Modern Ashtanga tradition holds that students should only have one teacher. In my experience this has been a generally accepted rule and even a bit of a taboo subject.
Ashtanga culture emphasizes the student-teacher relationship The Sanskrit word paramparā, which denotes a lineage between student and teacher, is widely understood amongst practitioners. Who you practice with has become a badge of honor.
I asked Richard Freeman about this on a recent retreat and he pointed out to me that the very first words of the opening mantra, “vande gurunam” denotes plurality that is more than one guru. It loosely translate to “I bow to the two lotus feet of the Gurus,” suggesting that historically multiple gurus were common.
The word lineage denotes a narrow line, but true cultural heritage looks more like a family tree with many branches. If we look down the line, we might only see one teacher, but behind that teacher stands many others.
For the majority of my Ashtanga...
In yoga the teacher plays an important role. The teacher not only sheds light on the subject of yoga - but the relationship itself is foundational. The specifics of the teaching such as techniques and beliefs are not as important as the love and relationship established between student and teacher. Yoga, to yoke, is about connectedness, and that begins with the connection between two beings. Connection is the driving force in transformation.
Good teachers remain heavy in their experience and not swayed. One of the definitions of Guru is heavy.
I think as students we seek to find teachers because we need someone to help us hold what is too big for us all on our own, and hopefully to provide a vision for us beyond what we can imagine for ourselves.
One of the central components of being a good teacher, is to be clear on what you’re teaching. My job as a teacher is to impart my knowledge of asana, but I’m not an asana teacher, I’m a yoga teacher. My job is also to...