Select your Retreat and the Teacher
Many Yogis who turn up at our yoga retreat, expects the teacher to be a native or at least of Indian origin. They are genuinely surprised to find that the teacher is of western origin.
Why cannot we have a Sri Lankan teacher? Short answer: Depending on the quality of the teachers you are looking for, we simply do not have any.
The inevitable next question. So, do not SriLankans do yoga? Simple answer is, hardly. At least not at the scale you would be imagining.
Misconception: Teaching Yoga is Easy.
I have had local teachers and only a handful is descent to teach the 20 to 40 age group of westerners, who prefer more yang yoga classes and yin in between with good instructions on alignment, in their 2 weeks stay.
It is not easy to find such a physically strong practitioners of local teachers for such a duration, teaching 2 classes a day with a wide selection of sequences, so as not to bore the students.
Some years ago, I had to replace the schedule western teacher who dropped out at last minute, due to personal reasons. Looking for a replacement, I came across a local teacher who carried recommendations from friends.
Few days in to his stay, he first complain of stomach ailment and said he prefers bread with the evening meals and not rice, which did not make sense but the request was promptly obliged.
Further on, his starting and finishing of classes became 15/20 minutes late or early and a couple of yogis complained. When I finally participated in one of his classes, I found his techniques and demonstrations are far from satisfactory. He was even sitting in a chair and Instructing the students how to bend!
I also found that his stomach ailments nothing more than muscle cramps, for he has never had to bend and stretch so much, ever before in his entire life!
Yoga Teaching is Commitment and Dedication.
About 5/6 years ago, I had a surprise visit from a 17 year old girl, inquiring how she can practice yoga. I was delighted, and allowed her to do so, completely free of charge. She was super flexible and showed good temperament to become a good teacher. Since she lived only a few km from me, I encouraged her to come and practice at least every other day, and brought her yoga materials and books, even promising her to send her to India for teacher training.
Alas, she gradually lost interest and dropped out of the classes, largely due to gross indiscipline and laziness, But She still tachers yoga in a popular beach area hotel!
Yoga is Eastern Philosophy.
The misconception of Eastern knowledge and we know best, sometimes is also prevalent.
We come from a culture of conservative teacher student relationships. I am the teacher and I know best, and as a student, your role is just listening, never raising critical questions.
In contrast, my experience with foreign yoga teachers as far as their teaching is concerned is simply excellent.
Here are 5 Best Tips to Follow when Booking a Yoga Retreat
- Check the teacher profile.
- Request details of the Sri Lankan teachers teaching style, ability and experience. Make sure that he/she has the variation to teach your ten/14days stay without being repetitive.
- Requests pictures of the teacher, in asanas.
- Ask many pertinent questions in relation to your desired level.
- Do not hesitate to inform the management if you feel the classes are different to your expectations.
Hope these tips will help you to find the right teacher.
This is an observation of nearly a quarter century of running a yoga retreat, and is purely the personal experience of the writer. The article is in no way directed towards a particular place and or an individual.
Make no mistake; you would immensely enjoy the country though.
Happy Yoga Holidays……