The other day I was approached by a new student of mine who asked the following:
I have gone to different Yoga classes and sometimes I hear one thing from one teacher and another from a different teacher. With conflicting information, how am I to know which one to follow?
I smiled and told her that was a great and incredibly important question. The answer is that you should listen to all of them, but you shouldn´t follow any of them.
Let me clarify. You should only listen to those that YOU feel in tune with. Yoga is about YOU becoming your own Expert. Yoga is not about following someone else’s idea of perfection nor is it about creating factions and divides based upon one guru’s teachings or another’s. The beauty of Hatha Yoga is that it is trying to teach and get each individual to recognize what their soul, through the medium of their body and breath, is trying to manifest.
Finding a good Yoga teacher is extremely important as you pursue the art of Yoga, but your teacher is not God. God (Shakti, the Universe the great I AM…etc) is essentially within you and you should be listening to whatever that voice, that pain, that emotion, is telling you. Any good yoga teacher should know this and teach this principle.
If you want someone telling you what to do, go to a doctor. If you want to be autonomous and responsible for your own well-being and health, listen to yourself. Follow a practice that encourages this relationship with yourself. This does not mean that you can’t seek advice and guidance from other ‘experts’ but at the end of day, the only ‘expert’ advice that really matters is your own.