To me yoga is very much connected to the teachers’ style and skills. A teacher can make or break my class. When I got into practicing yoga on a more serious level, I spent quite some time trying to find my perfect teacher. And that is not easy. I went to several schools in Amsterdam, I tried different teachers to finally settle with one: Martyn Hoogstra. A very skilled yogi, who has years of teaching experience, is a walking philosophy encyclopedia and whose class has a high energy level. I loved it, every single class! Even if I didn’t feel good before, I always felt great after the class. He has been my yoga inspiration, he started my yoga flame and I can still hear him in my mind during my practice. So what made him my perfect teacher?
- He was strict but gentle
- His classes had a repetition with a twist
- He was able to share his knowledge in a understandable language
- He offered more than just a class by organising Master Classes and yoga intensives
- His classes made me feel like I had a workout, and it still allowed me to go home feeling absolutely relaxed and chilled.
When I moved to Brasil I was sad to leave Martyn, who at his turn gave me great advice. He explained to me that after having learned from each other, it is sometimes time to move on and start learning new things, because every great teacher will be able to help you move forward on your yoga path. So there I went, off to Sao Paulo, looking for the perfect new teacher. After the same type of search I found one: Beta Arruga. A young and incredibly skilled yoga teacher, who builds amazing sequences, shares her knowledge and has an open personality. Her classes gave me new insights, about how to improve my postures, how to build a sequence, how to motivate people and what influence good music has on a class. When I asked her for advice on my yoga journey she didn’t hesitate to help me out and make time to answer all my questions, or even take me to her private clients to see for myself. She has been my inspiration to leave my corporate job and choose a yogic life. So why is she my perfect teacher?
- She is intelligent, kind and firm at the same time
- Her sequences have a repetition with a twist
- She can share her knowledge in an easy way without it being fluffy
- She can make you sweat and still make you walk away completely relaxed.
- She is not afraid to be close to her students, both physically and mentally.
- She uses an amazing playlist, not the fluffy type of yoga music.
- She uses a theme every class and shares this with her students on Facebook and Instagram.
So what does this teach me? I found two amazing teachers, with qualities I like. They have their similarity and differences. My key lesson is that as a teacher you attract the students that are ready for you. And since each teacher is different with their own style, there are students for every single one. This idea gives me the faith and courage to let go of my mask and teach classes the way I am myself and the way I like to be taught:
- Physically strong classes with a cool down to make sure people go home relaxed and ready for their day or bed.
- Repetitive challenging sequences with a twist
- Share my knowledge in an understandable way
- Be strict but gentle
- Offer more than just my standard classes, organise workshops & retreats
- Be close to my students, both physically and mentally
- Have a playlist that I love to listen to
- Use Facebook and Instagram to promote my work with my students and followers.
My tip on how to find your perfect yoga teacher is to explore. Do not settle with the first one you go to. What you can learn from yoga and how your flame is lit is dependent on your teacher. So go to a class, see what you like and do not like. Go to at least 4 more and compare. Then chose one and try to stick with that person for a while. Time will tell when your roads have to go separate ways again. Never be sad about it, continue growing and maintain contact. You never know when it is time to exchange knowledge again.