Guest Post: Guru or Imposter?


I recently finished the yoga classes that I’ve been teaching here in Wellington, The Nilgris.  This coincided with something about ‘branding yoga’ that I read on the internet.  Yoga has become a sort of business now, what with yoga instructors having their own fan following and as a result, a celebrity status.  But how can a yoga student determine if the teacher/institute that they subscribe to is good for them?  I thought back to my own days as a student and came up with three guidelines I thought may help students in their quest for the perfect teacher/institute:

1.  Don’t follow any teacher/institute/practice blindly.  Trust your instinct.  For e.g., I once had a teacher who used to touch students indiscriminately and, what felt like, indiscreetly during class.  Another yoga teacher once asked me, “This also I need to show?!”  Then there was that one teacher in a small, non-descript institute who took great pains to teach us the right postures and make sure that we didn’t injure ourselves.  Yoga is all about feeling good and inculcating a feeling of wellness from within.  Any teacher who makes you feel incompetent and timid…and generally turns you off, is not a good one.  Learn to trust your intuition.  Your body and mind know what is best for you and its best not to put your mind and body in contact with unhealthy situations.

2.  Make sure the institute you go to makes you want to be there.  The institute should be clean and should give you a feeling of innate happiness and positivity.  Good vibes are the result of positive people and intentions, and if these exist in the institute that you choose to practice in, then you will reap the results of the positivity along with the all the exercise!

3.  Last but not least, your instructor should always make you feel good about yourself.  If you feel even slightly uncomfortable with a teacher then stop going to their classes…no amount of fan following and media coverage can make a teacher ‘right’ for you.  Only you can tell which teacher is ‘right’ for you.  A teacher should be open and welcoming and a good one will try and break through your fears and hesitation so that you can uncover the yogi that lies within all of us.


Yoga is an intensely ‘private’ practice.  You’ll be surprised how a session with a whole studio full of people can give you insight into yourself and your life.  If you trust yourself and your instinct then you are bound to benefit leaps and bounds from your practice.

About me:
I’m a software engineer turned yoga instructor.  I love yoga, exploring yoga, teaching yoga, and waxing eloquent about yoga.  In my free time I write about yoga in an attempt to reach a larger audience of yoga enthusiasts.  I unwind by burning some organic incense, reading a lot and going for long walks.  Also, because I’ve been living in the Nilgris, I’ve started getting into organic/natural/home made products.  http://yogawithpragya.wordpress.com/attempts to demystify ‘yoga’ as the world knows it and make it more accessible to busy and every day people. 

Twitter: @pragyabhatt

Ed’s Note: I was always skeptical of joining yoga classes after my battle with various breathing problems which were the results of a yoga session I attended back in school but this article has given me answers to various questions that I had and addressed my concerns! Thank you Pragya! for contributing to Divassence! :)

  • These are some really good tips on deciding a teacher Pragya! never thoght about it, frankly never thought about Yoga either..But this is a great post! :)