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Why I Don’t Want to Be A Guru: A Letter From a Yoga Teacher

Teaching Yoga | Yoga

I have had students ask me if I will be their guru. While I applaud your desire to learn from a spiritual guide, that person is not me.

In fact, I feel there are very few people who can truly qualify to fulfill that title. A guru is often considered to be a master. I don’t consider myself a master of anything. In fact, I more closely relate to the saying, “jack of all trades, master of none.”

The Search for a Spiritual Guide

One of my main influences is the Dalai Lama and I feel like he is one of the few individuals I know who is capable of holding the title of guru. The man lives what he teaches day in and day out. He holds vast and copious amounts of knowledge.

He is trustworthy, reasonable, fair, and seeking to create a more compassionate world. When I look to someone to show me what true compassion looks like, he is the prime example. I don’t call him my guru, but he is certainly worthy of the title.

If you are looking for a spiritual guide or advisor, I encourage you to ask yourself these following questions.

  1. For what reason are you seeking a guru? Do you feel like you “need” one because you hear the term used? Is there a specific outcome you are looking for?
  2. How does the person you look at as a guru meet and exceed the ideals you hold? Are they trustworthy?
  3. Would this person hold up well under guru-worship (we have seen that in many cases, guru worship can have a very bad end)?
  4. Are they a willing guru? Are you sure they are up to the task? Have you talked to them about it?
  5. Is there a self-directed or teacher-guided method you could use to achieve the goals you want, without needing to attach yourself to a guru?
  6. Will you be very disappointed if the person you want to seek out as a guru cannot live up to your expectations?

Many, or maybe all of us yoga teachers are people just like you.

We are still learning. We have setbacks and struggles. There are things we don’t like about ourselves. There are days we get angry. I don’t always follow the yama and niyama. Wouldn’t you be disappointed to see your guru yelling at someone in traffic?

The truth is, I don’t ever want to be anyone’s guru. I want to be me, the flawed human that I am, stumbling along the path of life right alongside of you.

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