insight into my practice and are current with Iyengars. But as I reflect on what I am getting from my mentoring teachers compared to any teacher I have come across in a workshop, I am finding that I have learned vastly more and progressed much further from the steady stableness that they provide.

Yoga wasn’t set up to be a discipline taught by a cadre of superstar visiting teachers. It was set up for one teacher and one pupil in an intensive tutelage format. The more I study with my original mentoring teachers, the more I see the value in the original guru/sishya format.

There is a widespread attention span disorder in our world. I feel that the yoga community is not immune. You hear people say “oh this teacher is coming, did you go to Wanderlust last year? I can’t go this year because I am going to this teacher in LA….blah blah blah.”

My question is what exactly are you learning from these visiting teachers that you are not learning from your regular teacher? You may learn a few cool tricks about how to extend the heel this way or use the prop that way, but are these profound life changing skills? Probably not.

I am not saying to abhor workshops or visiting teachers. My question is by attending all these different teachers, are you muddling the waters of discernment? Are you confusing yourself? Are you a workshop “habitué?”

My advice in my lowly Intro II status is to pick two or three workshops a year where you feel the teacher will provide you some benefit, or answer some question that your regular teachers have not been able to answer. But stick to your regular teachers. They are the true gold of your practice.




4 thoughts on “Who is better, your regular teacher or the visiting teacher?

  1. missporter

    I agree with your idea that people of the yoga works are not immune to attention deficit disorder. Some people have more work to do than others… Or they just don’t quite understand what Yoga is truly about or do the not appreciate it’s many amazing benefits..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. diane sing

    I agree for the most part. You can’t really expect to get life changing yoga lessons at workshops or festivals. There simply isn’t enough one on one time with the instructor. I completely understand, although, the need to attend a lot of different teacher’s workshops or classes at these festivals if you are still searching for that “teacher” that you really connect with their method. As for myself, I am still searching for a teacher whose philosophy seems to connect with my own. Festivals and workshops not only offer valuable lessons in alignment and different variations on common poses that will enhance your already growing practice, but also allow students and teachers to connect with a huge variety of teachers and their different disciplines. For someone primarily in a town of hot yoga studios, an introduction to an Iyengar practice at a festival might change their way of viewing yoga and in turn change their practice. For someone who focuses on Yin Yoga, they might find a Forest Yoga practice that speaks to them. I know, I will continue to attend these festivals to simply enhance my current practice even if I don’t find a teacher that speaks to me. I think if you view these events as what they are… a mashup of yoga experiences… that all of these have their place in the yoga community.


  3. Pingback: Five years a blogger | Yoga Spy

  4. Trish Nealon

    Just saw this 3 years later! I’m a regular teacher devotee. Love knowing my few Iyengar teachers and love the fact that they know me and my practice. Years past I used to spread my yoga-self more thinly. Now it seems I have traded off the excitement of the new for a home practice along with regular weekly classes, a wise reallocation of my time. Feels perfect.



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