At Sport Fitness, the gym I regularly attend for yoga classes, there are four teachers throughout the week.
Of them, two are ok but have much room for improvement. One of these repeats poses so frequently, by the end of class we've only done a handful. Furthermore, many are repeated each session. This past week, I put a big effort into not becoming annoyed at such repetition, however, when we went from standing straight up, hands extended to bending over touching toes four times in a row for the 3rd week (after a series of other repeated moves), I'd had enough.
My effort to participate and regularly attend yoga is to further develop my skills, flexibility and personal insight. All of these are not being enhanced, challenged or even pushed with this teacher.
The second offers mildly more challenging poses, though the class communal structure, is very loose. By this I mean the teacher spends too much time with each individual who needs support as the rest of us finish the set (counted reps and not held for duration). This results in those who are more developed finishing early and sitting there. The lack of challenging poses makes this class hard to stay engaged in.
The third teacher is pretty good. She offers a variety of moves, keeps the class in alignment and gives the impression she could very easily amp up the poses way beyond many of our skill levels. I respect this about her, and hope she will turn the difficulty dial up just a few notches. Enter Sunil!
Sunil runs a class each Tuesday and Saturday evening. He arrived from India just a few months ago and has been teaching at my gym since my arrival. I would say I'm quite good at reading people, and get very good vibes off Sunil. He is very positive, collected, and insightful. Yoga is deeply personal to him and I feel he has strong mentors. I've found a number of his poses, just a step back from overly challenging. He keeps the class in formation and does a duration count instead of rep count, where he does the counting. He walks around and helps those, including myself, who need support in their pose. Whether it be a major form correction, or as he does with me, a push further ie. I am working on increasing my flexibility within my hamstrings, he'll have us in a pose and I'm working on pushing myself. My legs which are burning like hell, until Sunil comes along and pushes out an extra 15-20% of my stretch! It's fantastic, he is equally good at reading how to push me just to the very brink of my actual limit vs. what I think it to be.
If you follow my social media activity, blog, or personally communicate with me, you'll notice I am no longer as business focused/centric. Though elements still linger, I can appreciate business/economic components of situations. Take this case of yoga teachers for example. With all four yoga teachers, Sunil's class is by far the busiest. Other teachers have classes during the evening at the same time as he, and Sunil only teaches twice a week (as do the others). For those of you doing the math, two teachers have only one evening class, as Friday has no yoga, and the rest of the nights are taken by teachers. Now, Sunil has a jam packed studio each class, every week. His classes are so packed, the students stagger the mats so as not to bump each other when doing poses. The classroom, the size or a large lane swimming pool, is filled, typically 20-30 minutes before class starts! Guessing the number of attendees would be approximately 65+ per class.
In contrast, on other nights, classes are typically no larger than 15 students. Now, simple economics tells me, if there is demand, students will supply themselves/their time to be there. If he and his classes weren't as good as they are, why would people show up for his class specifically? This tells me, what Sunil is doing is top notch, it's working and people are enjoying what he offers. His class holds more regular attendees than the other classes, and people seem to be more engaged. I think this speaks volumes about his skill level, attitude, technique and teaching capabilities.
These are the kinds of teachers I seek to be learning from! As my travels take me around the world, India will no doubt be a great place for delving into yoga much further and refining my practice to new heights.
Whatever your interest, in anything you seek to learn, you must learn from a great teacher. Spare no expense finding people who are where you want to be. We often spend crazy amounts of time and money to look and appear like other people, often those who are merely putting on a facade. We ought to train ourselves to pour the same amount of time and money into learning new skills, habits and techniques from individuals who have mastered them! You owe it to yourself to seek out and become the best version of who you are!